Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Lies: The Continuing Demonization of Michael Moore

Normally rational, if not agreeable (lately, at least) rightie John Cole's got his panties in a bunch and his readers all fired up about the latest "lies" from that big, fat, lying anti-American scumbag Michael Moore*. Those on the right are always belowing about how Moore is a certified wacko and "Fahrenheit 9/11" is full of lies. In fact, Moore is such a liar, he couldn't even help lying about the film's success way back when...

Apparently the lies in Fahrenheit 9/11 were not enough, and Michael Moore had to tell lies ABOUT the movie's popularity:

As publicity for Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore himself could not have written better stories. And he did seem to write some of them. “It sold out in Fayetteville, North Carolina, home of Fort Bragg,” he told the group at the MoveOn town meeting. “It sold out in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It got a standing ovation in Greensboro, North Carolina.” In a matter of hours, those quotes found their way into news reports, feeding the impression that Fahrenheit 9/11 was exciting audiences everywhere... that the movie was a phenomenon sweeping the country.

But was that really true? Certainly the picture had a spectacular opening weekend for a documentary. But Moore always claimed a special status for the movie, that it was much more than a documentary. (He withdrew it from Academy Award consideration in the documentary category, opting instead to position it unsuccessfully, as it turned out — for a Best Picture nomination.)
[...York fails to note that this was done so that Moore could release the film on video in time for the election, not for the award...] And as a film phenomenon, Fahrenheit 9/11’s opening was not nearly as spectacular as Moore claimed.

To make a comparison: Which film had a better opening weekend, Fahrenheit 9/11 or Barbershop 2: Back in Business? The correct answer is Barbershop.
[...York gleefully lists several more films...] In the end, Fahrenheit 9/11 had the 32nd-best opening weekend of 2004, taking in $23,920,637 in its first days.

Cole's source is an excerpt from Byron York's The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. York's "evidence" is such crap I cannot believe that an idiot like me can rip it apart and debunk it so easily. First of all, the film had the 32nd best opening weekend out of what (I presume) are 52 weekends, and hundreds of films released on those weekends. Not too shabby. For a fucking documentary that was probably shown on one-tenth the screens of Spider-Man 2. On this alone, York has to be a jackass to advance his argument, but he's got a ace up his sleeve...see, Moore bragged that even red-staters were flocking to the film, and York's got the goods on that angle...
Overall, Fahrenheit 9/11 did extremely well in North America’s top eight markets, according to the numbers compiled by Nielsen EDI. The film actually underperformed slightly in the largest market, Los Angeles...but it overperformed in the next seven largest markets. In New York it overperformed by nearly 43 percent; Fahrenheit 9/11 took in 11.12 percent of its total box office in that city alone...[blah, blah, blah]

That’s the upside of the story. The downside revealed by the Nielsen EDI numbers is that Fahrenheit 9/11, far from being the runaway nationwide hit that Moore claimed, underperformed in dozens of markets throughout red states...Dallas/Fort Worth, the ninth-largest movie market, accounts for 2.07 percent of North American box office but made up just 1.21 percent of Fahrenheit 9/11 box office, for an underperformance of nearly 42 percent... In Houston, ranked twelfth for movies, it underperformed by 38 percent...

That's your evidence of Moore's lies and the vast left-wing conspiracy? It's complete bullshit. Looking after-the-fact at the total recepts for a movie a year later, hyperanalyzing the breakdowns, and then declaring that it "underperformed" in certain areas? And based on this ridiculous extrapolation, that makes Moore a liar?

The film may very well have done all the things Moore claims (sell-out, ovations, etc) and York offers no evidence to the contrary. Even if the film did "underperform" over the long run (according to the averages for normal feature films, BTW), this is not a measure of opening weekend, which is what Moore was talking about. And the dramatic "overperformance" in the top markets would drag the other numbers down over the film's run. In other words, just because people in NYC flocked to the film and boosted the numbers, it doesn't mean less people saw it in Dallas, it just means less of a percentage did.

Oh, speaking of Moore's "lies" and could one of you asshats on the right point me to an accurate list of the film's "lies", I keep hearing about them, but once again, none of you guys (York, Cole and his readers) are giving any examples...

* I'll concede, Moore is fat, could use a shave, and could pick a better tux, but he's no scumbag, liar (until someone proves to me otherwise), nor does he hate America.

[UPDATE] Over in Cole's comment thread, someone directed me to this site for a catalog of the film's "lies." It's pretty tedious reading and in an awkward format. I will have to follow up later after I have some time to check it out.

On a final note, do they have nothing better to rant about after all this time?

No comments: