Dick Hall of Fame, Entry #15: Michael Moore

17 Feb

Anyone who has watched the news in the past 10 years probably already knows that Michael Moore is a dick.  Moore is a “documentary” director who spends his time exposing the evils of the Republican party.  And while some might consider this a service (there are certainly plenty of Republican hypocrisies worth exposing), it is the manner in which Mr. Moore goes about producing these exposés that ruffles a few feathers, including ours.  To tell you the truth, it’s mostly about the facts…namely, the lack of them in Moore’s movies.

As I said, it’s not as though there is a shortage of problems with the GOP.  As a Republican myself, I am well aware of the myriad issues plaguing my party’s policies.  And it would not be difficult for someone to make an engaging and informative documentary exposing any number of those issues.  Instead, however, Mr. Moore has chosen to take a route more akin to sensationalism.  Rather than allowing facts to get in the way of a good movie, Moore has embellished, misrepresented, straight-up lied about a fantastic number of things in each of his movies.

Come on Uncouth, what does Peter Griffin have to do with anything?

Let’s take a look at a few of his movies, shall we?  We can start with Roger and Me, Moore’s first documentary.  Moore fans will often admit that he has misrepresented facts in some of his other movies, but will almost always fall back on Roger and Me as an example of an honest and effective documentary.  Roger and Me does succeed in some ways.  The film is designed to document that effect that the closing of a General Motors plant had on Moore’s hometown of Flint, Michigan.  Certainly an interesting topic, but Moore paints General Motors to be an evil, faceless corporation whose CEO (the title “Roger”) refuses to meet with him and doesn’t care at all about the damage that he has caused Flint.

Here’s the thing.  That’s what makes him a good businessman.  It sucks that closing a plant has negative repercussions on people living in that town, but if businessmen were paralyzed by not wanting to cause anyone harm, they would never make any money.  If I’m an investor in GM, I want to know full well that my CEO is going to make the decision that is best for the company, not the decision that is best for the people of some podunk town that I could care less about.  I. Do not care. About Flint, Michigan.  And by the way, that’s no reflection on Flint.  I’m sure it’s a very nice town.  It just so happens that I do not live in that town, and therefore what happens to it is of absolutely no consequence to me.

Of course, Moore also blatantly misrepresents what has happened to the town.  Pauline Kael offers some insight in her review; here are a couple of excerpts:

“[T]he eleven plant closings announced in 1986 were in four states; the thirty thousand jobs were lost in Flint over a period of a dozen years; and the tourist attractions were constructed and failed well before the 1986 shutdowns that they are said to be a response to.”

“We’re told that Ronald Reagan visited the devastated city, and we hear about what we assume is the President’s response to the crisis. He had a pizza with twelve unemployed workers and advised them to move to Texas; we’re told that during lunch the cash register was lifted from the pizza parlor. That’s good for a few more laughs. But Reagan visited the city in 1980, when he wasn’t yet President–he was a candidate. And the cash register had been taken two days earlier.”

But the movie that made Moore famous was Bowling for Columbine, a movie about gun culture in America.  I have to admit, there were a few parts of Bowling that even I enjoyed.  In particular, there is one scene, designed to demonstrate how easy it is to conceal a weapon, in which an individual in baggy jeans and a sweatshirt pulls literally dozens of guns, including a full-sized shotgun(!), out of his clothes.  That said, the movie is also filled with lies.

For one thing, there wasn't a minute of bowling in the whole movie.

Moore uses a variety of tricks, including splicing together different election ads to discredit Republicans, demonizing the NRA’s response to the Columbine shootings (despite the group’s largely sympathetic response), including splicing together different Charlton Heston speeches to make it appear as though he was callously dismissive of the tragedy.  Moore even attacked the NRA’s response to a different shooting in Michigan by making it appear that the group had rushed to town to hold a pro-gun rally, when in fact Heston happened to be in Michigan for a get out the vote rally at the same time as George W. Bush, Al Gore, Lee Iacocca, and other prominent political figures.  Far from the pro-school-shooting stance that Moore would have his viewers believe the NRA takes.  Moore even attempts to imply that the NRA was founded by the members of the disbanded KKK, and that its mission is parallel to the former Klan.  Extreme, even by Moore’s standards.  He takes great pains to make Heston and the other NRA members appear to be racist, a favorite tactic of liberal extremists everywhere.  The claims are blatant nonsense, which can plainly be seen in this study.

But perhaps Moore’s most controversial work would be Fahrenheit 9/11, a film about the September 11th tragedy which borders on accusing the United States government of being complicit in the attacks.  Essentially, Moore explores the theme of how the US government took advantage of the attacks to build support for an unrelated war in Iraq.  The response to the movie was mass outrage.  It’s not that the administration didn’t use 9/11 to justify many things–it’s that Moore continued to stretch the truth far beyond its limits.  Filmmakers have created movies solely focused on the lies in Fahrenheit 9/11.  Books have been written about it.  Vast numbers of websites have been created to expose those lies.  My personal favorite writer, Christopher Hitchens, was one of the first to react.

"And if you look closely, you can see President Bush driving Hurricane Katrina, too."

We’ll take a look at a couple misrepresentations from Fahrenheit 9/11, just to get a taste.  This excerpt comes from this Free Republic article:

National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice is depicted in the movie telling a reporter, “Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11.”

The actual full quote?

“Oh, indeed there is a tie between Iraq and what happened on 9/11. It’s not that Saddam Hussein was somehow himself and his regime involved in 9/11. But if you think about what caused 9/11, it is the rise of ideologies of hatred that led people to drive airplanes into buildings in New York.”

Well…that’s certainly less…you know…wrong.  How about another?

Not revealing relevant facts is dishonest enough. But to paint the Bush Administration as sympathetic and friendly to the Taliban prior to September 11, is not only dishonest, but maliciously so. ü Moore shows film of a March 2001 visit to the United States by a Taliban delegation, claiming that the Administration “welcomed” the Taliban official, Sayed Hashemi, “to tour the United States to help improve the image of the Taliban.” But the Administration did not welcome the Taliban with open arms. In fact, the State Department rejected the Taliban’s claim that it had complied with U.S. requests to isolate bin Laden. To demonstrate even further the Administration’s contempt for the Taliban and its illegitimacy, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher – on the day of the terrorist regime’s visit – said, “We don’t recognize any government in Afghanistan.”


Even readily available figures are exaggerated for effect in Fahrenheit 9/11. The claims have a basis in reality, making them believable, but are false nonetheless. ü In the film, Moore asks Craig Unger, author of House of Bush, House of Saud, “How much money do the Saudis have invested in America, roughly?” to which Unger responds, “Uh, I’ve heard figures as high as $860 billion.”  The Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy reports that worldwide Saudi investment approximated $700 billion – a figure much lower than Unger alleges the Saudi government to have invested in the U.S.  The Institute reports that 60 percent of that $700 billion – roughly $420 billion, less than half of what Unger “heard” – was actually invested in the United States by the Saudi government.

OKAY, OKAY, we get it. Michael Moore is a lying sack of shit.  Thanks again to the Free Republic for providing some juicy quotes here.  Again, there is more where that came from–go here to read the full article.  In essence, it isn’t difficult to prove that Michael Moore has a political agenda, and to call Fahrenheit 9/11 a documentary is almost laughable.  Unfortunately, Moore apparently basked in the critical acclaim that Bowling for Columbine had earned him and took it as a mandate to make even more outrageous claims to support his radical agenda.  I’ll say it again–there is no shortage of things to attack the Republican party about, including the issues of gun control and 9/11 exploitation.  But Moore got greedy, and rather than stick to the facts, juicy as they already are, he elected instead to dramatize and sensationalize every aspect of his films until the facts upon which they are based are scarcely recognizable.  Moore threw away what was certainly a promising career as a documentary filmmaker and chose instead to serve as a political lightning rod for the left.  It seems to suit him, so it is difficult for me to criticize.  But the fact remains that he is one of the biggest lying dicks in the history of filmmaking.

Hear no, see no, speak no truth.

Oh and, by the way…Michael Moore, the man who has spent his entire career railing against “fat cat” capitalists…is suing his partners from Fahrenheit 9/11 for millions of dollars in profit from his film.  Shine on, you crazy, hypocritical diamond.


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