It’s hilarious the way \Fahrenheit 9/11\ is being microscopically vetted for accuracy, with long newspaper stories scoring each of Michael Moore’s assertions and implications. Where were these avatars of “balance” when the Ronald Reagan mythos was being constructed daily by a print-electronic media collaboration that rivaled the Tower of Babel?
The media snit suggests a worldview in which the populace has been in an isolation chamber for the entire span of the Bush administration and each of our minds is a blank slate. Unless this single 122-minute artifact encapsulates a complete array of “fair and balanced” views (is that phrase still trademarked by Fox?) on every subject it touches, we’ll all be thrown into error and the republic will fall.
This just in: every documentary (every news story, every official statement) is part of a discourse, taking its place on the continuum of all that has been said on its subject and all that will come after it. If Michael Moore had the audacity to show Iraqi kids outside in the sun, playing peaceful games, that’s just a tiny corrective to the wall of words and images deployed to convince us that no one in Iraq took a moment’s pleasure in life while Saddam Hussein was in power.
I object on aesthetic grounds too. Consider how much damage has been done to the crafts of reportage and filmmaking by imposing the conventional idea of balance. The dramatic structure of every piece shaped by that imposition echoes a ping-pong match: one the one hand, on the other; one the one hand, on the other? Repeat until very, very sleepy.
As always, this intermittent obsessive attention to accuracy and balance is driven by a ruling-party agenda. I’m sure a minute of googling would turn up the memos listing questions about Michael Moore’s commitment to balance that were locked and loaded by the time the film previewed, and in reporters’ mailboxes the minute it came out. This Independence Day, I’m disgusted by the way our “independent” media roll over to have their bellies scratched by Bush and company.