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Tuesday, July 27, 2004
FUN - AND MEDIA-BASHING - WITH
HOWARD AND MICHAEL. The line snaked from the front of the Royal
Sonesta Hotel, on Land Boulevard in Cambridge, around the corner, and
way, way back down Cambridge Parkway. I had no way of measuring it,
but it might have stretched half a mile.
These were the Deaniacs, mostly
young, waiting to see Howard Dean, the man they had tried to get
elected president, and filmmaker Michael Moore. You could even hear
celebrity Dean supporter Joan Jett singing "I Love Rock & Roll"
from somewhere amid the boats floating on the Charles. Was it her, or
was it a boombox?
The afternoon event, sponsored by
the progressive Campaign
for America's Future, was
not a masterpiece of planning. It was hardly surprising that many
hundreds of people would turn out to see perhaps the two biggest
celebrities on the American left. As it was, only a fraction of those
hoping to get inside were allowed to squeeze into the second-floor
meeting room where the event was held.
Those of us in the media, not
surprisingly, were well treated, given good seats with a decent view.
We soon learned why: we were the main course.
Dean, the former Vermont governor,
went first. These days he's running something called Democracy
for America, an outgrowth
of his campaign organization, Dean for America, that is working to
elect local progressive candidates across the country - even a
candidate for library trustee. "I like to think library trustee is a
pretty important position in an administration where they like
book-burning better than reading books," Dean said. (Media Log
guarantee: all quotes are 95 percent accurate. Both Dean and Moore
talked so fast, and the cheering was so loud, that I may be taking
After a bit, Dean turned his
attention to Teresa Heinz Kerry's telling a reporter for the
Pittsburgh Tribune Review to "shove it," and asked, "How many
of you would like to tell reporters to shove it?" Whoops and hollers
all around. Dean then told the crowd that the Tribune Review
is owned by right-wing financier Richard Mellon Scaife. "That," Dean
said, "even tops the Boston Herald," which he compared to "the
Not that the Herald doesn't
often deserve it, although the New York Post would be a more
accurate, and somewhat kinder, comparison. Later, though, another
speaker later noted that a Republican official had recently denounced
Michael Moore as being part of the "hate and vitriol from this John
Kerry celebrity set." The source: a July 22 story in the
Herald by Dave Wedge. Only no credit was given.
Moore was running a good hour late,
and other speakers, including former secretary of labor Robert Reich,
filled the time. Finally, following an awkward pause created by what
was apparently a pit stop to the men's room, Moore bounded on stage,
blasting the media for failing to report on weak evidence underlying
the Bush administration's case for the war in Iraq.
Conceding that George W. Bush is
the villain of his film Fahrenheit
9/11, Moore continued
that "there is an unstated villain in the film, and that's the
national media.... The film outs them. It outs them as shills for the
Bush administration. It outs them as cheerleaders for this war." And
this admonition: "You can ask any question you want and not be
arrested. So what has prevented you from asking the questions? You
haven't just been embedded. You've been in bed with the wrong
At one point, Moore quipped, "I'm
not picking on the press here today. I'm sure they'll kick the piss
out of me later." Well, not here. Certainly not when Moore went on to
point out that General Electric, which owns NBC, has $600 million
worth of contracts in Iraq, making them "war profiteers." (That's
harsh, but it's certainly true that NBC News's corporate parent has a
direct interest in not crossing the White House on the war. How come
Tom Brokaw doesn't tell us that?) Or how about Moore's
that Disney, which refused to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11,
turns out to have accepted a $300 million bailout from a member of
the Saudi royal family for EuroDisney ... brokered by the
Bush-connected Carlyle Group. A splendid story for Peter Jennings,
whose employer, ABC News, is part of the Disney family.
Moore also urged progressives to
work for the Kerry-Edwards ticket, saying of the Bushies, "They're
not going to go without a fight, and believe me, they are better
fighters than we are. They are up at six in the morning trying to
decide which minority group to screw today. Our side, we never see
six in the morning. Unless we've been up all night."
Dean and Moore were both terrific,
full of fire and passion, bringing their supporters to their feet
repeatedly. Dean was as unpresidential as ever, which was a reminder
of why - once the caucuses and primaries started - almost no one
actually voted for him. But he remains the guy who energized
the Democratic Party, who dared speak out about the Bush
administration's depredations when most Democrats were hiding under
their beds, terrified they would be accused of lacking
As for Moore, Fahrenheit
9/11 isn't perfect, but it's been unfairly caricatured as nothing
but a factually deficient exercise in Bush-bashing. The truth is that
it is a deeply moral statement
about America in 2004. No wonder the Republicans are so eager to tear
posted at 6:24 PM |
So it is ok to racially profile against Arabs as long as they are deep-pocketed businessmen? That's a good start. It's also nice to see how the Bush family - bin Laden family connection (sans El Osamo himself) has been stretched to any bleeping American doing any bleeping business with any bleeping Saudi.
Ok, then, Saudi haters of the Left, willing to roll into Riyadh and put an end to the Wahhabi tyranny and terror? No? Of course not, we wouldn't want to disturb all those nice kite-flying little children. Not to mention that the Kingdom has never attacked the United States and never even threatened to attack the United States. So what is the problem with Saudi Arabia then?
Why is it so terrible that Disney did a deal with a Saudi businessman (and prince) and then ABC News didn't oppose the war to the same degree as Saudi Arabia did? Would you also like Disney/ABC to toe the Prince's line on Israel?
(Besides, how much money does the poor Prince have to lose on EuroDisney before you give a break? Anyway, read more about Walid here: http://www.meib.org/articles/0209_med1.htm)
The Democrats fawning over Moore is is a deeply moral statement about the current lunacy of FDR's and Hiroshima Truman's party.
Didn't Moore say "take the piss out of me"?
I posted some additional excerpts from that same speech at Edgewise.
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Dan Kennedy is senior writer and media critic for the Boston Phoenix.