For these past few years, the United States has been wrought with tragedy, turmoil, and terrorism, and there are some who would make a profit from our pain.
If you haven’t heard of “Fahrenheit 9/11,” you may have been hiding in a bomb shelter for these past four years. Michael Moore’s film has been shown across the country by Republicans and Democrats alike, both parties trying to use it to their advantage. “Fahrenheit 9/11” made over $100 million since it opened in June. The documentary is so popular it spawned another film, “FahrenHYPE 9/11,” which was made to counter the views in Moore’s acclaimed chunk of opinionated spew.
Political documentaries have become popular among the moviegoers of this country, helping to form opinions of one political party or the other. These documentaries are used as weapons for the parties to sling at their enemies, like bombs in a war. The camera has become a gun, swaying voters with agenda driven images and sounds. You’ve been caught in the crossfire.
With the recent election coming to a close, we can see exactly what effect these documentaries have had on the people of our country. It’s odd to me that “Fahrenheit 9/11” couldn’t help Kerry win the presidency. The big-money blockbuster lost out to a mess of anti-Kerry and pro-Bush propaganda launched in an unneeded attempt to counter the views of Moore. It’s hard to believe that a film like “Fahrenheit 9/11” wouldn’t sway a large number of people to vote against Bush, with the images of Sept. 11, troops killing Iraqis, oilfields, and the president himself fooling around on his ranch while warnings signs of the biggest attack on American soil were ignored.
Any political documentary you see is exactly what it says it is-a political documentary. Politics are obviously involved. “HYPE,” directed by Alan Peterson, is a huge Bush advertisement while Moore’s “Fahrenheit” is nothing more than a Bush-whacker. So, where do we, the humble voters come in?
We’re nothing more than box office earnings. We’re potential votes, only as valuable as the wads of cash in our pockets as we stand in line at the Century 20. If you think film producers and politicians like you, you would be right. They like your mark next to their name on a ballot and they like your ticket at the door of your local movie theater.
What can we do? We can be media literate. Read more than one newspaper, watch more than one news channel (preferably not Fox), rent more than one politically-driven, money-making documentary and compare the two. Don’t limit yourself to one source of information that is most likely manipulating you into supporting one idea or another. You can make your own decisions because that’s what this country is all about; freedom of choice. Maybe next election we’ll exercise that freedom.
As a disillusioned Skyline student said, “Oh well, it’s only another four more wars… I mean years.”