Thursday, December 29, 2011

Face Palm Moments in Journalism: Michael Moore FINALLY responds to proof that he owned Haliburton stock...by lying some more.

(photo @ nypost)


A few months ago, I wrote this article about Michael Moore and the ways that he lies, distorts the truth, and seems to have a difficult time practicing what he preaches.  In case any of you thought that this was some type of ultra conservative hit piece, you should know I actually agree with quite a few of Moore's viewpoints.  My issue with Moore is that people like him, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity are much more interested in generating anger/controversy (and subsequently, better ratings/movie revenues) than exposing or reporting on the truth.  These guys don't make money by presenting sound and rational arguments; they do it by getting their fanbases riled up and foaming out the mouth, truth be damned.

Now that we have that out of the way, one of my biggest "gotcha" facts about Michael Moore was that he had owned and profited off of Halliburton stock (along with many other major corporate stock shares) through his tax shelter, The Center for Alternative Media and Culture.  Moore claims that he started this "foundation" to help fund  "cultural performances."  The reason that I and many others refer to this organization as a "tax shelter" is because on its 2000 tax return, only $42,798 of the TAX EXEMPT organization's $628,837 in assets for that year were donated (listed only as 6 'FILM GRANTS' and 8 'OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS').  That's quite a large amount of tax exempt money, corporate bonds, and stocks sitting there and earning interest and dividends without being taxed.

If you go here and type in "Center for Alternative Media and Culture", you can find tax returns for other years and find a few more interesting things; like the fact that the small amount he donates each year often goes to organizations that promote films and books...two things that Michael Moore has dabbled in a little bit.

                                                                                accesshollywood
Along with mastering the ironic 
formal wear + baseball hat look when he hits the red carpet


But let's get down to what you really came here for:  Michael Moore FINALLY addressing the Halliburton tax claim head on.  Here is the clip from an interview he did with CSPAN on October 2, 2011. (In case CSPAN gets poopy and makes me take down the clip, here is the direct link that also includes a transcriptl).




Okay, let's start off with what Michael Moore actually told the truth about.  We've already covered that it was his "foundation" (whatever definition of that you believe) and not him that bought and sold the stock.

As far as his money manager being in jail, he's probably right about that one as well.  The firm that prepared his tax records was run by Kenneth Starr (no, not the one with an obsession with Bill Clinton's sex life), who was sentenced to a little over 7 years in jail for running a $29 million dollar ponzi scheme.

Fun fact:  When the FBI came to Kenneth Starr's apartment to make the arrest, they found him hiding in his coat closet.

                                                    amazon.com
R. Kelly approved of this 
defensive financial strategy


So here is where I have a problem with Moore's explanation:  First of all, he said that once he discovered that his money manager was investing in stocks, he "eventually" fired him.  What doesn't make sense is why he continued with the same money manager in 2001.  

To be fair, all he did was sell stock that year.  But when Moore got a new money manager (CRM Management) in 2002, though, he...oh, I'm sorry...his tax exempt "foundation" began to buy stocks again.  Unfortunately for his portfolio, Pharmacia Corp and Tenet Healthcare didn't do too well.

                                            wikipedia
 Sicko:  The secret financial revenge film

But let's be kind and continue to give Michael Moore the benefit of the doubt.  Let's say that even though he signed those tax returns for 3 years (he now has his wife, Kathleen do it), he just didn't notice the massive amount of stock transactions taking place.  

Just like Ron Paul shouldn't get a pass for claiming that he signed his name to things he didn't read, neither should Michael Moore.  But as anyone who has been the parent of an elementary school kid can tell you, sometimes good people really do accidentally sign things that they should have been paying more attention to.

But once again, if he fired his money manager for investing in stocks, why did he let the next one do it as well?

And here's the real kicker:  Up until the above interview, Michael Moore had flatly denied ever being part of any stock ownership.

-He denied it in 2005, calling people that believed the claim "crazy."
-He denied it to the liberal filmmakers of 'Manufacturing Dissent' in 2007, claiming that the same public records documents you can see in this article were "photoshopped."
-He denied it a third time in 2009 when asked the same questions by the Wall Street Journal.

It would have been much easier to believe in the possibility of Moore's innocence/ignorance if he had just said that his money manager went against his wishes in 2000 and 2001 (although there would still be the pesky issue of the second money manager doing the same thing).  This sudden ability to speak frankly about events that happened in 2000-2001 that he had never spoken of before is a bit odd.  Maybe it's because more and more people are realizing that the documents he once used to deride as being fake are now easily accessible public records.

Whatever the case, his usual tactic of taking the truth and twisting it like a pretzel isn't something I'm going to let him off the hook on this issue.  Your move, Mr. Moore...

                                                   evilmadscientist
...and no Michael, you don't get to eat the pretzel.