Sunday, June 27, 2004

 

Fahrenheit Fact no. 2: George W. Bush did not sign the order for Saudis to leave the US on 9/11: TRUE, IRRELEVANT, MISLEADING

Text from claim as of June 26, 2004
http://fahrenheit_fact.blogspot.com

"Fahrenheit Fact no. 2: George W. Bush did not sign the order for Saudis to leave the US on 9/11

As it turns out, the flights were approved by Richard Clarke- former terrorism official and author of the less than complimentary "Against all Enemies". The requests never "went any higher" than Clarke."

To the best of anyone's knowledge, this is true. Richard Clarke said as much. There are several stories about his testimony before the 9/11 committee and statements he made to media in early 2004 that attest to this. Many can be found on the internet. This quote is from a story by Scott Wheeler epublished at CNSNews.com on June 01, 2004,

"Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism official and author of a recent book blasting the Bush administration's handling of intelligence leading up to the terrorist attacks, told The Hill newspaper last week that he gave the go-ahead for two members of the bin Laden family and other Saudi nationals to leave the U.S.

"It didn't get any higher than me," Clarke told The Hill . "I take responsibility for it. I don't think it was a mistake, and I'd do it again.""

Given Clarke's statements, the claim is True, assuming the secondary account from CSNNews accurately quotes the original source.

However, the claim is irrelevant. In the version of the film in current US distribution, Michael Moore never claimed that the Bush Administration authorized the flights of the Saudi Nationals and the Bin Laden family out of the country. He just points out that shortly after the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001, they were allowed to leave, and questions that decision.

So, while the claim is true, it's irrelevant. Michael Moore never claims that George W. Bush signed an order allowing 142 Saudi Arabian nationals and members of the Bin Laden family to leave. He's critical of the decision, and also wonders how thoroughly the FBI questioned the Saudi nationals and the members of the Bin Laden family. This also makes the claim misleading--since the film never makes the claim in the first place, what's the relevance of the claim to factual accuracies in Fahreheit 9/11?

The substance to the claim is true. However, the claim is irrelevant to the discussion about accuracies in Fahrenheit 9/11 because the film never makes the claim in the first place. This also makes the claim misleading. Based on this, the claim is true but irrelevant and misleading.

Full text and urls for all articles sourced in this blogpost will be available as comments.
 

Fahrenheit Fact no. 1: Fahrenheit 9/11 is Funded by Terrorists: FALSE

This claim has been addressed further down. There are some errors in my previous entry--this entry addresses those errors and includes material from a response posted at the fahrenheit_fact.blogger.com site. Each claim made at the site will be addressed in order, and include the date of the text I copied from the site. I'll leave it to any readers to make up their own minds about my conclusions.

Text from claim as of June 26, 2004
http://fahrenheit_fact.blogspot.com

"Fahrenheit Fact no. 1: Fahrenheit 9/11 is Funded by Terrorists

Did you know that "Fahrenheit 9/11" is in part funded by terrorists? That's right. In the mideast, Hezbollah has offered to help distribute the film in the mideast and Moore has tacitly accepted.

[UPDATE1: In order to clear up issues of semantics, I've chosen to add the word tacitly to this phrase to clear up the overall meaning of the post]

[UPDATE 2: We are now confirmed. MOORE HAS REFUSED TO CONDEMN THE CONNECTION.
A younger reporter asked him about it:


Young Ledeen then asked the toughest question to the muckraking (or muckslinging) filmmaker, depending on your POV. To wit, he asked the budding mogul what he thought of Hezbollah being involved in the distribution of Fahrenheit 911. "Shockingly," Moore shined him on with some comment about some people believing there were Martians on Earth (or the equivalent). But Ledeen came armed with a follow-up, having phoned Moore's distributor who had already affirmed the rumor. Then the "courageous documentarian" simply stonewalled and changed the subject."

According to the sources provided in the fahrenheit_fact.blogspot.com entry to support the statement, the statement is false.

First of all films are produced then distributed, not funded. The terms trace the fiduciary relationships between the investors and the filmmakers. So, it's important to distinguish who is funding the production, what part of the production is being funded by what producers, and also do a likewise trace of the distribution financing.

Disney produced this film. According to a posting by the DRUDGE REPORT on May 11, 2003,

"The WALT DISNEY CO. is set to spend millions financing a new explosive Bush-bashing documentary from Michael Moore [BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE] -- a documentary which claims bin Laden was greatly enriched by the Bush family!

DISNEY, via subsidiary MIRAMAX, has agreed to cover the production costs, said to be in the millions, of Moore's planned FAHRENHEIT 911."

There are further stories in the Hollywood Reporter from this time that verify the claim. Disney money financed the production of Fahrenheit 9/11. At no point during the production did terrorists fund Fahrenheit 9/11. At this point, some could agree that the matter is closed, and the claim is false.

If, however, distribution financing is considered, "funding," then a further examination must be considered. In the original deal, Buena Vista Pictures were contracted to distribute the film.

In 2004, Miramax reacquired the distribution rights to the film after Fahrenheit 9/11 won the Palme d'Or at the 2004 Cannes film festival. Harvey Weinstien then formed a company called The Fellowship Adventure Group that partnered with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and IFC Films with full US theatrical and cable rights distribution of Fahrenheit 9/11.

Here's a story about it from Reuters, epublished on msnbc.com.

‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ finds distributor
The controversial film will hit theaters on June 25
Updated: 10:52 a.m. ET June 02, 2004
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5115126/

So, there is no funding by terrorists for US theatrical and cable rights distribution (unless one of the three companies in partnership is a terrorist organization or has accepted funds from a terrorist organization).

However, there is also overseas distribution and rights to consider. This is where the claim about terrorists comes to bare. The claims states that "Hezbollah has offered to help distribute the film ..." But the first story sourced in the blogpost doesn't indicate funding by terrorists or even a distribution deal. The linked article to The Guardian that has been offered for support states that a group with ties to Hezbollah has offered funds for distribution to Front Row Entertainment (UAE). Samantha Ellis of the GuardianUk wrote on Thursday June 17, 2004, that,

"According to Screen International, the UAE-based distributor Front Row Entertainment has been contacted by organisations related to the Hezbollah in Lebanon with offers of help."

Front Row Entertainment (UAE) is a company based in the United Arab Emarites that has rights to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11 in parts of the Middle East). The evidence to support the first claim (The Guardian article) contradicts the statement that Hezbollah is offering support. The Guardian article says that a group affliated with Hezbollah is offering support.

The second article from WorldNetDaily (dated June 22, 2004) claims that Hezbollah is directly offering assistance to Front Row Entertainment (UAE). This article is linked in the statement, "... Moore has tacitly accepted." The text, "... Moore has tacitly accepted" is misleading. The implication is that since Michael Moore hasn't condemned discussions between Front Row Entertainment (UAE) and a group allegedly affiliated with Hezbollah, that he is offering support for the deal. The WorldNetDaily article states that,

"The company distributing filmmaker Michael Moore's Bush-bashing movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" says it won't reject an offer of help from Middle East terrorist organization Hezbollah."

The story in the Guardian UK and from WorldNetDaily are both secondary sources, which reference a story originally written by ScreenDaily.com on June 9, 2004. The passage that references Hezbollah from that story says,

""We’re scared most of these countries will have a problem (with censorship approval) due to the Saudi content in the film. Yet, with the Dubai Film Festival coming up, I think they’ll want to show the world they’re quite democratic and open-minded.”

In terms of marketing the film, Front Row is getting a boost from organisations related to Hezbollah which have rung up from Lebanon to ask if there is anything they can do to support the film. And although Chacra says he and his company feel strongly that Fahrenheit is not anti-American, but anti-Bush, “we can’t go against these organisations as they could strongly boycott the film in Lebanon and Syria.”

Front Row Entertainment (UAE) now owns the exclusive right to distribute--and profit--from the film in the regions they cover, which include United Arab Emirates, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

As an additional point of fact, Michael Moore does not make decisions for Front Row Entertainment (UAE), and he is neither the owner nor an employee of that company. Michael Moore's company sold the foreign distribution rights to FRE (UAE), making FRE (UAE) a customer of Michael Moore's production company and Miramax.

An Analogy. I decide that maybe, I might buy a Honda at my local dealership, does this mean that I've spent the money already? Am I funding my Honda dealership by considering making the purchase or giving money? Can the Honda dealership consider me as funding their operation since I said I'd like to buy a car even though I haven't given them any money yet? If that's true, that's amazing--remember to avoid CONSIDERING a purchase of additional items from the dealership lest they bill you for it.

Another analogy. I sell my car to a man. Nine months later, the man agrees to help a bank robber by using his vehicle as the getaway car. The bank robber and the man who bought my car steal money from the bank and flee, killing someone in the process. Now, by accepting money from the man who bought my car Nine Months Ago, am I now profiting from a bank robbery? According to the logic of your piece, not only am I being funded by bank robbers, but I'm also responsible for the murder of the person at the bank because I couldn't see into the future. I didn't know that the person I sold my car to was going to rob a bank, therefore, now that they have done something stupid and completely unforseeable, it's my fault. Interesting--we're going to have to change some laws in the States, or at least weigh in with moral authority anytime uses a car to commit a crime--all those dealerships are profitting from future crimes!

No money has changed hands between FRE (UAE) and the group affliated with Hezbollah. None of the articles sourced indicate that Hezbollah has made a payment or given money to FRE (UAE). If no money has changed hands, no funding of any kind has occured.

The last piece of evidence offered, an unverified, unsourced, unreferenced annecdote in a blogpost is irrelevant, since no terrorist funding has occured.

The evidence offered to support the claim contradicts both the title, and the substance, of the claim. Further investigation indicates that there are several omissions with the claim that contradict the initial assertion--the chief omissions being that Disney financed the production of Fahrenheit 9/11 and that rights to Middle Eastern distribution were purchased in November, 2003 by FRE (UAE), eight months prior to the consideration of a deal between a group allegedly affliated with Hezbollah and FRE (UAE). Based on this, the claim is false.

Full text and urls for all articles sourced in this blogpost will be available as comments.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

 

Methodology and a literary critique of Fahrenheit 9/11

First, a little bit about the methodology I plan to use in evaluating various claims made about Fahrenheit 9/11 by different sites on the internet. Afterwards, a critique of Fahrenheit 9/11.

Claims about Fahrenheit 9/11 will be evaluated based on the evidence at hand. The claims will then be labeled, with reasons offered to justify any conclusions. Four labels will be used to mark claims.

These labels are--

True: genuine
Irrelevant: Unrelated to the matter being considered
Misleading: deceptive by omission
False: intentionally deceptive

In the comments section of the evaluation posts, the full text and urls for sourced articles will be available. Please read the claims, the evaluation and reasoning, and above all the evidence--then draw your own conclusions.

I'll start evaluating the Fahrenheit_Facts claims in order in the coming days, and then move on to other sites.

Take it easy.
----------
The Human Costs of War: Fahrenheit 9/11
by F. Chong Rutherford

It should come as no surprise to anyone who's encountered the works of Michael Moore that Fahrenheit 9/11 is filled with his bombastic style, farcical comedy, sometimes irritating lack of civility and signature clownish publicity stunts. But in a departure from his previous works, Michael Moore also manages to tell with incredible restraint a sadly epic human story.

Moore structures the majority of Fahrenheit 9/11 in chronological order, occasionally interspersing commentary, a few comedy sketches and recent history to clarify his view of unfolding events. The film begins with the Florida election, and ends as close to the present as possible.

The introduction spends a considerable amount of time on the lack of Democratic support in the Senate for House members of the Congressional Black Caucus seeking to delay the certification of the 2000 election results (with material that seems at least partially based on research from Greg Pallast's "The Best Democracy That Money Can Buy"). Michael Moore's criticisms are not aimed solely at the Bush Administration or Republicans. It's clear he holds many members of the Democratic party responsible for the election of the President. After lingering on this point, the film launches into a disturbing credit sequence.

As the titles roll, members of the Bush administration have stage make-up applied while handlers coif hair styles, gaffers perfect stage lighting and each prepares to deliver canned speeches for waiting camera crews. The images of George W. Bush grimacing, grinning, and mugging for the TV crews are especially disquieting once they are contexualized later in the film.

From there, Moore launches into his typically provocative style, skewering President Bush's first nine months in office. As images of George W. Bush playing golf flicker, Moore cites an especially scathing statistic, saying in voice-over that, "According to the Washington Post, George Bush was on vacation 42% of the time ...." From this premise, Moore develops the idea that George W. Bush was lost in relaxation as Al Qaeda terrorists plotted to attack the United States, his most resonate initial critique. In these moments, he's most effective when he simply shows the images with minimal introductory commentary, such as a visit by Taliban envoy Sayed Rahmatullah Hashimi to Washington D.C. in March of 2001, where he met with officials of the State Department to discuss normalization of relations.

After a painful sequence showing the aftermath of the World Trade Center destruction, Moore lays down his evidence describing the many personal and professional connections between the Bush family, members of the current administration, the Bin Laden family and the house of Al Saud, including circumstantial connections between the parties to the Carlyle Group. Moore also alleges the Saudi Royal family may have had a hand in financing Arbuso and Harken Energy, two energy companies that employed a young George W. Bush. This is one of the weaker sections of the film, as Michel Moore swerves between impassioned, though skewed, pseudo-journalism to outright muckracking. As events lead to the Iraq invasion--the context for the credit sequence crystalizes as George W. Bush announces the invasion of Iraq, and the film takes a surprising and disturbing turn.

Moore makes it clear that he believes the Iraq War was orchestrated through careful maneuvering of public fear to help a variety of personal and professional allies of the Administration generate wealth and divert attention from Saudi Arabian connections to Al Qaeda. He contrasts heightened levels of airport security against minimal funding for homeland security efforts, spends time trying to recruit the children of Congress into the military, shows the efforts of soldiers in Iraq, and spends time with recruiters who offer the chance for a better life to young residents.

This populist sentiment makes for rousing entertainment, until the human cost of the war comes to bare. This is especially illustrated in the heartfelt cries of an older Iraqi civilian lamenting the destruction of her house, and in the images of US soldiers and Iraqi citizens (including Iraqi children) maimed and killed by the violence. The soldiers become more than statistics. The civilians become more than collateral damage. What especially brings the human cost of the war home to America are the images of maimed soldiers at Walter Reed Medical center.

Here, Moore is at his finest as a filmmaker. With refreshing restraint, the film relates the story of Lila Lipscomb, a mother who believed that the military could offer her children a better way of life. Her daughter had served in Desert Storm. Her son, Sgt. Michael Pedersen, would now serve in Iraq. She expresses the anger she felt whenever she saw anti-war protesters, saying the demonstrations, "felt like a slap in the face."

In heartbreaking detail, we see the price paid by the family of Lila Lipscomb for American freedom, echoing the emotions of the older Iraqi woman from earlier in the film. There are no one-liners to ease this mother's suffering, and Michael Moore wisely doesn't offer any.

Finally, Moore articulates his pride in the soldiers, recognizing the sacrifices young men and women make to help secure the freedoms so many of us take for granted. He charges the audience to consider and understand our duty as citizens by asking us to remember the human price of war.

Fahrenheit 9/11 is a scathing critique of American foreign policy, filled with a surprising number of revelations about the Bush administration. But ultimately, Fahrenheit 9/11 is a human drama that connects the audience intimately to the human price of war. Whether you agree with his politics, one thing is very clear.

Every American who loves our troops should see this film.

Friday, June 25, 2004

 

Hey, what happened to the description for the site?

I went to check really quick if fahrenheit_fact.blogger.com had corrected the factually inaccuracies in their #1 claim. The claim has sort of been corrected--although for some reason the comments have all disappeared.

And so has the description for this site, which is a bummer. There's a 500 word limit to the length of a description here--I think the old one violated that. I didn't save it, though, so I have to write a new description. My goal was to leave all the content here ummolested and unedited. Unfortunately, technically speaking, there's now been an edit of previous content because of the change in introduction, but the deletion wasn't my doing. Judge for yourself about the veracity of that claim.

Anyway, here's the new introduction--

"Fahrenheit 9/11 Fact Check will check the accuracy of claims made by, and about, the film Fahrenheit 9/11. I will not edit any of the entries here, and instead offer corrections in the comments sections. This introduction is stale, so here's a joke. Two cannibals are eating a clown, one of the cannibals turns to the other and asks, "Does this taste funny to you?"

I didn't say it was a good joke. Anywho, it’s like the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan said, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts."

I'm stoked to see the movie tonight--but that's mostly because I'm going with a friend I haven't seen in a while. Literally. I think she turned invisible. I turn invisible sometimes without a good daily dose of fibre. Actually, that last bit was kind of gross, so ignore that.


Okay, more Moore on the moors this weekend sometime! More Moore moors?

Thursday, June 24, 2004

 

Fahrenheit Fact no. 1: Fahrenheit 9/11 is Funded by Terrorists: FALSE!

Okay, while I wait for my ride, one more really quick. Seriously, I'm not trying to bust anyone's chops--but for a blog that claims to be factual, there's an awful lot of Michael-Moore-esque ommission on the first ten posts--and some of them aren't even related to the film!

Like this one--

"Fahrenheit Fact no. 1: Fahrenheit 9/11 is Funded by Terrorists

Did you know that "Fahrenheit 9/11" is in part funded by terrorists? That's right. In the mideast, Hezbollah has offered to help distribute the film in the mideast and Moore has accepted."

First of all, what does funded mean? Films are produced then distributed, not funded. It sounds like a semantic difference, but it's more than that--the words trace the fiduciary relationships between the investors and the filmmakers. So, it's important to distinguish who is funding the production, what part of the production is being funded by what producers, and also do a likewise trace of the distribution financing.

Disney produced this film. Disney money paid to have it made. In the year between the Floridian story and the final decision by Disney not to produce the film--Disney continued to pay Michael Moore for his work on the production. If I'm on wrong on this point, someone will correct me I'm sure. Miramax reacquired the rights to the film by paying back all the production funds to Disney--plus a premium--after F9/11 won at Cannes. Harvey Weinstien then formed a company called The Fellowship Adventure Group that partnered with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and IFC Films for US theatrical and cable distribution rights--part of which included (I believe, someone correct me here if I'm wrong) purchasing distribution rights from Buena Vista Pictures (the originally contracted distributor).

Here's a story about it from Reuters, epublished on msnbc.com.

‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ finds distributor
The controversial film will hit theaters on June 25
Updated: 10:52 a.m. ET June 02, 2004

http://msnbc.msn.com/id/5115126/

The Reuters story left out the part about the Fellowship Adventure Group. Too bad, it's a cool name for a distribution company. They also left out Buena Vista, probably figuring that their readership didn't care about this detail--since Buena Vista is basically Disney anyway. Disney owns Buena Vista after all. If I'm wrong on this point, again, I'm sure someone will correct me.

Okay, so, we're following the money now, which is the important part. It's why those things that look like mere semantics are important. Now--at what point did Terrorists fund Michael Moore's film? Is Diseny a terrorist organization? Is Miramax? Is Buena Vista Pictures harboring suicide bombers? Are there weapons of mass destruction at IFC Films? Is Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. an offshore haven for evil-doers?

At the moment, we're only looking at the production phase and the US Distribution. The Fellowship Adventure Group/Lions Gate Entertainment Corp./IFC Films parternship was formed exclusively for US theatrical and cable rights distribution of Farhenheit 9/11. However, there is also overseas distribution and rights to consider.

AHA! This is where there terrorists come in--a terrorist group must be funding some of the overseas distribution! That's what the provocative story from the first link in the guardian.uk.co indicates, at least in the title.

But wait. The first story doesn't indicate funding by terrorists or even a distribution deal. All it says is that the overseas distribution company for the United Arab Emerates, was contacted by organizations related to the Hezbollah.

Here's a quote. Read the whole article yourself.

"According to Screen International, the UAE-based distributor Front Row Entertainment has been contacted by organisations related to the Hezbollah in Lebanon with offers of help."

There's still no money changing hands yet. This is also from a secondary source--the story is quoting a story from Screen International. And at least on June 17th, no money had changed hands in terms of a deal. So, at least as of June 17th, there was no terrorist funding for any phase of the production of Farenheit 9/11. There was offer for a deal for distribution from a group allegeded to have ties to Hezbollah for the United Arab Emerites. Whew, that's a lot of mental gymnastics--but we're all at least still following the money--which hasn't changed hands yet.

So, who is this deal between? The story says the deal is between the group alleged to have ties to Hezbollah and Front Row Entertainment. Let's repeat that for clarity's sake--New Jersey based Front Row Entertainment is the company alleged to be making the deal with the group alleged to have ties to Hezbollah. What is the relationship between Front Row Entertainment and Miramax? Is Front Row Entertainment owned by Miramax? Have they already paid Miramax? Has any money changed hands yet? Did Front Row Entertainment already pay Miramax? Is Miramax recieving a portion of reciepts from the United Arab Emerites? Has the group alleged to have ties to Hezbollah already paid Front Row Entertainment? At least on June 17th they hadn't paid.

Five days later, WorldNetDaily reports the same information that The Guardian reported, but in this way--and with a shocking revalation! Hollywood is working with terrorists!

HOLLYWOOD VS. AMERICA
Moore film distributor OK with terror support
Exec says firm doesn't want to risk boycott of 'Fahrenheit 9/11' in Mideast
Posted: June 22, 2004
1:00 a.m. Eastern

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39079

"As WorldNetDaily reported, terrorists affiliated with the Iran-backed network last week offered to help promote the film in the United Arab Emirates."

WHOA! Suddenly, a group affliated with Hezbollah are now definitely terrorists, at least according to WorldNetDaily. They left out the part about the original source of the information (Screen International) at least in this story. Who knows what Screen International said ... they're an industry publication and subscription based. If someone has actually read the article from the trade, or has an account with them, I'd like to know what the original source had to say on about the whole thing. Maybe Screen Daily is the publication in question? I've never heard of it ... is it another publication? I'm sure someone can find out. Did the story originally appear in both Screen International and Screen Daily--or is one of the sources wrong? Who knows?

So, by June 22, 2004, money still hasn't changed hands yet. The story also mentions that the deal isn't between Miramax, Michael Moore, or the US Distributors and the group alleged to have ties to Hezbollah. The deal that has allegedly closed is between Front Row Entertainment and the group alleged to have ties to Hezbollah. Front Row Entertainment is, I believe, a New Jersey based company--and as far as I know, it's definitely not owned by Miramax or Disney. In fact, Michael Moore isn't even involved at this point. Moore never accepted any deal. The deal was accepted, at least in the US, by someone from Front Row Entertainment--that pesky company that Michael Moore neither owns, controls, or operates. Strangely, too, New Jersey has suddenly become Hollywood. Maybe Hollywood covers the entire film industry in the US. I'm sure people at IFC would take exception to that notion.

So, there's a deal in place between a company that isn't owned by Miramax, Michael Moore or the US distribution group. But have the checks cleared? Has any money changed hands as of June 24, 2004? The WorldNetDaily story doesn't indicate that money has changed hands ... just that a deal has been struck. The post says that Michael Moore struck the deal--but that's not accurate. Even the story sourced as proof acknowledges this in the opening paragraph.

"The company distributing filmmaker Michael Moore's Bush-bashing movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" says it won't reject an offer of help from Middle East terrorist organization Hezbollah."

Alright, so here we are. No money has changed hands between the group with alleged ties to Hezbollah and Front Row Entertainment, which is not owned by Miramax, Michael Moore or the US Distribution group.

So, explain to me then--how is the statement that Farhenheit 9/11 is funded by terrorists a fact, given the sources you've cited, and the trail of money? You tell me--at what point did terrorists fund Farhenheit 9/11? And how is it a fact that Moore accepted the deal, when the story you quote as evidence indicates that another party--Front Row Entertainment--actually accepted the deal?

Based on all of this, how can anyone conclude that the last post--the number one claim on the site--is factual? The last post is the least factual of all the ones on the blog so far--at least in the version I quoted at the top of this post.
 

Fahrenheit Fact no. 6: Moore Distorts Bush "Vaction Days"

Okay, a little more debunking--or at least some food for thought--that doesn't require seeing the movie. I can't wait to see this tomorrow. I got a date and everything!

And I finally noticed the controls on the top of the blog space. Sheesh--sorry if you have to cut and paste the urls on the previous entries.

Anyway, here's another one from the Fahrenheit Facts blog here--

"Fahrenheit Fact no. 6: Moore Distorts Bush "Vaction Days"

Moorelies.com has an article about how the "vaction days" were calculated:

It's obvious that these "vacation days" include weekends. (You can do the math: 250/x=42/100; x=595 days=1.63 years). Okay, 42% is a lot of vacation, but weekends account for 29% of our time. I'm sure that a lot of this "vacation" time is just Bush going to Camp David for the weekend. Can we really fault the President for going to Camp David on weekends? If you take out weekends, you get 42%-29%, or 13% of the time that Bush was on vacation.

Okay, this is still a lot, although 13% looks a lot better than 42%. Over a year, 13% is about 6.76 weeks of the year--which is still much more than most of us. But we know that Bush's vacations are generally working vacations. For example, he has hosted visits from leaders like Putin, Fox, and many others there. This hardly seems like a real vacation.

As Hitchens points out today, there are a lot of problems with Fahrenheit 9/11. It's pretty clear that Moore's "vacation time" allegation is one of them."

Take this one up with the Washington Post. They're the ones who did the calculation in the first place about the vacations. My bet is that Moore is just quoting them--again, haven't seen the movie yet. Could be wrong on this one.

Bush took a lot of days off. He took the entire month of August off in 2001--doesn't anyone remember this?

Bush Aces Physical, Begins a Month at Ranch
By Mike Allen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 3, 2003; Page A05

http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A15546-2003Aug2?language=printer

Bush flees White House - again - for a month in Texas
But his staff calls this trip a working vacation
By Scott Lindlaw
Associated Press
Saturday, August 4, 2001

http://www.caller2.com/2001/august/04/today/national/7293.html

Bush vacation puts spotlight on tiny Crawford
August 7, 2001 Posted: 9:43 PM EDT (0143 GMT)

http://www.cnn.com/2001/ALLPOLITICS/08/06/bush.crawford/

EDITORIAL
A Vacationing Bush Works Hard for His Photo-Ops
No one expects a President to ignore a good photo opportunity. But do Bush's recent choices make him look caring — or cynical?
By Jay Carney
Thursday, Aug. 16, 2001

http://affiliate.timeincmags.com/time/columnist/carney/article/0%2C9565%2C171496%2C00.html

I mean, this is true. George W. Bush has taken more time off than any other President in the history of the US. He took the entire month of August OFF and spent it in Crawford, Texas. Doesn't anyone remember this? How do people forget these things so quickly?

Anyway, as soon as I remember where I kept a copy of the original Washington Post story about the 42%, I'll post it. Meanwhile, you're left with the fact that he took a month off prior to 9/11 on a "working" vacation.
 

Unfairenheit 9/11

Well here's a snarky article from Christopher Hitchens. Seriously, I get like this too sometimes when I write. Usually when I haven't had any fibre. I'm supposed to take a tablespoon full of this stuff I like to call MAGIC COLON EXPLOSION because it makes me laugh, even if other people just stare after hearing that.

Anyway, no personal attacks. For all I know, Christopher Hitchens has a perfectly healthy colon.

Oh, just in case here--if you don't want to read the article, just skip to the very end of this entry--I'll sum up Christopher Hitchens article for you. But you should read it. How long does it take to read things? Seriously--Friends is in repeats, TV sucks, and you know your thumbs are sore from playing Grand Theft Auto:Vice City. Take the time and read the article.

Unfairenheit 9/11
The lies of Michael Moore.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Monday, June 21, 2004, at 12:26 PM PT
http://slate.msn.com/id/2102723/

Did you read the article? Seriously, go read it. Very vitrioloic--and a little Victorian sounding, y'know? Like this. I love this.

"To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote those terms to the level of respectability. To describe this film as a piece of crap would be to run the risk of a discourse that would never again rise above the excremental. To describe it as an exercise in facile crowd-pleasing would be too obvious. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a sinister exercise in moral frivolity, crudely disguised as an exercise in seriousness. It is also a spectacle of abject political cowardice masking itself as a demonstration of "dissenting" bravery."

If I'm reading this right, this is a really long way of saying, "Michael Moore's movie is poo and so is he." Aside from that, this eloquent paragraph doesn't say much at all.

Okay, later, Hitchens writes this--seriously, as an aside, did you read the article? *sigh* I bet you didn't. I'll put up a whole quote for you.

"Fahrenheit 9/11 makes the following points about Bin Laden and about Afghanistan, and makes them in this order:

1) The Bin Laden family (if not exactly Osama himself) had a close if convoluted business relationship with the Bush family, through the Carlyle Group.

2) Saudi capital in general is a very large element of foreign investment in the United States.

3) The Unocal company in Texas had been willing to discuss a gas pipeline across Afghanistan with the Taliban, as had other vested interests.

4) The Bush administration sent far too few ground troops to Afghanistan and thus allowed far too many Taliban and al-Qaida members to escape.

5) The Afghan government, in supporting the coalition in Iraq, was purely risible in that its non-army was purely American.

6) The American lives lost in Afghanistan have been wasted. (This I divine from the fact that this supposedly "antiwar" film is dedicated ruefully to all those killed there, as well as in Iraq.)"

Okay. So, these are the points that Christopher Hitchens took from the movie. He doesn't deny any of the points. And seriously--I have to confess something--I'm not exactly the sharpest awl in the woodshed. I got lost reading the next paragraph. I couldn't find the point.

A few paragraphs down, he does have a point--a big one--the one about Richard Clarke and George W. Bush.

"I banged on about this myself at the time and wrote a Nation column drawing attention to the groveling Larry King interview with the insufferable Prince Bandar, which Moore excerpts. However, recent developments have not been kind to our Mike. In the interval between Moore's triumph at Cannes and the release of the film in the United States, the 9/11 commission has found nothing to complain of in the timing or arrangement of the flights. And Richard Clarke, Bush's former chief of counterterrorism, has come forward to say that he, and he alone, took the responsibility for authorizing those Saudi departures."

Anyway, this is a really obtuse way of saying, "George W. Bush didn't authorize the flights of the Saudis out of the US--Richard Clarke did."

I'll be interested to see what the movie actually says on this point--since we only get a filtered and obtuse version in this article. It goes on like this, and eventually comes down to 1984 yet again. Everyone is quoting 1984 now. Man, I was doing this all in 2002 BEFORE it was trendy. Trendy people. Yeah, I'm talking to you in the Kangol hat, stop saying BLING BLING all the damn time.

Now, what any of that has to do with the factual accuracies (or lack therein) of Fahrenheit 9/11 is beyond me. Kind of like how I felt after reading Hitchens article.

Anyway, to sum up--Christopher Hitchens article isn't really about factual inaccuracies in Fahrenheit 9/11 nor does it claim to be. It's actually a really long and obtuse way of saying, "I don't like Michael Moore, I was right about the Iraq War, you people suck, I know more about George Orwell than you, thank you for visiting Slate and helping us make some microdollars with internet advertising today."


 

Text from Fahrenheit Fact Blog

Text from Fahrenheit Fact Blog as of June 24, 2004
http://fahrenheit_fact.blogspot.com/

Whoa, looks the corrections have already started. Fact no. 10 originally said, "Fahrenheit Fact no. 10: Unocal gave up pipeline project 3 years before Afghan war

In "Fahrenheit 9/11" one of the many accusations made concerns the war in Afghanistan. Moore essentially implies that the reasoning for the military action was to benefit Unocal Corporation through the construction of an oil pipeline. But the company, which had planned to build the pipe in the mid-90's, gave up the project in 1998, three years before. From an AP report in 1998:

"Unocal Corp. withdrew from a consortium planning to build a pipeline across Afghanistan, saying low oil prices and turmoil in the Central Asian nation have made the project too risky."

Moore also slyly implies that Hamid Karzi, the president of Afghanistan (who was also an advisor to Unocal) is part of the scheme; Fahrenheit Fact no. 10b: Karzi has been president since 2002, and there is no pipeline, nor is a pipeline being constructed by Unocal in Afghanistan."

Okay--I haven't seen Farhrenheit 9/11 yet. So, I can't check this claim--is this what Moore said? I don't know--haven't seen the movie yet. Still, once it looked like a stable government was going in and US airstrikes were going to end, thoughts about a pipeline in Afghanistan resurfaced.

Afghan role in new power game
November 26, 2001 Posted: 2:47 PM EST (1947 GMT)
http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/europe/11/26/afghan.oil/

Still, it seems kind of crazy. The Afghan war for a pipeline? Here's an article from spinsanity.org that talks about a well-known (er, well-known to news junkies at least) Afghanistan-Pipeline conspiracy theory and debunks it.

Return of Rall: Oil conspiracy redux
By Bryan Keefer(bryan@spinsanity.org)
http://www.spinsanity.org/columns/20020412.html

Still, it turns out that a month after this was written--the pipeline was back on the table.

Afghanistan plans gas pipeline
Monday, 13 May, 2002, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/1984459.stm

And then by the end of 2002, a new deal had been struck.

Central Asia pipeline deal signed
Friday, 27 December, 2002, 11:23 GMT
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/2608713.stm

I'm a little lost at the logic of the first fact on this one anyway. The reason why Unocal pulled out of the deal was due to political and military instability in Afghanistan--after the US under Clinton said they would bomb the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Unocal would benefit if stability returned--they could go back to their initial deal. Things looked good enough in 2002 for Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to do a deal in 2002.

But here we are in 2004 and no pipeline. The reason? Political and military instability. After all, there's still a lot of shooting in Afghanistan (well, all over the world really)--it's just that Iraq and beheadings get all the news.

Afghanistan Fact Sheet
The information contained in this report is the best available as of June 2004 and can change.
http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/cabs/afghan.html

Well, American beheadings. Did you know that--at least according to the Associated Press--some US trained Afghani army guys just cut the head off of a Taliban fighter in retaliatory vengence? It's a form of execution in Saudi Arabia also. Doesn't make it right. Just a fact, that's all.

Afghanistan militia chief says soldiers beheaded 4
By Amir Shah
The Associated Press
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2001963853_afghan24.html

I wonder if Americans are even paying much attention to Afghanistan? The Christian Science Monitor certainly is.

Losing humanitarian perspective in Afghanistan
By Edward Girardet
http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0624/p09s02-coop.html



Url's aren't permanent--and neither is internet content. We're all working for Minitru, redacting and correcting ourselves. It doesn't bother me much when bloggers do it--I mean, okay, so some kid in Ohio gets the name of her friend's cat wrong and decides to fix it. Anyway, that's okay. Everyone makes mistakes--or at least tries to present only enough information to make whatever point they're trying to make.

What's dangerous is when the government does it. Y'know, at least to my knowledge--and someone please correct me if I'm wrong--the government doesn't index old pages. They just correct the current pages and let the information conform to whatever current directive is classified as the truth. So, watch out--if you see that Jones, Aaronson, and Rutherford, suddenly disappear from the list of Inner Party members, you know that Winston Smith is about two months away from blowing his brains out at the Chesnut Tree.

More on that another day. I've got to find more of these, er, Moore sites. On to the copy and pasted text!

----------
Text from Fahrenheit Fact Blog as of June 24, 2004

http://fahrenheit_fact.blogspot.com/

Thursday, June 24, 2004
Fahrenheit Fact no. 10: Unocal gave up pipeline project 3 years before Afghan war

In "Fahrenheit 9/11" one of the many accusations made concerns the war in Afghanistan. Moore essentially implies that the reasoning for the military action was to benefit Unocal Corporation through the construction of an oil pipeline. But the company, which had planned to build the pipe in the mid-90's, gave up the project in 1998, three years before. From an AP report in 1998:

"Unocal Corp. withdrew from a consortium planning to build a pipeline across Afghanistan, saying low oil prices and turmoil in the Central Asian nation have made the project too risky."

UPDATE: As of Thursday, June 24, we are attempting to confirm whether or not Unocal is part of the pipeline coaltion, however REPORTS ON THIS SITE THAT NO PIPELINE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION WERE INCORRECT. A PIPELINE COALITION WAS FORMED BETWEEN PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN, AND TURKEY, AS AN ALERT READER POINTED OUT. CURTIS, AUTHER OF A_SDF WOULD LIKE TO FORMALLY APOLOGIZE TO THE READERS OF FAHRENHEIT FACT AND TO MR. MOORE FOR THIS ERROR, HOWEVER, UNOCAL IS NOT PART OF THE CURRENT PROJECT. From the AP:

"Turkmenistan will conduct a survey of its vast natural gas reserves as part of preparations for a planned trans-Afghan pipeline that has drawn strong international support since the fall of the Taliban, Turkmen officials said.

President Saparmurat Niyazov signed a decree Thursday ordering the Oil and Gas Ministry to determine actual reserves in southeastern Turkmenistan, where the Dauletabad-Donmez field is set to be the starting point for the US$3.5 billion pipeline through Afghanistan to Pakistan. A US$1.1 million contract is to be signed with American and British firms for the survey.

The move came after a request from the Asian Development Bank, which has strongly backed the pipeline project and conducted a feasibility study of the project.

The pipeline was originally contemplated in the 1990s with the participation of U.S. energy giant Unocal Corp., but those plans were abandoned when the United States fired cruise missiles into Afghanistan in 1998 in pursuit of Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, blamed for two U.S. embassy bombings that year in east Africa.

Emphasis mine.

posted by curtis @ 10:10 AM 3 comments
Fahrenheit Fact no. 9: The 9/11 Commission Applauds Bush for the Infamous "7 minutes"

Michael Moore points out that during the attacks on 9/11, President Bush remained in the Florida classroom in which he was situated for five to seven minutes after he had learned of the attacks, which is true, and independently verifiable. Moore sneeringly mentions that Bush was reading to the students from a book called My Pet Goat and uses scorn and mocking to imply that it was stupidity and incompetence that kept the President in the classroom.

The 9/11 Commission disagrees:

If the 9/11 commission isn't worried about Bush's reaction, why should we be worried?

"Bush made the right decision in remaining calm, in not rushing out of the classroom," said Lee Hamilton, vice chairman of the Sept. 11 commission and a former Democratic congressman from Indiana

posted by curtis @ 7:32 AM 0 comments
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
Fahrenheit Fact no. 8: Disney told Moore over a year ago that they would not distribute

Disney mouthpieces also said Miramax was informed nearly a year ago that the company wouldn't distribute Fahrenheit 9/11. Miramax apparently hoped Disney would change its corporate mind. Moore apparently was convinced that would happen, or else Miramax would use another distribution outlet for Fahrenheit 9/11 to reach theaters, which is what it did with the controversial Dogma in 1999. That film, with its satire of Roman Catholicism, also was disavowed by Disney.

From The Floridian

posted by curtis @ 8:18 PM 0 comments
Fahrenheit Fact no. 7: Moore is preparing to sue critics of his film

From the New York Times (reg required):

Mr. Moore is readying for a conservative counterattack, saying he has created a political-style "war room" to offer an instant response to any assault on the film's credibility. He has retained Chris Lehane, a Democratic Party strategist known as a master of the black art of "oppo," or opposition research, used to discredit detractors. He also hired outside fact-checkers, led by a former general counsel of The New Yorker and a veteran member of that magazine's legendary fact-checking team, to vet the film. And he is threatening to go one step further, saying he has consulted with lawyers who can bring defamation suits against anyone who maligns the film or damages his reputation.



Emphasis mine.

posted by curtis @ 10:38 AM 0 comments
Fahrenheit Fact no. 6: Moore Distorts Bush "Vaction Days"

Moorelies.com has an article about how the "vaction days" were calculated:

It's obvious that these "vacation days" include weekends. (You can do the math: 250/x=42/100; x=595 days=1.63 years). Okay, 42% is a lot of vacation, but weekends account for 29% of our time. I'm sure that a lot of this "vacation" time is just Bush going to Camp David for the weekend. Can we really fault the President for going to Camp David on weekends? If you take out weekends, you get 42%-29%, or 13% of the time that Bush was on vacation.

Okay, this is still a lot, although 13% looks a lot better than 42%. Over a year, 13% is about 6.76 weeks of the year--which is still much more than most of us. But we know that Bush's vacations are generally working vacations. For example, he has hosted visits from leaders like Putin, Fox, and many others there. This hardly seems like a real vacation.

As Hitchens points out today, there are a lot of problems with Fahrenheit 9/11. It's pretty clear that Moore's "vacation time" allegation is one of them.

posted by curtis @ 10:00 AM 0 comments
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Fahrenheit Fact no. 5: Micheal Moore had abuse footage months beforehand; did not notify DOD

Micheal Moore had footage of Iraqi prisoner abuse (not at Abu Ghraib) months before the scandal broke and did not notify the Department of Defense. Moore was interviewed by Matt Lauer about the footage:

LAUER: There are some images in--in your movie of an American soldier taunting and, I guess, sexually humiliating a detainee. Tell me how you got the footage and when you got the footage.

Mr. MOORE: We shot on December 12th outside of Basra by a freelance journalist. This is out in the field, now, this is not in the prison.

LAUER: Right. So you had your hands on this before the images from Abu Ghraib were made public.

Mr. MOORE: That's correct.

LAUER: There's a decision to make there on your part?

Mr. MOORE: Well, I know, it was a really--it was a tough decision. And we're putting the film together, and--and we're trying to decide what should we do here.

LAUER: But a critic could say, 'Hey, send it to the right person a couple of months before these other photos go out and maybe'...

Mr. MOORE: Who s the right person?

LAUER: Send it to the Department of Defense.

Mr. MOORE: Well...

LAUER: Send it to someone and say, 'Look, I've got this. You guys better know about this.'

Problem I see is, you've got a movie...

Mr. MOORE: I'm at a point where I don't trust, though, the mainstream media. I'm like most Americans at this point.

1




[1] Lexis Nexis Search: "Micheal Moore";SHOW: Dateline NBC (8:00 PM ET) - NBC, June 18, 2004 Friday

posted by curtis @ 1:44 PM 0 comments
Fahrenheit Fact no. 4: Three Members of the 2004 Cannes Jury have ties to Miramax

Three members of the 2004 Cannes Jury- including the chair, Quentin Tarantino- have ties to Mirimax, the distributor of "Fahrenheit 9/11".

posted by curtis @ 1:07 PM 6 comments
Fahrenheit Fact no. 3: Michael Moore has called people like Nicholas Berg "War Profiteers"

That's right- Nick Berg- the civillian contractor- has been characterized by Moore as a member of a group of "War Profiteers".

[UPDATE: An alert reader noted that it is a bit of leap to the word "Mercenary", however we here at Fahrenheit Fact believe that the reference "war profiteer" is entirely accurate.

Timeline of Nick Berg/Moore comments:

April 9: Nick Berg tells family he is heading home.
April 10: Nick Berg tells US Consular office he will leave for Kuwait by himself.
April 12-14: Nick Berg Missing- first reports begin to filter in
April 14: Moore makes "war profiteers" reference
Late April-Early May: Major news networks have all covered the story multiple times; Moore letter remains posted and unretracted
May 8: Nick Berg beheaded

---

It is clear that Moore was refering to "contractors" (Moore's words) such as Berg and even after his beheading, Moore did not retract the reference- it remains on his website to this day. I think it is entirely plausible, given Moore's statement, to include Berg within the lable "war profiteers".]

posted by curtis @ 12:59 PM 2 comments
Fahrenheit Fact no. 2: George W. Bush did not sign the order for Saudis to leave the US on 9/11

As it turns out, the flights were approved by Richard Clarke- former terrorism official and author of the less than complimentary "Against all Enemies". The requests never "went any higher" than Clarke.

posted by curtis @ 12:50 PM 0 comments
Fahrenheit Fact no. 1: Fahrenheit 9/11 is Funded by Terrorists

Did you know that "Fahrenheit 9/11" is in part funded by terrorists? That's right. In the mideast, Hezbollah has offered to help distribute the film in the mideast and Moore has accepted.

posted by curtis @ 12:06 PM 0 comments
Fahrenheit Fact: The Facts of "Fahrenheit 9/11"

Welcome to Fahrenheit Fact, a joint presentation of a_sdf and Recovering Cynic. Here we will try to keep it simple: the facts. Our individual blogs are for our opinions: here we will try our best to keep it at the facts. A few notes on the site:

The Archives will soon be up with previous posts

"What the critics are saying" will feature quotes from reviews of "Fahrenheit 911"

Linkage will have links to where we get our facts

Presenters will have the bios of curtis and grant, the authors of a_sdf and Recovering Cynic and creators of Fahrenheit Fact.

Stay tuned...

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