Bush Bans 9/11 Documentary
- The Insider Information
(Posted here by Wes Penre for
Illuminati News, May 6, 2004)
major documentary investigating the attacks of 11 September 2001 has been banned
by Walt Disney, under pressure from the mighty Bush dynasty.
The documentary, called Fahrenheit 9/11, "links Mr Bush and prominent Saudis —
including the family of Osama bin Laden" and questions Bush's actions "before
and after the Sept 11 terrorist attacks".
The Chief Executive of Disney, Michael D. Eisner, "expressed particular concern
that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and
other ventures in Florida, where Mr Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor."
The producer of the film,
Michael Moore, is not surprised.
There is a history of large publishing corporations dropping his research at the
last minute. The film "takes its title from Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s
classic 1953 examination of censorship." Despite attempts to silence him, Mr
Moore's books have become best-sellers in the US and around the world.
Mr Moore's previous film,
Bowling for Columbine, won an
Oscar in 2003. It is the only documentary ever to receive such an award. He used
his acceptance speech at the awards
ceremony shortly before the war on Iraq to criticise the governments of the US and the UK for using non-existent WMD as an
excuse for a waging war. "We live in a time when we have a man sending us to war
for fictitious reasons", he said.
Disney is one of the most well known symbols of American culture, but "profits
have been constantly getting smaller". It would no longer be a viable business
without the huge tax subsidies that the corporation enjoys in Florida under good
ol' Governer Jeb Bush - at the tax payer's expense.
Most people are blissfully ignorant of the fact that censorship is at working
the USA. America is the land of the free, people are always saying so on TV.
That sort of thing doesn't happen here, does it?
As Noam Chomsky, an academic who has studied censorship in the US extensively,
has observed: censorship in a Western democracy is enforced indirectly, through
the political economy of the mass media.
New York Times (US), "Disney Forbidding Distribution of Film That Criticizes
Bush", front page, 5 May 2004.
By JIM RUTENBERG
The Walt Disney Company is blocking its Miramax division from distributing a new
documentary by Michael Moore that harshly criticizes President Bush, executives
at both Disney and Miramax said Tuesday.
The film, "Fahrenheit 911," links Mr. Bush and prominent Saudis — including the
family of Osama bin Laden — and criticizes Mr. Bush's actions before and after
the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Disney, which bought Miramax more than a decade ago, has a contractual agreement
with the Miramax principals, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, allowing it to prevent
the company from
films under certain circumstances, like an excessive budget or an NC-17 rating.
Executives at Miramax, who became principal investors in Mr. Moore's project
last spring, do not believe that this is one of those cases, people involved in
the production of the film said. If a compromise is not reached, these people
said, the matter could go to mediation, though neither side is said to want to
travel that route.
In a statement, Matthew Hiltzik, a spokesman for Miramax, said: "We're
discussing the issue with Disney. We're looking at all of our options and look
forward to resolving this amicably."
But Disney executives indicated that they would not budge from their position
forbidding Miramax to be the distributor of the film in North America. Overseas
rights have been sold to a number of companies, executives said.
"We advised both the agent and Miramax in May of 2003 that the film would not be
distributed by Miramax," said Zenia Mucha, a company spokeswoman, referring to
Mr. Moore's agent. "That decision stands."
Disney came under heavy criticism from conservatives last May after the
disclosure that Miramax had agreed to finance the film when Icon Productions,
Mel Gibson's company, backed out.
Mr. Moore's agent, Ari Emanuel, said Michael D. Eisner, Disney's chief
executive, asked him last spring to pull out of the deal with Miramax. Mr.
Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax
breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida,
where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor.
"Michael Eisner asked me not to sell this movie to Harvey Weinstein; that
doesn't mean I listened to him," Mr. Emanuel said. "He definitely indicated
there were tax incentives he was getting for the Disney corporation and that's
why he didn't want me to sell it to Miramax. He didn't want a Disney company
Disney executives deny that accusation, though they said their displeasure over
the deal was made clear to Miramax and Mr. Emanuel.
A senior Disney executive elaborated that the company had the right to quash
Miramax's distribution of films if it deemed their distribution to be against
the interests of the company. The executive said Mr. Moore's film is deemed to
be against Disney's interests not because of the company's business dealings
with the government but because Disney caters to families of all political
stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film, which does not have a release date, could
"It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be dragged into a highly
charged partisan political battle," this executive said.
Miramax is free to seek another distributor in North America, but such a deal
would force it to share profits and be a blow to Harvey Weinstein, a big donor
Mr. Moore, who will present the film at the Cannes film festival this month,
criticized Disney's decision in an interview on Tuesday, saying, "At some point
the question has to be asked, `Should this be happening in a free and open
society where the monied interests essentially call the shots regarding the
information that the public is allowed to see?' "
Mr. Moore's films, like "Roger and Me" and "Bowling for Columbine," are often a
political lightning rod, as Mr. Moore sets out to skewer what he says are the
misguided priorities of conservatives and big business.
They have also often performed well at the box office. His most recent movie,
"Bowling for Columbine," took in about $22 million in North America for United
Artists. His books, like "Stupid White Men," a jeremiad against the Bush
administration that has sold more than a million copies, have also been
Mr. Moore does not disagree that "Fahrenheit 911" is highly charged, but he took
issue with the description of it as partisan. "If this is partisan in any way it
is partisan on the side of the poor and working people in this country who
provide fodder for this war machine," he said.
Mr. Moore said the film describes financial connections between the Bush family
and its associates and prominent Saudi Arabian families that go back three
decades. He said it closely explores the government's role in the evacuation of
relatives of Mr. bin Laden from the United States immediately after the 2001
attacks. The film includes comments from American soldiers on the ground in Iraq
expressing disillusionment with the war, he said.
Mr. Moore once planned to produce the film with Mr. Gibson's company, but "the
project wasn't right for Icon," said Alan Nierob, an Icon spokesman, adding that
the decision had nothing to do with politics.
Miramax stepped in immediately. The company had distributed Mr.Moore's 1997
film, "The Big One." In return for providing most of the new film's $6 million
budget, Miramax was positioned to distribute it.
While Disney's objections were made clear early on, one executive said the
Miramax leadership hoped it would be able to prevail upon Disney to sign off on
distribution, which would ideally happen this summer, before the election and
when political interest is high.
The Times (UK), "Disney blocks film on Bush and 9/11 attacks", 6 May 2004.
From Chris Ayres in Los Angeles
THE latest film by Michael Moore, the left-wing polemicist who made an
incendiary Oscar acceptance speech days before the Iraq war, has been blocked by
Walt Disney, its US distributor.
Disney is thought to be uncomfortable about the film, called Fahrenheit 911,
because it links President Bush with prominent Saudis — including the family of
Osama bin Laden — and criticises Mr Bush’s handling of September 11 before and
after the attacks. The film was to be distributed in the US by Miramax Films,
which is owned by Disney.
The film is said to focus on the evacuation of bin Laden’s relatives, many of
whom lived in the United States, after September 11. It also features comments
from American soldiers in Iraq who are critical of the reasons for the war.
“I would have hoped by now that I would be able to put my work out to the public
without having to experience the profound censorship obstacles I often seem to
encounter,” said Mr Moore, 50.
Miramax said that it was in discussions with Disney and hoped to resolve the
issue amicably. Disney is not expected to change its position.
Fahrenheit 911 takes its title from Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s classic
1953 examination of censorship.
Mr Moore won an Oscar for his 2002 documentary, Bowling for Columbine, which
sharply criticised American gun control policy. In his Oscar acceptance speech,
Mr Moore said: “We live in fictitious times. We live in a time when we have
fictitious election results that elect a fictitious President. We live in a time
when we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons . . . shame on you,
Mr Bush, shame on you . . .”
Mr Moore blamed Disney’s decision on fear that the documentary would jeopardise
tax breaks that it receives in Florida, where the President’s brother, Jeb Bush,
Disney has suggested that the film is against the company’s interests, because
it does not want to be dragged into the highly charged debate over September 11.
Fahrenheit 911 will be competing at the Cannes Film Festival next week.
BBC News, "The end of the Disney fairytale?", 12 February 2004.
And on that front Disney just hasn't been doing the business in recent years.
Yes, it still makes pots of cash, but profits have been constantly getting
Chomsky N, Herman E (2002). "The Political Economy of the Mass Media".
Michael Moore's official web site
Friday, May 07, 2004 04:58:27 -0700