Follow up on the Michael Moore/Mirimax Affair

Fang-Face writes "There is an Associated Press article from 08 Apr about Disney's refusal to distribute Farenheit 911 . It contains more information about the situation, including a quotation from Jeb Bush that puts the lie to Eisner's contention that Disney is protecting its tax breaks.

"What tax break?" Florida Gov. Jeb Bush responded. "We don't give tax breaks, that I'm aware of, to Disney," Bush said.

Kindly note that wrong-wingers will not like this article as it has nothing to do with libraries or books. I am mentioning it because the issue has previous coverage and commentary here at LISNews."

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Re:What Nonsense

Yes it was a publicity stunt, but I don't think any less of Moore for doing it.

It would be impossible for me to think any less of him than I did before this nonsense.

Everything is not a conspiracy. Most problems can be attributed to incompetence or stupidity.

Look at the Iraq prison fiasco. Complete stupidity, but I don't see any conspiracy. It is really unfortunate that the average American in their late teens and early twenties is a moron. Poor parental supervision, useless public school education brought about by the need to make children feel valued no matter how wrong they are, coupled with barely literate teachers have cranked out a whole generation of children who think life is a 'Something about Mary' movie set with constant raunchy sexual innuendo.

Re:What Nonsense

I'm not saying its a conspiracy. Its the new rule, Do What You Want: if anyone complains cry 'First Amendment!', repeat as necessary.

What Nonsense

Here's the kicker:

[Moore said he officially found out on May 3 that Miramax would not be allowed to distribute the film, but his agent learned this a year ago.

"They had told my agent last year — Eisner himself told my agent, Ari Emanuel — that there was no way they were going to release this film, and he told him why. Because he did not want to anger Jeb Bush in Florida," Moore told the Associated Press on May 5. "He wasn't going to let a little documentary upset the Bush family."

But Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein wanted to go ahead with the film, and spent $6 million finishing it, Moore said. "Harvey thought he'd change their minds. We went ahead and made the movie anyway," he said.]

In other words: "They've already let us know in advance what they are going to do but if we do it anyway and cry 'Foul!' after the fact then we'll get our way."

Several somewhat related comments

Notwithstanding what I may think about Moore, or what I think his movie will be it is interesting to note that the distribution of the film in France for the film festival may be disrupted by French union members.


I think he may have more trouble finding a distributor for his film than the executives quoted in the article know. Aren't these the same movie executives that said The Passion of The Christ would never find a distributor and that Gibson would lose his shirt.


I think some distributors may now be kicking themselves for not taking Mel up on his offer. These same distributors may feel that the same people who flocked to The Passion would not go to Moore's latest flick.


The country is run by white primarily Christian hetersosexual men, a tough bloc to be up against. There have been valiant efforts to go tit-for-tat with the media that belong to or side with the group in power and they don't do so well. Al Gore's television station is still a dream. Air American is crashing and burning, I think Moore probably will too with this film. I am not saying that the white, heterosexual, God loving, men are right..... wait, yes I am.

Re:What Nonsense

Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were saying it is a conspiracy. Moore et al use the conspiracy House of Saud> George Bush> Jeb Bush> Disney in Florida >Eisner conspiracy theory.

Re:What Nonsense

War crimes and atrocities have gone on as long as humans have waged war against "The Other".

Re:Several somewhat related comments

Whew, glad I fit into these categories! ;)

Is Air America hurting? I'd heard that they reshuffled their executives. I like that they're working to make it though. Salon went through some tough times too. But I haven't heard about them being on hard times lately.

So can we conclude that if the market wants this movie, it will get released?

Re:What Nonsense

People have robbed the corner store since I have been alive, that does not make it right.

The war crimes perpetuated in Iraq make me ashamed to be a citizen of the United States. Only swift, and decisive punishment of the criminals can save our place among just nations.

I am not certain that a non-US court would not be best for this. The ICJ seems like an appropriate forum in which to try these scoundrels. Torture and murder of prisoners of war is the most vile crime one can commit. It is too bad Spandau prison is closed.

Re:Several somewhat related comments

Those groups are not exclusive,others may be right too.

Air America was booted off stations because it could not pay for airtime. I have read this week that it cannot meet its payroll. Salon, if I recall, was the first online magazine to charge for content. Although that model works for Salon,which is good.


If the market wants the movie it will be released, but bear in mind distributors distribute to turn a profit. Capitalism has little room for altruism, unfortunately. I am not certain the climate is right for any distributor to take on Moore's film. I hope someone does, because some people must want to see it. I am not one of them, but if anyone else does they should be able to.

Re:What Nonsense

"They've already let us know in advance what they are going to do but if we do it anyway and cry 'Foul!' after the fact then we'll get our way."

Well, that's essentially correct although I find it's a simplistic way of looking at it. In his book, Adventures in a TV Nation, Moore writes about some of the difficulties they had getting some segments to air:

For the most part, we found that when we stood our ground and insisted that
our stories run intact, they did. Perhaps all too often in Hollywood, producers
cave in when they don't need to. It's not that they are afraid of the network
brass, it's just that the suits can wear you down, and giving in is the easiest
thing to do.

The most important thing we learned is that everything you see on network
television has already been seen and approved by some advertiser who is buying
time on that show. They actually view and approve or censor the shows
before they air.

We also learned that the reasons for television cesnorship are not just sex
and violence and language. Sometimes, ideas are just too dangerous to
air.
--Michael Moore, Adventures in a TV Nation, pg 198/199

To my way of thinking, this is just more of the same. Moore is standing his ground and testing the "resolve" of the corporate censors. Still, there's no denying: Fait Accompli: because it is easier to get forgiveness than to get permission.

More material putting the lie to Eisner

FAIR-L
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

http://www.fair.org/activism/disney-moore-update.h tml

ACTIVISM UPDATE:
Eisner's Fantasyland Excuse for Censorship

May 7, 2004

[...] "We informed both the agency that represented the film and all of our
companies that we just didn't want to be in the middle of a
politically-oriented film during an election year," [...].

On its face, Eisner's statement will have a chilling effect. A major
movie studio with an announced policy of only releasing apolitical
films,
in an election year or any other year, will discourage filmmakers from
tackling important themes and impoverish the American political debate. [...]

But Eisner's statement cannot be taken at face value, because Disney,
through its various subsidiaries, is one of the largest distributors of
political, often highly partisan media content in the country--
virtually
all of it right-wing. Consider:

* Almost all of Disney's major talk radio stations-- WABC in New York,
WMAL in D.C., WLS in Chicago, WBAP in Dallas/Ft. Worth and KSFO in San
Francisco-- broadcast Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Indeed, WABC is
considered the home station for both of these shows, which promote an
unremitting Republican political agenda. (Disney's KABC in L.A.
carries
Hannity, but has Bill O'Reilly instead of Limbaugh.) Disney's
news/talk
stations are dominated by a variety of other partisan Republican hosts,
both local and national, including Laura Ingraham, Larry Elder and Matt
Drudge.

* Disney's Family Channel carries Pat Robertson's 700 Club, which
routinely equates Christianity with Republican causes. After the
September
11 attacks, Robertson's guest Jerry Falwell (9/13/01) blamed the
attacks
on those who "make God mad": "the pagans and the abortionists and the
feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make
that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way,
all
of them who try to secularize America." Robertson's response was, "I
totally concur." It's hard to imagine that anything in Moore's film
will
be more controversial than that.

* Disney's ABC News prominently features John Stossel, who, though not
explicitly partisan, advocates for a conservative philosophy in almost
all
his work: "It is my job to explain the beauties of the free market," he
has explained (Oregonian, 10/26/94). No journalist is allowed to
advocate
for a balancing point of view on ABC's news programs.

Given the considerable amount of right-wing material distributed by
Disney, much of it openly promoting Republican candidates and issues,
it's
impossible to believe that Disney is preventing Miramax from
distributing
Fahrenheit 911 because, as a Disney executive told the New York Times
(5/5/04), "It's not in the interest of any major corporation to be
dragged
into a highly charged partisan political battle." Disney, in fact,
makes
a great deal of money off of highly charged partisan political battles,
although it generally provides access to only one side of the war.

- 30 -

You can read the entire alert through the link above. So, according to Jeb Bush, it's not about tax breaks, and the film promise to almost certainly be a cash cow. That leaves only content discrimination as any motive for attempting to suppress it. And that is censorship.

tax breaks like these

- In Osceola County, Fla., Walt Disney World receives the farming break on 1,600 acres of pasture, timber and nurseries where it grows plants for its theme parks. The land, worth $194 million, is taxed as if it were worth $12.3 million, according to the county land records office."
- The Reedy Creek Improvement District

for example. The issue with Moore is complicated. A close reading of all the news articles seems to indicate that he played the facts for effect [not mentioning that he knew Miramax had said they wouldn't distribute the project] but if someone is paying you to do a project and yet saying they won't distribute it, what is your obligation? It seems more like a Mirimax v Disney fracas than anything. People have been going back and forth on this over at Metafilter with more information than has been posted here. This is a non-library story and a reactionary post.

Re:tax breaks like these

er, reactionary discussion. no offense, rochelle. :)

Re:tax breaks like these

"er, reactionary discussion."

getchyer terms straight, sister. you know what a hard-ass moderator i am.

Re:tax breaks like these

In Florida land used for agricultural purposes is taxed much lower than developed land.


Disney gets no special break on taxes. The property tax system simply keeps the cost of food down because orange groves, tomato farms, cattle farms, and the like are taxed based upon their actual use, not upon their possible use.


A vacant lot is taxed less than a lot with a house, and a lot with ornamental trees is taxed less than a vacant lot. I see no problem in that, they are not sending the trees to school, or sending trees to the library.


There is no conspiracy. If you want to grow something in Florida come on down, you would get the same tax benefits.


I think this is a library story only because of the support Moore recieved for his book from librarians. That was blown all out of proportion and Moore used it to his advantage. How many times did the ALA have to 'remind' him of the 25K he pledged for scholarships before he finally paid up?


I think Moore is a big bag of hot air, but I think the same thing of Limbaugh. Little substance but fantastic egos.

Corporate Censors? Re:What Nonsense

Loaded language. Disney is looking out for their own best interests which they have a right to do. If Moore pushes this and wins then in fact he is censoring them.

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