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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Moore or less

By Tyler Peterson and Sheena McFarland

Despite threats, accusations of betrayal, pressure from donors, insults, bribes, a petition and a civil lawsuit, Utah Valley State College student body leaders did not cancel controversial speaker Michael Moore’s on-campus appearance Wednesday afternoon.

Moore, who charged the university more than $50,000 in speaking and traveling fees, was “grateful” to leaders Jim Bassi and Joe Vogel for standing by their decision and claimed it was an important demonstration of freedom of speech.

“It’s incredible…thank you first of all to these students for their courage and their bravery,” Moore told a crowd whose cheers were louder than its boos. “Because they have a conscience, no amount of money could buy them off. The students at Utah Valley State wouldn’t back down.”

Moore continued his multi-media presentation for roughly 90 minutes, criticizing President Bush and Republicans and committing “slackers” to vote by handing out the “staples of slackers everywhere,”-Top Ramen and men’s underwear.

Moore read two of 3,000 letters he said he had received from soldiers who are displeased with Bush and criticized the media for not reporting “the truth” about the war in Iraq.

“The media has done a poor job of informing us of the truth,” Moore said. “The American people, when given information, tend to do the right thing. When they are kept in the dark, they tend to do the wrong thing.”

He emphasized that Utah is a part of the United States and has the same rights given by the U.S. Constitution.

“You have the right of freedom of speech, expression and religion,” he said.

Moore invited Roseanne Barr as a special guest speaker.

She delivered a satirical speech, criticizing Bush as having “deficit-attention disorder” and said he had a cavalier attitude, which she fears will continue.

She described Bush’s attitude as, “The world is our b****, and we’ll just pop a cap in her ass when she doesn’t do what we want.”

Moore also voiced his disapproval of Bush’s performance in both the recent presidential candidate debates and as Commander in Chief.

“Bush kept repeating himself in the first debate. We know it’s hard work, that’s why we want you to go,” he said.

He also mocked those in the crowd who were booing.

“That is the noise of an old, dying dinosaur,” he said.

While Moore said the dinosaur of Republican leadership is dying, he said he would not treat the minority as the Republicans have.

“This is our pledge to you: We will not treat you the way you treated minorities while you’ve been in power,” he said.

He said when John Kerry takes office and pulls troops out of Iraq, he will also pull out Republicans’ sons and daughters. And when Kerry expands health care, Republicans can sign up too.

“We’ll even let you marry each other,” he said.

Students’ reactions were mixed about the presentation.

Amin Alehashem, a U student who attended, was disappointed.

“It’s just the same stuff. [Moore’s] preaching to the choir.”

Sarah Hasleton, another U student who attended, came to hear what Moore would say.

“I wanted to see if he had anything new to say…he didn’t,” she said.

Anne Looser, a political science senior at the U, went to support Moore and hear a different point of view.

“He’s the Sean Hannity of the left, but he’s the only one we’ve got and we need to support him,” she said. “I knew he would be saying something different than the traditional media.”

She said “Fahrenheit 9/11” showed her images she had never seen, even though she considers herself, “a very politically and socially aware person.”

“For the most part, I enjoyed what he had to say. He does put a spin on what he says, but it’s a spin to the left, which is good. I knew I needed to take it with a grain of salt.”

U student Greg Liddiard said he went because someone had an extra ticket, but he was also disappointed in the performance.

“It was fluffy. I expected there to be more facts, proof, something substantial, but it seemed like the majority of it was making fun of Bush’s accents or his grammatical mistakes,” he said.

While some U students were disappointed, the crowd remained mostly positive with cheers and most were well behaved.

About 10 people were escorted from the crowd for screaming while standing in the aisles or posing a threat to Moore. One man, who Moore thought was pointing an object from underneath his coat, was escorted out as well.

“If you’re going to get violent, you’re going to be escorted from the building,” he said.

Regardless of the interruptions, Moore encouraged young people, who he called the largest non-voting bloc in the United States, to vote.

“This is called the Slacker Uprising tour because even if you hate both candidates, that’s fine, don’t change that. But [if you didn’t vote in the 2000 elections,] we just want you to try voting, just this once.”

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