[Marxism] Conservatives Boil Over 'Fahrenheit'

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Jun 30 00:40:00 MDT 2004

(There's been an undercurrent of whining
against Micheal Moore's wonderful new film
[which I haven't been able to see as yet]
but the proof of its success is the way it
has the right wing shitting a brick. Top
Democrats are helping the film and running
with it, even though Michael Moore's own
political sensibility is well to the left
of John Kerry. The truth is that Michael
Moore reaches out to the broad mass public
that the rest of the political left hasn't
been able to find a way to speak to and so
I say: Viva Michael Moore!))

Conservatives Boil Over 'Fahrenheit'
June 30, 2004 

'Fahrenheit 9/11' Is Raising
Conservatives' Temperature

June 30, 2004; Page B1

Conservative anger over "Fahrenheit 9/11," the anti-Bush
movie by filmmaker Michael Moore, is reaching a fever pitch
-- but figuring out how to prevent the movie from becoming
an even wider cultural phenomenon is dividing the political

Some activists want to confront the movie's controversial
assertions or even stop theaters from showing it; others,
including the White House, are keeping a low profile to
avoid hyping the film and thus broadening its potential
audience four months before Election Day.

The Bush administration has kept largely silent about Mr.
Moore's film, which portrays the president as out-of-touch,
accuses him of connections with the bin Laden family and
questions whether he is beholden to Saudi interests. 
A Republican National Committee spokeswoman says the
committee believes the movie won't affect voters' decisions
come November and doesn't plan to dignify it with a
response. The White House has declined to comment, saying
it doesn't "do movie reviews."

"The eagle doesn't talk to the fly," says Keith Appell, a
Republican consultant and the senior vice president of
Creative Response Concepts, a public-relations firm based
in Alexandria, Va.

Perhaps not. But some eaglets -- conservative groups
operating without sanction from the White House -- have
started a late-game campaign to remove Mr. Moore's movie
from theaters and its advertisements from television sets.
Move America Forward, a new conservative group based in
Sacramento, Calif., and formed to support U.S. troops
abroad, lobbied movie houses last week to ban the film and
urged viewers to boycott it. Citizens United, a
conservative grass-roots group based in Washington, filed a
complaint with the Federal Election Commission last week
saying the movie's promotional ads, if they continue to run
past the end of July, will violate campaign-finance laws.

Such moves may be playing right into Mr. Moore's hands --
and his pocketbook. "I want to thank all the right-wing
organizations out there who tried to stop this movie either
through harassment campaigns, going to the FEC to get our
ads removed from television, or the things said on
television," says the filmmaker. "They have only encouraged
more people to go and see it."

Democratic Rep. John Tanner, left, appears with filmmaker
Michael Moore, in 'Fahrenheit 9/11.'

Mr. Moore points to explosive opening weekend box-office
sales to show that the movie is reaching beyond its
presumed liberal audience. It brought in $23.9 million in
U.S. box-office ticket sales in a nationwide opening this
past weekend that smashed previous records for a
feature-length documentary film. Including the take from
its preview showings in New York last week, and Monday's
ticket sales, the movie raked in a total of $28.5 million.

The movie showed best in liberal strongholds such as New
York, which accounted for 12.25% of ticket sales, and Los
Angeles, with 11.25%, but it also opened well in Peoria,
Ill., the quintessential bellwether city, where theaters
were sold out.

Key to the movie's long-term success -- and its ability to
go beyond preaching to its liberal base -- will be how the
movie performs this weekend when the number of screens is
expanded to 1,700, up from 868 last weekend. States such as
Mississippi, for example, had only one location showing the
movie last weekend. Next weekend, the state will have five
or six.

Considerable media attention this week is also likely to
draw a bigger pro-Bush audience wanting to know what all
the fuss is about. Attempting to build the hype further,
the distributors are planning new television spots to run
later this week, featuring interviews of moviegoers as they
exit theaters.

Most Republican strategists maintain the movie will have
scant political effect beyond those voters already
committed to ousting Mr. Bush. Behind the scenes, though,
the Bush administration debated how to spin the Moore film
and ultimately decided to ignore it as late as last week,
according to a Republican strategist.

Mr. Appell, whose company helped promote "The Passion of
the Christ," estimated that the buzz created around that
movie by protest groups added between 20% and 30% to the
film's take. He urged conservatives to ignore Mr. Moore and
says he's proud that most have.

However, if the movie starts to resonate with a broad
section of voters, conservatives may have no choice but to
switch tactics.

Indications that Republicans are attending the film are
largely anecdotal. Steve Moore, president of the
conservative Club for Growth in Washington, says he plans
to see the movie and knows other Republicans will too.
"It's like eating Ben & Jerry's ice cream," he says. "You
want the ice cream but you don't like the political

Michael McHenry, a 31-year-old former banker and a
registered independent who leans toward the Bush camp, saw
the movie in New York with friends. He says the movie was
entertaining but he was skeptical about the cherry-picking
of events and said ultimately it won't change his vote.

"I don't think it's going to change who wins the election,"
he says. But he acknowledges the film slightly influenced
his view of President Bush for the worse. He particularly
noted a scene when President Bush is told about the second
plane hitting the Twin Towers while he is sitting in a
classroom of children. The president continues to listen to
a teacher reading a story about a goat for many minutes
until he excuses himself.

Reactions like Mr. McHenry's to the film concern some
conservatives, who argue that not explaining the
president's actions will allow doubts to percolate in the
minds of voters.

Alfred Regnery, the publisher of the conservative magazine
American Spectator, worries that the movie's message could
sway crucial independent voters. "For the most part he's
preaching to the choir, but Michael Moore can be very
persuasive," says Mr. Regnery. "I think a good many people
who don't have an opinion will go and see it and think,
'wow, this is really terrible.' "

Howard Kaloogian, who runs Move America Forward, says Mr.
Moore's film rode into the weekend on an uninterrupted
public-relations blitz, but now conservatives aim to
correct the record. That said, the group, which
participated in a previously successful effort to persuade
Viacom Inc.'s CBS to drop a television program on Ronald
Reagan, weren't able to persuade theater owners to stop
screening Mr. Moore's film.

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