Former Assemblymember Kaloogian Heads Movement Against Fahrenheit 9 11

(North County Times)–Former California state Assemblyman Howard Kaloogian has a new target in his cross hairs. He’s leading a conservative group turning up the heat on a new movie from controversial filmmaker Michael Moore.

Kaloogian–who lives in San Marcos–helped organize the successful recall of Gov. Gray Davis and failed earlier this year in his bid for the Republican US Senate nomination.

A few months ago he founded a group called Move America Forward–which evolved from the letter-writing campaign that prompted CBS not to air its TV movie "The Reagans."

Now the group is gunning for another movie–calling Moore’s latest film–"Fahrenheit 9/11," propaganda. The scorching documentary attacks President Bush’s rationale for the war in Iraq and accuses the Bush administration of manipulating the Sept. 11–2001–terror attacks for political gain.

A campaign against the film on the Web site of Move America Forward has received international attention and a flurry of press since it began Monday.

"Since we are the customers of the American movie theaters–it is important for us to speak up loudly and tell the industry executives that we don’t want this misleading and grotesque movie being shown at our local cinema," the group’s Web site says above a listing of phone numbers and e-mail addresses for cinema companies.

The film’s images include a beheading in Saudi Arabia–Iraqis burned by napalm and an Iraqi man dumping a dead baby into a truck bed loaded with bodies.

Kaloogian said Thursday that the film makes the wrong statement at the wrong time.

"It’s shameful. His obvious use of our troops is just shameful," he said.

‘It’s not a documentary as people are promoting it to be," Kaloogian said.

Kaloogian said he’s not promoting censorship–but is urging moviegoers to beware that Moore’s message is tainted by his political agenda. "I hope very few people go to see it."

The movie is scheduled for release June 25 on at least 500 screens. Moore and his distributors have refused to circulate copies of the film and its script before the film’s release. However–some footage from the film has been released.

Moore refused to comment to The Associated Press last week about the conservative movement against his film. After the star-studded New York premiere of his film Monday–Moore got a standing ovation and said if it encourages just one American to vote in November’s presidential election–"I’ll be very happy."

While Moore has been known to grab headlines–his films haven’t attracted blockbuster-size audiences. Most play at smaller "art-house" venues. He received the 2002 Academy Award for best documentary with "Bowling for Columbine" and created controversy with a politically charged acceptance speech.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" began creating controversy months ago. Moore had to seek new distributors for the film after Disney refused to let its Miramax subsidiary release it–saying it was too politically charged.

The MPAA ratings board gave the documentary an R rating for "violent and disturbing images and for language." The film’s new distributors–Lions Gate Films and IFC Films–are appealing the R rating–saying that it will cut the movie’s audience by 20 percent.

"Michael Moore has already received worldwide attention for this movie. … He’s gotten millions of dollars [worth of publicity]. My little effort is not going to give him more," Kaloogian said–when asked if all the negative attention could backfire and send more people in search of the film.


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