The Story of Stuff

Posted in Documentary Films on August 30th, 2009 by JT – Be the first to comment

Bill O’Reilly’s use of the phrase “shut up”

Posted in Outfoxed on July 13th, 2009 by JT – 1 Comment

Outfoxed shows Bill O’Reilly airing a critical e-mail and defending himself from it:

O’REILLY: Paula Evan, Winston-Salem North Carolina: [LETTER GRAPHIC] “Bill, if you are so concerned about public figures being bad role models for children please stop rudely interrupting your guest and telling them to shut up!”

Well the “shut up” line has happened only once in six years, Miss Evans…

Immediately following this, Outfoxed plays a montage of 7 additional clips of O’Reilly saying “shut up” in contradiction to his claim that he has only done so once.

The truth however, is that O’Reilly’s response to the e-mail scolding him to stop telling his guests “to shut up” is accurate. In the first 6 years of the O’Reilly Factor, there was only one instance where Bill O’Reilly told a guest “to shut up”. As shown below, Greenwalds montage of “shut up”s jump in time to The O’Reilly Factor’s 7th and 8th year, a clip not from The O’Reilly Factor and include moments where he is merely saying the phrase “shut up” and nottelling a guest to do so.


As throughout the film, director Robert Greenwald gives the audience no attribution or context to the footage being shown, allowing him to mold it to fit the various arguments he wishes to make.

The footage of O’Reilly responding to the e-mail chiding him for telling his guest to “shut up” is from The O’Reilly Factor on November 15, 2002.

Only 2 of the following clips took place before Nov. 15 2002, and only one of them show O’Reilly “interrupting [his] guest and telling them to shut up”.

QUOTE: I’m asking you to shut up about sex…
WHEN: Sept. 24, 2002
CONTEXT: O’Reilly asks homosexual guest Derek Henkle why he was so public about his sexuality.

QUOTE: Shut up. Shut up.
WHEN: Feb. 4, 2003
CONTEXT: During a discussion with anti-war protester Jeremy Glick, O’Reilly expressed his offense at some of Glicks comments, which O’Reilly perceived to be anti-American and offensive. Glick interrupted and continued to talk over the host and in response was told to shut up.

QUOTE: Why did you have to tell them you were an atheist if you didn’t have any trouble reading the oath, why didn’t you just shut up?
WHEN: Oct. 30, 2002
CONTEXT: O’Reilly asking atheist Eagle Scout, Darrel Lambert why he volunteered the declaration that he is an atheist when he was content with saying the Boy Scout oath, saying “I want to quote this—’On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and to my country and obey Scout law,’ on and on and on and on. I mean, God’s in the first 10 words. So – why did you have to tell them you were an atheist if you didn’t have any trouble reading the oath? Why didn’t you just shut up?”.

QUOTE: What Jimmy Carter should do is privately give Mr. Bush his opinion and shut up publicly. That would be best for the country.
WHEN: Feb. 18, 2003
CONTEXT: In the Talking Points Memo segment that opens each edition of The O’Reilly Factor, Bill opines that former President Carter’s public statements against the Iraq war are inappropriate and harmful to the country.

QUOTE: And it is our duty as loyal Americans to shut up once the fighting begins.
WHEN: Mar. 3, 2003
CONTEXT: Outfoxed cropped the video to delete the rest of the sentence O’Reilly actually said, thereby change the meaning. The full quote from O’Reilly was:

“And it is our duty as loyal Americans to shut up once the fighting begins, unless—unless facts prove the operation wrong, as was the case in Vietnam.

QUOTE: Once the war against Saddam begins we expect every American to support our military and if they can’t do that – to shut up.
WHEN: Feb. 26, 2003
CONTEXT: During the shows Talking Points Memo segment, O’Reilly opined that while the country is losing blood and treasure in combat, it deserves support from the citizens, elaborating that “Americans, and indeed our allies, who actively work against our military once the war is underway will be considered enemies of the state by me.”

QUOTE: [crosstalk from Al Franken saying "No no no no no no"]: “Hey, shut up! [Franken: I don't have to shut up] You had your 35 minutes. Shut. up.”
WHEN: June 1, 2003
CONTEXT: On the much publicized C-Span book expo, Al Franken exceeded his speaking time limit without challenge, alleging (dishonestly) that O’Reilly lied about winning a Peabody award. During O’Reilly’s allotted time to defend himself, Franken interrupted saying “no no no no no no”, and O’Reilly shot back as shown.

Carl Cameron Bush interview

Posted in Outfoxed on July 12th, 2009 by JT – Be the first to comment

Outfoxed smears Fox News Washington correspondent Carl Cameron, claiming in a voiceover that “It was well known in the summer of 2000 that Fox’s lead political correspondent covering the Bush campaign, that his wife was campaigning for Bush”, however the film provides dubious evidence of this, and Bowling For Truth has been unable to find evidence of this allegation.


Outfoxed uses the distortion technique of telling the viewer what they are about to see so they may watch it through the filter of their set up. In fact, despite the implication by Outfoxed that the video shows Carl Cameron mentioning that his wife campaigned for Bush, no such statement in made. Instead, Cameron mentions that his wife had been spending time with Dorothy Bush, the Governor Bush’s sister, and that Dorothy had been campaigning for Bush-Cheney. Outfoxed inserts the unsupported claim that Carl Cameron’s wife Pauline was “known” to be campaigning for Bush right before footage showing Cameron chatting with Bush off-air mentioning Pauline’s friendly association with Dorothy Bush.

CAMERON: My wife has been hanging out with your sister [Dorothy "Doro" Bush].
BUSH: Yeah good. My county…
CAMERON: Dorothy has been all over the state campaigning and Pauline’s been constantly with her.

Outfoxed provides no context for these statements so the viewer is tricked into going along with the false setup (that Cameron’s wife was the one campaigning).

The exchange states that Dorothy Bush has been “campaigning” for her brother and Carls wife Pauline Cameron has been “hanging out” with Dorothy and “constantly with her”. At no time does either man make any statement of Pauline Cameron working for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

BUSH: Yeah, Doro’s a good person.
CAMERON: Oh, she’s been terrific. I mean, to hear Pauline tell it. When she first started campaigning for you, she was a little bit nervous.

Cameron says “[Dorothy Bush, has] been terrific” according to his wife Pauline (“I mean, to hear Pauline tell it”).  So who is the “she” who was nervous “when she first started campaigning for you”? Who is the only person either Cameron or Bush said was campaigning? Dorothy Bush.

BUSH: She’s getting her stride.
CAMERON: Now she’s up there. She doesn’t need notes. She’s going to crowds and she’s got the whole riff down.
BUSH: She’s a good soul.

By not explaining who Dorothy and Pauline are and each’s relation to Bush and Cameron respectively, Outfoxed tricks the viewer into hearing what they want them to hear instead of what was actually said.


Despite lack of evidence and ignoring Outfoxed’s dishonest portrayal of of the Cameron/Bush exchange; if one were to assume that Carl Cameron’s wife did have some level of involvement with the Bush-Cheney campaign, it is a fallacy to conclude that this alone is proof of bias.

Outfoxed never addresses the fallacy behind their claim and makes no attempt to argue exactly why having a spouse that favors a political candidate says anything about the other spouse.

Mary Matlin and James Carville worked on President H.W. Bush’s and Bill Clintons campaign respectively and remain opposite partisans today – something that is impossible according to Outfoxed antiquated claim that a wife must mirror her husbands opinions.

Outfoxed not only makes the baseless accusation that Carl Cameron’s wife had an involvement with the Bush campaign, but asks the viewer to then assume that Mrs Camerons political opinions must automatically be the same as her husbands.


Outfoxed ignores the fact that during the 2004 campaign, Fox News host Greta Van Susteren provided far more hours of political and election coverage for Fox News than Cameron despite being married to John Kerry’s top fundraiser.

Van Susterens husband John Coal was a prominent Clinton supporter throughout the 90s and has given tens of thousands of dollars in donations to Democrats over the years.

In 2006, Van Susteren’s sister, Lise was a Democrat candidate in the primary for the nomination of the party to the U.S. Senate.

Thus, Outfoxed’s logic actually argues against the intended thesis: Fox News’ use of Van Susteren proves a left wing bias at Fox News.

“Some people say”

Posted in Outfoxed on July 12th, 2009 by JT – Be the first to comment

Outfoxed contains a scene claiming to expose a “Fox News technique” of using the phrase “some people say” as a way to “insert unsourced opinion into news briefs.”  To prove this allegation, a montage follows showing with Fox anchors and commentators (though no distinction is made between the two by Outfoxed) using the phrase.


Peter Hart of the left wing media watchdog FAIR, says on screen that “Journalistically it’s a very peculiar technique because the idea behind journalism is that you’re sourcing who you’re referring to. This is just sort of a clever way of inserting political opinion when you know it probably shouldn’t be there.”

The montage however is guilty of using exactly the technique it is expressing outrage over as its lack of context for any of the clips allows Greenwald to “insert unsourced opinion” into a supposedly factual presentation.

Outfoxed provides none of the context for almost all of the examples, and only limited context for others, and provides no evidence or argument beyond the flat statement that this technique is used by


Despite portraying this “Fox News technique” as being a uniquely Fox tactic, the film offers no evidence that Fox News uses “some people say” more than any other news outlet.

Brent Bozell notes that this complaint “might have merit – if [Director] Greenwald would also consider that this device is used by every other single news network as a way of questioning politicians”.

In fact, a simple Google search reveals the use of the phrase across network lines:

NBC – Katie Couric: you know some people say Hollywood folks should stick to acting.”

PBS – Elizabeth Farnsworth: Some people say this is the greatest American play.

PBS – Jim Lehrer: Well, some people say that it doesn’t look like to the innocent observer…

CNN – Elizabeth Cohen: And some people say, look, when you look at the statistics…

CNN – Nic Robertson: Some people saying yes, they’re dead, ashamed that the coalition forces killed them

MSNBC – Joe Scarborough: Well, Dee Dee, some people say that Richard Clarke doesn‘t have a political agenda.

NBC – Matt Lauer: Some people say that’s what you’ve done.

A search of ABC News alone turned up 202 results for “some people say” and an additional 1,756 results for the shorter “some say”.

  • Credit Card Pain: Some Say Goodbye to Fixed Rates
  • Before Approving a Second Stimulus Plan, Some Say Spend the First $787 Billion Properly
  • First Hispanic Justice? Some Say It Was Cardozo
  • Foreclosure Report: Some say the recession is over, but number of homes in foreclosure grows.
  • Money Matters (05.13.09) - Some say the recession is over, but number of homes in foreclosure grows.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s war of words with the CIA may not be fully over as the speaker’s allies seize on comments made by CIA Director Leon Panetta that some say could vindicate her charge
  • Holocaust Shooting Signals Race Turmoil, Some Say
  • Some Say It’s OK for Girls to Go Wild
  • Some Say GM, Chrysler Should Stop Lobbying
  • GMA Gets Answers: Private Medicaid HMOs – Some say they struggle to get care with Medicaid HMOs.
  • Some say it’s unhealthy for girls to indulge in princess fantasies.

2000 Florida Recount

Posted in Fahrenheit 9/11 on July 7th, 2009 by JT – Be the first to comment

Moore shows a clip of CNN legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin saying that if ballots had been recounted in Florida after the 2000 presidential vote saying:

Moore [narrating]: And even if numerous independent investigations prove that Gore got the most votes –

Toobin: If there was a statewide recount, under every scenario, Gore won the election.

Moore [narrating]: — it won’t matter just as long as all your daddy’s friends on the Supreme Court vote the right way.

What Moore doesn’t show is that a six-month study in 2001 by a consortium of six major news organizations — the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Tribune Co. (parent of the L.A. Times), Associated Press and CNN; plus two Florida papers, the Palm Beach Post and St. Petersburg Times — found just the opposite.

Even if the Supreme Court had not stopped a statewide recount, or if a more limited recount of four heavily Democratic counties had taken place,

Even if the statewide recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court had not been stopped by the Federal Supreme Court, the consortium of news sources found that Bush still would have won Florida and the election under two different scenarios: counting only “undervotes,” or taking into account the reported intentions of some county electoral officials to include “overvotes” as well.

During the CNN appearance from which Moore draws the clip, reporter Candy Crowley explained that Toobin’s analysis assumed the statewide consideration of “overvotes,” which was not a sure thing, though there are indications that Leon County Circuit Court judge Terry Lewis, who was supervising the recount, might have directed counties to consider them.

George W. Bush would have won a hand count of Florida’s disputed ballots if the standard advocated by Al Gore had been used, the first full study of the ballots reveals. Bush would have won by 1,665 votes — more than triple his official 537-vote margin — if every dimple, hanging chad and mark on the ballots had been counted as votes, a USA TODAY/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder study shows. The study is the first comprehensive review of the 61,195 “undervote” ballots that were at the center of Florida’s disputed presidential election.
USA TODAY: Newspapers’ recount shows Bush prevailed

Bush’s summer “vacation”

Posted in Fahrenheit 9/11 on July 7th, 2009 by JT – Be the first to comment

Director Michael Moore portrays President Bush as derelict in his duty as president during a montage alleging

“George Bush spent the rest of August at the ranch where life was less complicated.”

False. The President was in Texas from August 7-13 and 21-25. The rest of the month was spent traveling to New Mexico, Colorado, Wisconsin, Missouri and then back to Washington at the end of the month.

The criticism of Bush’s August “vacation” is not only factually inaccurate, but is also wrong in spirit, as the Presidency travels with the President and Bush’s time in Texas within August 2001 did not see a “vacation” style lull in presidential duty.

Bush continued receiving daily security briefings (except Sunday) and had his staff with him, along with a number of reporters. Bush accomplished various work most days, and traveled away from the ranch during this time, contrary to Moore’s claim.

From the Official White House Press Briefing for August travel arrangements;

While in Texas, he will have a working vacation there. I was going to do this at the end of the briefing. Let me give you some information now. But the President will travel for approximately two days a week each week during his visit to Texas. The upcoming week, he will travel one day to build a house in nearby Waco, Texas, to participate in a Habitat for Humanity event.

The following week, the President will travel to Colorado and New Mexico. The week following that, the President will travel roughly three days to Wisconsin and other locations TBD. He’ll also travel to Pennsylvania that week.

The following week, the President will have an event in nearby San Antonio, and you can also anticipate travel over Labor Day weekend to some unnamed cities as of this point.

A review of the White House news archive for August 2001 shows this month to be anything but a —vacation“.

White House, —News releases for August 2001
White House Press Briefing, August 1, 2001
White House Press Briefing, August 3, 2001
White House Press Briefing, August 9, 2001
White House Press Briefing, August 22, 2001
White House Press Briefing, August 31, 2001

It is naïve to think that the President spent an entire month doing nothing, as Michael Moore implies.

Bush’s first months in office

Posted in Fahrenheit 9/11 on July 6th, 2009 by JT – Be the first to comment

Moore assess Bush’s entrance into the presidency as follows:

“No President had ever witnessed such a thing on his inauguration day. And for the next eight months it didn’t get any better for George W. Bush.”

He proceeds to make the following charges:

“He couldn’t get his judges appointed;”

False.  When Jim Jeffords left the Republican party, switching control of the senate, the Democrat controlled Senate stalled the confirmation (not “appointment”) of some of the judges whom Bush had nominated for the federal courts.

Despite the obstruction of some of Bush’s judicial nominees, Bush did indeed get a number of judges appointed and confirmed by Congress. This DOJ page shows the judicial confirmations that took place during the 107th Congress.  Every one of these was a Bush appointee.

“He had trouble getting his legislation passed;”

Partially True. Under this narration, Moore shows a clip of an unfurling Greenpeace banner protesting drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve.  However, what Moore fails to mention is that during this time period Bush got a massive tax cut passed, the Economic Growth and Tax Reform Reconciliation Act of 2001.  Even if this was the only thing Bush accomplished during this time period (it wasn’t) it would show Moore’s assertion to be patently untrue.

“And he lost Republican control of the Senate;”

True, though misleading. The footage shows Senator Jim Jeffords, who defected from the GOP to become an independent who agreed to caucus with the Democrats.

Yes, Bush lost control of the senate, but Moore’s larger argument of alleged Bush failure is invalid here, considering that in the first election cycle after the defection, American voters returned control of the Senate to Republican hands, and saw Jim Jeffords making overtures to his former party to keep his committee chairmanship.

“His approval ratings in the polls began to sink;”

Misleading. Moore shows a screen displaying Bush with 53% job approval on May 3, and 45% on September 5. The screen shot includes no source for this alleged poll.

University of Minnesota History Professor Steven Ruggles has compiled a chart showing Bush’s approval ratings in 13 major polls throughout his Presidency. According the chart, never during 2001 did Bush’s approval rating fall as low as 45% in any of the polls.

As David Koppel notes: Nor did Bush’s approval ratings really “sink” after inauguration day. Bush’s popularity ratings rose significantly in April (when his tax cut was the main issue in Congress), and then returned to more normal levels in June. From Bush’s inaugural until September 10, almost all of his approval ratings were in the 50-60% range, with only a few results from an occasional poll either higher or lower.

Air Force plaque

Posted in Bowling For Columbine on July 6th, 2009 by JT – 1 Comment

Transitioning from the Wonderful World montage, Bowling shows a B-52 memorial at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Moore intones:

“The plaque underneath it proudly proclaims that this plane killed Vietnamese people on Christmas Eve 1972.”

The editing that puts this scene in sequence directly following the conclusion of the “Wonderful World” montage which ends with footage of the airplanes hitting the Twin Towers implies that the United States government and Al-Qaeda both perpetrate murder by airplane. This phrasing intentionally insinuates that the plaque praises the bombing of civilians.

In fact, the plaque on the B-52 at the AFA is not as Moore describes it. The plaque says :

“B-52D Stratofortress. ‘Diamond Lil.’ Dedicated to the men and women of the Strategic Air Command who flew and maintained the B-52D throughout its 26-year history in the command. Aircraft 55-083, with over 15,000 flying hours, is one of two B-52Ds credited with a confirmed MIG kill during the Vietnam Conflict Flying out of U-Tapao Royal Thai Naval Airfield in southern Thailand, the crew of ‘Diamond Lil’ shot down a MIG northeast of Hanoi during ‘Linebacker II’ action on Christmas Eve, 1972.”

Hardly sounds like a proud proclamation of Vietnamese killing. But Moore brushes it off. According to Ebert, Moore’s response to this criticism was as follows: “I was making a point about the carpet bombing of Vietnam during the 1972 Christmas offensive. I did not say exactly what the plaque said but was paraphrasing.”

However, offering no evidence to support the claim that this historical account was in any way bragging about civilian death – Moore boldly deceives the audience here. Since he supports his opinion of the plaques supposed inferences with nothing, we must rely on grammar – none of which has a hint of anything that denotes pride in death. He of course doesn’t show the plaque so he can get away with the deception, and didn’t expecting anyone to check him on this fact, and thus gets away with it.

The truth behind the plaque is a much different story, as told by David Hardy of

“The particular feat was accomplished by Airman First Class Albert E. Moore, who brought down a MiG-21 which was closing to attack ‘Diamond Lil.’ The reason its MiG kill was so celebrated was that a B-52 which got within range of a fighter almost always lost the fight. B-52s were built on the assumption that enemy fighters would be kept at bay by their own fighter escort, and so they had minimal defensive guns.

A WWII B-17 carried, oh, 10 to 14 (depending on model) .50 machineguns facing in every possible direction; they flew in dense formations so that there were hundreds or thousands of guns covering each direction. Facing WWII fighters, the B-17s still took severe losses.

A B-52 had only one defensive gun position, in its tail, which could cover no direction save rearwards: early models had four .50s in it, later ones a 20 mm. It had, in short, a lot less defensive capability, yet was up against modern jet fighters with hundreds of knots speed advantage, air-to-air missiles that could kill from miles off, and heavier guns for close-in. If an enemy fighter closed on a B-52, odds of survival were low.

Diamond Lil was thus commemorated for its rare feat of downing the attacking enemy fighter, instead of being downed by it.

A feat which Moore apparently finds appalling.”

Moore thus confirms the absurdity of the blame-America-first position popular among the Hollywood Left, by showing that such views require the ignoring of obvious facts — such as the difference between financial aid to a dictatorship and humanitarian aid to refugees, or between fighting enemy pilots and perpetrating war crimes against civilians.


Special notice from :

The DVD captures Moore exaggerating this still further, saying during a speech at the University of Denver on February 26, 2003 that the B-52 participated in the massive Christmas Eve bombing campaign. “And they’ve got a plaque on there proudly proclaiming that this bomber, this B-52, killed thousands upon thousands of Vietnamese — innocent civilians.”

In both cases, his representation of the plaque is extremely dishonest.

K-Mart & Columbine

Posted in Bowling For Columbine on July 6th, 2009 by JT – 1 Comment

Moore introduces the wounded kids to a Public Relations lady for K-Mart telling her they were shot at Columbine “with bullets from K-Mart.” One of the kids mumbles something about how he was thinking about how K-Mart should “stop selling bullets” now that they stopped selling handguns. The PR lady says she would certainly take this message to the K-Mart Chairman who is not there at the moment.

When the K-Mart man who does the bullet-buying comes out to speak with Moore and the kids, Moore shows him their wounds “from your bullets.” We then see Moore and these shamefully exploited kids going to the local nearby K-Mart where they buy all the bullets and take them back to K-Mart headquarters. Then, amazingly, we see a K-Mart PR lady reading a statement saying that K-Mart “is phasing out the sale of all handgun ammunition… in the continental United States in the next 90 days.”

Seeking an explanation of this gutless cave-in, we called K-Mart headquarters and talked to Michele Jasukaitus, a spokesman for K-Mart. After several days of waiting, Jasukaitus told us she couldn’t answer our questions because the three top executives involved in this policy change were no longer with K-Mart.


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America’s Culture of fear

Posted in Bowling For Columbine on July 6th, 2009 by JT – Be the first to comment

A perfect example of Moore’s disingenuous explorations for truth is when he ironically interviews and cites the work of USC Professor Barry Glassner, whose book The Culture of Fear attacks the media for sensationalizing incidents of bad news while ignoring the bigger picture. One of the book’s primary examples is extensive media coverage of school shootings that ignores the overall downward trend in youth violence in recent years.

Moore criticizes weakly researched media stories that scare people over nothing (such as phony stories about razors in Halloween apples), but at the same time, his own factual claims are either invented or taken grossly out of context.

For instance, Moore lets Glassner criticize the media for sharply increasing coverage of homicides during a period when the actual homicide rate was falling. Yet his own frantic film about the terrible dangers of American gun violence comes even as gun crime rates have fallen sharply from their early 1990s levels. Glassner’s book points out that an American schoolchild is much more likely to be killed by lightning than in a school shooting. Yet Moore’s film rests on the premise that the Columbine shooting represents an American epidemic of violence.

Even while denouncing Americans for being so afraid of violent crime, Bowling for Columbine works hard to make them still more afraid…


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