An online petition drive has been launched by a group calling itself Democrats United Against Michael Moore.

According to organizer David Prince, the effort is to “implore the Democrat leadership to distance itself from Michael Moore and his practices.”

Prince says the organization, based in North Hollywood, Calif., consists of 23 people who “actively promote the petition through a multitude of online channels and traditional media.”

The group’s online petition includes a link where party members can contact the Democratic National Committee. They are instructed to copy and paste the petition into their messages to party leadership.

“We Democrats and other supporters of John Kerry for president petition the Democratic National Committee to forthwith disassociate itself from filmmaker Michael Moore and reject his incendiary, propagandistic methods,” begins the petition. “It is our steadfast belief that Michael Moore has violated the public trust by presenting misrepresentation, factual inaccuracy and dramatic re-creation as truth in his films. He has usurped time-honored ethics of journalism, to which documentarians are bound, and has employed classic techniques of deception cognate to totalitarian propaganda.”

Moore’s popular documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11” skewers President Bush and serves, some say, as a movie-length advertisement for Kerry.

Says the petition: “We must not allow our vehement opposition to President Bush and his policies to blind us from truth. We must not abandon reason in favor of political expediency. On the contrary, we must march forward on the foundation of virtue, confident that truth is our greatest weapon.”

The group’s site blames Moore on Kerry’s failure to best Bush in opinion polls despite the president’s historically low approval rating.

Says the site: “No doubt the slogan passed around Republican National Headquarters is soon to be, ‘It’s Michael Moore, stupid!’ The Republicans, in particular conservative media, have seized upon Moore’s extremism as a rallying cry. Will it be to anyone’s surprise when the images of Michael Moore sitting next to Jimmy Carter at the DNC begin to appear in Bush ads?”

As if to prove its Democratic credentials, the site compares popular figures of the right with Moore:

“There is no question that one could make a similar argument against conservative demagogues like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter,” the site says. “They, too, only serve to denigrate the political process by promulgating distortions and preying on the prejudices of the electorate.

“However, we are Democrats and other supporters of John Kerry for president. Our exclusive concern with this petition is the direction being taken by our party and our candidates, not with what are [sic] opponents are doing or have done. Simply because our opponents may embrace this type of demogoguery does not justify our doing the same. We will not win the battle of ideology by lowering ourselves to such standards, but by transcending them. We must appeal to a higher principle.”

Prince estimates that thousands of petitions have been sent to the Democratic National Committee, but, he tells WND, “we have had no formal acknowledgement yet from the DNC.”

Jano Cabrera, communications director of the DNC, said he was unaware of the group’s campaign.

“Our position on Michael Moore’s films has always been the same,” he told WND, “namely that … people should go and watch [‘Fahrenheit 9/11’] and make up their own minds on it.”

Added Cabrera, “With the exception of one person, namely John Kerry, we don’t take positions on individuals.”

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