Saturday, July 14, 2007

Moore to CNN: "Drop Dead"

If Michael Moore did not exist, we would have to invent him.

Not that he's perfect. He makes mistakes, cuts corners... does all the things that humans do.

But he cares, and admits that he cares. He never pretends to that myth "objectivity" or places himself "above the fray." He's the perfect human antidote to the lumbering CNN dinosaur that looks down in amusement at the 'little people'--never realizing that its time is done and completely oblivious to the need for change.

Which, of course, brings me to his letter today to CNN about this weeks' Gupta brouhaha.

In that letter, Moore makes point after good point (drawing attention to the point that Gupta hasn't the experience for the type of evaluation he was making is a particularly good one), but I'd like to draw attention to just a couple, those having to do with the dinoraur aspect of CNN.

Moore writes:
In the old days, before the Internet, you could get away with it. Your victims had no way to set the record straight, to show the viewers how you had misrepresented the truth. But now, we can post the truth -- and back it up with evidence and facts -- on the web, for all to see.

On the Web, even CNN is trying to get "with it," recognizing that there's a new dynamic in the news field, with things like "iReports." On cable, however, it sticks to the old model. We tell you, and we don't make mistakes (at least, we don't draw attention to them--to yours, yes, but not to ours).

Moore makes it clear that CNN can't pass this off as a one-timer:
We are now going to start looking into the veracity of other reports you have aired on other topics. Nothing you say now can be believed. In 2002, the New York Times busted you for bringing celebrities on your shows and not telling your viewers they were paid spokespeople for the pharmaceutical companies. You promised never to do it again. But there you were, in 2005, talking to Joe Theismann, on air, as he pushed some drug company-sponsored website on prostate health. You said nothing about about his affiliation with GlaxoSmithKline.

Old habits die hard, and sometimes the only way to shock people out of bad habits is to embarrass them or shock them. What Moore is trying to do with CNN is in CNN's own best interest (Moore makes it clear that he actually likes the people of CNN).

Of course, being Michael Moore, he can't keep away from CNN's past failures:
You and the other networks were willing partners with Bush, flying flags all over the TV screens and never asking the hard questions that you should have asked. You might have prevented a war. You might have saved the lives of those 3,610 soldiers who are no longer with us. Instead, you blew air kisses at a commander in chief who clearly was making it all up. Millions of us knew that -- why didn't you? I think you did. And, in my opinion, that makes you responsible for this war.

There's never been "objectivity" at CNN, or a real position "above the fray." And that's what's so infuriating. Fox News may spout about "fair and balanced," but they really make little pretense at being so. Fox is dishonest, too, of course... but it lies to us with a wink and a smile.... Fox knows that we know that it lies, and doesn't care.

CNN pretends it is not lying... even now, after Moore has shown so clearly that it is... and does.

As I said at the start, if Michael Moore didn't exist, we'd have to invent him. Yes, the dinosauars are dying, but they could fall and crush us all. Moore is not just warning CNN, but us, giving us time to get out of the way of an unfolding disaster.

1 comment:

Dr Walter Rohloff, MD said...

I am a physician and tried to leave a comment on Dr. Gupta’s CNN Blog regarding his exchange with Michael Moore – unfortunately it did not make it into the published comments:

Dear Dr. Gupta,

I have seen both Michael Moore's recent interview with Wolf Blitzer and later with Larry King and yourself and I feel that your review on CNN was quite unfair and it would serve you well to admit its shortcomings. You have nowhere made a convincing argument that Michael Moore indeed "fudged the facts" as you claim. If your presentation about mildly different health care cost estimates in the USA or CUBA that you and Moore have found should justify "fudged facts", it would only be one more of the trivial nit pickings that hardly matter in comparison to your own distortions (like calling universal health care as it exists elsewhere a "Utopia" and "not truly free") and omissions (Not to talk about the humane and financial benefits of Universal Health Care ) . Instead, your "fact check" parades a conservative hit man for the health for profit industry as an "expert - only associated with Vanderbilt University" and allows him to make unreferenced claims against the film that are hilariously misleading or plain false. I have grown up in Germany under the universal health care system there and worked and studied medicine in Great Britain for many years and can well confirm that Michael Moore's film presents no "utopia" and that indeed basic health care is unrestricted and rapidly available for everyone. Your "fact check" again repeats the false litany preached to the public by greedy insurers and uninformed doctors about the "long waiting times" in Canada, England, Germany etc. without mentioning that waiting time for emergency access is shorter than in the USA and longer mainly for non urgent (elective) procedures - and this is quite acceptable. In the USA on the other hand, 47 million uninsured Americans cannot get other than emergency medical care no matter how long they wait! The insured rest may also not get it because of a ruthless denial by some HMO cubicle clerk, no matter how long they wait! You even challenged Michael Moore to decide whether he would rather be seen in the USA or elsewhere for cardiac emergency care. As the National Institute of Health has recently concluded, an enormous number of cardiac interventions are done in the USA without proper need and benefit for the patients, possibly because of the wrong kind of incentives. I found the interview with Tony Benn in Michael Moores SICKO the most significant contribution: The British NHS Universal Health Care system was born during and despite the economic hardship of the postwar years because people understood that to take care of each other in such a vital matter as health care should be a human right in an industrialized country - and even Margaret Thatcher never tried to do away with the NHS. I can tell you from my personal experience in Germany and Britain that there are few if any citizens who would want to exchange their Universal Health Care system for some for profit or individualized health care system instead as it is glorified in the USA. America's Health system needs an aggressive overhaul, bold vision and infusion from good examples elsewhere.

I hope you will join the wave for universal health care for all Americans !

Sincerely

Dr. Walter Rohloff, Renal Medicine, Albuquerque