Discussion of "documentary" v. "propaganda"
Hi, Maynard. I took a look at what's been going on with user 12.40.*.*. It appears to me that you've blocked him because you regard his changes to the Michael Moore article as vandalism after he repeatedly changed the word "documentary" to "propaganda film."
On the one hand, I disagree with this user's edit, as obviously you do. The term "documentary" encompasses films that express a strong point of view as well as films that purport to be nonpartisan or nonpolitical. For example, the Washington Post referred to the anti-Kerry film which was planned for broadcast by the Sinclair Broadcast Group as an "anti-Kerry documentary,"  and even Leni Riefenstahl's pro-Hitler propaganda film, "Triumph of the Will," was and is considered a documentary.  A film can be both propaganda and a documentary. In the case of the Moore film, the sentence which this user keeps trying to change states that Moore's movie has made more money than any other documentary in history, and this meaning is destroyed by changing the word "documentary" to "propaganda film." Moore's movie has made more money than "Triumph of the Will," but it has also made more money than "The Story of the Weeping Camel" or "Tupac: Resurrection" or "Born into Brothels" (a documentary about the children of prostitutes in Calcutta). It has sold more tickets than any documentary anywhere. Moreover, the "Michael Moore" article already makes it clear that his films are controversial and quotes criticisms of them. If this user wants to offer additional substantive criticism of the film, I'd have no problem with that, but merely changing the world "documentary" to "propaganda" adds nothing of substance and obscures one of the facts about the film that the current wording makes clear.
--Sheldon Rampton 23:53, 10 Dec 2004 (EST)
I reverted the edit of 126.96.36.199 changing "documentary" to film "with an activist message" - as per above. The category for Moore's films box office takings is documentary.--Bob Burton 20:51, 14 Dec 2004 (EST)
--188.8.131.52 09:52, 15 Dec 2004 (EST) The new text (with the added sentence)
"His works are controversial, but his movies have broken all previous records for commercial success by a documentary film. Partisans often regard his, and other, documentaries as propaganda."
is even more biased. Now those of us who maintain that documentaries are to be factual are labeled partisans (and of course one can disregard comments from partisans...).
Hi Johan. Third, you ARE partisan. First, I'm not a big fan of MM. Second, I have not seen F-9/11. I understand it to contain a lot of live video clips (as did "Bowling for Columbine" which I did see). Any live video clip would itself be "factual", without regard to its content. --Maynard 11:23, 15 Dec 2004 (EST)
Sheldon, The latest version ("Some critics...") is good. Maynard, Sure, I'm partisan, but the point is that if you want to make SourceWatch into something that people will respect, it (SourceWatch) must NOT be partisan.
- I'm glad you like the latest version. Once again, I'd like to invite you to become a registered user. Posting anonymously using just an IP number is allowed, but it makes communicating with you harder. Registering doesn't cost anything, and you register anonymously if you choose. --Sheldon Rampton 16:08, 15 Dec 2004 (EST)