This was not the only omission in the film; another example is when Moore poked fun at the ‘Coalition of the willing’. Moore implied that Palau, Costa Rica and Morocco’s offered contribution of two thousand monkeys was the best that the USA could get. But major contributors were not included; Australia, Spain, Poland, Italy, and United Kingdom were not even mentioned. Tony Blair, a major player for the Coalition was only mentioned in the film once, no mention of John Howard, Prime Minister of Australia, another major contributor, of whom still has troops deployed from Australia to this day.
Omission reasoning is documented on Michael Moore’s website, it states factual backup for omitting certain pieces of information, but the general public would not look on websites to make their own minds up, because it would be done at the point of viewing. Although this film was described as ‘Anti-propaganda’ by Moore at a press conference, it was not helped by speculation that ‘clever editing’6 was used to ‘dupe’ the public.
Contextualization augments belief. Where omission takes away information, contextualization adds it. Contextualization is often a defense tactic, but Moore used it for offence, too.
Moore liked to use juxtaposition, the placing (or forcing) together discordant images or ideas, interrupting an emotion and allowing it to leak over into another scene. Previous scenes set an emotional context for subsequent ones, even if the scenes are unrelated. Psychologists talk of ‘structure activation’ when our consciousness focuses on one thing, then our train of thought is interrupted and refocuses on a new thing, the previous ways of thinking do not immediately dissipate – they linger to influence how we think about the new thing we are considering, thus colouring our judgment.
Moore shows us terrifying pictures and of the 9/11 attacks, people whose lives are ruined with the loss of a loved one, but Moore interrupts the audience’s emotions of empathetic grief with a scene of Bush, happy. This perceives Bush irreverent, insulated and callous, because our previous emotions are of grief are managing and judgments of this new thing the audience is offered for consideration, Bush’s upbeat behaviour. This could be seen as propaganda, and is probably is seen as, but this could be the way Moore chooses to edit, he also did this in ‘Bowling for Columbine’, which was not seen as propaganda.
Fahrenheit 9/11 will always be seen in two ways. As a propagandistic film posing conspiracy theories in support of a pacifist American foreign policy but also as a documentary acting as the voice of the people wanting the truth. In the eyes of Moore, the latter is the reason for its being and is yet to be proved as anti-propaganda. That would depend if the allegations made in the film were ever to be exposed as truth, and that would mean that America’s hierarchy would fall and the media would be exposed by itself, a simple documentary.
An Op-Ed is a piece of writing expressing an opinion or editorial. Most op-ed pieces take the form of an essay or thesis, using arguments to promote a point of view. Such a point of view is usually in line with the newspaper’s editorial slant, though dissenting opinions are often given space to promote discussion.