"Fahrenheit 9/11": Don’t follow the leader, either Moore or Bush | PostIndependent.com
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"Fahrenheit 9/11": Don’t follow the leader, either Moore or Bush

As appropriate as it is in encouraging scrutiny of the official versions of 9/11 and the Iraq war, “Fahrenheit 9/11” has created its own bunker mentality.Its most ardent supporters certainly want viewers to question the Bush administration’s take on the presidential election of 2000, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the aftermath of the two events. But, many of them say, you simply can’t question the facts Michael Moore presents in “Fahrenheit 9/11.”If that sounds like the kind of for-us-or-against-us rhetoric that has echoed through the halls of the Department of Homeland Security in the past three years, there’s a reason for that: Moore needs viewers to question the necessity of 900 soldiers dead in Iraq every bit as badly as Bush needs voters to believe that the world is safer without Saddam Hussein in power. As it’s an election year, each needs to convince the public that it has the watertight solution: anybody but Bush versus four more years. And each is probably just as willing to sell you his version of the truth. The truth really might be somewhere neither Bush’s campaign speeches nor Moore’s movie nails. “Fahrenheit 9/11” raises very serious questions about the Bush administration, 9/11 and the war on Iraq. But counter to the “you-can’t-question-Moore’s-facts” rhetoric, Newsweek (certainly no fly-by-night right-wing rag) raised some important questions about, well, Moore’s facts.To watch “Fahrenheit 9/11” without questioning the White House is to be a Pollyanna. But to watch it without taking a hard look at how Moore uses the facts he’s uncovered is to sell him short as a filmmaker: Neither “Fahrenheit 9/11” nor “Bowling for Columbine” was simply the sum of its facts – Moore seems just as eager to twist his facts into a conspiracy as Bush’s spinmeisters.It’s heartening that “Fahrenheit 9/11,” a documentary, had a stranglehold on the box office for so long during an election year, because it’s hard to come out of it without asking serious questions. And it’s probably a good thing to have more voters asking those questions in an election year regardless of how they end up voting. But it’s also a shame, because the people who most need to see “Fahrenheit 9/11” are those who are least likely to be able to stomach it, which means Moore largely is preaching to the converted – droves of them.The moral for the “Fahrenheit 9/11” viewer might echo the moral of the movie: Watch it, and make up your own mind rather than blindly playing follow the leader.The moral for the “Fahrenheit 9/11” viewer might echo the moral of the movie: Watch it, and make up your own mind rather than blindly playing follow the leader.


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