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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:24 AM
Original message
Variety: Fanning 'Fahrenheit' flames / Moore film "fire" spreads...
Fanning 'Fahrenheit' flames
Moore film fires spread

By DAVID ROONEY, CLAUDE BRODESSER

With or without Disney's help, Michael Moore's new docu about the Bush administration will likely be in theaters July 2. But that won't be the end of the controversy. A day after Moore and his agents openly accused Disney CEO Michael Eisner of blocking the release of "Fahrenheit 911" in order to curry tax favors from Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, D.C. pols have jumped into the fray.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) asked the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday to hold hearings to address "a disturbing pattern of politically based corporate censorship of the news media and the entertainment industry." He cited as evidence Viacom's recent derailment of CBS miniseries "The Reagans" and the decision of Sinclair Broadcasting to drop last week's broadcast of "Nightline" on its seven ABC affiliates after host Ted Koppel announced plans to read the names of all the U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Mouse House donned its Sunday asbestos to withstand the heat. CEO Michael Eisner said that Moore's assertion that Disney blocked the pic so as not to antagonize Gov. Bush and win tax breaks for its Orlando theme park were "ridiculous."

Company spokeswoman Zenia Mucha defended the move, saying "it was not appropriate for Disney, a family entertainment company, to be the distributor of a politically charged movie in an election year."
She noted that Moore had been informed of this a year ago, and that "he still has ample time and opportunity to find a distributor for his film."

<snip>

The title of Moore's latest doc offers plenty of insight into what's to come: It's a riff on the 1951 Ray Bradbury sci-fi novel "Fahrenheit 451" -- and Francois Truffaut's 1966 film of it -- about a government that outlaws independent thought. Some suggest that's exactly what Eisner is trying to do to the Moore doc and, by extension, to the Weinsteins' Miramax.

<snip>

Meanwhile Eisner insisted in an interview on CNBC Wednesday that "the film will get a distributor easily," but that assertion did not apparently sway Sen. Lautenberg. He termed Disney's move to block Miramax's distribbing "a fundamental question of free speech in our society."

Lead article in "Variety" -- more at their subscription site: www.variety.com
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ixion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:29 AM
Response to Original message
1. this is censorship, pure and simple
and it shouldn't be allowed, in an allegedly free society.
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. It's only censorship when the government does it
It's a business decision when Disney does it.

It's important to keep these things straight.

We wouldn't want a society where Disney can be forced to release a film. I wouldn't anyway.

I think the information should be out there. I hope Moore finds a distributor, but Disney should not be forced to release it.
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #5
7. but when we allow the "market" to do the censoring...
...for the government, can we still not call it for what it is? Especially when we see the pattern -- as Lautenberg pointed out -- of the "free market" favoring one particular, power-friendly POV?
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:42 AM
Response to Reply #7
10. in that sense yes
When corporate and government become so intertwined and when there is a free market in name only, that is in a fascistic society, it is censorship.

But to get at the heart of the issue for me, the problem is not that a business decides what it wishes to release (my original point), the problem you speak of is when there is only one viewpoint in control in business and when that viewpoint and the government become completely intertwined.

The solution is not to force business into releasing something they don't want to release, but to break the ties between business and government & to make sure there are not monopolies in the news and entertainment industry.
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nolabels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
24. This much touted position this so called moral right often bandied about
Edited on Thu May-06-04 12:59 PM by nolabels
Keeping government from defrocking the world by keeping it under control is a favorite line they have conveniently thrown away now they seem to be mostly getting what they like from it. This was the big lie they told many times until they were able to seize power.

Most people now should know it just a throw away to suck people in. I am sure it's one of the biggest reasons I assume that a lie is being told somewhere before I would want to see what they profess as the truth.

"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.' - Tom Clancy "

"He who allows oppression, shares the crime. -Erasmus Darwin, grandfather of Charles Darwin"

"Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, 'yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart thatwhat goes up, up, up must come down, down. down. Amen!' If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.' -Dan Barker (ex-preacher)"

http://www.miniluv.com/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=471
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Fovea Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 06:46 PM
Response to Reply #7
39. when we allow the "market" to do the censoring
Edited on Thu May-06-04 06:50 PM by realpolitik
We get a samizdat kultur.

The media has damaged itself in the last two years.
Art and Letters move underground, as they did in the sixties.
Then, as the A&R folks for 'stars' like Pat Boone discovered,
all the cool people were buying Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane.

Eventually sales tank, and the industry tries really hard to catch up, and you get stuff like 'laugh in' which talked the talk, but was clueless.

Remember, the unifying concepts behind that time were peace, love, music, and pot. There was the war, the pigs, and the suit. The war was a disaster, the pigs were breaking heads and shooting kids, the suit was everything that the Organization Man bemoaned and more.

In short, it was a time not too unlike today, save that their economy was a fair bit better.

The Samizdat will be hosted on the net, and spray painted on walls. It already is. The music is lagging behind, but I think that is part of the corporate stranglehold on trad media.
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info being Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. So it is corporate censorship. Same thing, same effect.
Edited on Thu May-06-04 11:40 AM by info being
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:44 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. I agree as to effect
It is the same effect, but it is only the same thing when business and government are the same thing.
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 07:05 PM
Response to Reply #11
41. Business and government ARE the same thing.
That's kind of the whole point.
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Vladimir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:15 PM
Response to Reply #5
18. I agree with you
If I was to buy FOX news tomorrow, I would certainly want the right to censor/discipline/fire 95% of its broadcasters and journalists for broadcasting right-wing drivel. Private companies always have an agenda - and freedom of speech does not imply a compulsion to listen.

What is wrong here, IMO, is that the government is offering the company incentives to not screen certain films. That is where it gets public, and becomes censorship.
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chenGOD Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #5
23. And a bad business decision at that...
when you look at the cost to profit ratio of Bowling For Columbine.


But this is a "business decision" (read censorship) that is influenced by what the government might do.Now of course many businesses consider government reaction in their business plans. But entertainment/media?

The publishers can censor just as easily as the government.
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stepnw1f Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #23
40. Exactly...
Reading and hoping somebody point that little known fact. Since when has contraversy been bad business. This one is a whopper of a deal. Mr. Eisner... "go eat a pretzel with Bush!"
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DrWeird Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
26. Yeah, the government's doing it. It's censorship.
Disney is not releasing out of fear that the government will charge them unreasonable taxes because they spoke negatively of the Governors brother.
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
27. it is difficult
to keep 'things straight' when its impossible to tell where corporations end and government begins.

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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:53 PM
Response to Reply #27
30. All these points above are good points
I still stand by the need to be careful about what is meant by censorship.

Of course, it is true that there is freedom of the press only for those who can afford to buy one....
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Commie Pinko Dirtbag Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #30
35. I'd believe "censorship" is a subject-neutral word
Meaning, anyone can do it, but only the one done by government is unconstitutional in the US. I'm no linguist, so feel free to disagree.
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Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. you got me to thinking
so I looked up the definition. Funny thing, I was going to agree with you until I read the definition.

All the definitions of a censor have some aspect of "one who is authorized to silence" and censorship is the act of a censor.

So there is a respect in which censorship is a governmental act and not subject neutral.

Or at least an official act.

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amber dog democrat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
2. What does this say about mass media?
If anything this may help the distribution and attendance buy the notoriety alone.
This puts the BFEE in a no-win scenereo.
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
3. kick there will be a major backlash on this one too eom
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Eric J in MN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:32 AM
Response to Original message
4. But it's ok for Disney to broadscast Mchael Savage
But it's ok for Disney to broadscast Mchael Savage who refers to gays as "Sodomites" and Third World Countries as "Turd World Countries?"
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cybildisobedience Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:07 PM
Response to Reply #4
16. and have Sean Hannity fests in the heart of DisneyWorld?
Why should only radical, far-right politics of hate be acceptable to this crowd?
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mac56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:36 AM
Response to Original message
6. Unfortunately, Disney has the perfect right to be stupid.
This is a blunder, no doubt. Disney is completely within its rights to make this blunder. In the long run, they will only hurt themselves. Mike's film will undoubtedly get a distributor - now more than ever. The buzz will just be too hard to ignore.
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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:42 AM
Response to Original message
9. Woooo Hoooooo ! Thanks Variety !
:bounce:
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:47 AM
Response to Original message
12. Disney has the right...
Disney has the right to refuse distribution of this film. And we have the right to never, ever purchase any Disney product ever again. I, for one, will be exercising that right.
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Lorien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #12
31. Instead of a simple boycott, help show Eisner
to the door along with the rest of these RW boneheads. Join Roy Disney in his fight to topple these bastards; go to www.savedisney.com . A lot of us LIBERALS here in Florida work for the mouse, and we've been opposing the Eisner gang for years-we could use a little help! Write to major media outlets and your reps about the dangers of political censorship (a greater threat to freedom than "terra'ists")and keep this issue in the media eye.
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stinkeefresh Donating Member (563 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. except that the guy they've been discussing to replace him...
is Mel Gibson.

believe it or not.
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:32 AM
Response to Reply #31
42. Eisner.
I don't like Eisner, but I don't blame him for this. I've already laid my share of blame on Disney for completely destroying copyright law in this country.
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SemperEadem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #12
34. I've always boycotted the Rat-Fink
never allowed any Disney products in my home, never bought any Disney VCR's, never spent a dime on any of their movies.

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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
13. Moore's having some fun with this I think. He's tweaking Mickey's
nose, bigtime. I think he's priming the marketing pump for the release. And this will only help whet the appetite for people to see this film. I know I'm anxious to see this released.....
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BadGimp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
14. Michael Moore is a sheer genius..
plain and simple

Either that or the Gods just choose to shine their graces on him at precisely the most opportune moment, so as to put the greatest possiblke amount of the favorable wind in his sails.

In short..he's either lucky with a capital L or he's a genius.

Whatever the case I am eternally grateful he is here with us and fighting the good fight along side us and for us.
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Voltaire99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:00 PM
Response to Original message
15. Could backfire for those rats at Disney (let's hope!) - eom
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Just Me Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:10 PM
Response to Original message
17. Moore has become the proverbial "light" at the end of the tunnel.
Amazing!!!

I LOVE YOU, MIKE!!!! :hug:

I LOVE YOU, TOO, FRANK!!! :hug:
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farmbo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
19. Disney and Sinclair: They hate us for our Freedom
In Bush's FCC-ravaged, media- concentrated brave new world, First Amendment Rights must yield to corporate bottom lines...

And corporate bottom lines must yield to right wing ideology.
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theshadow Donating Member (618 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:20 PM
Response to Original message
20. It isn't even a good business decision.
Moore's films gross far in excess of their production costs because they're made so cheaply. Disney can't hide under the banner of "we need to protect our shareholders".
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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:29 PM
Response to Original message
21. All these articles miss the key point
Disney was worried that Jeb Bush would use his government to take revenge on a private company for releasing a film not favorable to the junta. It's an abuse of power and another instance of the Bushies attacking ANY PERSON OR ENTITY that doesn't fawn on them.
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jobycom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 12:39 PM
Response to Original message
22. I wish I trusted Moore more. I hope Lautenburg follows through, though.
I know this will be unpopular, but oh well. I don't trust Moore. He's been caught often enough melodramatizing events to promote himself. I can't shake the suspicion that this is just an attempt to ride Disney's coattails by using them as an enemy. It's also his attempt to appear the victim of censorship, and he loves that martyr label. You will remember his nearly-fictitious "police raid" to shut down his book signing?

Disney's claim that they told him about this a year ago rings true. Disney is an entertainment company, and they have no requirement to support ours or anyone else's political position. If anything, their last few films have been very good to our side. Brother Bear had a clear anti-violence message, with a strong undercurrent against demonizing, even dehumanizing, others. The Lion King I & II, Mulan and Pocohantas all had non-traditional roles and subjects that favored a liberal outlook. Disney has not been our enemy in the last decade, at least not the Disney side of Disney. Just because they aren't campaigning for us doesn't make them our enemy.

Moore's "Stupid White Men" gained noteriety for being almost canned by publishing execs, and I'm not sure, from my observations of Moore, that he isn't just trying to create publicity for his movie at someone else's expense. Disney has only to produce something proving they told him this last year, and Moore's credibility disintegrates, and unfortunately, that would hurt the message of his movie.

That all sounds too defensive of Disney. Disney may be doing exactly what Moore claims, and if they are, shame on them. I'm withholding judgement until I see what Disney's got, though. Moore has slipped around the truth a couple too many times for me.

However, I hope Lautenburg pushes through his investigation, Disney or not. Once people are aware of how they were manipulated, how much the media has been taken over by one cause, and how this takeover has led to wars, dead people, and a terrible economy (that is not recovering), then maybe they will fix it. America overcame this type of press at the beginning of the 20th century, maybe it will again. If Lautenberg leads the charge, he deserves a place in the pantheon for it.

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genius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
25. We need mass demonstrations
Who here is up to it?
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shawn703 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:09 PM
Response to Original message
28. You'd think the Republicans would've learned their lesson by now
The more books or movies like "Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them" and this one are attacked by the right-wing media, the more attention they get and the more popular they'll end up being. To be honest, I wasn't even aware Michael Moore was putting out a movie this year, but I can thank the media for letting me know about it - I'll be first in line for tickets!

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calimary Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
29. CALL LAUTENBERG'S OFFICE and SAY THANK YOU!!!
You can do it TOLL FREE! Note my sig line for details... Staffer there said they'd just gotten a few calls in about this. He needs MASS quantities of positive reinforcement.

I applaud the people of New Jersey for sending him back to the Senate. This is not the first time I have called his office with an "attaboy" or to say a huge "Thank You" for his strong and noble BACKBONE!!!

Please do it!
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JackDragna Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 03:33 PM
Response to Original message
33. The two reasons why Disney's decision stinks.
- As has been pointed out on this board, Disney is a private company. As such, Disney should have the right to put out whatever media it deems appropriate. The problem, however, lies in that Disney is one of the new media giants. Disney owns television stations, magazines, movie houses, radio stations, book publishing outfits and so on. Some of these outlets, like TV and radio stations, utilitze public broadcasting facilities. Collusion between Disney and other media giants could keep certain kinds of media from reaching the public. There comes a point when too few companies own too much of the media and can seriously influence what we see and hear. If companies are going to be allowed to have the kind of wealth and power they currently have, then society must have a way of compelling said companies into releasing controversial material.

- In addition to using public airwaves, Disney is a publically traded company. Offering stock should be a guarantee of ethical business practices. Ditching something the public may want to see when beholden to the public due to the issuance of stock isn't exactly ethical.
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demdave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
37. Moore admits Disney 'ban' was a stunt
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?...


Playing people for saps seems to be his one trick pony.
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Danieljay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-06-04 06:32 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. misleading, read the transcript..he doesn't say this...
Edited on Thu May-06-04 06:40 PM by Danieljay
He claims he knew of their objections but was assured that it would still be released..from what I've read.

MOORE: What I know is, is that Michael Eisner went and had a meeting with my agent, Ari Emanuel at Endeavor, and told him at this meeting that there is no way he will allow Miramax to distribute Michael Moore's film, because, in doing so, it will anger Jeb Bush and put Disney at risk in Florida. They were up for millions of dollars of task abatements, tax incentives, whatever.

BROWN: They deny -- they don't deny the meeting, obviously, with the agent. They deny that they said that. No doubt in your mind that was said?

MOORE: No, no doubt at all.

BROWN: OK.

MOORE: Oh, absolutely not.

In fact, I got a phone call immediately after the meeting. I was told this. And we decided, along with Miramax, to do our best to try and convince Disney to do the right thing. And we have spent months trying to do that. We have been very quiet about this.

BROWN: This has gone on pretty much a year, hasn't it?

MOORE: Yes, that's right.

BROWN: Why not a year ago just go find another way to get the movie out there? MOORE: Because a year ago, we were already making the film. We already had a deal. We had a contract with Miramax to distribute the film. And this happened all after we did this deal.

And Miramax felt very confident that Disney, once they saw the film, would distribute it.

http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0405/05/asb.00.html


http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0405/06/ltm.02.html

edited to post transcript
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Media_Lies_Daily Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:45 AM
Response to Reply #37
44. I thought that was your job. I don't think it's working anymore.
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genius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-07-04 12:40 AM
Response to Original message
43. Two kids are taking action and making their own documentary about
Disney and 9-11. One club is planning to put together a massive march/protest of Disneyland. Also there is talk about people handing out playing cards with Mickey Mouse wearing a swastika.
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