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Laramie Movie Scope:
Counting on Democracy

A rehash of the 2000 presidential election

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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October 20, 2004 -- “Counting on Democracy” is an unimpressive rehash of the 2000 presidential election, ultimately decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. It doesn't really cover much new ground beyond what you saw on network television at the time of the election. Other documentaries, including “Fahrenheit 9/11” cover the subject more thoroughly.

The film argues the election should have been covered more vigorously, but got pushed aside by an even bigger story, the terrorist attacks of 9/11. There is no doubt this story wasn't covered as vigorously as the Monica Lewinsky affair, and it was a huge story, rather than gossipy fluff. I remember devouring all the news coverage of the day. The film makes a pretty good case for the fact that the news media got caught up in political spin and lost track of the real story. Other political documentaries, such as “Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism” talk more about the key role the Fox News Channel had in influencing news coverage of the election.

There is surprisingly little discussion of the recount after the election sponsored by major media organizations. One person says that Gore would have won had there been a recount of all the ballots in the state. The news organizations which conducted the recount, however, tell a different story. I would have liked to have heard more about this recount. There have been several different versions of the result of the news media's recount.

Much of the film was made up of network news footage. I remembered seeing a lot of it the first time. I think the film would have been more informative if it relied less on news footage and more on independent investigation and analysis of the situation. Other documentaries on this subject, such as “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bush Family Fortunes: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” delve into the election more deeply, examining the disenfranchisement of black voters through various means, including deliberate manipulation of voting machines to create more spoiled ballots. Other documentaries also take a closer look at how the lists of registered voters were purged of thousands of legitimate black voters who were mistakenly listed as felons.

There are a lot of good political documentaries out this year. This is not one of them. It rates a C.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2004 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)