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The Autopilot Media

I’m not trying to write a thesis on the subject of a lazy mainstream media. Granted my theory probably goes well beyond the idea of people simply being lazy but the evidence to that regard does seem to keep mounting. Listening to this interview with Michael Moore, it’s quite clear to me that an inkling of creativity with a modicum of effort may be all that’s needed to send our autopiloted versions of reality into a whirling tailspin—and for the good of the public interest.

One of the things people wonder most about the movie Fahrenheit 9/11 is where exactly Moore got the footage of the president at his weakest human moments. Was he paying high powered political people off for such damaging video? Did he have a secret connection somewhere? Maybe Bob Woodward revealed to him the identity of Deep Throat.

Well, as it turns out, none of the above.

When Terri Gross asks the director point blank in her interview how he obtained the seven minute character-imploding scene of G.W. reading My Pet Goat to a class of school children after hearing from his Chief of Staff that the second tower had been hit and that the country was under attack, his answer serves as a slap in the face to journalists everywhere.

“We just called up the school.”

That’s it. No special phone calls. No arm-wringing. No outrageous sums of money were ever involved. All the school asked from Moore was $5 to cover the cost of the tape.

You’d think that somebody other than Michael Moore might have been curious enough to poke around in a similar fashion. Instead, the rest of the media chose to blindly repeat the homogenized version already in circulation. But as it turns out, it was the other footage—the stuff that wasn’t edited out—that turned out to be so worth seeing.

1 Comment

26 October 2004 @ 5pm


it’s been a week and you’ve not blogged lately.

you obviously have some work to do on your priorities.