Has there even been a more powerful piece of anti-American propaganda than Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine.The controversial documentary has triggered off quite a debate about gun laws and the accuracy of his work. Crikey loved the movie but Tim Blair has lead the attack on its credibility.

He claims to be the only hack so far who has bothered to point out all of the errors and inaccuracies in the film and slams other hacks who have been far more glowing in their reviews.

The phenomenal popularity of the doco is infuriating right wing commentators.

However critics of Bowling for Columbine should chew on this update that Mike Moore sent out last night:

“I am David Schankula, the editor of MichaelMoore.com. While Mike is away for a few weeks, I thought I would bring you up to date on the latest news regarding “Bowling for Columbine” and “Stupid White Men.”

“Bowling for Columbine” continues to roll on across the country in a way no one ever imagined. It has not only set the new all-time box office record for a documentary, it has more than DOUBLED that record.

Over one hundred film critics have named “Bowling for Columbine” one of the “10 Best Films of the Year,” including Time magazine, Entertainment Weekly, the NY Post and the Associated Press. Papers like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel have gone even further and picked it as the “Best Film of the Year.”

In addition to this, the Online Film Critics Association has nominated the film as both “Best Documentary” and “Best Picture” of the year. The London Society of Film Critics has also nominated it as “Best Film.”

The National Board of Review has given “Bowling for Columbine” its award for “Best Documentary of the Year,” as have the Toronto Film Critics Association, the New York Society of Online Film Critics, the International Press Academy, and (our favorite) the Las Vegas Film Critics Association.

The Independent Spirit Awards and the Broadcast Film Critics Association have also nominated it “Best Documentary of the Year.”

As if all this weren’t enough, Michael was named by the BBC as their #1 “Newsmaker of the Year” (obviously a slow year for the royals), and Entertainment Weekly here in the U.S. named him as one of their 12 “Entertainers of the Year” (this one has clearly gone to his head as we now can’t get him to take off his top hat and stop singing show tunes around the office).

But most overwhelming were the results of a poll taken of over 2,000
documentary filmmakers around the U.S. and the world by the International Documentary Association. In this poll, “Bowling for Columbine” was named the “best documentary of all time” (and “Roger & Me” was ranked as #3).

(http://www.documentary.org/aboutida/press%20releases/prtop20.html)

I know Michael is very grateful for these recognitions, and all of us who worked on this movie for the past three years are honored by the response.

Our only hope now is that the issues raised in the movie continue to be debated, discussed and acted upon.

Your mail to us over the past few months has been both powerful and moving (we’re getting between a million and two million hits a day on our website

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If Moore wasn’t a millionaire before, he certainly is now. But what will such a devoted lefty do with his millions? Donate it all to the third world perhaps.

‘Bowling for Columbine’ has recorded the highest grossing opening week for a documentary in Australia, pulling in $454,600, which is more than three times the previous record held by U2’s ‘Rattle & Hum’.

With the amount of press coverage and critical acclaim the controversial documentary is receiving, it seems inevitable it will become the highest grossing documentary in Australia ever, a record currently held by ‘In Bed with Madonna’ with $2.2 million.

Bowling for Columbine is already the all-time documentary box-office champ in the US, having grossed over US$16 million and it is still performing very strong in Europe. Not surprisingly, the French seem to love it.

Having cost an estimated $US3.2 million, how much money will Mike Moore make from this film?

Mr and Mrs Crikey checked the movie out and enjoyed it full well. Moore is one of the most effective propagandists and campaigners we’ve ever seen but his left-wing agenda becomes a little sweeping – leaving himself wide open to attacks from the likes of Tim Blair.

He does indeed twist his plot and cherry pick grabs and stats to further his left agenda but it is hard to get away from some of his key points.

If the Yanks adopted Australia’s guns buy back regime they would save thousands of lives every years.

If you haven’t seen the film we’d encourage you to check it out and send in your thoughts as it is very provocative. If you like America and George Bush you won’t enjoy it.

Subscriber feedback on Tim Blair

Like you I read Tim Blair’s article yesterday and went to see Bowling for Columbine (however I had bought my ticket before reading the article so it had no influence on my decision!).

I thought the article was rather poor – he used up about a third of the space waffling on and the arguments were a collection of inconsequential quibbles.

There seems to be an attempt by the main papers to develop a new generation of right-wing scribblers to replace their collection of ageing hacks but none of them seem to be able to put a decent argument together.

I’ve read Tim Blair a couple of times and he appears to be one of the weakest. Surely the papers can find someone with sufficient ability to argue the right’s generally untenable positions without having to descend to abuse which is what usually happens. Perhaps we need someone to fund a chair of sophistry in one of our universities.

Regarding your comment about the gun buyback – one of the points Moore makes in the film is that Canada has a huge number of guns in the community and yet has a much lower level of homicide.

Terry Lane has argued that this is because Canadians are desperate not to be like Americans. I think the cartoon in the film presented the best argument – Americans have a long history of paranoia and this contributes to their willingness to use maximum force in doubtful situations.

Name supplied

Mike Moore a brilliant journalist

Tim Blair picks tiny faults in Bowling For Columbine, while burying his head in the sand about the real issues that Moore is raising.

Moore asks a lot of different people, including members of the bizarre group that Timothy McVeigh belonged to, why do so many Americans kill themselves? In the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter that the two Columbine killers actually didn’t go bowling that morning as earlier reported (they regularly did bowl), nor
that he didn’t interview black murder victims (he also didn’t interview white murder victims – for the very good reason that, black or white, once you’re murdered you can’t talk).

The film is a superb example of journalism.

Rob

Did they or did they not go bowling?

Hi Crikey,

Tim Blair claims on his site and in his movie review that the two Columbine shooters did not go bowling on the morning of their killing spree. The issue may seem trivial but, if Blair is correct, the movie’s more substantive facts are immediately open to question.

I emailed the legendary www.snopes.com for an expert opinion. Here’s the correspondence:

Me: “I read a conservative commentator’s review which claimed that the two killers did not, in fact, go bowling before committing their crime. The reviewer quoted a “police report”. If the killers did not, as Moore claims, go bowling then one must query the more substantive facts addressed in the movie. If they did then the commentator’s credibility is suspect. Can you help?”

Snopes: “They did go bowling, but they weren’t loners off bowling by
themselves, as the media often imply — they were bowling with other students as part of
their gym class. See, for example, this story.

But Blair seems to say that he’s relying on a more recent police report than Snopes’ 1999 article. So I emailed Blair yesterday asking for his source.

And, importantly, asking if the source was available before Moore’s movie was in the can. No reply yet (unsurprising on New Year’s Eve). One breathlessly awaits…

Happy New Year, Subscriber 57

Peter Fray

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