More Balance on Moore?

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Messy Christian links to another review of Fahrenheit 9/11 that's being hailed as balanced, though I'm not sure simply saying both good and bad things about it is enough for it to count as balanced.

A number of his conclusions result from falsehoods, e.g. that we haven't found any WMD in Iraq, that the only reason to continue to fight now would be if we'd found WMD in Iraq, that Saddam is the only bad guy in Iraq, that Iraq needed to be involved in 9/11 for there to be a connection between Saddam's administration and al Qaeda, that big business profits from the war have any relevance to whether it's the right thing to do, that big business is even profiting from the war (Halliburton isn't, for instance), that troops are dying for no reason simply because he doesn't agree with the reason.

It's true that Hitchens didn't say anything positive about the film, but saying positive things at the expense of the truth isn't balance.

30 Comments

As we Malaysians would say, "Walau, still so serious ah?"

Uhm, on a more English note ... :)

Anyway, I think his conclusions resulted from his *opinions*, if you tell me. I think calling it falsehood would be to imply that it is a true/false thing.

I think the questions he raised are valid, at least these are the questions some Malaysians ask too.

Why is it balanced? Not because there is a positve/negative balance but because he does not pull in too much emotion in his observations;' meaning he doesn't get too personal about it.

I think a person is entitled to express his opinion or even state his political slant while reviewing a movie; however when you start criticising a person's character and call him names, you cross the line of journalism.

Sigh, but I wish all journalists abide by this code. Sadly they don't.

so, that's why I call the post balanced.

Terima Kasih. :) (Thanks, in Malay)

fyi,the link to Messy Christian isn't working properly.

Fixed! Thanks for pointing it out.

I'm still waiting for someone to actually WATCH and review this movie instead of reviewing the reviews! Anyone? Anyone? (I can't get the movie over here, so I'm depending on you solid faithful bloggers over there)

Gee, me too. Wait, actually the reviewer I mentioned in my post - which I called balanced - has watched it, so if you want to read what he says, just hop over there.

MC, I think I'm going to have to stand by my statement that this review isn't balanced. I would describe what you're looking for as niceness and consideration of real arguments rather than name-calling. One can do that without really being balanced. I don't consider someone balanced who assumes as many things as the many I questioned in that particular review. Someone who isn't aware of that many elements of the case for military action against Iraq doesn't seem to me to be balanced, even if the person is really nice and willing to consider some real arguments. It's whether the person is really aware of all the arguments that tells me the person is balanced. Just showing a willingness to say something good about both sides isn't enough.

i just read bush is a convicted theif and a convicted drunk, is this true or more lies from m moore? let me know

I don't know what a theif is (as far as I know it's not an English word), and last I knew drunkenness wasn't illegal, but Bush (that's a proper name, which in English we capitalize) gave it up anyway when he became an evangelical Christian. What does this have to do with the film this post is about?

bush was arrested for driving drunk, he plead guilty, he is a convicted drunk, yes, drunkenness is illegal when you drive, bush was arrested for theft, he plead guilty to theft, he is a convicted thief, do you know what that means? bush has gotten drunk many times since he 'gave it up'.

When a comment has nothing to do with the subject at hand, as yours didn't, I consider it mere flamebait. None of this has anything to do with Michael Moore's film. If you really want to discuss this, give me some reason why it's even relevant to the issue at hand. There are a whole bunch of reasons I don't like Michael Moore. One was mentioned in this post, and I listed my evidence for that reason. It was a list of things Moore said in this film that are simply not true, that are unfair to his opponents' actual views, or that assume something I have no good reason to grant. What does President Bush's past involving the law have to do with that? Absolutely nothing.

I welcome intelligent debate on this site, but I don't welcome flame-baiting, especially uncarefully stated flame-baiting. Due to the irrelevance of your comments, I have a hard time seeing what you're doing as anything other than trolling, so correct my misimpression with a well thought-out and carefully presented argument related to the issue at hand.

For the record, people who support President Bush generally realize that he's not a perfect person and has done some pretty stupid things in the past but think he's the better candidate of the two. If you don't make the mistake of assuming everyone who supports him thinks he's a perfect person, I see no reason to think your comments are even relevant to the election, never mind to this post.

all i did was ask a question, i came across your website and thought it interesting enough to ask a question. i did some research and came back to your website to answer my own question and found a response that was wrong about bush not being a convicted drunk and a convicted thief so i corrected them? trolling? i was just surfing the web and came across you website and commented. isn't that what you want people to do? i keep hearing about m moore's lies but whenever i check the information myself i find that its true.

Did I ever say that everything Moore said was false? My point is that there are so many falsehoods in his work that he can't be trusted, and people are eating it up as if everything he says is true.

I still haven't seen the relevance of the question to the topic, so I wasn't sure why your comment was a comment on this post. The closest thing I could determine was that you saw something about Moore and wanted to comment about something else Moore talks about, something many opponents of Bush bring out when they can't think of anything incredibly relevant to say. If that wasn't your intent, then I misunderstood you, but that seemed to me what was going on.

Again, my point is not that Michael Moore never says anything true. It's that the things I listed are false, but he acts as if they're true. I haven't seen anything anwwhere to suggest otherwise.

i think bush being a lying drunken thief has a lot to do with m moore's movie, also, i read laura bush killed her ex boyfriend, now if this is a lie from m moore i'll say wow, michael moore really does tell some whoppers, but what if its true? i mean, if moore tells the truth about bush being a lying drunken thief and laura being a killer then why would he have to lie when the truth is so bad? what lie did m moore tell thats as bad as bush being a lying drunken thief and his wife being a killer, do you see my point? why would he lie when the truth is this bad?

Moore says a lot in the movie about Bush misleading people. I didn't know the movie was about his past from a time long before he became president. I thought it was about how he handled 9/11 and beyond. Maybe everything people are saying about it is wrong, though, and it's about his drunk driving accident and Moore's suspicions that Laura is a vicious murderer. I could revise my belief based just on your report, but that would go against the entire rest of the evidence I have.

Pointing out examples that someone hasn't or can't refute doesn't eliminate the examples that have been refuted. Michael Moore has clearly presented false information, and it seems he's manipulated some things to such a degree that he must know that he's being deceptive. Does he really think it's honest to put a headline summarizing a letter from a reader on the front page and pretend it's a headline for a news story? That's downright revisionism. He didn't think what newspapers really reported fit what he thought happened, so he made it look as if newspapers were reporting what he thought happened. That's lying. Even if he's right about every item you've mentioned, that wouldn't make Moore not a liar. He is, and it's been demonstrated.

Pointing out examples that someone hasn't or can't refute also doesn't mean that they're true. My inability to prove to you that I didn't steal a candy bar three years ago doesn't mean it's false, and we've got a little thing we call "innocent until proven guilty" in this country. For that reason, unless I'm presented with really devastating evidence that Laura Bush murdered her boyfriend, I have no reason even to consider it credible. It's even slander (well, really libel if it's in print) to suggest that it's true unless you have really good evidence. I haven't seen any halfway decent evidence.

moore never called [obscenity deleted] laura bush a viscious murderer, he simply said she killed someone, i did some research and found out its true!!! its public knowlege now after a FIA lawsuit that she killed her ex boyfriend after running a stop sign, so it IS true! wow! it sounds like you haven't even seen the movie? so moore told the truth about bush being a convicted drunk, a convicted thief and about laura killing someone so exactly what lies did he tell? i really want to know so let me know, ok? i mean, the truth is so bad why would he have to lie?

I'm not sure why you think the truth is bad if the truth is merely that something she did led to someone's death. That's a matter of public record. It's also true that I caused the death of my kids when I caused them to come into being. After all, they couldn't die if they hadn't come into existence. In a sense, then, I've killed them. Well, give me some reason to think she killed this guy in any way less innocent than that. I don't remember the details, but didn't it have something to do with an automobile accident? Last I knew, an accident was something you're not morally responsible for doing deliberately.

No, I haven't seen the film, and I don't plan on spending any money on a political advertisement for views that I find offensive. I see very few movies because they're expensive, it takes time, which I have little of, and it takes more work than I usually am willing to put into it to find a babysitter. When things line up so we can see a movie, we'll see one we're likely to enjoy. And don't think you can put me in the category of "unable to comment" because I haven't seen it. Any intelligent person who reads a review of it and compares what's reported in review after review, by people who like the film and by people who don't, can understand its content and criticize it, just as people did with The Passion of the Christ. Making subjective statements about whether it's done in an offensive way would be harder, but I'm simply dealing with what things he presents as facts that are simply false.

So let's consider your fallacious argument. I'm not sure what your conclusion is, since you simply fail to state it after a number of attempts by me to provoke it out of you. Your premises are:

1. The truth is bad.
2. If the truth is bad, Moore would have no reason to lie.

I'm assuming this is supposed to show that Moore didn't lie, but there are three problems. First is that the conclusion is demonstrably false, as I've already indicated. Second is that the conclusion doesn't follow from the premises. The conclusion that follows is that Moore would have no reason to lie. Having no reason to lie doesn't mean that he wouldn't lie. He doesn't strike me as being very intelligent, at least when it comes to important moral distinctions. His inability to see that Bill O'Reilly's sending a little child to Iraq to fight isn't the same as a government's sending a volunteer army to Iraq makes that fairly obvious. So there's no reason to assume that your premises even give that conclusion. Third, the first premise needs to be shown. You haven't given any argument that the first premise is true in any way other than what many people who support Bush already believe. I don't need to see Moore's film to know of Bush's drunk driving conviction or his wife's accident. Those are old news, and they don't affect my current evaluation of either of them. So what is it you're trying to say? Nothing new and nothing relevant, as far as I can see. That's why I see this as trolling. When you insert offensive and misogynist epithets, it only confirms that judgment.

wow, you're sitting up on your high horse calling moore a liar and you haven't even seen his movie and don't even know what it is you think he's lying about? you causing your childrens death by helping them being born isn't quite the same as running a stop sign and killing them and then lying to the police saying the passenger was driving to cover your own butt.

I pre-emptively responded to your assumption that someone who hasn't seen a movie can't therefore critique it. The facts about the film are widely available. I don't have to support propaganda to know what it says. I gave a number of examples of things that those who have seen the film said were in it. I drew these right out of reviews of the film that were somewhat positive about it. I didn't see you disputing any of those items. If you think my understanding of what's in the film is lacking, tell me how. You didn't. All you did was change the subject without seeing what relevance it has to the points I made. I wasn't making any claim about the overall feeling of the movie or about every statement he makes, just about those particular ones that I haven't seen anyone dispute.

As for the Laura Bush thing, a Google search turned up many articles about this, some of them not very new. This is not news. I'm not sure why Moore thinks it is. There's no indication in anything I saw that she had lied. If he thinks that's news, I'd like to see the evidence. Otherwise, it's unfounded. All I saw was that the police report had her listed as the driver. She was a minor at the time, and no charges were pressed, which is fairly typical. She's also never held a public office and is not running for public office. It's not as if she left her friend in the car to suffocate after driving it off a bridge into a river while already in public office and then suspiciously forgot to mention it to the first people she saw.

someone told me your sight was full of lies so i'm not even going to read what you wrote because i don't have to read lies to know what they are, so i don't even have to read what you wrote to know its all lies because someone told me it was. thats real intelligent isn't it?

No, it's not. On the other hand, not seeing a movie due to being poor and busy is a pretty wise decision.

You have consistently ignored my argument and claimed it to be something other than what I said. I don't consider that any smarter than someone doing what your caricature of me does. I have stated it too many times to want to repeat, but your willful ignoring of my statements requires it. I have read numerous reviews from people favorable to Moore, who got something out of his film, who list some of the things he says in the film. Those things are undisputed. You don't need to see it to know that he said it. If your epistemology became the basis of our society, we could never trust anyone to report any information about anyone else's views, even if the person is an inteliigent fan of that person's views who has spent much time researching the person's thought process and attempting to understand the reasons for that person's views. Of course that would be stupid. We should obviously trust that kind of person. How much more we should trust someone simply reporting statements of fact about what someone has said. Once those statements are in the public record, anyone can analyze them to see if they fit with the facts. If you don't want to recognize all that, then perhaps you should avoid contact with people. That's how people work. That's how society works. No one can see every movie, and poor and busy people can see far fewer movies than the average person. I read moview reviews to see which ones I will enjoy the most, since going to a movie is for fun, not for information. I can get information for free, and I do. As I've said before, I welcome reasonable debate. I'm waiting for you to engage in that.

i didn't read your comment, i don't have to read propaganda to recognize it when i see it, someone told me your site was full of lies and propaganda so thats all the proof i need, i don't have to check the facts myself i just believe what someone tells me without bothering to go to the source and find out for sure.

Repeating an argument I've already argued against without responding to my argument against it is insufficient. I'm not going to bother saying it again. When you want to respond to my argument, let me know. If you just want to keep repeating the argument I've already responded to without dealing with my response, there's nothing more for me to say.

i'm going to start a website about how THIS website is nothing but lies and propaganda, of course, if anyone asks me i'll have to say 'no, i haven't actually read any comments on that site, but someone told me it was full of lies and propaganda so i don't have to read anything on the site to recognize the lies and propaganda that are on it.'... why did you start a moore site without even bothering to watch the movie? what does that say about your intelligence level? what possessed you to start one against moore? was it because he tells the truth about bush and you don't like what he says so you started a moore is liar website without even knowing the facts? please let me know, i really want to know before i start that website about this website.

I didn't start a Moore site, and I have no interest is doing so. I posted once or twice about it on a blog that's about much more important things than him. Most of my comments about it were simply recognizing what some people favorable to Moore were saying. My site itself is about philosophy, theology, politics, culture, race relations, and anything else that suits my fancy. You've just blown your whole argument apart, not that you had any there to begin with. If you can't do the work to discover what a blog you incessantly post irrelevant comments to is really about, then why post comments there at all, given that you think knowing everything someone says firsthand is important before you say anything about them.

i'm just yanking your chain, man, going for kicks and giggles, hey, how about that new spiderman 2 movie? pretty bad isn't it? i didn't see it tho, someone told me it was full of lies, propaganda and exaggerations so i'm not going to see it, i don't have to support propagand to know what it is so i won't go see it, you can throw your money away tho if you want, but i don't need to pay to see lies and propagand.

Actually, Mr. Stomberg, your comments have been the entertaining ones. Your refusal to actually engage in debate is pretty funny. As far as I can tell you're running scared from someone who can think critically about information presented to them because you are unable (or unwilling) to do the same. Thanks for the laugh.

how can you debate something that you know absolutely nothing about? did you see donald duck fart out bushes name during f-911?

Jeremy, Samantha, et. al:

Wow, I'm having deja vu. stomberg is a moorebot programmed to avoid debate. I just concluded the exact same running comment battle with it on my blog (rated PG-13 for somewhat unpleasant language).

It won't stop. You know you've argued rings around it logically; go ahead and ban it.

time has shown us now hasn't it

Shown us what? I haven't really changed my views on him or his work in the three years since this post. Michael Moore says enough things are false and quite plainly doesn't follow his own advice, and I see little reason to trust anything he's done without confirmation from independent sources (and even the fact that he says it is sufficient to cast some doubt on it).

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