Sunday, June 27

Moore vs. Ashcroft

"Those who find Michael Moore's propaganda hard to take can luxuriate in the knowledge that the only office he's likely ever to run for is Best Director. The idea that Mr. Ashcroft might be the guy standing between us and Armageddon, on the other hand, is already a reality and scarier than anything in 'The Day After Tomorrow."

Goebbels is in fashion everywhere these days. As Mr. Moore implies that the Bush administration is in cahoots with the native country of 15 of the 9/11 hijackers, so the Bush administration has itself used a sustained campaign of insinuation to float the false claim that Saddam Hussein was in cahoots with those hijackers, too. As Mr. Moore seeks to shape the story of what happened on 9/11, so the White House, President Bush included, collaborated on a movie project with the same partisan intent, "D.C. 9/11: Time of Crisis," seen on Showtime last fall. Instead of depicting Mr. Bush as continuing to read "My Pet Goat" to second graders for nearly seven minutes while the World Trade Center burned (as "Fahrenheit 9/11" does), "D.C. 9/11" showed the president (played by Timothy Bottoms) barking out take-charge lines like "If some tinhorn terrorist wants me, tell him to come on over and get me — I'll be home!"

In this fierce propaganda battle over the war on terrorism, the administration has been battling longer and harder than Michael Moore. And in John Ashcroft it has an even bigger camera hog in the starring role — no mean feat.

Frank Rich: The Best Goebbels of All?: