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A Different Kind Of Heat Wave The Debate Over 'fahrenheit 9/11' Has Temperatures Soaring (Artical)

2047 words - 9 pages

The White House preemptively gave the movie two thumbs down: "Outrageously false," said communications director Dan Bartlett, when he was asked about some of its allegations.Sizzling! countered Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), who plans a teach-in at a Seattle theater to tap into the "anger brewing against this administration."The director, Michael Moore, predicted half his audience for his new documentary will be nonvoters and 20 percent Republican, and that those on the fence will be off it and on his side when the last credits roll. A group called Move America Forward has begun a letter-writing campaign asking theaters not to show "Michael Moore's horrible anti-American movie."All this before ...view middle of the document...

He hired master political operative Chris Lehane, a former adviser to Al Gore and Wesley Clark, to do publicity for the movie. He's lined up the equivalent of endorsements, from former New York governor Mario Cuomo, who says he'll do "anything possible to get this picture advanced," to labor activists, who "are anticipating the release of this movie as eagerly as evangelicals were anticipating the release of Mel Gibson's movie," says a spokesman for the California Labor Federation.Last night's U.S. premiere at the Uptown in Cleveland Park brought Moore and his wife, Kathleen Glynn, Harvey Weinstein of Miramax, the movie's distributor, and the city's liberal establishment, including a dozen senators and a large contingent from the Congressional Black Caucus.So strong is the appearance of a campaign that David Bossie, president of Citizens United, accuses Moore of violating federal elections laws. A movie? Violating election laws? "Moore has publicly indicated his goal is to impact this election," Bossie said.Since Bartlett made his comments about the movie in an interview with the New York Times last month, the White House and Bush campaign spokesmen have said little about the film, conscious in hindsight that they gave former counterterrorism official Richard A. Clarke publicity a publisher couldn't buy when they attacked his book, "Against All Enemies," this spring."The American people can tell the difference between fact and fiction," says campaign spokesman Terry Holt. "This election is about serious issues, and I don't think most American voters consider Michael Moore a serious analyst of American politics."Privately, however, some White House officials say they are in a bind about how to respond. Americans have always formed impressions of public figures from the movies; think Oliver Stone's "JFK," Spike Lee's "Malcolm X," Charlton Heston's portrayal of Moses. This time is different because the subject is living, unfolding history, four months before an election.The documentary includes endless shots of Bush golfing, taking vacations and shaking hands with Saudi oil tycoons at fancy hotels. Moore revives the old pre-Iraq war stereotype of Bush as a hapless, inarticulate bungler but with a twist; Bush is portrayed as lazy, a failure of will and not genes."It's so easy to say that Bush is an idiot," Moore said in an interview yesterday. "But I don't say it. You just let his own words and his own pictures do it."In one already infamous scene, the president is shown on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, just after an aide whispers to him that a second plane has hit the World Trade Center. He's sitting before an elementary school class, reading "My Pet Goat." He continues to sit with the children as seven minutes tick by, his expression tense but inscrutable."Was he wondering if maybe he should have showed up to work more often?" Moore's voice-over asks.This may be a cheap shot, exaggerated, distorted, taken out of context, as the president's...

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