Bowling for Columbine: Best Documentary or Best Fraud?

A partial list of Michael Moore’s fabrications


 

What Bowling represents        

The facts        

1.

The Lockheed-Martin plant near Columbine makes nuclear missiles.

• The plant does not make nuclear missiles. It makes rockets for launching satellites.

2.

The NRA insensitively scheduled a meeting in Denver shortly after the Columbine shooting. Charlton Heston then made defiant remarks directed at the mayor and others.

• The Denver event was the annual NRA meeting, whose place and date had been fixed years in advance.

• The NRA canceled all events (normally several days of committee meetings, sporting events, dinners, and rallies) save the annual members’ meeting, which corporate law required to be held.

• The “from my cold dead hands” remark was from a speech given a year later in North Carolina. Moore juxtaposes it with footage from the Denver speech to make them seem like the same speech.

• Moore splices together sentences from different parts of the Denver speech, cutting out conciliatory remarks by Heston and changing the meaning of the remarks shown.

3.

The NRA held a pro-gun rally in Flint, Michigan just after the shooting death of a child in a local classroom.

• The meeting was a “get out the vote” rally, which took place eight months later, during the election season.

4.

The NRA is a racist organization, associated with the KKK.

• The NRA was founded by former Union Army officers who fought a war to end slavery. Civil War veteran Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside was the NRA’s first president.

• The U.S. President who signed the act making the Klan an illegal organization was later elected the NRA's eighth president—Ulysses S. Grant.

• After Grant's term, the NRA elected General Philip Sheridan, who had removed the governors of Texas and Lousiana for failure to oppose Klan terror.

• During the 1950s and 1960s, groups of blacks organized as NRA chapters in order to obtain surplus military rifles to fight off Klansmen.

5.

After discussing military assistance to various countries, Bowling asserts that the U.S. gave $245 million in aid to the Taliban in 2000 and 2001, and then shows aircraft hitting the twin towers to illustrate the result.

• The aid was humanitarian assistance, given through UN and nongovernmental organizations, to relieve famine in Afghanistan.

6.

Bowling flashes a dramatic count of gun homicides in various countries. Moore later says that the United States has “the highest murder rate.”

• South Africa has the highest murder rate in the world (twelve times greater than America’s).

• The U.S. murder rate is lower than the world average (5.5 versus 8.5 per 100,000 population).

• Many of Moore’s figures appear to be invented.

7.

Charlton Heston is a racist.

• Heston worked with Martin Luther King in the civil rights movement. He led the actors’ component of MLK’s 1963 March on Washington.

8.

School shootings are a major problem.

• Three times as many people die from being struck by lightning.

 

Sources:

Wall Street Journal editorial on Moore.

More on Moore’s fabrications.

Murder rates, various countries.

Worldwide murders, 2000.

World population, 2000.

U.S. murder rate, 2000.