Sunday, July 24, 2011

Face Palm Moments in Journalism: Michael Moore, the Oracle of Davison

(photo @ the guardian)


Michael Moore is a well known liberal activist and a prolific, Academy Award winning documentary film maker. Before I lay into the guy, it should be noted that he is a brilliant and talented film maker who can often make some very good points about our current political/economic system and the society that we live in.

Unfortunately, he is also an unrepentant liar and a hypocrite to a degree that would be hilarious if so many people didn't believe in him. So go grab some popcorn, a few snacks, and a drink while we sift through some of his critically acclaimed movies, shall we?


Sicko

It's pretty easy to find both democrats and republicans that will say our nation's health care system needs to be fixed.  The picture of health and self preservation that is Michael Moore decided to take on this very subject for one of his films.  

And while he did actually raise some very good points, he also lies like a cat on a rug.


                                                                            gigglesquid.webs.com
Cat Michael Moore says :  
"Please hand me my ironic baseball cap.  It fell where my eyes are looking."


A few of his claims (that ended up being false)

-Canadian health care does not have a problem with incredibly long wait times (they do).

-Government subsidized health care in England is working (it's not).

-Only in the U.S are patients denied health coverage due to lack of funds (It seems to happen quite a bit in Belgium, too.)

One of the most famous scenes in the movie, however, is when Moore takes ailing 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for desperately needed medical care. The workers are treated by an amazing looking health care system that is said to be available to the entire country's populace.



The problem is, none of what was shown is available for a majority of Cuban citizens. Many people from that country (including those that work in the medical profession) say that what Moore shows is completely false. Those facilities and the excellent care is reserved for only for the incredibly wealthy and tourists.

The rest of Cuba's citizens receive health care in far worse conditions...or not at all. Wanna see some disturbing/sad film of Cuban hospitals, Cubans speaking out over the films false portrayal of their health care system, and Michael Moore getting backed into a corner during an interview?

Go get 'em, Jon Stossel, you anti-hero of journalism!




If anyone can find the follow up interview that Michael Moore wanted to do, please point it out, because it still eludes me (and it probably never happened).

Jon Stossel can be often times be a huge jerk that makes me want to pull my hair out, but I he really nailed it on this one.


                                                                                      businessinsider
Even when we disagree, his moustache 
often wins the argument by default





Bowling for Columbine

In 1999, The Columbine Massacre took the lives of 14 Columbine High School students (including the shooters) and 1 teacher, injured many more, and sparked some very serious debate about gun control laws in the United States.

The title of the movie comes from a story about the two shooters, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, going bowling 5 hours before they went on their shooting rampage. That story turned out to be untrue.

In one of the more famous scenes from the film, Moore walks into a bank, opens an account, and comes out holding his very own "boomstick." Even more shocking is that the bank he went to (the North Country Bank in Traverse City, Michigan) allegedly kept hundreds of guns on its premises.




This would all be pretty shocking and cause for great concern except that it's actually not at all how the transaction normally works.  

In this clip from the film Michael Moore Hates America, the employees at the bank explain how things really went down. They also shed some light on the manipulative editing and identifying tactics that were used in their segment from Moore's finished film.



So basically, the guns are kept in a vault hundreds of miles away (not at the bank) and are shipped either to the bank or a licensed gun dealer. There is also a multi-day waiting period after all official forms are filled out and the deposit is made.

The producers asked the bank to forgo the waiting period. The segment was then shot to make it look as though it was what happened for every customer that walked into the bank.

It's still a little odd/disturbing that guns are given as a reward for opening up a account at a bank, but the firearms free-for-all that was implied to be taken place at a supposedly secure location was nothing more than a behind the scenes invention by Moore and his film crew.



                                                                                        free-extras.com
You're only in danger if they get the bank manager



Capitalism: A Love Story

SPOILER ALERT:  Michael Moore rails against capitalism in this one.  

But you know what?  Even as someone who supports the free market economy, I have to admit that he makes some really great points.

It's just that it's very hard for me to wrap my head around him saying that "capitalism is evil," especially when his net worth is over $50 million dollars.

It was also completely baffled when Moore claimed that "capitalism did nothing for me."  Don't believe me? Take a look:


Yeah, that last one made my head hurt. Why don't we all take a break for a few seconds while I gather my strength for the last and biggest target of Moore's films.


                                                   amazon.com
In the meantime, go "do nothing" for Michael Moore!
Buy Capitalism: A Love Story, available on amazon.com now!



Fahrenheit 9/11

There is a huge list of lies and half truths for this movie, but let's highlight a few of the big ones.

During the film, Michael Moore claims that in 2003, President Bush proposed cutting military pay by 33%, which would be which would be quite an awful thing to do (especially at the beginning of a war).  

But the alleged "pay cut" was actually the expiring of a retroactive increase of 'imminent danger pay' by $75 per month and a $150 increase of 'family separation allowance' (for service personnel stationed where their families can't join them). If those were allowed to expire, it would have cut about 18% off  of the lowest ranked, lowest paid 1 year enlisted personnel in 2004 (and much less for others who were enlisted).

But letting those pay increases expire still looks like a cut from a soldier and his/her family's perspective despite Michael Moore greatly exaggerating and twisting the statistics.  An 18% or less pay reduction may be less than 33%, but it still wasn't right and it needed to be reversed.

Fortunately, the proposed pay expiration/cuts by the PENTAGON (not Bush) were not approved. In fact, the President instead proposed a 3.7% pay increase for 2004  that Congress in fact did approve.


                                                                           summarynewspaper
It was that, or Congress drew straws for who had to go out into the 
desert and tell these guys that they make too much money.


The news about the the bonus payouts not expiring came out on August 15, 2003. The news about the military pay raises came out on December 8, 2003.  

Fahrenheit 9/11 premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on May 17, 2004. Shockingly, Michael Moore did not include either of these aforementioned facts in his film. This was most certainly an inadvertent oversight and not an intentional. blatant, and deceitful omission.


                                                                                     sodahead.com



But Moore was not doing using the brave men and women of our military as a prop for his exaggerated charges. During the portion of the film the claims/omissions about solider pay are are being made, the movie cuts to a scene of soldiers that are recovering from the loss of multiple limbs.  

It's gut wrenching to watch, especially when the camera settles in on a veteran named Peter Damon.


Michael Moore actually never visited the hospital in this portion of the film; he obtained the footage from Dateline NBC. He may have asked Dateline NBC for the footage, but talking to the people that were filmed was another matter.

Peter Damon was also not happy at all about being used in the film for dramatic effect and to support views that he didn't believe in himself.




After seeing how he was used for Moore's film (without his consent or even a request), Damon filed a lawsuit against the filmmaker for defamation. Unfortunately for Peter, Michael Moore has plenty of money to hire good legal counsel; the lawsuit was dismissed.

And while we're on the subject of money, remember how Michael Moore said that "capitalism is evil?" He's really dedicated to that idea, claiming that he doesn't "own a single share of stock" and keeps his money in a simple savings account.



                                                                  theinfluentials.wordpress.com
Keeping money under his mattress was causing back problems.


One of the main "evil capitalist" targets of  Fahrenheit 9/11 was Halliburton, a HUGE oil company that was once run by former Vice President, Dick Cheney.  

There are plenty of things to criticize Halliburton for, and Michael Moore goes for the jugular.




I think he makes some great points here. It does seem very suspect that this company seems to be getting all these contracts, making obscene amounts of money (often doing jobs that our troops do for much less), and continues to profit as long as the war goes on.  

Michael Moore, however, seems to be on the same side as those he is attacking. He actually owned 50 shares of Halliburton through his 'non profit' Center for Alternative Media and Culture foundation.  

He's the foundation's president; that is his signature at the bottom of the linked tax document.

He bought the stock in 1999, sold it almost a year later in 2000, and made a nice 18.7 % profit. That sure beats the heck out of the interest rate on a savings account. 



                                                immortaltechnique
Don't hate the player, hate the game



He also owned stock in defense contractor Honeywell, an oil company named Sunoco, and many other companies (which apparently he needed some better investment advice about).

In case you think that I'm making any of this up (I'm not) or that I am a whiz with photoshop (I'm terrible), here is a link to where you can find 9 years worth of tax returns from his foundation; just type in the organization's name: 'Center for Alternative Media and Culture.'   

Any organization that classifies themselves as a non profit has to submit a 990PF, which with a little digging is easy to find public records of online.  If you still don't believe me, the Wall Street Journal agrees with my research (incriminating text highlighted), so there.


Take that, skeptics!


In the following clip, Moore claims that he doesn't have a foundation.  Unfortunately, his dress slacks do not explode into flames due to him being a liar liar with said pants on fire.




Moore continues to deny that he ever owned Halliburton stock, despite hard evidence to the contrary.

By the way, the video embedded above is from a great movie called Manufacturing Dissent.  It was made by filmmakers who initially admired Michael Moore, but began discovering some pretty unsavory things about him while they were filming. It's worth noting that these are liberal leaning film makers that Fox News basically booted off the air during an interview for criticizing President Bush and the right wing agenda.

It's probably a pretty bad sign when people start out making a documentary about how great you are only to realize that you may just be putting on a very profitable act. Hopefully, more liberals will realize that carnival barkers like Michael Moore and Rush Limbaugh are cut from the same cloth. They will never care half as much about their ideals as they do about their exposure and the resulting profits.


                                                                                 moonbattery.com
Thanks for the cash, loooo....vely fellow disenfranchised Americans!


Note: Michael Moore FINALLY came clean recently about owning Haliburton stock. Unfortunately, he followed up his long overdue confession by lying even more. Read the full story here.

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