Roger L. Simon

The Politics of Niche Marketing

I have been enjoying the excerpts of Byron York’s The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy being published by NRO, but the one today downgrading the importance of Fahrenheit 9/11 to the last election is less surprising to me than previous installments.

The answer, although no one beyond a few Hollywood executives, and probably Moore himself, knew it at the time, was that Fahrenheit 9/11 never had the sort of national appeal that its maker and its publicists claimed. The truth was just the opposite; deep inside the dense compilations of audience research figures that are used by movie studios to chart a film’s performance was evidence that Fahrenheit 9/11’s appeal was narrowly limited to those areas that were already solidly anti-Bush. Moore’s daily pronouncements about the movie‚Äôs success in pro-Bush areas, and the growing anti-Bush movement it was supposedly engendering, were little more than wishful thinking.

Well, of course. Does this surprise anyone? You don’t have to be in the movie business to realize that Moore’s work and Moore the man are “choir preaching” at its purest. I don’t imagine that kind of person convinces anyone of anything ultimately.

But what does change our minds? I’m not sure I understand that, though I do know that seeking the most common ground and then shifting subtly is far more effective than Fahrenheit 9/11. And by the way, those Industry stats that York quotes as being secrets of movie executives are readily available to anyone on line now. I’m sure Karl Rove knew them. No wonder he wasn’t alarmed by Moore.