Just five days before the 2004 presidential election, about 300 people gathered in Packard Auditorium Thursday night to hear Tucson, Arizona-based lawyer David T. Hardy, the co-author of the book Michael Moore is a Big Fat Stupid White Man
, speak about the controversial baseball cap-wearing filmmaker in an event sponsored by Lehigh’s chapter of the College Republicans.
Moore will speak on campus tonight as part of his “Slacker Uprising Tour.”
Hardy contends that Moore makes propaganda films, not true documentaries, so the focus of Hardy’s 45-minute speech at Lehigh was pointing out what Hardy believes are a series of inaccuracies and misrepresentations of President George W. Bush in Moore’s latest film Fahrenheit 9/11
—a movie that Hardy called the “greatest piece of propaganda in the United States ever.”
To back up some of his claims, Hardy showed clips of Fahrenhype 9/11
, a 2004 documentary written by Dick Morris (and in which Hardy appeared) which refutes Moore’s hit film.
In Fahrenheit 9/11
, for example, Moore says that, according to the Washington Post
, Bush was on vacation 42 percent of the time during his first eight months in office prior to the 9/11 attacks.
Hardy said that he found the Washington Post
article that Moore used as the basis for his statement and that the story itself reported that Bush was out of the White House 42 percent of the
time, but that he was working a great deal of that time--including 38 days spent working at Camp David and other time spent working on his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
Also, in Moore's films Fahrenheit 9/11
and Roger and Me
, Moore refers to Flint, Michigan as his hometown. According to Hardy, Moore grew up in Davision, a much more affluent suburb.
During the course of his presentation, Hardy, who approached Lehigh’s College Republicans to speak in Bethlehem after hearing about Moore’s planned visit and accepted no appearance fee for his visit, accused Moore of having a “narcissistic personality disorder” and was highly critical of Moore for making millions of dollars off the 9/11 tragedy between the Fahrenheit 9/11
movie, CD and book sales associated with the film and now his tour of college campuses.
Following his presentation, Hardy, who said he first created an anti-Michael Moore Web site
after “being unhappy with Moore’s depiction of Charlton Heston, the NRA and others” in Moore’s 2002 Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling For Columbine
, fielded questions from the audience for an additional 45 minutes.
The sponsors of the event, the College Republicans were thrilled with the turnout to hear Hardy, a lawyer who has worked in both Arizona and Washington D.C. and who has authored numerous articles and manuscripts on first and second amendment issues (the right to free speech and the right to bear arms). Hardy’s 10-year stint in Washington from 1982 to 1992 was spent largely on Endangered Species Act matters.
“I was very happy with the number of people that showed up, especially given how quickly we put this event together, as well as the fact that (former New York mayor) Rudy Giuliani was also in the Lehigh Valley,” said Neal Hoffman, a junior majoring in political science who is active in the College Republicans. “I’m glad that everyone came out and heard what Mr. Hardy had to say the day before Michael Moore comes to campus. It was an opportunity for people to hear another perspective on Michael Moore and his films.”
Mary Yoder, a political science major and president of Lehigh’s College Republicans, also was pleased with the lecture, which she called the best-attended one that the group has ever had. Yoder was particularly excited that both Republicans and Democrats from Lehigh’s student body took the time to hear Hardy speak and to ask him questions.
“It’s important to hear the opposing point of view,” Yoder said. “Not just because this is an election year, but because Michael Moore is a propagandist. A lot of what Michael Moore says is false and we need people to know what the truth is.”