Some more tidbits about Peter Damon, the injured Iraqi war veteran who’s suing filmmaker Michael Moore for using a news clip of him in “Fahrenheit 9/11” in a way that Damon claims falsely portrays him as a critic of President Bush. (Earlier items here, here and here.)
— MSNBC.com gossip columnist Jeannette Walls today quotes Damon’s lawyer, Dennis Lynch, as denying that Damon and his parents joined Sen. Ted Kennedy on the podium for an anti-war speech in 2004. Lynch is wrong, which raises the question of why he chose to deny reality rather than come up with a plausible explanation. Walls also writes:
In another film, one blasting Michael Moore [Walls is apparently referring to the Dick Morris-narrated “Fahrenhype 9/11”], Damon was quoted as saying that he disagreed with Moore’s documentary, which he called “propaganda.” But when asked if Moore had he right to make the movie, Damon replied, “That’s the reason we go off to fight — to defend his right to make a movie.”
Of course, that was before Lynch dangled visions of $85 million before his eyes.
— Speaking of Lynch, this post to the Democratic Underground has a bunch of material on his ties to ultraconservative causes. D.U. is obviously a partisan site, and I don’t like the idea of guilt by association. But, as you’ll see, the post consists almost entirely of links to Lynch’s own writings. Moreover, it fills in a few pieces of the puzzle regarding Lynch’s agenda, if not necessarly Damon’s.
Boston trivia fans will note the tenuous connection to former Boston mayor Ray Flynn.
— Here are some interesting thoughts on the fair-use exception to copyright law. As the blogger A.J. Schnack observes:
While the lawsuit is clearly part of a larger effort to get that leftie-commie Michael Moore, it is going to be an interesting and important test case that will either chill the work of nonfiction filmmakers (if it succeeds) or set in stone a rule to guide us in the future — we can use clips from news programs (and the people interviewed in them) to make our own case — even if the case we are making is the opposite of what the person being interviewed believes.
Moore-haters, pay careful attention to what Schnack is saying. He’s not saying that Moore has the right to distort or alter Damon’s words. What he is saying is that a journalist, a nonfiction filmmaker or an author has the right to use someone’s words in the service of his or her own agenda, even if that person is offended, as long as the person is portrayed accurately. It’s that right that Damon and Lynch are trying to topple. You might know it by a more familiar name: the First Amendment.
— Finally, it’s now been four days since we learned that Damon might have been against the war before he was for it. I’ve done a pretty thorough search, and can find no evidence that he has spoken since that revelation was posted at Reason.com.
Certainly Damon had proven that he can deliver some pithy sound bites. Has Dennis Lynch told him to shut up? And why might that be?
Go, Jon, go. My friend Jon Keller did a long interview with Damon last week, before the Ted Kennedy revelation. Here’s how Keller ends his piece: “One final note. Damon says he supported the war when he went over, and he still supports it now.” Time for a follow-up, I’d say.