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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Free Speech vs. Paid Speech

Derek has an op-ed in today's Christian Science Monitor on the distinction between funding for the movie Fahrenheit911 and the ads run by the 527 organization Swift Boat Veterans For Truth.

Check it out.

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You make a number of good points concerning free speech vs paid speech but I
feel that your example of free speech is a poor one. Fahrenheit 9/11 was
made for a cost of $6 million financed by Miramax. I don't know how to
determine how much money was spent on promoting the movie but I am certain it
was a healthy amount.

Perhaps it would have been a wiser business decision for SBVT to finance a
'documentary' to tell their side of the story but the fact is that neither
story would have been told without lots of big and powerful money behind
them.
David Walker
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David makes a good point. Moore's message would not have gone out were it not for big money. But, there is still a distinction. The $6 million put up by Miramax (who then sold the film after parent company Disney refused to distribute it) and to promote the film ultamately weren't contributions by donors, but investments by businessmen that were eventually paid back. I believe that the movie was quite profitable, so the money put in all came back out, unlike the money put into the swift boat ads.

Plus, to some extent, all of us have an equal ability to write a screen play, pitch it to movie producers, and have them produce it if they think it will sell. We don't have an equal ability to pay to have ads that we like put on TV.
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Sure we do. The man isn't keeping us down.

According to my reading SBVT planned to spend $500,000 on advertising. $200,000 of that from Bob Perry and the rest of other donors. I know a number of people capable of making such donations (they won't donate it to me unfortunately). However multiple sources indicate the average SBVT donation to be around $60. Certainly almost anybody that believes strongly in something can afford $60.

Contrast this with how difficult it is to get a movie green-lighted. Perhaps I hang with the wrong crowd but I do not know anyone who has had their movie idea made.

Perhaps they would have been more wise to invest their $500,000 in "Fight for your 'Right' to Party (in the White House)" starring Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter.
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I think what ya'll are trying to do is admirable and honorable. But I think it's too late. I blame all of us for what has happened. It has sneaked up on us so slowly that we didn't recognize what the corporations and politicians were doing to our country until it was too late. I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think so.
Mary Paxton
Oak Grove, La.
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