Roger Ebert has posted a thoughtful essay on Fahrenheit 9/11 that addresses a main complaint about the film: that it’s not “objective” like a documentary should be. Newsflash! No film is objective, and no book is either. If a human being is deciding which images and words to use, then the result is inherently biased.
I think this is a useful point to make. I spent a semester studying with director Jill Godmilow and she quickly disabused us of the notion that documentaries were supposed to be “the truth”. Everybody’s got an agenda. Everybody’s making an argument. I remember she showed us Nanook of the North, which is the prototypical “follow the foreigner through his daily life” documentary. We all assumed it was True. Then we learned how the director cheated, how the big walrus fight was actually staged with a dead carcass, how the igloo was a cut-away to let the light in better, how he glossed over Nanook’s second wife so as not to offend audience sensibilities. The whole thing was a construct, and everything contributed to the theme of the exotic yet noble Savage. It was about as “true” as reality television.
Cinema is by definition untruthful and biased. That’s just how it is. Moore’s under no obligation to present the opposing viewpoint. At least he never claimed to be “fair and balanced”, huh?