Bigger competition?
Imagine the outcry if the Bush campaign were calling on Miramax to stop distributing "Fahrenheit 9/11," which really does have numerous proven falsehoods.
-- James Taranto, Wall Street Journal


I am so sick of politics that I feel like taking a break from writing about it. But I am more bothered by the hypocrisy than by the merits of charges and countercharges, and much as I wish both sides would respect the First Amendment rights of each other, I have a question.

Why is it that the same people now screaming about a group of older veterans who questioned Kerry's war record didn't complain at all about a film whose central thesis is that Bush knew about 9/11 in advance, and worked in sinister partnership with Osama bin Laden?

Unfit for Command is a book. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a movie. Here's a brief comparison.

  • The Film
  • Here are Fahrenheit 9/11's gross receipts according to the IMDB:

    Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) $116,761,122

    (as of 25 August 2004)

    According to Moore, the film is targeting at least 2,000 screens.

    And Moore never made any bones about his goal of using the film as an organizing and recruitment tool:

    But the bad news for Bush supporters doesn't stop there. Moore plans to use the movie as an organizing tool. On June 28, he conducted a virtual town hall meeting with the liberal group Moore exhorted the 55,000 listeners who logged in or turned out at 4,600 MoveOn parties around the country to sign up as foot soldiers in an anti-Bush crusade. Once people see his flick, said Moore, anyone who once supported Bush and the war in Iraq "will feel deceived and betrayed, and they will respond with a vengeance."

  • The Book
  • Unfit for Command had an initial printing of 85,000 copies; another run of 550,000 is planned, with one major bookseller facing accusations of not wanting to sell it, as well as pressure not to sell it:

    NEW YORK (AP) - The nation's two biggest bookstore chains, Barnes & Noble and Borders, say angry customers are accusing them of political bias as the retailers struggle to keep up with demand for a best seller that questions John Kerry's military service in Vietnam.

    "Unfit for Command," which went on sale Aug. 11 with a first printing of 85,000, will have 550,000 copies in print by next week, according to Regnery Publishing.

    Sales have soared as allegations about the Democratic nominee's wartime actions dominate the presidential campaign.

    A co-author of the book, John O'Neill, is a member of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which has run a series of commercials claiming Kerry distorted his past. Kerry and fellow Democrats say the spots are untrue and have demanded that President Bush condemn them. Bush replied Monday that broadcast attacks by outside groups, no matter which side, should have no place in the race for the White House.

    "Unfit for Command," by O'Neill and Jerome Corsi, accuses Kerry of lying about his decorated wartime record and betraying comrades by returning from Vietnam and alleging widespread atrocities by U.S. troops. Kerry has made his military service a central part of his campaign.

    Copies of the book are scarce. Barnes & Noble said that "Unfit for Command" is out of stock and that thousands of complaints have been received, with some customers saying the book was deliberately not being sold and others saying it shouldn't be sold.

    I am not sure who stands to make more money, but common sense suggests that it's tougher for most people to read a book than to watch a movie, and when that is factored into the sales receipts, Moore would appear to have the advantage over the Swift Boat veterans. Even though "Unfit for Command" is ranked Number 1 at Amazon, assuming a million copies are sold (a generous assumption considering the initial run), the total receipts won't begin to approach the Moore film, nor will the former's total number of readers approach the total number of the latter's viewers.

    But Moore's film aside, the biggest competition the Swift Boat veterans face is, according to liberal cartoonist Tom Oliphant, the daily press!

    O'Neill: Jim, one other thing, they can look at, which is the Web site that has a great deal of information on it.

    Lehrer: Is there a Web site that's comparable to that? I'm sure the Kerry--

    Oliphant: Yes, it's called the daily press, which is the most difficult thing for these guys to deal with.

    Yeah, I'd say the Swift Boat vets appear to be outgunned.

    posted by Eric on 08.26.04 at 09:06 AM


    Don't be surprised that the extreme left resorts to propaganda films.

    When I was an undergraduate the 'radical student union' showed the film based on Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent. I actually owned and had already read the book, and their flyers seemed more than a little misleading about its conclusion.

    (I haven't seen the film because frankly what's the point?)

    I was sure they hadn't read the book because on their flyers they'd copied and pasted a quote from Chomsky taken not from any of his books, but from a Radiohead CD jacket which I recognized immediately.

    Which reminds me of another event, which I really should devote a post to ...

    Dennis   ·  August 26, 2004 11:23 AM

    Oliphant blatantly admits, boasts, that the mass media really are just a tool of the Left, just as conservatives have been saying for decades.

    One thing I've been hearing from the Left for years is that the reason they keep losing elections (McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis...) is because they aren't getting their "message" across to the people. Hmmm....

    "The New York Times", "The Washington Post", "The Los Angeles Times", "The Boston Globe", "Time", "Newsweek", "The Nation", "The New Republic", "The Progressive", CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, PBS, NPR, Air America, Hollyood, universities, etc., etc..

    With all that, how can they possibly fail to get their "message" across? Or, what is their "message"? Or, do they have a "message" other than: "Bush is dumb", "Republicans are corrupt", "capitalism is exploitation", "religion (or Christianity) is superstition", "guns are evil", "white men are sexist, racist pigs", "America is imperialist", "Western civilization is oppression", "the human race is the cancer of the earth"?

    also: "Jews are Zionist Nazis"

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