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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Michael Moore undercounts Congressional sons in Iraq; other data holds up

In the movie Fahrenheit 9-11 Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson is the only member of Congress with a child serving in Iraq. But according to an article in today's San Diego Union-Tribune, at least two Republican Congressmen also have children serving in Iraq. Apparently, the information Moore used in the movie was outdated; on his website Moore cites a May, 2003 article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In May, 2003, it might or might not have been true that only one member of Congress has a child in Iraq, but it is certainly not true today.

On the other hand, Moore has been able to substantiate most of the other claims made in the movie. Moore's critics should note that the documentary gadfly has been able to provide a list of sources for the following claims.

1) Fox was the first network to "call" the 2000 election.

2) A key figure working at Fox's election desk was John Ellis, a first cousin of President Bush. Ellis was in phone contact with George W. Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush during the moments he was making the election "projection" for Fox, according to CNN. John Ellis' role in deciding the outcome of the election has also been confirmed by PBS, CBS, and other news organizations.

3) George W. Bush spent 42 percent of the first eight months of his Presidency, leading up to Sept. 11, on vacation (the source Moore attributes this to is conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer. The Houston Chronicle published a similar figure... but for all of Bush's presidency through April 11, 2004. As of last April, Bush had made 33 trips to Crawford, Texas, 78 trips to Camp David and five to the family compound in Maine, according to the Chronicle.

4) The White House secretly arranged for 142 Saudis–including 24 members of the bin Laden family– to fly out of the U.S. between Sept. 14 and Sept. 24, 2001.

For a full list of Fahrenheit 9-11's sources, go to Michael Moore's website. Moore's investigation into Bush's murky business past--and it's relationship to current business in Iraq--is well worth a read. You'll also find a ton of information about intelligence failures during the Bush administration--too much information for me to try to summarize on this blog.


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