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Marco Rubio And Fox News Get Dragged After Calling Out Neil Armstrong Biopic Over American Flag

It was one small tweet for man, and one giant, pointless controversy for mankind.

The man in question, Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

The controversy? Manufactured to create a distracting talking point before the November midterms, perhaps.

On Friday, Rubio took to Twitter, joining others to try to stir up outrage about the upcoming Neil Armstrong biopic First Man, which stars Ryan Gosling as astronaut Neil Armstrong.

From La La Land director Damien Chazelle, First Man takes a behind the scenes look at Armstrong’s journey to becoming the first man to walk on the moon.

Controversy however soon surrounded the movie after a successful premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Critics who had not seen the film quickly called it unpatriotic for not including the moment Armstrong planted the United States flag on the moon.

According to Chazelle, Gosling and people who have actually seen the film though, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The controversy began with a story in The Telegraph, which chastised the movie for, in their opinion, downplaying the patriotic angle of Armstrong’s achievement. By the time it had filtered down to Breitbart and Fox News the story was claiming the film didn’t include an image of the flag at all.

However images of the flag appear throughout the movie and in the trailer.

Despite the controversy though, Chazelle and Gosling are sticking by the decision to not include the actual planting of the flag in the film.

“I think this was widely regarded in the end as a human achievement, that’s how we chose to view it,” Gosling told reporters at a press conference.

“I also think Neil was extremely humble, as were many of these astronauts, and time and time again he deferred the focus from himself to the 400,000 people who made the mission possible.”

For Chazelle, the choice was about focusing the story around Armstrong, stating:

“I wanted the primary focus in that scene to be on Neil’s solitary moments on the moon.”

The decision was also defended by Armstrong’s sons, Rick and Mark.

“This story is human and it is universal. Of course, it celebrates an American achievement. It also celebrates an achievement ‘for all mankind,’ as it says on the plaque Neil and Buzz left on the moon.”

In the wake of all the controversy and misinformation though, much of the outrage now seems to be turning on those who started stirring things up in the first place.

Plenty on Twitter went after Rubio for his armchair patriotism and reminded him he had bigger things to worry about.

Not wanting to leave out Fox News, Twitter also turned on them for encouraging the wave of faux outrage.

But after the various scoldings Twitter took the time to remind those outraged by the story the true spirit of what Armstrong accomplished.

And in that spirit Twitter had a fantastic suggestion for Rubio and how he could focus on his own “American” achievement.

H/T – Twitter, Uproxx, Deadline


Written by Dennis Matthew Livesey

Matt is a writer, designer, and native New Yorker. He has worked in film, where he enjoyed a brief career as a stand-in for Ian Holm; finance, where he pretended to understand his job, and real estate, where nothing remarkable happened. He writes about science, technology, and media. His work includes magazine articles, one published book, and the looming inevitability of the second.