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oh neat

'Frugal Gourmet' Chef Jeff Smith Dies
my dad used to watch that show all the time.

finally! This is what I was looking for:
Journalists Fight At Press Conference
the video


Heat Is On
Filmmaker Michael Moore Takes on Factual Challenges to Fahrenheit 9/11

June 20, 2004 — Michael Moore's controversial new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, opens on screens across the United States on Friday. It's sure to enrage Bush lovers and rally Bush haters. But can it convince any of the unconvinced? This Week anchor George Stephanopoulos visited with Moore in his hometown of Flint, Mich. to talk about it. Moore began the interview, excerpted below, by establishing his motivation for making the film.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Random House defines "propaganda" as information, rumors, et cetera, deliberately spread widely to help or harm a person, group, movement, et cetera. By that definition, Fahrenheit 911 is propaganda, isn't it?

MOORE: Well, it's an op-ed piece. It's my opinion about the last four years of the Bush administration. And that's what I call it. I'm not trying to pretend that this is some sort of, you know, fair and balanced work of journalism, even though those who use the words "fair and balanced" often aren't that, but—

STEPHANOPOULOS: And your goal is to defeat President Bush.

MOORE: I would like to see Mr. Bush removed from the White House.

Saudis Fly Away

Critics of the movie charge that Moore's filmmaking style is deliberately misleading. Stephanopoulos raised two separate issues about the film's accuracy — the first regarding Moore's assertions about the movement of the bin Laden family in the week following 9/11.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Take the issue of the Saudi planes. You make a big issue, a big chunk in the film about this issue where a few days after Sept. 11, many members of the Osama bin Laden family, Saudi nationals, were taken out of the country. It was helped, arranged by the White House. You suggest it was done when the airspace was closed. You suggest that these people were not screened. And you also [suggest] there's a whole sinister subtext there that this was because of the Bush family ties to the bin Laden family. But the 9/11 commission report found that they didn't fly until the airspace was open, that they were screened by the FBI. In fact—

MOORE: That's not true. That's not true. And in fact … there's an FBI agent who was on the al Qaeda task force who's in my movie, who says quite bluntly, "No, proper police procedures were not followed."

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, wait. But what wasn't true? Because it says here in the 9/11 commission report that these flights didn't take off until after the airspace reopened. That is true, correct?

MOORE: No, they were on charter flights. Once the airspace opened for commercial flights, they hadn't opened for the charter flights. And so the charter flights that picked up the bin Ladens around the country, that went to the various cities — this was all assisted by the White House, which really should be the real focus of this.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, but Richard Clarke, who's probably at the top of the White House enemy list, says that it was his decision, he takes responsibility for it. He doesn't think it was a mistake.

MOORE: Right. And he said that he's made mistakes, and he apologized to the 9/11 families for those mistakes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But that wasn't one of the mistakes.

MOORE: Well, I happen to think it was a mistake. And the FBI did not do the proper interrogation, as our FBI agent says in the movie.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You said you have one retired FBI agent in the movie, Jack Cloonan, I think his name is. But here's the 9/11 commission report. It says, "The FBI has concluded that nobody was allowed to depart on these six flights that the FBI wanted to interview in connection with the 9/11 attacks, or who the FBI later concluded had any involvement in those attacks. To date, we have uncovered no evidence to contradict those conclusions." Do you have any reason to doubt the credibility of the 9/11 commission?

MOORE: Well, first of all, that's their preliminary report. This is not the final report.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, but then you make a pretty outrageous leap, though. You … suggest that Bush has somehow gone easy on bin Laden because of these connections between the bin Laden family—

MOORE: I don't blame him for that. I don't blame him for that. Hey, if you gave me $1.4 billion, I'd take your call too.

Easy on Bin Ladens?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you believe that Bush has gone easy on bin Laden because … of ties between the Bush family and the bin Laden family?

MOORE: I believe he's gone easy on the Saudi royals and the bin Ladens? Absolutely. They turned their head the other way. First of all, all the way leading up to 9/11, they didn't even want to think that there was anything wrong with Saudi Arabia.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're also making leaps, and by doing that, aren't you doing exactly what you accuse your opponents of doing? A lot of people have said the Bush administration looked at the raw data, looked at the raw intelligence about weapons of mass destruction, but then cherry-picked it, selectively edited it, exaggerated parts, extrapolated parts. Aren't you doing exactly the same thing?

MOORE: No, I'm presenting the truth. One hundred forty-two Saudi royals were assisted in leaving the country in the days after 9/11. They went to the front of the line. And as soon as the airspace opened to leave the country, they were the first to get out.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But they were screened by the FBI.

MOORE: What do you mean? No, they weren't. According to the 9/11 report, only 30 of the 142 were screened. The others had no interview. It is not outrageous to think that there's something suspicious about the fact that all of a sudden, all of these people wanted to get out of the country on a one-way ticket and not come back.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But do you accept the conclusion of the 9/11 commission now that all 142 of these people have been checked against the FBI watch list and there were no matches?

MOORE: That's not their conclusion. This is the preliminary report, and that's why they've put it up on the Web site. And I am making my comment on their preliminary report.

Congressman Flap

Stephanopoulos also asked Moore about a scene involving Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You have a scene when you're up on Capitol Hill encountering members of Congress, asking them if they would ask their sons and daughters to enlist … in the military. And one of those members of Congress who appears in the trailer, Mark Kennedy, said you left out what he told you, which is that he has two nephews serving in the military, one in Afghanistan. And he went on to say that, "Michael Moore doesn't always give the whole truth. He's a master of the misleading."

MOORE: Well, at the time, when we interviewed him, he didn't have any family members in Afghanistan. And when he saw the trailer for this movie, he issued a report to the press saying that he said that he had a kid in—

STEPHANOPOULOS: He said he told you he had two nephews.

MOORE: … No, he didn't. And we released the transcript and we put it on our Web site. This is what I mean by our war room. Any time a guy like this comes along and says, "I told him I had two nephews and one was going to Iraq and one was going to Afghanistan," he's lying. And I've got the raw footage and the transcript to prove it. So any time these Republicans come at me like this, this is exactly what they're going to get. And people can go to my Web site and read the transcript and read the truth. What he just said there, what you just quoted, is not true.

This Week followed up with the office of Rep. Kennedy. He did have two nephews in the military, but neither served in Iraq. Kennedy's staff agrees that Moore's Website is accurate but insists the movie version is misleading. In the film, Moore says, "Congressman, I'm trying to get members of Congress to get their kids to enlist in the Army and go over to Iraq." But, from the transcript, here's the rest:

MOORE: Is there any way you could help me with that?

KENNEDY: How would I help you?

MOORE: Pass it out to other members of Congress.

KENNEDY: I'd be happy to — especially those who voted for the war. I have a nephew on his way to Afghanistan.

Moore vs. the Media

In the course of the interview, Moore took on the media's handling of the war in Iraq.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You say this is an op-ed … and that this is not just straight journalism. What responsibility do you feel you have in this post-9/11 environment—

MOORE: Did I mention it's a comedy too?

STEPHANOPOULOS: You want people to laugh, you want people to yell, you want people to shout. But do—

MOORE: They'll laugh and they'll cry. And you're leaving out a big part of the film. I mean, a good half of the film is about Iraq, takes place in Iraq and partly here in Flint with a mother who loses her son in Iraq. And you saw it. I mean, I think it's a fairly powerful part of the film. And when I've watched it with audiences, you hear a lot of sniffling and crying in the audience.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you think you're showing things that the media here in this country has not shown.

MOORE: Oh, I know I am. I mean, listen, George: If the media had done their job, if they'd asked the hard questions of the Bush administration about these weapons of mass destruction, demanded proof — The media — and everybody watching this knows this — got on board. They took the soup, they took the Kool-Aid. They just became cheerleaders for this war. And that was a disservice to the American people. The great thing about this country is, you as journalists … get to ask any question you want in this country. Literally, you can ask any question you want. No one will arrest you. Why weren't the questions asked? Why wasn't it put to this administration? You know, why didn't anybody say, "Whoa, wait a minute, we're not sending our kids off to die." Have a voice.


Andrew Like-Slettuce

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