Robert at Expat Yank points this out:
Moore used the planes hitting the towers for a cheap punchline in Bowling For Columbine. So this time he doesn’t show us anything: The screen is black, we hear only sounds, screams, thuds, chaos, and then the darkness clears to show us the aftermath. Critics were very appreciative. “Moore exercises admirable forbearance,” wrote Ann Hornaday in The Washington Post, “and creates one of the most moving sequences in recent cinema.”
But, when a director who’s not exactly known for admirable forbearance suddenly starts exercising it, you can’t help wondering why. Later in the movie, the old forbearance goes out the window – naked corpses of dead Iraqi children, shattered bodies, etc. The grief of a bereaved mother from Flint, Michigan is dwelt on at exploitative length and Moore is in no hurry to exercise his recently acquired forbearance: if it feels good, milk it. Much of Fahrenheit is comprised of unused TV footage: the make-up montage is from the minute or two before the interview begins, when the camera’s rolling and they’re adjusting the lighting, etc. Well, there’s plenty of unused footage from 9/11 – the TV cameras zoomed in on bodies falling from the towers, ordinary Americans choosing to die by taking one last gulp of air and plunging to earth rather than burn up in the heat and hell inside.
The networks took a decision not to show that – it was too real, too intrusive. But how strange that Michael Moore lingers on the brutal horror of Iraq, yet when it comes to 9/11 he exercises his now famous forbearance and blacks it out, a model of restraint.
It’s almost like he wants people to get a particular idea, or something.