Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Free and Open Debate, Anyone? 

Boston.com reports that a California based group called Move America Forward is encouraging theater owners not to show, and movie-goers not to see, Michael Moore's controversial but Palme d'Or winning film, Fahrenheit 9/11.

The page dedicated to preventing the public from seeing the film includes many quotes by and about Moore and his movie. While the group goes to extremes to point out their view that the message of the film is not supportive of President Bush or his foreign policy and is skewed by Moore's political views, and the website in general decries the "constant stream of America-bashing from the shamelessly liberal news media," the group seems to have no problem skewing information towards their own points of view. That's all well and good, since this is how issues are supposed to be worked through in our society. Everyone presents their own views and has the opportunity to hear the views of the opposing side. Hopefully both sides will listen and engage in the discussion. Knowledge does not "move forward" through censorship and refusing to listen to, and preventing others from hearing, views other than your own.

Ironically, one of the quotes Move Forward America included in its sampling of statements aimed at demonstrating why Fahrenheit 9/11 should be boycotted sounds more like a neutral description of the movie, listing some of Moore's accusations. Accusations, I might add, which are neither new to the arena of political debate nor totally lacking in credibility:

"With Moore's customary blend of humor and horror, "Fahrenheit 9/11" accuses the Bush camp of stealing the 2000 election, overlooking terrorism warnings before September 11 and fanning fears of more attacks to secure Americans' support for the Iraq war."

-- From the cable television network, CNN

See it or don't see it. Discuss it afterwards or don't. But please don't claim to be defending the American way by stifling the artistic expression of ideas, whether they are political or purely entertaining.

Amazon link: Fahrenheit 9/11

Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:29 PM