July 17, 2004
F 9/11: Moore's bully pulpit
Greyhawk alerts us to a heinous abuse by Michael Moore in his lastest film, Farenheit 9/11.
From John McCaslin's July 12th Inside the Beltway column in the Washington TimesThe family of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone was shocked to learn that video footage of the major's Arlington National Cemetery burial was included by Michael Moore in his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11." Maj. Stone was killed in March 2003 by a grenade that officials said was thrown into his tent by Sgt. Hasan K. Akbar, who is on trial for murder.
The movie, described by critics as political propaganda during an election year, shows video footage of the funeral and Maj. Stone's fiancee, Tammie Eslinger, kissing her hand and placing it on his coffin.
The family does not know how Mr. Moore obtained the video, and Miss Gallagher said they did not give permission and are considering legal recourse.
She described her nephew as a "totally conservative Republican" and said he would have found the film to be "putrid."
And this follow-up from July 16:Outrage from across the country after Inside the Beltway wrote this week about the family of U.S. Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone being shocked to learn video footage of the major's Arlington National Cemetery burial was included by Michael Moore in his movie "Fahrenheit 9/11." The mother of the major labeled Mr. Moore a "maggot that eats off the dead."
To contact Mr McCaslin to encourage him to continue to pursue this story he can be reached at 202/636-3284 or email@example.com.
Greyhawk also mentions that the Mountain States Legal Foundation is interested in looking into this. Read his entry for full details.
I am appalled at the blatant disregard and disrespect shown by Moore to the Stone family. However, I am not surprised. He has consistently manipulated images and twisted facts to portray a very misleading picture. Here, via John Cole at Balloon Juice, is what a liberal critic has to say:
Halfway through Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 there is a shot of a lone state trooper keeping vigil over thousands of miles of Oregonian coast. The trooper looks wholly inadequate to the task, a sense compounded by a deadpan tour of his empty station. Because of public-safety cutbacks, Moore tells us, Oregon has been left dangerously unprotected. Homeland Security, he says, is a sham.
It's a funny scene, and I'm sympathetic to the argument. But I also know that Oregon has almost no police because its residents, in a referendum held last year, refused to raise their own taxes—a selfish decision that had nothing to do with the federal government. For that matter, Oregon is surrounded by California and Washington. What "border" was Moore talking about? The ocean? That's the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard, not the state police. And what exactly was Moore's concern? That al Qaeda was going to storm the beaches in Zodiac rafts? This from a man whose last movie was a harangue against fearmongering?
The scene was vintage Moore. The facts don't add up but the shot looks good, so let's roll tape and hope no one notices. Moore wants his viewers angry, not educated, and he represents what he claims to loathe, which is the triumph of imagery over substance.
Yep. Imagery over substance. And when he doesn't get what he wants, he manipulates and distorts. Last year, he claimed the resounding boos in response to his Academy Awards diatribe were a few disgruntled stagehands and begged the backstage media not to report it. When that didn't succeed, he claimed the booers were booing the original booers. More likely, the boor on the stage. Spin, spin, spin. This year, he continues to claimed Tom Daschle gave him a hug, although Daschle denies it. Here, Pete Townshend explains what happened when he refused to let Moore use of one of his songs in F9/11:
Michael Moore has been making some claims – mentioning me by name - which I believe distort the truth.
He says – among other things – that I refused to allow him to use my song WON’T GET FOOLED AGAIN in his latest film, because I support the war, and that at the last minute I recanted, but he turned me down. I have never hidden the fact that at the beginning of the war in Iraq I was a supporter. But now, like millions of others, I am less sure we did the right thing.
When first approached I knew nothing about the content of his film FAHRENHEIT 911. My publisher informed me they had already refused the use of my song in principle because MIRAMAX the producers offered well below what the song normally commands for use in a movie. They asked me if I wanted to ask for more money, I told them no.
Nevertheless, as a result of my refusal to consider the use, Harvey Weinstein – a good friend of mine, and my manager Bill Curbishley – interceded personally, explained in more detail to Bill what the movie was about, and offered to raise the bid very substantially indeed. This brought the issue directly to me for the first time. Bill emailed me and told me how keen Harvey and Michael Moore were to use my song.
At this point I emailed Bill (and he may have passed the essence of what I said to Harvey Weinstein) that I had not really been convinced by BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE, and had been worried about its accuracy; it felt to me like a bullying film. Out of courtesy to Harvey I suggested that if he and Moore were determined to have me reconsider, I should at least get a chance to see a copy of the new film. I knew that with Cannes on the horizon, time was running short for them, and this might not be possible. I never received a copy of the film to view. At no time did I ask Moore or Miramax to reconsider anything. Once I had an idea what the film was about I was 90% certain my song was not right for them.
I believe that in the same email to my publisher and manager that contained this request to see the film I pointed out that WGFA is not an unconditionally anti-war song, or a song for or against revolution. It actually questions the heart of democracy: we vote heartily for leaders who we subsequently always seem to find wanting. (WGFA is a song sung by a fictional character from my 1971 script called LIFEHOUSE. The character is someone who is frightened by the slick way in which truth can be twisted by clever politicians and revolutionaries alike). I suggested in the email that they might use something by Neil Young, who I knew had written several songs of a more precise political nature, and is as accessible as I am. Moore himself takes credit for this idea, and I have no idea whether my suggestion reached him, but it was the right thing to do.
I have nothing against Michael Moore personally, and I know Roger Daltrey is a friend and fan of his, but I greatly resent being bullied and slurred by him in interviews just because he didn’t get what he wanted from me. It seems to me that this aspect of his nature is not unlike that of the powerful and wilful man at the centre of his new documentary. I wish him all the best with the movie, which I know is popular, and which I still haven’t seen. But he’ll have to work very, very hard to convince me that a man with a camera is going to change the world more effectively than a man with a guitar.
By itself, any one of these actions would be disgusting. Taken as a whole, they portray Moore as a manipulative bully. Why didn't he ask the Stone family for permission to use video of their private grief? He must have realized that it was over the top. So, he used it anyway. Bah. For all those who expressed indignation about the fleeting glimpse of WTC victims in one of President Bush's early campaign ads and who have recommended Moore's film (I'm pretty sure there's a positive correlation), I'm waiting to hear the same condemnation to this. And, I'm waiting to hear Moore's explanation. I'm sure he's fabricating one now.
Posted by Deb at July 17, 2004 12:55 PM
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Posted by: Justin Perris at September 26, 2010 05:45 AM
My Prayers go out to all affected.
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