How To Respond to Victims of Anti-Fahrenheit 9/11 Propaganda
by Rob Kall
When you encounter resistance to your encouragement to see Fahrenheit 9/11, recognize the signs and symptoms of propaganda overload syndrome. Tens of millions of Americans are victims, but millions can still be saved.
A young couple, in their early twenties-- friends of mine-- live in Rick Santorum Country-- upstate, central, rural Pennsylvania. where it's assumed most everyone is a Republican. So we weren't surprised they had to drive over 60 miles to see Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11.
Now, after seeing the movie, they are pumped to get the word out. Guess what? In the land of Santorum, they are getting resistance. Their friends and neighbors show clear symptoms that the Bush propaganda network has been effective. So they asked me to string together some replies to people who might... just might... be persuaded to see the movie.
First, there have been some positive reviews of the movie from some conservative sources.
NASCAR champ Dale Earnhardt, Jr. took his crew to see "Fahrenheit 9/11 " the first Saturday night it was shown. The next day, FOX sportscaster Chris Myers delivered Earnhardt 's review to millions of NASCAR fans, quoting Earnhardt, "He said hey, it'll be a good bonding experience no matter what your political belief. It's a good thing as an American to go see. "
* * *
Roger Friedman from the Fox News Channel gave the movie a great review, describing it as "a really brilliant piece of work, and a film that members of all political parties should see without fail. "
The movie sold out theaters in the most conservative red states, and in military towns like Fayetteville, NC (see the article 'Fahrenheit 9/11' sets record in North Carolina Military Town )
Then, if you want to take it to the next level, talk about why they think they don't want to see the film, how that's really a symptom of propaganda toxicity symptom-- these people don't want to bother seeing the film. Most of the major media have showed their true, partisan colors, taking pot-shots at the movie and Michael Moore, merely passing on the spin that the White House is sending out.
Michael Moore reports that "News editors told us that they were being "bombarded" with e-mails and calls from the White House (read: Karl Rove), trying to spin their way out of this mess by attacking it and attacking me. Bush spokesman Dan Bartlett had told the White House press corps that the movie was "outrageously false" -- even though he said he hadn't seen the movie. He later told CNN that "This is a film that doesn't require us to actually view it to know that it's filled with factual inaccuracies." At least they're consistent. They never needed to see a single weapon of mass destruction before sending our kids off to die."
Antidote: Point out that the whole goal of the movie was to bypass the mainstream media because they have sold out to the Bush administration-- that they have failed to report the true information that Moore has put together. Moore is accusing these media of failure. It's no wonder that these media don't want anyone watching the movie or believing the movie. If they are afraid to be influenced by Moore's "propaganda" ask them if they aren't at least a little worried about the effects the mainstream media has had on them. Ask them if they aren't smart enough to sort out the ideas for themselves. Ask them if they are afraid to learn the truth, to find out that they've been let down, betrayed by Fox, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and ABC.
If you can afford to, offer to guarantee the cost of the ticket, or better, offer to treat someone who you think might be swayed by the movie. If the person has family or friends in Iraq, they're good candidates.
Respond to the Objection: The movie's just propaganda and opinion. "A Documentary is supposed to be unbiased. "
Who says? Unbiased Fox News? Right wing, attack dog pundits on the payroll of extreme right, conservative think tanks? There are thousands of message oriented documentaries that aim to educate and convince people to take action, change their opinion. This argument is a red herring-- a distraction from the real truth-- the movie shows the truth and it damn well does change minds, as it intends.
Respond to the Objection: It's a bunch of words, and a lot of them aren't true.
The people who say that are lying. But you can go into the movie still believing this. Just go and watch the footage of George Bush and the soldiers, and the families of the soldiers. You may have seen, in the movie trailer, the scene in which Bush talks about fighting terrorism in one breath, and then goes back to playing golf. But no media have shown the footage of the president sitting, after he's been told the second jet has hit the world trade tower, like a mindless moron, scared, confused, inactive.. ineffective, incompetent, doing absolutely nothing. Seven minutes!! Every American should watch just that footage before deciding whether they want to trust the dumbest president in the history of the US with the lives of our soldiers. Is it patriotic to support a fool who irresponsibly, fraudulently sends our trusting, brave troops to their death? Is it patriotic to choose such a man because his religious believes are close to yours, or because he gives you a tax break. No!. It's selfish treachery. But maybe people want to keep feeling like they are doing the right thing. There are plenty of wives of child molesting fathers who don't want to or can't handle the truth. There are millions of Americans whose trust has been violated by George Bush. Many of them would rather not have their bubbles burst. But some will want to know the truth.
Respond to the Objection: I've read articles that, in detail, refute the points in Moore's movie.
First, they are not responding to the most powerful messages of the movie. You could cut out every aspect that they counterspin and the movie is still devastating to Bush. But it seems, since they make a long list of criticisms, that they've effectively shown the movie to be wrong. Second the refutations to the points they do emphasize is right wing spin. It's right wing propaganda. Haven't they had enough of that already?
Reuters put out an article the other day that discussed half a dozen different elements in the movie... giving the spin the right wingers want people to take on the particular parts of the movie. But they can't counter the visual footage of Bush sitting like a braindead fool on 9/11. They have nothing to say in response to the mother who encouraged her son to enlist, who has a lot to say after her son was killed in Iraq. These are the visual messages friends and family members of our brave troops in Iraq need to see.
I have a friend who says he's a "true independent." He prides himself on his intelligence, and in some ways, he's a smart guy-- he's won chess tournaments, he's patented inventions-- but he says he's avoiding watching the movie so he can stay independent. He says that he's heard that the movie is left wing propaganda. Well, I was visiting New York City yesterday and bought a button from a street vendor that says,
"Friends don't let Friends Vote Republican."
So I'm not giving up on him. I'm going to challenge him. Even smart people can be victims of propaganda, can be lulled into that vulnerable place where they become unquestioning believers, even if they think they are holding on to their independence. I'm going to give him the Fahrenheit 9/11 guarantee. If he doesn't feel the movie was worth his time, I'll pay for the movie. Hey. If I could get a friend to quit smoking or off drugs or alcohol for the price of a movie ticket, I'd spend it in a heartbeat. Why not rescue a friend from something worse-- republicanism?
Then point out they may be victims of boiled frog syndrome
If you throw a frog into boiling water, it jumps out and saves its life. If you put a frog in warm water and gradually heat it to boiling, it will swim, then get sleepy and get cooked to death. Propaganda can do the same thing to patriots. They get so comfortable with the news that is being fed to them, by the government, with the cooperation of sold-out media, that they wake up one day and the country isn't the America they knew. It's a fascist nation with rights taken away, with vote counts controlled by unaccountable corporations, with trans-national corporations dictating policy for the future of our energy planning. It can happen here. It will if people don't wake up.
It's worth trying. There's a good chance that if enough people vote, and enough people wake up to what George Bush and his partners in crime have done, we can not only take back the Whitehouse, but also the house and senate, and we'll rescue the Supreme court. It starts by getting people to wake up, think, then vote.
Rob Kall firstname.lastname@example.org is editor/founder of OpEdNews.com. This article is copyright Rob Kall and originally published by opednews.com but permission is granted for reprint in print, email, blog or web media so long as this credit paragraph is attached. Over 100 other articles by Rob Kall including a series of articles on the need for progressive policy promotion think tanks.
letters from readers:
Sent: Monday, July 05, 2004 2:49 AM
Subject: Unhealthy propoganda
I saw Bowling for Columbine and I learned from that experience that there
are a lot of uncritical morons out there who stand and applaud something,
like a bunch of school kids cheering on their favorite in an afterschool
fight, that has little artistic merit and no documentary merit. You are
standing up for the worst kind of propagandist, Michael Moore, a person who
doesn't hesitate a minute to manipulate his public even if it means
doctoring video and sound. He goes way beyond artistic license. Moore is the
kind of propagandist who I can easily imagine slipping into a subject like
"The Elders of Zion or How Jews Control the World."
You read and support unhealthy propaganda, stuff which lowers the common
denominator of debate to conspiracy theories, unjustified claims and ad
hominem attacks, not to mention simple rudeness and lack of manners. But, in
doing so, take a look back at the 1967 photos in Czecholslovakia, when
suddenly Dubchek wasn't in the photo anymore. That is the kind of company
you are keeping.
Paris , France
Are you kidding? The Bush fascist team is doing more to hide current events and revise history than any past administration. They have cowed the mainstream media into submission and it takes brave souls like Michael Moore to show the truth, to go where the mainstream media are too cowardly to go.
The worst propagandists are the extreme right wingers who are trying to run the US gov. into the ground.