June 14, 2004

FISK: I AIN'T NO PILGER!

Comparison to the greats of modern journalism seems to annoy Robert Fisk:

McNaught: Youíve been bracketed with John Pilger.

Fisk: I donít want to be bracketed with John Pilger ...

McNaught: Noam Chomsky Ö

Fisk: Nor poor old Noam, I know Noam very well.

McNaught: Michael Moore Ö Are you happy to be in that club?

Fisk: Iím not in a club with anyone. I know Pilger, Chomsky quite well. I donít practise that sort of journalism -- at least I hope I donít.

Fisk quickly explained that he thinks the Australian is "admirable" and wouldnít want to be seen "disparaging" him. But what did he mean about "that sort of journalism"? Meanwhile, Mike Moore is so confident about the accuracy of his latest film that heís hired a team of spin doctors to defend it:

To counteract efforts challenging "Fahrenheit 9/11," he has hired Chris Lehane and Mark Fabiani, two former political advisers to Bill Clinton and Al Gore, to establish a "war room" that will immediately support any claims made in the movie that come under attack.

The group, he said, will be staffed by six to seven people and will operate 24 hours a day, monitoring newscasts and scanning newspapers, magazines and other publications for statements made discrediting the movie.

"You come at me with anything, we come back with the truth," Moore said.

Six or seven people scanning the press every hour of every day? The man clearly can't tolerate dissent.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 14, 2004 02:37 AM
Comments

Hrm. He sounds a little paranoid to me.

Posted by: Rebecca at June 14, 2004 at 03:37 AM

A little paranoid and really insecure.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 03:54 AM

Hmm, Mickey Kaus regularly derides Chris Lehane as a political spinster who spells doom for anyone he works for...his most recent employers include Al Gore, Gray Davis, John Kerry (pre-Iowa, when he was at below 10% for a while), and Wes Clark. Let's hope he's still got it and does for Moore what he's done for the aforementioned guys.

Posted by: PW at June 14, 2004 at 04:00 AM

That "war room" conjures up images of the control room in Woody Allen's 1972 movie, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex.

Posted by: Ernie G at June 14, 2004 at 04:13 AM

Embattled Mikey needs a war room because he has become of caricature of those whom he criticizes. Could there be any doubt, whatsoever, that Moore is more of a paranoid, fascist and aggressive partisan than are any of his mockumentary victims?

Posted by: c at June 14, 2004 at 04:59 AM

When is someone going to do a Documentary about Moore? Surely that would be an instant winner.

Posted by: Dash at June 14, 2004 at 05:09 AM

coming soon?

http://www.michaelmoorehatesamerica.com/

shall we place bets on how quick the guy gets an award?

I'll hold the money.

Posted by: sdk at June 14, 2004 at 05:19 AM

That's more than a little paranoia. It's a LOT of paranoia, disguised as bravado. Those who believe Moore might just be trying to defend himself against unfair attacks should wonder - since when does an artist declare, beforehand, that he will do everything he can to deconstruct and defuse any criticism about his art?

Isn't art supposed to stand or fall on its own merits? If this movie is so wonderful, why does it need a "war room" to defend it?

Posted by: kimberly at June 14, 2004 at 06:03 AM

I should of put out the "/sarcasm" tagline....

Yes, Kimberly, exactly right. Why does he need damage control, if his "story" is true? How many other political films have their own command post? None that I know of.

Another aspect of this is intimidation. "Hey guys," sez Michael The Moor, "Point out the flaws in my film, and I'll out shout you! Go ahead, try to crush my dissent!"

What he misses is the irony, he who claims he was "censored" by Disney is openly engaging in his own misinformation campaign. Or, from his perspective, "counter misinformation campaign." His own crushing of dissent, so to speak.

What a crock.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 06:18 AM

How is it a misinformation campaign? Those guys are simply sitting there with Google and Lexis Nexis searches at the ready - if someone disputes a fact, they'll back it up with a record. As a matter of fact, this would put them in greater political and factual jeopardy than not doing it.

Simple as that. And since it hasn't actually been used or cited yet, we're in no position to criticize it. Yet. If it's used, and they can't back up an assertion, a date or an event, then they lose. Let's see what happens.

Posted by: Frank at June 14, 2004 at 06:43 AM

Frank, from Michael Moore himself, as posted above:

The group, he said, will be staffed by six to seven people and will operate 24 hours a day, monitoring newscasts and scanning newspapers, magazines and other publications for statements made discrediting the movie.

"You come at me with anything, we come back with the truth," Moore said.

As I said, from my perspective, Moore is conducting a misinformation campaign on his movie. More accurately, it's a continuation of his long standing misinformation campaign to sell himself to the left. Based on his past performance, I expect this "command post" to be manipulation and fact twisting, plus the usual lies.

From Moore's perspective, I said that it's a counter misinformation campaign. Whether he actually believes his own words remains to be seen.

'Tis my opinion of Michael The Moor that he is scam artist of the worst sort. I believe what I said to be a valid criticism.

Hope this clarifies things.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 08:00 AM

There's a movie that runs on IFC called "Lianna", here's the opening scene that takes place in a classroom in the movie.

link word or phrase

Posted by: Mike W. at June 14, 2004 at 08:01 AM

Mike W., that sounds like Michael the Moor's approach to a "t".

Disturbing.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 08:05 AM

That's not disturbing, it's elementary media. Everyone does it. Fox News insists on calling all suicide bombings "homicide bombings." That's interjecting opinion even into semantics. The bombing is not remarkable because it's homicidal, it's remarkable because it's suicidal. If they're not trying to remain neutral as they claim - they'd just call it a bombing. Which in fact they do when it's a fatal, but not suicide bombing.

Everything is distorted by the reporting of it. Moore's film is no exception to that rule. And it's been around ever since the printed word arrived. You think great Pharoah really slew mighty beasts and rode at the front of his cavalry? Of course he didn't, but he got to control the reporting of it.

The movie is massively skewed against the current administration, and that is precisely what it's supposed to be. He has a point of view and he searched for evidence to back it up. As you would in a thesis. You might be wrong, you might be right, but the defense of a thesis is what gets you a PhD, and if he's willing to defend it, good for him. ALL media should be so open.

So back to my original point: Michael Moore, who wears his biases plainly at least - he admits he's a liberal and he admits he wants Bush out of office - there's no secret messaage here to fool the masses - is challenging us, you, to find factual errors in his film. Whether you agree with his opinions or not, his voluntary opening of his documentary to factual challenge is admirable, although maybe asking for trouble.

Now, before you repsond, I should point out that I'm neither Democrat nor liberal, just someone who appreciates facts, accurate reporting and honest opinion. Moore's movie is a documentray, infused with plenty of opinion, not a news report. And of course, he's entitled to his opinion. The difference here is that he's willing, prepared and ready to back up his claims.

Posted by: Frank at June 14, 2004 at 08:29 AM

Maybe Moore and the gang can't defend an disputed "fact" in the documentary, but they can demand an opportunity to get on the TV and muddy the water enough to create doubt as to what the truth really is in the mind of joe public. So at the very least they can achieve a push when they really should lose.

Posted by: Sean at June 14, 2004 at 08:56 AM

If you are writing a dissertation or thesis, in the sciences at least, and do not take into account the counterindications to your thesis you will emphatically not get a Ph.D. Indeed, in the sciences the writer is supposed to point out the weaknesses of his argument himself, and will be criticized if he does not do so. Moore is not doing a thesis or dissertation. He is not even doing a documentary, which would deal with both sides if it had any honesty. He is producing agitprop.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at June 14, 2004 at 08:59 AM

Moore just knows there'll be a huge rush to discredit his film. And there will be. So whether that's paranoid or realistic ... what's the diff, he's going to cop a lot so he's on the defensive. He'll need half a dozen people to monitor the air- and e-waves, because every right-wing commentator on the planet - and I'm thinking Our Tim is gonna be one of em - won't want the public to think Dubya did fly the bin Ladens out of the US 2 days after 9-11. Not going to really help his re-election, that tidbit, wot?

Posted by: Chris at June 14, 2004 at 10:05 AM

bzzzz, wrong Chris,

Richard Clarke took full responsbility for flying the Bin Ladens out. He said that the decision did not go higher than him. That is in his testimony before the 911 commission.

So already Moore is wrong and the film hasn't come out yet.

nice try though.

Posted by: capt joe at June 14, 2004 at 10:27 AM

capt joe,

That wouldn't be the same Richard Clarke trying to make a fortune and a reputation off of bashing Bush re 9/11, now would it?

How about moralist Moore being so "outraged" by US abuses of Iraqi prisoners that he kept footage of said abuses under wraps until the debut of his movie? He chose not to notify authorities or even the press, because the footage was more useful for making political hay and a few bucks later on.

How is his war room going to spin this? Moore should be prosecuted for failure to report.

Posted by: c at June 14, 2004 at 10:50 AM

The Real JeffS ó Remember, that other great opinion molder, Josef Goebbels, once said, 'it's not misinformation if you can get enough people to believe it.'

Given the media slant in the US, there's no question that any Moore "rebuttal" would get far more ink and air time than any of the corrections made...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 14, 2004 at 11:00 AM

Clarke ordered the bin Ladens flown out of America, and Dubya had nothing to do with it, no knowledge of it? For ... plausible deniability on the CEO's part? Hey, call me cynical ... but it stinks. And where is that buck meant to stop?

Then again I haven't seen the film so whether its claims are true or not we'll have to wait and see. But if the guy's got six people specifically assigned to rebuff critics of the film's credibility, to verify its claims ... I mean, he's obviously anticipated people trying to denigrate the film's veracity.

Posted by: Chris at June 14, 2004 at 11:02 AM

Frank said:

"That's not disturbing, it's elementary media. Everyone does it."

So, Frank, I'm supposed to blindly accept it? Even if Fox does it? If you think so, I think you're wrong. BZZZZZZZ!

Other people here have pointed out that Moore is not researching a thesis of any sort. I've done them myself. Moore, as you put it, "... has a point of view and he searched for evidence to back it up." And he wants Bush out of office. That's a campaign with objectives, not a thesis.

And what about evidence that goes against his point of view, Frank? Has he ever tried to offer both sides of a story? He sure as hell didn't in "Bowling for Columbine." Is he unbiased in "Fahrenheit 911"? And I'm supposed to assume that? Given his spin on being "censored" before the movie came out, I think not.

"Moore's movie is a documentray [sic], infused with plenty of opinion, not a news report. And of course, he's entitled to his opinion. The difference here is that he's willing, prepared and ready to back up his claims."

Well, now, that is really your opinion, Frank. To me, a documentary is informative. An editorial is opinionated. An editorial documentary is what Moore is selling as "Fahrenheit 911". I'd accept that if he weren't offering his opinion as "the truth". Read the original posting:

""You come at me with anything, we come back with the truth," Moore said."

Emphasis is mine. You say "opinion", several times. Moore says "truth". There's a big difference here, Frank. His damage control system is for the "truth", that which you call "opinion". That's misinformation, agitprop, lying, whatever. I don't like it when a government does it, and I damn sure don't like it when a fat pompous scam artist like Moore does it.

I say that you aren't really thinking about what is being said here. Whether you are liberal conservative is immaterial. You need to remember that I and others are offering opinions on Michael The Moor. Based on fact and personal beliefs, but still an opinion, which could be a part of the truth....if we are fortunate to ever find out.

Moore, however, is offering his opinion as the truth, up front. How do we know it's the truth? Because Moore says so.

And I don't buy it.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 11:22 AM

Clarke ordered the bin Ladens flown out of America, and Dubya had nothing to do with it, no knowledge of it? For ... plausible deniability on the CEO's part? Hey, call me cynical ... but it stinks. And where is that buck meant to stop?

Wow. Richard Clarke is a shill for Bush.

Tell me Chris, is the sun square in Bizarro World? Does it shine brightly at night?

Posted by: Sortelli at June 14, 2004 at 11:39 AM

Could you use some blue kryptonite, Sortelli?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 12:01 PM

It'd be nice if he took the same effort in ensuring that his film was factually accurate in the first place.

Posted by: Andjam at June 14, 2004 at 12:17 PM

Score one for Andjam!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 12:21 PM

My thoughts exactly, Andjam.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 14, 2004 at 12:37 PM

C'mon, the guy has to deal with censorship and oppression almost 24/7...who in these circumstances would have time to shoot a documentary and ensure it's factually accurate?

Posted by: PW at June 14, 2004 at 12:48 PM

BTW, it's interesting to see that nobody has even bothered to comment on Fisk. If that isn't testament to his descent into irrelevance, I don't know what is.

Posted by: PW at June 14, 2004 at 12:58 PM

Fisk who? ;-)

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 01:26 PM

Could you use some blue kryptonite, Sortelli?

Actually, I have a hankering for a blue slurpee. To 7-11!!!

Posted by: Sortelli at June 14, 2004 at 02:16 PM

Up, Up, and AWAAAAAAY!!

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 02:26 PM

I love it. Robert Fisk bitching about being a Unique Individual™, not like Those Other Guys, as if he were still a teenager.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 14, 2004 at 02:30 PM

I don't see what the big deal about letting the Bin Ladens or Saud princes out of the US is, anyway. If they knew anything about the plot to attack the US, they would have left long before 9/11, don't you think? It obviously took them by surprise, judging by the way they wanted to get out of Dodge when the shit hit the fan ASAP. I'd fear for my personal safety after 9/11 if my last name was Bin Laden and some uncle I never met was now the most hated and wanted man in America.

But Moore wants to paint this commonsense act as some kind of grand conspiracy between Bush and the Sauds. Just like when Bush was flown to remote AFB's after 9/11 and the liberals derided him as a coward for not immediately returning to Washington. Whose idea was that? Richard Clarke's, again. And not a bad idea either, they had concern about the safety of the President, they had no idea of the scope of the threats.

Posted by: Moonbat_One at June 14, 2004 at 02:35 PM

richard mcenroe:

"Given the media slant in the US, there's no question that any Moore "rebuttal" would get far more ink and air time than any of the corrections made..."

No question at all, my friend. But Herr Doctor Goebbels had one problem with his career: when his propaganda campaign collapsed (at the same time Germany collapsed), he died. One might conclude that misinformation in the short run is valuable, but in the long run it's deadly.

I would prefer not to repeat his mistakes.

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 14, 2004 at 02:37 PM

I think Michael Moore is a genius. (Ducks for cover.)

That was a joke, by the way. I am opposed to Moore, and the people who hide him.

Posted by: Harry Hutton at June 14, 2004 at 03:21 PM

Hilarious: Moore is morphing into Richard Nixon.

Paranoid, resentful about his lack of 'class', disengenius, taping everything, has hired his own 'Plumbers'.

"People want to know if their Palm D'Or winner's a crook - well I'm not a crook!"

I look forward to seeing him transported from his HQ one last time - sort of like Nixon - after giving the arms-as-aloft-as-blubber-allows V-signs.

Sigh...if only.

Posted by: CurrencyLad at June 14, 2004 at 03:25 PM

You don't think it might've been a good idea for the FBI to question the relatives of the man thought responsible for the carnage, about where they thought he might've been at? I mean, as opposed to putting them on private jets and flying them back to their palaces.

Hm? If their name's bin Laden, why not put them in Guantanamo for a while and see what they know.

Instead it was decided by Clarke, for reasons ... well, i don't know why he did - to fly the poor old bin Ladens home. Why do that?

Posted by: Chris at June 14, 2004 at 03:43 PM

Why were the bin Ladens flown out of the country? For their personal safety, I'd wager. Being a bin Laden is not a crime punishable by death, but being named bin Laden and staying in the US was pretty dangerous right after 9-11. His relatives have disowned him, it's pretty unfair to tar them by association or hold THEM responsible for 9-11. They don't know where he is. I'm not a Clarke fan, but I don't really have a problem with him making that decision.

Which brings me back to this ridiculous Clarke-covering-for-Bush nonsense. Clarke has done anything but cover for Bush lately. Why the heck would he come out with his little book and spin all the blame onto W and off of Clinton and THEN protect him from Moore's accusation that Bush is in bed with the bin Ladens? It's nonsense, Chris. Seriously. Clarke has no reason to lie about that. Shame on you. Spit out the kool-aid before it is too late.

Posted by: Sortelli at June 14, 2004 at 03:56 PM

The Real JeffS ó Yes, but as long as Moore is running the disinformation campaign, I'm willing to take that risk. I'm brave that way...

Posted by: richard mcenroe at June 14, 2004 at 04:16 PM

"If their name's bin Laden, why not put them in Guantanamo for a while and see what they know".

Ummmm... how about because they were not picked up during a battle on foreign soil in which they bore arms against the US? How about because doing so would be against several international and US laws with no gray area whatsoever?

If "Bowling for Columbine" is any indication, Mikey will be splicing disparate bits of audio and video together, weaving them together to form a misleading narrative that can nevertheless be said to be "true". Just as it is irrefutably true that the words above contain the statement "bin Laden would be against bowling and weaving".

That's how Mikey does it. Look for the places where he shows someone talking, then continues the audio while flipping to another scene. That's the cue to know that a substantial bit of whatever was being said has been edited out. That's how he distilled Charlton Heston's nearly 1000 word speech at the Denver NRA convention into less than 100 words, with Heston doing a quick wardrobe change in one scene flip (Mikey spliced in a piece of Heston's speech at another gathering a year later, robbing the highlighted remark of the proper context and making it appear purposefully inflammatory in Denver in the aftermath of the Columbine massacre.) See this source for more.

Posted by: Reid at June 14, 2004 at 05:03 PM

"Fox News insists on calling all suicide bombings "homicide bombings." "


yup, those guys are just trying to commit suicide the only way they know how. they aren't actually trying to kill anyone, those people just happened to get in the way.

/sarcasm

Posted by: samkit at June 14, 2004 at 07:29 PM

Don't you think though, that the FBI should have at least asked the bin Ladens where there brother was?

Why didn't they do that? Because the Bush family are tight with them?

And that quote about locking up the bin Ladens being against international laws and regulations - i almost choked on the kool-aid. Funny stuff, like the US cares about quaint notions like the Geneva convention and the UN - yet they wouldn't lock up the bin Ladens, the family that spawned and funded the crackpot who caused the whole shtink because other nations would think it's against the law... - very funny stuff.

Posted by: Chris at June 14, 2004 at 08:46 PM

Moore found his audience in France. He should have stayed there and saved the expence of hiring a mop up crew.

Posted by: Papertiger at June 14, 2004 at 09:39 PM

Don't you think though, that the FBI should have at least asked the bin Ladens where there brother was?

You do know that Bin Laden is an illegitimate child now disowned from the Binladen family? Why should they know where he was? Most of them probably haven't talked to him since the 1970s.

Posted by: Quentin George at June 14, 2004 at 10:27 PM

What makes you think the FBI didn't ask them questions? As Mr George pointed out, they'd probably be fruitless, but they had more than enough time to ask them some questions, knowing about the state of the bin Laden family. Better information would be had from lines of inquiry outside the bin Laden family.

By the by, when you refe to the bin Laden family, you are referring to a very large group of people, Osama bin Laden's late father, Muhammad bin Laden, and his wives had something like 53 kids, plus their kids, and spouses. Osama bin Laden was disowned in the late 70's (or early 80's) after he got caught up in the Islamist furvour of 1979 (France flies Ayatollah Khomeini into Iran, Communists invade A-stan).

Chris, funding for terror tends to come from drugs, or terrorist states, as for your 'spawning' comment, is it a crime to have children?

The Gitmo prisoners aren't covered by the Geneva Conventions because they weren't members of a uniformed army. The Conventions are clear on this, they exclude anyone who isn't wearing some sort of sign to show he is a combatant in an army (An armband suffices). They also exclude people who hide among the civilian population.

Both would tend to exclude terrorists, except in the halls of the ignorant.

As for the UN, how legitimate can it be, when it scuppers investigations into its corruption in Iraq, and refuses to take responsibility for its failures?

It won't even support the enforcement of its own resolutions (though billions in oil money for Kofi Annan's son might have something to do with this)

Kofi Annan;s brilliant response to the public charging on the UN in corruptly exploiting the Iraqi peoples' suffering for Saddam's oil money was "this isn't the time for finger-pointing"! What twaddle.

Posted by: Sheriff at June 15, 2004 at 01:02 AM

I guess Chris expects that OBL's relatives could have handed over to the FBI his soopersecret email address and the official Al-Queda decoder ring. I mean, they're named bin Laden too, they have to have inside knowledge, right?

Just like the 8,000 or so people named al-Saud all have each other on speed-dial.

Posted by: PW at June 15, 2004 at 01:07 AM

Chris - you definitely have been drinking the kool-aid (are you aware of what that reference is to and what it means? - apparently not).

You don't see a big difference between detaining enemy combatants and picking up people off the street willy-nilly?

Oh, yeah, the US doesn't care about those laws. Better go seal yourself in your room. The black helicopters are coming for ya'!

Posted by: Reid at June 15, 2004 at 01:12 AM