America Backwards: Censoring Michael Moore
By Scott C. Smith
the group Move America Forward has its way, come June 25th,
you will not be able to see Michael Moore's new film, Fahrenheit
Why? Well, the main reason seems to be… we do not like what
Michael Moore has to say about America. And, being freedom-loving
Americans, we want to pressure movie theater chains not to
screen the film.
Another question that comes to mind is, what the hell is
Move America Forward? I know, I hadn't heard of them, either,
until recently. As I looked over their web site, the first
thought that popped into my mind was: right-wing fascist nut
cases. But that's not fair. I'm not a psychologist or psychiatrist,
so I'm not qualified to make judgments on the mental health
of Move America Forward's board of directors and staff.
Apparently, Move America Forward was created by the public
relations firm Russo, Marsh and Rogers a month ago. The group's
web site says they are non-partisan, but a look through the
names of the board of directors shows a group lacking anyone
who is a Democrat or liberal. Among the members of the board
are: Chairman Howard Kaloogian, Republican and former member
of the California assembly; Conservative radio talk-show host
Melanie Morgan, vice-chairman; and Executive Director Siobhan
Guiney, described as "a legislative advocate fighting
for the people against liberal corruption." That sounds
non-partisan. I'm guessing Move America Forward's definition
of non-partisan is something along the lines of "all
of us here are conservatives."
Melanie Morgan appeared on the June 16 Crossfire to argue
her group's case against Michael Moore's film. Which, by the
way, she has not seen. There's nothing like a good old-fashioned
boycott based on not knowing anything about the source material.
Questioned by Crossfire co-host James Carville on not seeing
the film, Morgan explained, "…I haven't seen the film
yet. And the reason I haven't seen it yet is because the majority
of America has not seen the movie, and the reason why the
majority of America hasn't seen the movie is because it's
only been screened for a handful of Hollywood liberals and
elite media. But I have been able to discern from the footage
and from the information that is available by transcript on
the Internet what the true intentions of Michael Moore are."
In addition to being conservative, Morgan is also, apparently,
Move America Forward is employing an e-mail campaign to
get people to contact the executives at movie chains and urge
them not to show the movie. How come conservative groups are
so quick to silence voices that speak out against the government?
Shouldn't the free market decide the success or failure of
Moore's film? Frankly, I do not need "non-partisan"
conservatives deciding for me whether or not to see the film.
And what's the compelling reason for the movie theaters
not to show the movie? Melanie Morgan explained to James Carville:
"What we are doing is trying to make sure that there
is an alternative voice to Michael Moore. He has received
millions of dollars and free publicity over the last free
weeks about this movie, on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, you name it,
he's been everywhere…But not one single ordinary American
has been able to stand up and say, 'Hey, we don't appreciate
that crap that is being aimed at our troops because we support
our troops, we love our troops, they're friends, families,
brothers and sisters, and we're going to be there for them.'"
A pretty amazing analysis based on nothing, since Morgan
has not seen the film, but has read articles in newspapers
to really zero in on Michael Moore's "true" intentions.
Also, does a movie really need an "alternative voice"?
Isn't that voice going to be provided by conservative talk
radio, in conservative newspapers, and on conservative web
sites, like World Net Daily or Free Republic? Rush Limbaugh
and Sean Hannity combined have millions of listeners. Surely
they will offer up that all-important alternative Morgan is
complaining about. Also, why wouldn't "ordinary"
Americans be able to say they don't like a movie they haven't
seen, or will see? You know they're going to show up at the
movie theaters with their signs and their rage at the "Bash
America" filmmaker, Michael Moore, getting in the way
of movie theater patrons who will use the power of their own
brains to decide if Moore's message is valid.
And Mike, well, I'll bet he's having a good chuckle over
all of this attention, especially since Move America Forward's
efforts will result in increased ticket sales. There's nothing
like a good, pointless boycott of a film you've never seen
to get people into movie theaters to find out what the fuss
is all about.
I know I'll be there, joining up with my fellow "Blame
America First" liberals, while Michael Moore laughs all
the way to the bank. Well, Move America Forward, there's always
lots of books to boycott at the local public library if this
one doesn't work out.
Scott C. Smith is a writer from Beaverton, Oregon. His
column has appeared weekly at the Democratic Underground and
other progressive web sites. In addition to his column, Scott
writes for his web site, What's In Scott's Head, at www.scottcsmith.net.