Saturday, September 11, 2004

NYT balks at Moore's 9/11 Movie

NYT balks at Moore's 9/11 book


NEW YORK — The New York Times will not permit Michael Moore to include an article criticizing its own reporting for an upcoming companion book to the DVD release of the filmmaker's Fahrenheit 9-11.

"We strongly value the Times's neutrality in its election coverage and we are determined not to associate ourselves with any work in film or print that attacks either candidate," New York Times spokesperson Catherine Mathis said in a statement released yesterday.

Moore's The Official Fahrenheit 9-11 Reader is scheduled to come out next month in conjunction with the DVD release of Fahrenheit 9-11, Moore's take on President George W. Bush, the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The movie, which relentlessly criticizes and ridicules the president, has earned more than $100 million at the box office, a record for a documentary.

The Times article, published in May, was a self-analysis of the newspaper's pre-Iraq war reporting, including Bush administration claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

"In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged," according to the article.

Moore's publisher, Simon & Schuster, said several other publications granted Moore permission to use material, including the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Only the Times refused.

"Michael Moore attracts controversy and this is no exception," David Rosenthal, Simon & Schuster's executive vice-president and publisher, said in a statement Friday.

Fahrenheit 9/11, which won the top honour at the Cannes Film Festival in May, was controversial even before it reached theatres in July. The movie lost its original distributor when the Walt Disney Co. refused to let subsidiary Miramax Films release it because of its political content.

Miramax chiefs Harvey and Bob Weinstein bought back the film and arranged for independent distribution through Lions Gate Films and IFC Films.

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