What Else Is In Scott's Head?

The blog site for writer Scott C. Smith. Some observations on the world we live in and life in general. And maybe some politics.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Moving America Backwards: Censoring Michael Moore

This is my latest column. It ran yesterday at The Smirking Chimp web site, and was the most-read item of the day. Today it's running at the Democratic Underground.

If the group Move America Forward has its way, come June 25th, you will not be able to see Michael Moore’s new film, Fahrenheit 9/11.

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, psychic.

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. Luckily, we liberals can also make use of the e-mail addresses, and let the executives know that we want to see the movie.

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 that will result in more people seeing the movie than if there had been no boycott.

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 the Michael Moore boycott doesn’t work out.

About the author: 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 Scott is a proud member of the Blame America First crowd.


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