Letters to the Editor

Moore no traitor, but model of free speech
Re: Column “Michael Moorea nuisance, nothing more,” May 24

Michael Moore is an acclaimed, and oft challenged, director of documentaries. He prides himself on being a “fact-finder,” which is more than you, Mr. Fowler, can say for yourself. Have you actually seen any of his films or read any of his books? Your quotes hardly seem to justify accusing a person of near treason. Practicing free speech is not treason. Proof of this is in the U.S. Constitution, Article III, Section 3.

Moore is not anti-American. I, and many other Americans, admire his ability to critically examine his country. The Declaration of Independence states that it is not only the right, but also the duty, of the people to speak out against, and alter, any form of government that threatens their unalienable rights. Virtually the only institution in this nation to set forth policy that prevents itself from questioning the presidential administration is the military, because the president is their Commander in Chief. However, in these uneasy times, even the Pentagon is unhappy with President George W. Bush’s policy in Iraq — particularly the governing council he has appointed. When neither Congress, the military, nor the administration can agree on post-war foreign policy, I would agree with Moore that it is “our mess,” and no other nation has the responsibility to clean it up.

Freedom entails the right to question what authority is telling us. We should also be free to observe the examples of other democratic nations, such as France — which, by the way, has been around a lot longer than us, through many more wars and revolutions, its own imperialistic era and which also holds a seat on the U. N. Security Council. What I hear you advocating, Mr. Fowler, is a nation in isolation, with its eyes closed and its ears covered, unable to see what’s really going on at home and abroad and which is deaf to the stories of our past.

You may disregard Michael Moore as a nuisance and a “Lefty.” However, without the Left, where many of those artists, McDonalds employees and professors — whom you so flippantly dismiss — choose to participate in their democracy, there would be no right. Perhaps, as consciousness rises nearing the election, we may be able to see “Fahrenheit 9/11” in the Tampa Bay area. I am inspired by people like Moore, who gain international recognition for lighting fires under the dominating, American right, where you, Mr. Fowler, so uncomfortably sit.

Onna Van Orden is a senior majoring in Psychology.

Adam Fowler’s column epitomizes the increasingly familiar concept of the right-wing echo chamber, where facts are far less important than endlessly repeated political rhetoric. Mr. Fowler’s “opinion” is based entirely on four other writer’s views of Michael Moore and his work. His column is nothing more than a rehash of opinions blathered by barely credible sources and misinterpreted facts.

Two of the four sources Fowler quoted in his column were The Hollywood Reporter and The New York Post. What Mr. Fowler neglected to point out is that the quote attributed to The Hollywood Reporter was actually that of its film critic, and The New York Post quote, in fact, came from an article on the famous “Page Six” gossip section of the paper.

Although his third source was not named, a few quick Internet searches turned up a bumper crop of right-wing Web sites featuring the referenced quote. By using the phrase “reportedly said,” Fowler seems to be suggesting that Michael Moore made this “almost treasonous” comment in secret, and that he would be horribly embarrassed and discredited should it become public knowledge. In reality, the entire article containing the quote can be found on Michael Moore’s own Web site under the heading “Mike’s Message.” The quote used by Fowler was, in fact, taken out of context from a several-page satirical message about the situation in Iraq.

The problem inherent in parroting other people’s opinions rather than arriving at one’s own is demonstrated beautifully in Fowler’s “analysis” of his fourth source; The Wall Street Journal’s opinionjournal.com. Here, Fowler lambastes those lazy, unemployed French artists who draw crude “stick drawings” and are protesting having their taxpayer-funded welfare checks taken away from them. Had he bothered to do a simple Google search before writing, he would have found out that the “artists” in question are working members of the French film industry, and that the “welfare” benefits that they are upset about losing are unemployment insurance benefits. Perhaps it never occurred to him that when reading an editorial from a European source, words such as “artists” and “welfare” might have different meanings.

Let us hope, for Fowler’s sake, that those professors who “espoused socialist ideals and are now in positions of authority over students” don’t bother to fact-check any papers he writes too deeply.

Daniel Brewer is a junior majoring in psychology.

I respect each and every person’s different opinion. However, the column about Michael Moore being a nuisance made me reminisce about the McCarthy era.

By now one would have thought people would have gotten over the accusations of being “anti-American.” But, after reading that column, maybe I put too much faith in some Americans; so much faith that I refused to believe what took place in those Iraqi prisons. It was wrong to say the least, regardless of who did it and why. And I agree with Michael Moore’s response, because people supported this war without the impression that soldiers would die. What is so sad is now many are losing their loved ones, while the hate toward Americans elevates.

It is quite evident that there are terrorists in Iraq, but not all of them are. We must understand that war affects both the guilty and the innocent.

Maybe the American people can forgive the Iraqi citizens for crimes committed by Iraqi terrorists against us. And perhaps one day the innocent Iraqi citizens will forgive America for some of its mistakes and recognize that we are really trying to help. Then again, they may pass the story down to the next generation, creating the spark for a young terrorist. But it is nevertheless a consequence of America’s actions, which in this case is a negative one.

Michael Moore’s quote is not treasonous, but far from it. In this country we have the right to free speech and press for a very obvious reason.

I may not agree with everything Moore may say, but I happen to think he is one of the most pro-American people in this country. Why? Because he is speaking about injustices and what needs to change to make this country even better than what it already is. I hope we start to think about whom our real leaders are. And is being anti-capitalist a bad thing? Do we really want to have privatized operations with no government interventions? Because that is ultimately what capitalism stands for. Without public institutions, integration in the ’60s would not have been possible. And if Michael Moore speaks out about what’s being done wrong and is heavily criticized, maybe we should evaluate our American values.

Courtnie Copeland is a sophomore majoring in political science.

Adam, would you consider someone who is giving most of his profits to American charities anti-American? He loves his country, he (and most of the world agrees with him) just can’t stand the government and the way American governments have been treating other countries around the world. This is fairly understandable when you see the figures: the United States funded many groups such as the Taliban, the United States didn’t ratify the Kyoto Protocol (which intends to reduce worldwide pollution), and went to a war without the agreement of the United Nations.

Michael Moore is a leftist for sure, but fighting for the rights of poor people, fighting against all the social dysfunctions of this country, is not a crime to me when one sees that the system is designed only to benefit the richest people.

Furthermore, being an exchange student from France, I was pretty shocked by your weak arguments. You are talking about my country like the dark force when you say, “again we are talking about France.” As if pronouncing the name was already an explanation of what you just said. It is not.

Let me explain to you what the problem is with these artists (no need for quotation marks; they are.) The French government decided to cut back on the checks of these artists without concerting with them. These checks were designed to help cultural creation. As every country is very attached to its culture, a lot of people see in these cuts the death of some parts of culture, ranging from movies to music to visual arts. Let me inform you that proper access to culture (which isn’t just switching channels on TV) is considered a human right by the Human Rights League.

Also, please update your edition of your political science book, because France is not a communist country that doesn’t respect individual property, but is definitely for the social welfare of the masses and not a few individuals. Both of our countries consider some truths to be self-evident by, but you forgot that because what you are doing is basically racism.

Nicolas Royer is a junior majoring in finance and an exchange student from France.