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  • Should Bush Respond?

       June 28, 2004

    This weekend, Fahrenheit 911 took in a record amount at the box office for a "documentary". I did not contribute a single dime to this $21.8 million. But, those who did say things like "every American should see this movie" or "I dreamed about it all night and still woke up angry".

    I agree with those, like Ann Althouse, that have said that this film "appeals to people who are already committed to your side". But, I don't necessarily agree with the rest of her argument, that it

    makes other people not want to listen to you at all. People interested in rational arguments will choose not to engage with you, which you might wrongly read as agreement, leading you to become complacent about the correctness and persuasiveness of your beliefs.

    I think that the hype of F911 has given the movie an audience far beyond hardcore leftists, far beyond committed Democrats and into the realm of the undecideds. People who have seen the film, believe it. And they're spreading the word. Because of that, I think the President or at the very least, his campaign team, needs to directly respond to it.

    Sure, there are plenty of websites devoted to debunking Moore. But, these websites appeal to the same kind of hardcore audience (albeit a righty one) as Moore's movies do. The mainstream media will never critically examine the film. That leaves it up to the rest of us to combat Moore. But we need the weight of the White House behind us.

    By remaining silent, the White House perpetuates the myth that Moore is some kind of courageus voice crying out in the wilderness. I'm sure some will say that the White House should take the highroad and not bestow any legitmacy on Moore by bothering to respond to him. But, it's too late for that. He's been given legitmacy by the media and by all of the people who went to see the film. If the Kerry campaign made these allegations, the Bush team would be working overtime to refute them. Why treat Moore any differently?

    Posted by at June 28, 2004 10:39 AM

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