Fahrenheit 9/11 deconstruction
After the September Twin Tower Bombings, the media exploded into a frenzy of piranhas, attacking any fresh scrap of information they could. Politicians were scrutinised and pummelled for answers from a media crazed nation. One particular journalist to voice his opinion was none other than famous documentarian Michael Moore.
Michael Moore is a left wing film maker and documentarian. He is the go to man for the latest controversial issues, discussing in many of his documentaries, taboo subjects that serve as a sturdy vehicle for his extremely biased left wing political ideologies. In his documentary Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore attacks none other than America’s right wing President George Bush (Who lead America from 2000-2008), accusing him of making bad political decisions and worrying more about his business decisions with the Saudis’ than the American people.
Fahrenheit 9/11 routines a wide array of visual and audio techniques in order to convey its political message about the Bush administration to the viewer. These will be analysed in great detail through the duration of this speech, and will prove why Fahrenheit 9/11 is an extremely unfair representation of Bush and his administration.
Three main techniques that Moore exploits in his documentary for influence towards his negative bias towards Bush are, the use of silencing, the carefully placed and timed selection of images overlaid in conjunction with music and finally, the grossly out of context imagery used against Bush throughout the extent of the film.
Silencing within a documentary in contradiction of a particular topic enables a documentarian to manipulate real world facts. The Use of silencing in Fahrenheit 9/11 is intensely apparent as the film progresses. Moore often freezes Bush’s image onscreen, and fills Bush’s mouth with meticulously selected words that Moore desires us to hear. This gives us, the viewer, a sense of what Bush was thinking to himself, when in actual fact no one knows what Bush was thinking. A prime example of Moore’s excellent use of silencing is when Bush is informed about the nature of the twin tower bombings while reading a children’s book in a classroom. Moore uses a close up of Bush appearing dumbfounded, and slows the film down. Moore soon after informs the audience what Bush would have been thinking, which is obviously not true. By filling his mouth with his words, Moore is able to forward his negative bias towards Bush. This is also appeal to ignorance, as there is no one of the general public who would possess a slither of an idea what Bush would have been thinking, Which is exactly why Moore makes use of this technique. Throughout the entirety of the film, Bush is never graced with the opportunity to defend the allegations made against him. This expert use of silencing and appeal to ignorance against George Bush creates an unfair representation of the Bush administration.
The use of Juxtaposition
Should juxtaposition be used as a documentary technique in a political documentary?
Another technique commonly practised by Moore is the Use of carefully selected imagery with overlaid music, this is commonly known as juxposition. It is an effect that many documentarians use to bombard two senses of the viewer with their bias at the same time. Moore creates a fabulous sense of juxposition through the playing of an ironic Banjo duet in the background whilst flashing images of Bush onscreen as he races to victory in the 2000 election.
The entirety of this scene is the ad homenim fallacy, directed towards Bush. This is due to the fact that Moore is subtly advocating that the fate of American politics is in the hands of country southern redneck. This makes Bush look like a fool, and the entirety of Southern America is played as a joke, as it is implied that their (Southern Americans) vote is a laugh. This scene Makes viewers believe that the country is being taken over, and bush is pulling the country down. The crafty use of this technique re-iterates why this documentary is an unfair representation of Bush.
Using out of context imagery is One of Michael Moore’s favourite techniques, and is featured many times throughout the duration Fahrenheit 9/11. Using out of context imagery enables documentarians to recreate events that never occurred, to support their bias. Moore does this to try to show us how George Bush doesn’t take being the president seriously and loves to vacation. Out of context imagery is essentially just the appeal to ignorance fallacy. Moore banks on the fact that we as the viewers don’t know exactly where and when the image was taken from. For example, there is a particular scene when Moore is speaking about the election, and how Bush is beginning to win. Moore cleverly cuts to a video of bush laughing hysterically, as though he takes the election as one big joke. This paints a negative image of Bush in the Viewers mind, which is exactly what Moore desires. This sneaky use of out of context imagery realises Fahrenheit 9/11 as an unfair representation of Bush.
To conclude, Moore uses a variety of techniques in order to voice his negative bias against George Bush. He makes superb use of out of context imagery in order to make Bush appear worse than reality, this gives Bush unfair representation on his behalf. Moore also selects particular images and music to bombard viewers visually and audibly. This makes it possible for Moore to bombard two of our senses at the same time with his negative bias towards Bush. Finally Moore makes usage of silences throughout the film to fill Bush with words Moore wants you to hear. This inhibits Bush from ever defending himself throughout the entirety of the film. Through the clever and manipulative use of these fallacies and textual techniques, Moore is able to influence the viewer to have confidence in his negative bias of Bush, and believe it for themselves.