Wednesday, September 26, 2018

IN REVIEW Michael Moore's Flop: ‘Fahrenheit 11/9’

By John Anderson

Michael Moore’s career is one of the great American con jobs, not that it doesn’t make a certain historical sense. His fan base is small, but ardent. He appeals to his viewers’ worst instincts. He tells them exactly what they want to hear. He conveniently ignores anything that doesn’t buttress his own arguments. He borrows ideas from the most dubious sources. His raison d’être is self-promotion. Some might go so far as to call him the left’s version of Donald Trump.

Which is funny, because “Fahrenheit 11/9,” Mr. Moore’s latest catalog of political woes—many of which, by the way, are perfectly legitimate—is presented as being a documentary about the state of Trump America; the poster for the film is a highly unflattering shot of the presidential rear end, midswing at a golf course. But Mr. Moore, who hasn’t made anything close to an honest film since “Bowling for Columbine” (2002), is immune to his own irony: One of the chief plaints of “11/9”—in which he trashes Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the New York Times, the entire Democratic establishment and anyone who predicted a Clinton win in the 2016 election—is about the media’s slavish attention to Mr. Trump. In a movie devoted to Mr. Trump.

But there’s more than a little bait-and-switch going on in “Fahrenheit 11/9,” and it raises the question of what exactly Mr. Moore is, other than a propagandist. He’s not a journalist, except of the online-aggregator variety—there’s not much in “11/9” that one wouldn’t get during an evening’s viewing of MSNBC. Almost the entire movie is lifted from other sources, and then edited in a way that makes his enemies (do they know they’re his enemies?) look as foolish as possible. The punditry is trite. The snark is boring.

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