June 16, 2004

RM+R and Move America Forward

After all the discussion of the organization that's agitating to keep Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 out of theatres, I thought I'd try to talk to the people at Russo Marsh + Rogers. So I call them up and ask to speak with their media representative to ask a couple questions about the firm, and I was told to leave my information and expect a callback.

Then I called the phone number for Move America Forward, and a polite young man comes on who instantly recognized my voice as I started to talk. It's the same person who answered the phone when I called the RM+R number. For a minute I thought I'd dialed wrong, apologized for calling back again, and said goodbye. But I hadn't dialed wrong.

So a little while later, Siobhan Guiney from MAF calls me back. (From her MAF bio: "She has worked as a legislative advocate fighting for the people against liberal corruption.") She says that RM+R did register the site for them, but that they hadn't paid for it or consulted on the name. Paid staff at MAF did the design work, and she said that she paid for service when they rolled the phones over to the same receptionist, and that the two groups only shared a building.

Guiney further denied that any RM+R employees did work for MAF on company time, or that they had any involvement in the organization. But after she'd completely denied the possibility of involvement, she volunteered that some group had falsely accused RM+R of being a GOP PR firm. I said it looked like they did most of their work for the GOP, and asked her what was wrong with being a GOP PR firm. She said that they were political consultants, and not really a PR firm.

Regarding Fahrenheit 9/11, she said that "his movie is a piece of propaganda" that "...shouldn't be advertised as a documentary." As an example of a specific error, she offered the assertion in the film that President Bush gave the order to move the Bin Laden family out of the country. She described it as a "blatant misrepresentation," since it was Richard Clarke who had really given the order to allow them to leave. (Matt Bivens goes into that issue here, and let's just say that her version of the facts could be described as... colorful.)

Guiney had also said that the original purpose of the organization was to support the troops in America's war on terror. She said that Moore was attacking the troops and their morale, and when asked to cite examples, one thing she mentioned was his stated goal of helping to defeat George W. Bush. In response to the obvious question of why that was synonymous with attacking the troops, she said, "He's our Commander in Chief. It's his policies in place [and we] have to support those policies."

She said several times that they didn't oppose his right to make the movie or say what he wanted. There was even the standard, "Thank God he lives in a country where...," bit. And of course, she was equally thankful that MAF lived in a country where they could give their opinion of his work. I said that in calling for a boycott, weren't they doing more than just disagreeing? She said that they were just informing theaters that a number of people wouldn't show up to see the movie. She didn't really have anything else to say on why it wouldn't be enough to just not show up.

Also, while we had been talking about Iraq, Guiney was pointing out good things that soldiers were doing over there, like giving candy to kids. Also, that they were "escorting little school girls to school, in a country where they weren't even allowed to go to school [before.]" I tried to clarify that by reading the quote back to her and asking which country she was talking about, and she said Iraq and Afghanistan. When I asked her specifically where this action was occuring, she finally said that she'd been talking about Afghanistan. Third time's a charm.

Conservatives won't stop trying to conflate the two conflicts, and further trying to convince people who should know better that Iraqi girls didn't used to be able to go to school by talking about Iraq and Afghanistan simultaneously. Guiney clearly knew what she was doing, and stopped trying to associate this iconic 'brave westerner saves oppressed women' theme with Iraq only when it became clear that she'd have to be caught in a blatant misrepresentation if she continued. I don't blame the wingnuts for this, though. I blame the journalists who've let them get away with it so long they can reasonably assume that no matter what they imply, no one will say anything that directly contradicts them.

At the end of our conversation, she was irritated that I hadn't informed her that I was with the press, and said that she'd been told I had questions about the film. She wasn't mollified when I told her that I'd first called the RM+R number, told the person on the other end that I was with an online daily, and said that I had questions about the firm. It isn't my fault that they can't seem to get their messages straight over there, but to be fair, the poor receptionist seemed like he was ready to crack. Poor guy.

Finally, Kos notes that they're losing this fight bigtime.

Posted by natasha at June 16, 2004 01:01 AM | Activism | Technorati links |
Comments

Very interesting exchange, natasha. Very nice way of getting her to have to clarify that Iraq is not Afghanistan. It seems like the RNC talking points must have provided the "fine points" for when you have to extract yourself from the "broad lies" that conflate Iraq with al Qaeda. Bush's press spokesman did the samething yesterday. Twisty little bastards, aren't they and not too fond of logic.

Posted by: Mary at June 16, 2004 03:53 PM

Way to go natasha! very interesting, she admited they were political consultants - doesn't that mean this is a political campaign?

I wonder if she knows that media boycott campaigns against movies seem to always increase attendence. Does she know she is supporting Michael Moore?

Gary
#1 on google for liberal news

Posted by: Easter Lemming Liberal News at June 16, 2004 07:16 PM

"She said that they were just informing theaters that a number of people wouldn't show up to see the movie."

Wow, I'd like get word out to theaters that I
won't be showing up to see the weekly Jim
Carey-Ben Stiller-Adam Sandler-etc. garbage filling every screen. Wonder what RMR charges to mount a smear campaign?

And I wonder if anyone will notice when they get my ass in a theater for the first time in years when F-911 opens?

Posted by: Blake Thompson at June 17, 2004 05:14 AM

If you want to drive the Move America Forward people crazy, go post a poll or vote in a poll at their message board

Posted by: renato at June 17, 2004 02:31 PM

Hey! Ben Stiller is MUCH better than Carey and Sandler!

Posted by: renato at June 17, 2004 02:31 PM

"Hey MGM, you thinking of running a big summer blockbuster? Well, we just wanted to tell you: there are about 100 Million americans that won't be coming"

Posted by: Satan luvvs Repugs at June 17, 2004 05:11 PM

Move America Forward shut down their polls. Congrats to all those who went over there!

Posted by: renato at June 17, 2004 08:27 PM

Very very nice post, bringing some investigation to the subject.

About the boycott, I don't know how that will go, but I was surprised to see the Fox movie critic recommend everybody go to see it. I'll be trying to con my very-republican-retired-cop-father to see it somehow.

Posted by: forgetting at June 17, 2004 10:21 PM

It's so sad to read how a few could support Michael Moore instead of looking at the real picture. The man hates everything since even before 9/11. Where has patriotism gone? Where is the love of America?

Posted by: Marina at June 19, 2004 11:06 PM

Disinfopedia has a very detailed article about Russo Marsh and Rogers (the jokers behind Move America Forward) and exactly how much money they got off Repub pols at the last electoral cycle

A grand total of $2,475,223. So Siobhan's obviously right. Who could possibly accuse them of being a GOP PR firm?

(also see Move America Forward article)

Posted by: robin at June 20, 2004 07:12 AM

I think Michael Moore is a true patriot - he works tirelessly to uphold free speech. He has a constitutional right to express himself - its just so sad that the right-wingers are willing to crap all over the constitution - oh, with the exception of their precious 2nd amendment.

Posted by: Michelle at June 21, 2004 05:52 PM

Michelle

The Move America Forward people also have a constitutional right to express themselves. Shutting them down by overloading their website with messages is cowardly.

Posted by: Richard at June 25, 2004 12:13 AM

I just love the way conservatives throw around the word "cowardly". Listen, Moore himself is anything but cowardly. That we know. He sticks his neck out for what he believes in. This is more than the run of the mill "all or nothing" groupthink that conservatives espouse. How is it that if a conservative group attempts to shut up a liberal it's a good thing, but if people on this board attempt to do the same to this group of conservatives it is cowardly? Move America Forward is "cowardly" for attempting to censor Michael Moore.

Posted by: Wade at June 25, 2004 03:37 AM

Lib's have boycotted Rush's advertisers, Lib's assailed Mel's movie, Soros pours TONS of money into Lib PAC's..... I think Lib's are upset Libertarians/Conservs are learning THEIR tactics!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Learn to Love It, Cause It's the Best Thing Going Today!
p.s Hitler would be proud of by the gulping sound coming from the far left, swallowing the non-sensical, illogical, propoganda being spewed....

Posted by: Manic at June 25, 2004 06:21 AM

Dropping in from Madrid:
I have a friend who lost an eye in the 11M Madrid bombings. I despise Al Qaeda. However, that does not make me deaf to their arguments.
Who has claimed more innocent lives Bin Laden or Bush?
Fortunately there are also people like Moore in the US.

Posted by: Sergio at June 25, 2004 03:15 PM

By the way, this article comes up top on a Google search for Move America Forward.

Great job! Because of this article, everyone has a chance to find out what a fake Republican put-up job Move America Forward really is.

(and Move America Forward's official site is down at number 4 in the google results. ha ha ha)

Posted by: sam at June 25, 2004 07:43 PM

hi

Posted by: 'whatever you want it to be' at June 27, 2004 07:34 AM

Fahrenheit 9/11 has struck a raw nerve with the Red Republicans. Notice some recent Republican comments: Fuck yourself- Dick Cheney to Senator Pat Leahy earlier this week. On Fox News, Cheney said it felt good.

Bottom Line-- The Republicans can't handle the truth-The whole Bush Administration is a fraud from the get go. Hence their jihad against Moore, whcih is an attack against the Blue Democrts. Let no one doubt, the Blues and Reds are at war have never seen such disrepect and venom on both sides-it is a direct result of gerrymandering of Congresisonal districts on both sides.

I will see the film today (6/27). My buddy saw it at a matinee on Friday and everyone rose at the end of the film and clapped wildly.

Posted by: Eddie at June 27, 2004 01:23 PM

I tried my own hand at "driving the MFA people crazy".. sent them a letter about something that struck me as odd in their opening paragraph. here it is:


Message-ID:
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 2004 01:13:42 +1000
From: alistair roche
To: info@MoveAmericaForward.org
Subject: shamelessly liberal media?
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Delivered-To: toomin@gmail.com

From your web page's opening paragraph:
"Are you tired of the constant stream of America-bashing from the
shamelessly liberal news media and left-wing politicians who use every
negative news story to launch a political attack against our military
and our commander in chief?"

Shamelessly liberal media? What does liberal mean? It means Free. And
what does the United States of America claim to be? The Land of the
Free.

By "Moving America Forward" (by which i assume you mean the USA, not
Canada, Mexico. Central or South America) you wish to stop it from
being shamefully 'Free' to being blatantly fascist?

I'm not trying to insult you, but I would like to know what you meant
by shamelessly liberal. Please do share your thoughts.

Yours regretfully, Alistair Roche.

Posted by: Alistair Roche at June 27, 2004 04:22 PM

Amazing! libs say free speech for everyone! As soon as anybody praises Jesus, they are shot down. As soon as anyone says the War in Iraq is right on a website, that website needs to be shut down. Now someone lib moron is trying to get Bruce Springsteen to hold a concert in NY the same time the GOP convention is going so to clog traffic. Don't any of you libs have any type of a conscience or for that matter a brain?

How can you sit here and say the War in Iraq was wrong??? Ok, so we have found Sarin, but that wasn't reported. Ok, we found Scud missiles, but that wasn't a big enough story. Hey, we killed Sadsam's two bizarro sons and we captured the worst dictator since Hitler! Sorry, it was still wrong to go into Irag! Are libs ever happy??? The answer is NO!

Libs: The Glass is Half Empty vs. Conservatives: The Glass is Half Full. Where are you going to stand???

Lastly, I am so glad to say, my wife a true Democrat is now voting for Bush and she is convincing her friends here in southern CA to do the same! She and her friends realize that the policies set forth by this administration are the correct ones for families & keeping the country (our children) secure. She also said, "Does Kerry have any stance on anything that he doesn't change his mind on?" Lastly, the ECONOMY IS GOOD!

Happy Days for another 4 years!!!!!!

Q

Posted by: ItalQ at June 28, 2004 07:10 AM

ItalQ - First of all, there are many liberal Christians, including John Kerry. It's not the praising Jesus, it's the forcing other people to follow your religion while simultaneously explaining that it's alright to lie and torture that really galls liberals. As Ron Reagan said, 'who would Jesus torture?'

Second, no one tried to shut down any site. It was suggested that people annoy them by posting on their message board, but no one suggested calling their host and having the site shut down, that would be silly. And it's funny you have the gall to say that when they were running a campaign to keep someone else from being able to show their movie. Lucky for us, they were really bad at it.

Third, the war in Iraq was based on a pack of unverified lies. And the 'everyone else thought he had weapons too' defense doesn't wash. No one else decided they had enough evidence to bulldoze their way into the country to finally discover... no sodding weapons. The Scuds were ancient, the tiny amount of sarin found had been buried so long that it didn't even work, and their best fighter jets were discovered buried in the sand. Now people are dead, we're out billions of dollars that could have been put to work at home, we're tied down occupying a country that doesn't want us, Al Qaida is free and recruiting more than ever, and everybody hates us. Great job. Putting a positive spin on that isn't optimism, it's delusion.

Fourth, Saddam was not the worst dictator since Hitler. That's just silly. He isn't even the worst dictator of the past decade. He certainly wasn't the most threatening, because by 2002, not even Kuwait was afraid of him, and the Kurds were well on the way to setting up an autonomous zone in northern Iraq right under his nose. As a smarter blogger than I once said, just because getting rid of Saddam is good, it doesn't mean it's worth any price whatsoever. And we've paid a price for ending a policy of containment that seems to have far outweighed the benefits.

Lastly, the economy has been tremendous for corporate profits and terrible for the average worker. The cost of living is rising faster than wages, and the jobs aren't coming back. The percentage of the adult population employed is lower than it has been in years, underemployment is up, and the jobs that are coming back are of such poor pay that in many cases unskilled immigrant labor is more competitive. People will believe that bs when they stop living in mortal fear of losing their jobs if they have them, and stop running into so darn many unemployed people.

Posted by: natasha at June 28, 2004 08:04 AM

Here's why BushCorp is so terrified of this movie: i just read this posting, by a self-proclaimed 'ultra-conservative', writing from Appleton, Wisconsin:

"Fahrenheit 9/11: A Conservative Critique"

His conversation with a volunteer canvassing for a Democrat candidate outside the movie theater:

I told the volunteer that I'm what most people would regard as an "ultra-conservative not just a `conservative' but if your guy came out against the war I'd vote for him, and knock on doors."

His take on the other people watching it:

I chatted with several other people as they left the theater, all of them roughly my age (early 40s) and of similar economic and cultural background. Each of them indicated that he or she would urge friends to see the film which means that it will have "legs" even if the GOP and FEC were to choke off advertising somehow. There were no screaming Bolsheviks (one viewer had an anti-animal rights T-shirt) or marijuana-scented bohemians in the crowd. This wasn't the sort of crowd you'd see at a Phish concert, or storming McDonald's at an anti-WTO rally. There were Wal-Mart customers, people who probably listen to country music (even Toby Keith), and even vote Republican. And they were *%#&?* ED quietly, but palpably.

Posted by: bushcorp is scared at June 28, 2004 03:35 PM

Natasha,
re: third....Saddam admiited to WMD and listed all that he supposedly was in ownership of. Deal was to have inspectors varify and than to destroy. He chose not to let that happen and took the course of resolution 1441 where 'serious consequences' were to ensue. The US decided to provide serious consequences....no lies, just some ill advised 'selling' of the situation..
re: fourth....Saddam was responsible for the loss of over 1 million lives and was running at a clip of 30,000 a year when we went in. Not to say we haven't displayed som serious blunders along the way...he deserved to go. With respect to Al-Qaida's reach, I am sure you haven't read the 9-11 commission report, some non-press worthy peices from Staff Statement 15 "Since the September 11 attacks and the defeat of the Taliban, al Qaed'a funding has decreased significantly. The arrests or deaths of several important financial facilitators have decreased the amount of money al Qaea has raised and increased the costs and difficulty of raising and moving that money."...."Moreover, it appears that the al Qaea attacks within Saudi Arabia in May and November of 2003 have reduced - perhaps drastically - al Qaeda's ability to raise funds from Saudi sources. Both an increase in Saudi enforcement and more negative perception of Al qaeda by potential donors have cut its income." (maybe not from Mr Moore as he seems to agree with their cause despite the inhumane brutality)... "Al Qaeda today is more loose collection of regional networks with a greatly weakened central organization,"...

Posted by: george at June 30, 2004 06:10 PM

george - Regarding Iraqi WMD, the Iraqis were found to be cooperating, if reluctantly. They had trivial stores of rockets that went over the proscribed limit by a few miles, but no stockpiles of chemical or bio agents that posed any imminent peril. You forget when you assert the authority of the UN that Gulf War the Sequel was fought against the wishes of a majority of the Security Council, and the vast majority of other signatories. These UN objections were based on the findings of UN weapons inspectors that Iraq was largely in compliance if generally squirrelly, bending over backwards in the last days before the war to come up with new stuff they could do to prove it.

There were plenty of lies, comprising almost everything that came out of Powell's mouth at the UN, loads of statements by Cheney regarding their weapons of mass destruction related program activities and their (now disproved) ties with Atta, and massive whoppers that made it into the State of the Union.

Proving that Saddam was a bad guy is no big stretch. Proving that it was a good idea to take him out now, like this, is another ball of wax. If these people were so darn concerned about loss of life, they could have expressed that when they were in power previously, while they were busy selling him weapons and shaking his hand. As they say, this was worse than a crime, it was a mistake.

And what has Al Qaida got to do with Saddam? Yes, many sources of funding from Saudi Arabia have been cut off since 9/11. And by most credible reports, the organization has never had so many recruits as they've gotten since we invaded Iraq, so that's one step forward and two steps back. The anonymous CIA official who wrote the new book about how the war on terror has been mishandled is interviewed here, and former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke reviews the book, Imperial Hubris. It's release was approved by the CIA at the highest levels.

I don't know what you stand to gain by bringing up the war on terror, except to remind people how this president has seriously crippled it in almost every conceivable way.

Posted by: natasha at July 1, 2004 12:17 PM

Natasha,
I am not 'looking to gain' anything from the comments, I merely like to point out statements that you make are highly questionable and most likely false. Additionally I agree that there has been a host of misrepresentations but we should seperate the two.

1)Fact: Saddam admitted to significant amounts of chemical and biological agents which have yet to be accounted for.
2)Fact: Iraq was in 'material breach' of several resolutions therefor, not in compliance.
3)Fact: Saddam/Iraq supported international terrorism and maintained a dialogue with Al-Qaeda.

I am sure you figure we had no business in Afghanistan either (unless you have changed your opinion on that). Maybe if Clinton and Clarke were still at the helm we could tackle it the way we did Rwanda....that by the way was Richard Clarke's shining moment.

A few quotes from W's predecessors....

unless restrained by force, Saddam "will conclude that the international community has lost its will. He will then conclude that he can go right on and do more to rebuild an arsenal of devastating destruction. And someday, some way, I guarantee you he'll use the arsenal."
- BJ Clinton
"a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists, drug traffickers, or organized criminals who travel the world among us unnoticed."
- BJ Clinton
"We know that [Saddam] has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
- Al Gore (who by the way was found to have lost Florida)

Posted by: george at July 1, 2004 01:29 PM

A right-wing anti-moore site is attempting to rig the New York Times readers reviews of Fahrenheit 911 by encouraging people to give it a one-star rating. Anyone who finds this abhorrent and childish can stoop to their level and head over there to vote five-stars, and tell your friends to do likewise. It only takes a second to register at nytimes.com. Let's not let them get away with this.

Posted by: Nick at July 1, 2004 05:41 PM

Natasha I just love your comments. Accurate, coherent, factual. Great. Great. Great.

Posted by: Ken at July 1, 2004 07:05 PM

george - 1)Fact: Saddam admitted to significant amounts of chemical and biological agents which have yet to be accounted for.
2)Fact: Iraq was in 'material breach' of several resolutions therefor, not in compliance.
3)Fact: Saddam/Iraq supported international terrorism and maintained a dialogue with Al-Qaeda.

I am sure you figure we had no business in Afghanistan either (unless you have changed your opinion on that). Maybe if Clinton and Clarke were still at the helm we could tackle it the way we did Rwanda....that by the way was Richard Clarke's shining moment.

How do you know what I think about Afghanistan? Unless I miss my guess, you haven't been a regular reader of my writing for the last year and some. Afghanistan was clearly the place to attack, but we now have fewer soldiers there than police in New York city. Bin Laden got away, the Taliban got away, the warlords are back in control, and Hamid Karzai is widely known as the Mayor of Kabul. Also, opium production has reached such a record high that Iran is begging for help with stopping the smuggling, which if you did read this space regularly, you would know. In short, the war in Afghanistan has been directed and supplied so badly, and almost immediately forgotten, that it's a wonder you have the brass to bring it up.

When Rwanda happened, I think it's fair to say that after Somalia and eastern Europe, the Clinton administration was paralyzed by wag-the-dog accusations. But if your heroes are prepared to do any better, there's a massive slaughter going on in Sudan as we type here in comfort, Colombia is in the midst of an ongoing civil war, and bombs are going off in the capital of Nepal almost daily. There's been a lot of mass murder in the world over the last 50 years, which makes it all the worse when some jackass goes looking for trouble.

1)Fact: Saddam admitted to significant amounts of chemical and biological agents which have yet to be accounted for.
2)Fact: Iraq was in 'material breach' of several resolutions therefor, not in compliance.
3)Fact: Saddam/Iraq supported international terrorism and maintained a dialogue with Al-Qaeda.

Fact: As far as we can tell, Saddam copped to everything he had and gave it up to the inspectors. All available evidence indicates that the country hasn't acquired any new stores of chemical and biological weapons since the U.S. stopped supplying them when he invaded Kuwait.

Fact: You can't claim to have the authority to enforce UN resolutions by breaking them yourself. The US would be in violation of numerous resolutions if we didn't have veto power, and Israel is in breach of more resolutions than anyone. How is it that a group of people who collectively claim to hate the UN got so concerned all of a sudden with making sure that people were in compliance with it?

Fact: Saddam had nothing to do with terrorists who attacked the US. His funding was buying houses for the families of Palestinian suicide bombers, which is questionable, but not really an action which justifies the full military might of the US. His dialogue with al Qaeda consisted of deciding that he didn't want to work with them, and ultimately not responding to their requests for help. By that standard, I could be accused of complicity in any crimes committed by the grocery store clerks in my local supermarket, several of whom I chat with now and again.

Fact: Many world leaders didn't trust Saddam, and thought that he was acting awfully dodgy for a guy with nothing to hide. None of them decided to go to war on their unproven suscpicions. That's the difference, and it's crucial.

Posted by: natasha at July 2, 2004 12:19 AM

And btw, Gore did win. But you might not have heard that, because the most accurate reporting about it was published as prominently by the foreign press as it was ignored by the US press. That so-called liberal media.

Posted by: natasha at July 2, 2004 12:25 AM

Natasha,
You know not who my hero's are and you should do more research...

Posted by: george at July 2, 2004 04:45 PM

george

First, huh? Second, show us some evidence if you can.

Posted by: natasha at July 2, 2004 07:16 PM

According to the Chigaco Tribune, the theater chain Fridley theaters are banning Fahrenheit 9/11 from their theaters in Iowa and Nebraska. Protest this cowardice by emailing beth@fridleytheatres.com (yes, the European spelling of 'theatre')

Posted by: tom at July 3, 2004 10:17 PM