"Fahrenheit 911" won the Cannes Film Festival's top
prize the first documentary to do so in nearly 50 years.
much about what you say as what you leave out ...
sides on 'Fahrenheit 9/11'
don't understand why, but when Disney CEO Michael Eisner publicly
announced that he had no intention of distributing Michael Moore's
new documentary, "Fahrenheit 911," I was surprised and
Eisner stated that Disney had made its decision because it did
not want to "take sides" in "a political process."
To me, it seems that by blocking the film's distribution, Disney
has already taken sides.
Why would Disney, which owns Miramax, which provided funding for
the film, refuse to distribute what amounts to be their own movie
especially one that cost $6 million to make and was created
by the most successful documentary maker of all time?
According to Moore, Eisner is afraid that Florida's Disney World
might lose some of its generous tax breaks if it appears that Disney
is backing a documentary that is critical of the Bush family.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has denied knowledge of any tax breaks that
Disney may receive in his state.
If what Moore says is true, it would seem that Disney is playing
both sides of the table, since Miramax now stands to benefit from
the sale of its distribution rights. On the other side, their refusal
to distribute the film is a pledge of allegiance to the Bush family,
and may help minimize their risk of losing alleged Florida tax breaks.
and Disney: playing both sides of the table.
It's funny how things like that still have the ability to shock
me. I guess that I'm old-fashioned, because I thought that America
was a free country. I thought that in America, the First Amendment
protected our citizens' right to free speech.
Apparently, I was wrong. If they could, I'm sure that Disney would
refuse to distribute the First Amendment, too, citing that they
would like to append a "mostly" clause that allows censorship
of all political discussion.
The truth is that it's not the First Amendment that protects our
free speech. The corporations protect America's freedom of speech.
As long as you exercise your freedom by being a loyal and "patriotic"
consumer, you have nothing to worry about. Just don't try to say
anything bad about the presidency, or you'll find that you no longer
have a voice.
In a free country, an organization like moveon.org, which tried
to air an ad during the last Super Bowl, would be able to do so
even if the message was critical of President Bush. Again,
this is not the case, because CBS refused to air the ad after the
Republican National Committee warned the network that it believed
that funding for the ad was "illegal."
While lawyers on both sides disagree about the legality of the
ads, CBS cited a policy of impartiality and avoidance of controversy
as the reason for its refusal.
Again, this surprises me, since the very fact that they refused
to air the ad in the first place was the subject of a good deal
It's amazing how large entities like CBS and Disney can claim impartiality
on political issues while hiding behind a veil of censorship that
drives their political motives.
too late for the TV networks to pretend?
What these companies may not realize is that politics is as much
about what you say as it is about what you leave out. Censorship
is not simply benign omission it's active erasure. While
CBS and Disney try to blame impartiality for their acts, the message
sent by this kind of censorship is clearly political.
It's too late for the networks and corporations to try to pretend
that they're impartial. Anyone who still believes that they are
has probably been watching too much TV.