Michael Moore’s propaganda film may be a grotesque distortion of reality, but that doesn’t make it ineffective as propaganda. Apparently, the film really did “sell out” the art-house theater in Fayetteville, home to Ft. Bragg and Pope Air Force Base, and what’s worse is that local media reports claim that military family members and some soldiers comprised the largest share of the audience, with the usual sandal-wearers (yes, even in Fayetteville) a boisterous and no doubt giddy minority. One Army wife said leaving the theater that she was “disgusted,” but not by Michael Moore. She said her mind was changed about the war, which she now attributes to oil and corporate interests.
Not representative of her community, of course, but these are the kinds of stories that anti-war politicians and media will pick up and run with. What’s called for is an aggressive effort to communicate the case for and relative success of the war. Much of the opening that Moore is trying to exploit with his screed stems from the perception that we aren’t winning, not from newly pacifist or leftist sentiment. This is the dynamic that has weakened support for the war in pro-military states such as North Carolina (where Bush’s margin over Kerry in the latest polls is pitifully small).