March 18, 2005
The Official Fahrenheit 9-11 Reader
By Michael Moore
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Simon & Schuster Paperbacks
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Back Cover Text Contents Foreword Introduction NARRATION - From Page 36 The Coalition of the Willing - From page 82 Book Cover
CURRENT EVENTS / POLITICAL SCIENCE
"I think every American ought to see it."
-PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON ON FAHRENHEIT 9/11
THE OFFICIAL GUIDE TO FAHRENHEIT 0/11
The Cannes Film Festival jury voted unanimously to award the 2004 Best Picture Award to Michael Moore and Fahrenheit 9/11. Since then it has gone on to smash all box office records for a documentary and created an international discussion about the Bush administration and the war in Iraq.
The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader is a powerful and informative book that includes the complete screenplay of the most provocative film of the year. The book also includes extensive sources that back up all facts in the film, as well as articles, letters, photos, and cartoons about the most influential documentary of all time.
U.S. $14.00/Can. $20.00 ISBN 0-7432-7292-7
Forward: "The Work of a Patriot," John Berger ix
Part I: Fahrenheit 9/I1-The Screenplay - 1
Part II: Fahrenheit 9/Il-The Backup and Evidence - 131
Part III: What the Public Thought of Fahrenheit 9/11 - 187
Part IV: Essays and Critiques of Fahrenheit 9/11 - 227
Part V: Beyond Fahrenheit -9/11-More Writings on
the Issues from the Film - 257
Part VI: Cartoons and Photographs - 339
"The Work of a Patriot"
Fahrenheit 9/Il is astounding.
Michael Moore's film profoundly moved the artists on the
Cannes Film Festival jury, and they voted unanimously to award it
the Palme d'Or. Since then it has touched many millions of people.
During the first six weeks of its showing in the United States the box
office takings amounted to over 100 million dollars, which is,
astoundingly. about half of what Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's
Stone made during a comparable period.
People have never seen another film like Fahrenheit 9/11. Only
the so-called opinion-makers in the press and media appear to have
been put out by it.
The film, considered as a political act, may he a historical land-
mark. Yet to have a sense of this, a certain perspective for the future
is required. Living only close up to the latest news, as most opinion
makers do, reduces one's perspectives: everything is a hassle. no
more. The film by contrast believes it may be making a very- small
contribution toward the changing of world history. It is a work
inspired by hope.
What makes it an event is the fact that it is an effective and
independent intervention into immediate world politics. Today it is
rare for an artist (Moore is one;) to succeed in making such an inter-
vention, and in interrupting the prepared, prevaricatinig statements
of politicians. Its immediate aim is to make it less likely that Presi-
dent Bush will be reelected next November. From start to finish it
invites a political and social argument.
To denigrate this as propaganda is either naive or perverse, for-
requires a permanent network of communication so that it can sys-
tematically stifle reflection with emotive or utopian slogans. Its pace
is usually fast. Propaganda invariably serves the long-term interests
of some elite.
This single maverick movie is often reflectively slow and is not
afraid of silence. It appeals to people to think for themselves and
make thought-out connections. And it identifies with, and pleads
for, those who are normally unlistened to.
Making a strong case is not the same thing as saturating with
propaganda. FOX TV does the latter, Michael Moore the former.
Ever since the Greek tragedies, artists have, from time to time,
asked themselves how they might influence ongoing political events.
A tricky question because two very different types of power are
involved. Many theories of aesthetics and ethics revolve around this
question. For J those living under political tyrannies, art has fre-
quently been a form of hidden resistance, and tyrants habitually
look for ways to control art. All this, however, is in general terms and
over a large terrain. Fahrenheit 9/11 is something different. It has
succeeded in intervening in a political program on the program's
For this to happen a convergence of factors were needed. The
Cannes award and the misjudged attempt to prevent the film being
distributed played a significant part in creating the event.
To point this out in no way implies that the film as such doesn't
deserve the attention it is receiving. It's simply to remind ourselves
that within the realm of the mass media a breakthrough (a smashing
down of the daily wall of lies and half-truths) is bound to be rare. And
it is this rarity which has made the film exemplary. It is setting an
example to millions-as if they'd been waiting for it.
The film proposes that the White House and Pentagon were
taken over in the first year of the millennium by a gang of thugs-
plus their Born-Again Frontman-so that U.S. power should hence
forth serve, as a priority, the global interests of the Corporations. A
stark scenario that is closer to the truth than most nuanced editori-
als. Yet more important than the scenario is the way the movie
speaks out. It demonstrates that, despite all the manipulative power
of communications experts, 1Wng presidential speeches, and vapid
press conferences, a single independent voice, pointing out certain
home truths that countless Americans are already discovering for
themselves, can break through the conspiracy of silence, the manu-
factured atmosphere of fear, and the solitude of feeling politically
It's a movie that speaks of obstinate faraway desires in a period
of disillusion. A movie that tells jokes whilst the band plays the
Apocalypse. A movie in which millions of Americans recognize
themselves and the precise ways in which they are being cheated. A
movie about surprises, mostly bad but some good, being discussed
together. Fahrenheit 9/11 reminds the spectator that then courage
is shared one can fight against the odds.
In over a thousand cinemas across the country Michael Moore
becomes with this film a People's Tribune. And what do we see:'
Bush is visibly a political cretin, as ignorant of the world as he is
indifferent to it. Whilst the Tribune, informed by popular experi-
ence, acquires political credibility, not as a politician himself but as
the voice of the anger of a multitude and its will to resist.
There is something else that is astounding. The aim of Fahren-
heit 9/11 is to stop Bush fixing the next election as he fixed the last.
Its focus is on the totally unjustified war in Iraq. Yet its conclusion is
larger than either of these issues. It declares that a political econ-
omy that creates colossally increasing wealth surrounded by disas-
trously increasing poverty, needs-in order to survive-a continual
war with some invented foreign enemy to maintain its own internal
order and security. It requires ceaseless war.
Thus, fifteen years after the fall of Communism, decades after
the declared End-of History, one of the main theses of Marx's inter-
pretation of history again becomes a debating point and a possible
explanation of the catastrophes being lived.
It is always the poor who make the most sacrifices, Fahrenheit
9/11 announces quietly during its last minutes. For how much longer'?
There is no future for any civilization anywhere in the world today
that ignores this question. And this is why the film was made and
became what it became. It's a film that deeply wants America to survive.
As I write this, my film Fahrenheit 9/11 is still playing in hundreds
of theaters across America. Though I have often heard the overused
cliche of "being in the eve of 'a hurricane," I never really knew what
that meant until I made this movie.
And it is far too early for me to possess the insight necessary to
explain the fever that has erupted over Fahrenheit 9/11. The records
started falling in the first hours of the film's release:
Biggest opening day ever for any film at both New York theaters
First documentary ever to debut at No. 1
Largest grossing - documentary ever, beating the previous
record holder (Bowling for Columbine) by 600 percent
A Gallup poll showed that more than half of the American public
said they planned on seeing the film, either in the theater or on
home video. No one could remember -,-,Then a film posted those
kinds of 'numbers.
The intense desire to see Fahrenheit 9/11 grew out of a series of
events that began in late April of 2004 when our distributor was told
by its parent company, the Walt Disney Company, that they would
not distribute our film. Michael Eisner, the head of Disney said that
he didn't want his studio putting out a partisan political film that
might offend the families who go to their amusement parks. Of'
course, he didn't mention that he had a problem with Disney syndi-
cating the Sean Hannity radio show (which they do) or carrying
Rush Lirnbaugh on their ABC-owned stations (which they do) or
broadcasting Pat Robertson's 700 Club on the Disney Family Chan-
nel (which ... well, you get the point. What Eisner meant to say was
that if my move had been a piece of right-wing, hate-filled propa-
ganda that supported the Bush administration's every move, then
that would he OK).
When the story broke, Disney tried their best to spin it. but it
didn't work and only made people want to see the film more.
We then went to the Cannes Film Festival without a distributor.
As only the third documentary in the history of the festival to be
placed in competition (the other two were Louis Malle and Jacques
Cousteau's The Silent World and Bowling for Columbine), Fahren-
heit went on to win the top prize, the Palme d'Or.
But we came home without a distributor. The White House
went into overdrive, with Karl Roves office making calls to encour-
age reporters to trash a film they hadn't seen. A Republican group
began a campaign to harass any theater owners who said they were
going to show Fahrenheit 9/I1. At least three move chains, and
scores of other individual theaters, were scared off and announced
they would not show our movie on any of their screens. Another
group filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission
(FEC) to have them stop us from advertising our film on TV, claim-
ing the spots were "political ads" that violated the law. By the time
the FEC ruled in our favor, our distributor had already pulled all
Rove sent the attack dogs out to denounce the movie-the offi-
cial White House statement was that "we don't need to see it to
know that it is wrong." Bush's dad called me a bunch of names- and
their mouthpiece pundits in the media went on all the talk shows to
trash me and the movie.
But none of it worked. They only made people want to see the
movie. And when these millions of Americans emerged from movie
theaters, they were shaken to the core. Theater managers across the
country reported crowds in tears, audiences standing and cheering a
blank screen at the end of the movie. So many people stayed in the
theater to talk to the strangers around them that the theaters had to
schedule more time between screenings.
Thousands of emails poured in to our website. an average of
6,000 a day. On some days, over 20 million people went to our web-
site. Viewer after viewer told us their stories of watching the movie.
So many letters began with one of these two lines: "I have never
voted, but I am now going to vote this year" or "I'm a Republican
and I just don't know what to do now."
In an election year where the presidency could be decided by a
few thousand votes, these comments were profound-and frighten-
ing to the Bush White House. According to the Harris poll, about 10
percent of the people seeing the movie were Republican and 44
percent of them said they would recommend the film to other
Republicans. Thirty percent of them said that they felt the movie
treated Mr. Bush "fairly"
Another poll showed that over 13 percent of the undecided vot-
ers had seen the movie. One Republican pollster told me, after con-
ducting his own informal poll by watching the movie with audiences
in three separate cities, that "perhaps eighty percent of the people
going into Fahrenheit 9/11 are Kerry voters-but one hundred per-
cent of the people coming out of Fahrenheit 9/11 are Kerrv voters. I
was not able to find anyone who would say `I am absolutely voting
for Bush' after they had sat through the two hours of 'your movie."
In Pennsylvania, a key swing state, a Keystone poll showed that
4 percent of Kerry's vote was due to people swayed or motivated by
Fahrenheit 9/11 (and 2 percent was credited to the nonstop attacks
on Bush by Howard Stern, who also strongly advocated our film).
As I write this a few months before Election Day, no one knows
what all this will mean. What we do know is that Fahrenheit 9/ll
has rocked the country in a way that films rarely have a chance to
do. For that privilege all of us who made the film are extremely
grateful. Fifty percent of this nation does not vote. If we have some-
thing to do with bringing that number down just a few percentage
points, then all will be worth it.
In the end, while we hope that Fahrenheit 9/11 makes its con-
tribution, we are, first and foremost, filmmakers and artists. We
worked hard on creating a work of cinema that would move people
not just politically but on an emotional and visceral level. I hope we
have made a contribution to this art form we love so much. Who
among us doesn't love to go to the movies and split a gut laughing;
be surprised, shocked, reduced to tears, swept away, blown away;
leave the theater wanting to go back in again? For those of us who
make movies, that is why we do so. That is what I hope we have
Because so many of you have asked us to publish the film's
screenplay - and all the supporting evidence we have - we have
decided to provide you with this book. Screenplay seems like an odd
word for a documentary, but nonfiction may be a form of screen-
writing, just like fiction (the Writers Guild in 2002, for the first time,
made that point by voting Bowling for Columbine the best original
screenplay of the year). Besides the fact that documentaries gener-
ally don't use actors, they are a style of filmmaking that is different
from fiction features in that they are written after the movie is shot.
You enter the editing room with hundreds of hours of footage, and
then yon must decide what your story is and construct-write-it.
It's definitely a cart-before-the-horse system, which in some ways
makes it much more challenging than fiction films, where the writer
just tells everyone what to say. We can't tell George Bush what to
say or john Ashcroft what to sing. But what we do with -what is said
requires a lot of noodling-to determine where it all fits into the
basic story we are trying to tell. This is then all woven together with
the narration that I write. It is a painstaking process that takes
months, sometimes years.
So, on these pages I have published the screenplay so that you
can read the film and rediscover the mountain of information and
facts that Fahrenheit 9/I1 presents. It's hard to take it all in at one
screening; so I hope having this screenplay will help you find the
treasure that might have been buried by all those great shots of eggs
hitting the presidential limo.
For those of you who have been hectored by your conservative
brother-in-law who has repeated to you the talking points he has
been given by FOX News about Fahrenheit 9/11, this book gives
you all the ammo yon need to refute any and all of his crazy com-
ments about the movie. It's hard for conservatives to believe that
their leader may be in bed with the wrong people, so contained
herein is all the evidence you need to help sober them up. After all,
friends don't let friends vote Republican.
I have also reprinted some of the best essays and reviews of the
movie by people smarter than me who figured out what I was up to
before I did. They will give you some good insight into what the
movie means and the place it now holds in the annals of cinema.
Another chapter gives you a series of writings related to the
issues in the film. I have personally chosen them because I want the
discussion to go beyond just the ~movie and into where do we go
from here. These pieces give you a more in-depth look into the
Bush-Saudi connection (including new information on the bin
Laden post-9/11 flights), the reasons we were conned into going
into Iraq, and why the media failed to do its job. And a ten-year-old
article from the L.A. Times perhaps provides the real story behind
why Disney didn't want to distribute Fahrenheit 9/11.
Finally, I wanted to share with you some of those emails I
received from people after they saw the film. I am still moved by
them when I read them and I think you will be, too. Included also
are photos from the opening week around the country and some of
our favorite editorial cartoons that ran in the major daily papers.
I don't think any of us who worked on Fahrenheit 9/11 had a
clue that it would become a pivotal moment in this historic election
year. We just wanted to make a good movie. I hope we have suc-
ceeded. And I hope you enjoy this companion book to our film.
Someday, after all this has passed and I have time to reflect on what
it all meant, I will share that story with you. But that can't be done
right now. Right now, it's a movie that in some ways, though fin-
ished, is still a work in progress, its true ending to be written on
November 2, 2004, and the months that follow. That makes all of
you my cowriters.
New York City
August 2004 `
Americana of normal U. S. citizens, juxtaposed with shots of
Saudi Royals and Bush confidants
Okay, so let's say one group of people, like the American
people, pay you $400,000 a Year to be President of the
United States, but then another group of people invest in
you, your friends, and their related businesses $1.4 billion
over 'a number of years (number flashes on ,screen: .$1.4
billion), who you gonna like? Who's your daddy? Because
that's how much the Saudi Royals and their associates
have given the Bush family, their friends, and their
related businesses in the past three decades.
GEORGE H. W. BUSH
Good morning, everybody. We've had a very nice reunion
Is it rude to suggest that when the Bush family wakes up
in the morning they might be thinking about what's best
for the Saudis instead of what's best for you or me?
Because 1.4 billion just doesn't buy a lot of flights out of
the country. It buys a lot of love.
The United States is prepared to lead a Coalition of the
Willing that will do it.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Talking to reporters
When I say we will lead a Coalition of the Willing to dis-
arm him if he chooses not to disarm, I mean it.
Who is in that Coalition of the Willing now, are ... ?
GEORGE W. BUSH
Not appreciative of the question
You will find out who's in the Coalition of the Willing.
Spinning globe-over shots from each country
The Coalition of the Willing ... roll call!
Young girls hula dancing
The Republic of Palau!
Guy driving a cart with two oxen
The Republic of Costa Rica!
Black-and-white film footage of a Viking ship
The Republic of Iceland.
Of course, none of these countries has an army, or, for
that matter, weapons, so it looked like we'd be doing most
of the invading stuff ourselves.
But then there was also ...
Film footage of vampires waking from their coffins
The Kingdom of Morocco!
Snake charmers and wild monkeys flying across a field
Morocco wasn't officially a member of the Coalition, but
according to one report, they did offer to send two thou-
sand monkeys to help detonate land mines.
GEORGE W. BUSH
These are men of vision.
Someone smoking a huge pipe
GEORGE W. BUSH
Monkeys at a boardroom table
And I'm proud . . . I'm proud to call them allies.
Our troops in Afghanistan
Afghanistan? Oh yeah, they had an army ... our army! I
guess that's one way to build a coalition - just keep invad-
ing countries. Yes, with our coalition intact, we
One could almost say it’s the mother of all coalitions.
From FOX news
(Singing) America, America ...
Fortunately, we have an independent media in this coun-
try who would tell us the truth.
Montage of various news clips – reporters being biased
SHEPHARD SMITH (FOX NEWS ANCHOR)
The rallying around the President. around the flag, and
around the troops clearly - has begun.
From FOX News
And we’re gonna win!
LINDA NESTER (FOX NEW'S ANCHOR)
You really have to be with the troops to understand that
kind of adrenaline rush that they get.
KATIE COURIC (NBC TODAY SHOW HOST)
I just want you to know, I think 1aw, SEALS rock!
The pictures you're seeing are absolutely phenomenal.
DAN RATHER (CBS NEWS .,ANCHOR)
When my country's at war. I want my country to win.
PETER JENNINGS (ABC NEWS ANCHOR)
Iraqi opposition has faded in the face of American power.
What you're watching here is truly historic television and
It was absolutely electrifying, they actually had to strap
me in with my camera at the back of the plane . . .
TED KOPPEL (ABC NEWS ANCHOR. - NIGHTLINE)
... an awesome synchronized killing machine.
There is an inherent bias in the coverage of the American
press in general.
NEIL CAVUTO (FOX NEWS HOST)
Am I slanted and biased? You damn well bet I am!
Read the book…