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July 05, 2004

F-9/11 critics descend into self parody

Randy Barnett of the Volokh Conspiracy, on The Impressiveness of Farenheit 9/11:

I was struck by the sheer cunningness of Moore's film. When you read Kopel, try to detach yourself from any revulsion you may feel at a work of literal propaganda receiving such wide-spread accolades from mainstream politicos, as well as attendance by your friends and neighbors.

Instead, notice the film's meticulousness in saying only (or mostly) "true" or defensible things in support of a completely misleading impression. In this way, [Dan] Kopel's care in describing Moore's "deceipts" is much more interesting than other critiques I have read, including that of Christopher Hitchens. Kopel's lawyerly description of Moore's claims shows the film to be a genuinely impressive accomplishment in a perverse sort of way (the way an ingenious crime is impressive)--a case study in how to convert elements that are mainly true into an impression that is entirely false--and this leads in turn to another thought. [Emphasis added.]

Devilish, isn't it?

[Via Matt Yglesias.]

Here is Dan Kopel's careful and lawyerly account Fifty-nine Deceits in Fahrenheit 911.

Kopel is admirably thorough. His definition of "deceit"is broad enough to encompass every possible discrepancy between his preferred theory and Moore's. For example, here, Kopel argues, for the second time in the essay, that F-9/11 is a deceitful film because Ed Koch claims that Michael Moore said “I don’t know why we are making so much of an act of terror. It is three times more likely that you will be struck by lightening than die from an act of terror.” (cf. Deceit 8)

Like several of the other deceits identified in this report, the September 11 deceit is not part of the film itself. Several of the deceits involve claim that Moore has made when discussing the film. Like some deceits which are identified near the end of this report, the September 11 deceit involves the contradiction between Moore's purported feelings about a topic in the movie and what appear to be his actual feelings about that topic. If a Klansman made a film which feigned admiration for Rosa Parks, that too would be a form of deceit, even if the film were accurate in its portrayal of Parks as a great American hero.[Emphasis added.]

Kopel on Deceit 55:

Moore exploits the grief of Lila Lipscomb, the mother of a soldier who died in Iraq. She denounces Bush and the War. But there are many mothers and relatives of US soldiers, alive and dead, who served there who don’t agree with her. Don’t look for them in this agit-prop “film.”

Other deceits:

* Moore's reported that prior to 9/11 Bush spent 42% of his presidency on vacation at his ranch, this figure includes weekends (Deceits 6-7)
* The implication that the disenfranchisement of Florida votes in 2000 was race-related. (Deceit 4)
* Moore's failure to mention that Gwendolyn Tose-Rigell, the principal of Emma E. Booker Elementary School, praised Bush’s decision to keep reading My Pet Goat (Deceit 9)
* Moore's interview of Craig Unger, author of House of Bush House of Saud (Deceit 24)
* Moore's views on Saudi Arabia conflict with those of Christopher Hitchens (Deceit 26)
* That the US invasion killed people besides women and children, though Moore doesn't show their deaths (Deceits 44-45)
* Britney-gate, in which Moore shows Britney Spears endorsing the President and the war. Kopel allows, "As with much of the Iraq material, the Spears quote is not an outright fraud, but is the result of perspective which is so one-sided as to be misleading." (Deceit 57)


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