A Web Site's Push for Less Moore
By Richard Leiby
Wednesday, June 16, 2004; Page C03
The last thing Michael Moore's film "Fahrenheit 9/11" needs is publicity, but a Republican-friendly PR and political strategy firm has hatched a sure-fire way to give him more: It's trying to get theater owners to yank the documentary before it opens June 25.
"It's time to take action to stop Michael Moore's 'Bash America' film," declares MoveAmericaForward.org, a Web site created by Russo Marsh & Rogers, a Sacramento consulting group that previously worked to recall the state's Democratic governor, Gray Davis. " 'Fahrenheit 9/11' should be shown as a recruiting video for Al-Qaeda, not in our movie theaters."
The site lists contacts for 20 movie chains. "Since we are the customers of the American movie theatres 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. We need these executives to be overwhelmed with letters, phone calls and FAXes [and] emails."
Prominent Democrats, including veterans of the Gore and Clinton campaigns, advised the PR blitz for Moore's movie at the Cannes Film Festival. Now conservatives are getting their turn: Move America Forward is chaired by Howard Kaloogian, an unsuccessful Republican primary candidate for Sen. Barbara Boxer's seat this year. His campaign was advised by the Russo firm, which registered the Move America Forward Web site last year.
The group's goal? "To support our troops and the war on terrorism," Executive Director Siobhan Guiney told us yesterday, adding that its anti-"Fahrenheit 9/11" crusade is "not censorship -- only the government can censor something."
In a story yesterday on the effort to squelch the movie, the Hollywood Reporter quoted John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners: "Any time any organization protests against a movie, they ensure that the movie will do better at the box office than it would have done otherwise. If they have any doubt about this, just ask Mel Gibson."
We read Guiney that quote and she took it for a spin: "Well, hurray for Mr. Moore. We're voicing our opinion against the message of the movie. "
Kissinger, Pleased With The Body of His Work
• Thanks for the memories (we think): Our item yesterday about Paramount using a composite photo to depict a semi-nude Condoleezza Rice in an ad for "The Stepford Wives" brought several reader e-mails -- none of them outraged by the vulgar shilling but rather wanting to quibble with this quote from the Missouri TV viewer who had noticed the spot: " Henry Kissinger was national security adviser 30 years ago, and if he had been used in this way at the time, I don't think it would have been tolerated."
What do the young know of history, one e-mailer noted. In 1972, the Harvard Lampoon published a parody of Cosmopolitan magazine with a centerfold showing Kissinger's head attached to a trim, muscular body. All day we endeavored, unsuccessfully, to find a copy to inspect for ourselves. But we're told Kissinger was shown reposing Burt Reynolds-like on an animal skin, "wearing only a cigar and a grin." Supposedly he autographed copies of the mag for reporters on a trip to Saigon.
A flattered Kissinger and TV producer Margaret Osmer at the opening of the Palm resaurant in 1972.
We tried Kissinger's office yesterday but were told he was traveling overseas and couldn't be reached. There is, however, this item from November 1972, when The Post reported on one of Kissinger's "superstar appearances" at the opening of the Palm in Washington. A scribe asked the dashing secretary of state (who also served as assistant to the president for national security affairs) about the nude centerfold. He seemed quite flattered. "It gives me all the benefits of dieting," he said. "I'd like to get my weight down."
• Home & Garden Television bestowed an award on Eagle Don Henley last night for his efforts to preserve Walden Woods and other sites, which is pretty charitable considering he doesn't even watch the channel. "I don't know where it is on the dial," he told us. Actress Diane Keaton also was honored at the gala at the National Building Museum, which was co-sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Henley lunched with Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) and said he looked forward to seeing Hillary Rodham Clinton at the party. "Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine." Is he also a fan of fellow Texan George Bush? "No," Henley said. "I don't want to elaborate on it."
• In other celeb-spotting: Bicyclist Lance Armstrong and his rocker girlfriend Sheryl Crow strolled the red carpet in Silver Spring last night, attending the American Film Institute/Discovery Channel's Silverdocs festival, which opened with a screening of "Seeds." It focuses on the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine, of which Armstrong is a supporter. Comedian Caroline Rhea and actor Michael Nouri turned out, too.
• Jenna Bush's bodyguards skirmished with would-be thieves while the first daughter vacationed in Taifa, Spain, last week. Two men tried to swipe a cell phone a few tables away from where the 22-year-old was sitting on a hotel terrace, an appropriately named U.S. embassy spokesman, John Law, told the Associated Press yesterday. No details on whose phone it was. Law said Secret Service agents chased the men and punched one in the mouth, but a state news agency said nobody was arrested.
With Anne Schroeder
© 2004 The Washington Post Company