Michael Moore Threatened Bill Hemmer: My Family Will Come After You

The Washington Post promoted Michael Moore's latest book in Sunday's Outlook section. Justin Moyer's promotional piece was headlined "We read so you don't have to," but it reads like a cover blurb. He called him a "reliable liberal gadfly," which is apparently what the Post calls someone who thinks Cuba had a lot to teach the United States. Just "liberal"?

Moyer plugged the book, "to be released later this month to a nation always ready to laud or excoriate him." The "highlights" begin with Moore threatening the safety of Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer:

On Fox News's Bill Hemmer: Moore was at the 2004 Democratic National Convention when the news anchor, then at CNN, told him on air that he’d “heard people say they wish Michael Moore were dead.” Moore took umbrage and dropped the hammer on Hemmer. “You made my death seem acceptable,” he says he said off-camera. “I want you to think about your actions if anything ever happens to me. Don’t think my family won’t come after you, because they will.”


One can bet that Moore doesn't tell the whole story of that interview. Does he mention Hemmer prefaced that by saying others think he's the greatest living American? The interview came on Monday morning of the Democratic convention in Boston, on July 26, 2004. Moore was probably furious because Hemmer didn't bow and pay him homage. Instead, Hemmer seemed to challenge his grasp on the facts, and we're not talking about Moore claiming George W. Bush would be beaten by John Kerry:

HEMMER: That is a clip from the movie by the filmmaker Michael Moore, "Fahrenheit 9/11." Over the weekend, it went over $100 million at the box office, which is astounding for a documentary.

All this coming, though, on the heels, just days after the 9/11 Commission put out its report and contradicted one of the central themes and one of the points that was made in that film about Osama bin Laden's family living and working here in the U.S. and how they were given transportation out of the country. Who better to ask about all this than the filmmaker himself, Michael Moore, our guest now here in Boston on the floor of the FleetCenter. Good morning to you.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: Good morning, Bill. How are you doing?

HEMMER: Who are you going to vote -- I'm fine, thank you. Who do you vote for on November 2?

MOORE: Well, you don't vote for George W. Bush, that's for sure.

HEMMER: Do you vote for John Kerry or do you vote for Ralph Nader?

MOORE: Well, you don't vote for Ralph Nader either. What was my last choice? (LAUGHTER)

HEMMER: What explains why your film has made $100 million?

MOORE: I think it's because the American people, for the last four years, feel like they haven't been told the whole truth. And both from the White House and the media not doing its job, especially with this war, and the early days before the war, and when the war started. Too much of the media was a cheerleader instead of doing the real job of asking the hard questions, demanding the evidence. And so people have come to this movie to -- to see the things that they haven't seen in much of the mainstream media.

HEMMER: And in that movie -- you heard in my lead in to you about the 9/11 report. Have you seen that report, 600 pages in length?

MOORE: Yes. Yes.

HEMMER: Have you read the whole thing?

MOORE: No, I have not.

HEMMER: Well, you have the executive summary, a couple of the other pages, I'm certain.

MOORE: Right. I have the CliffsNotes.

HEMMER: In the book itself, it contradicts one of the themes...

MOORE: Yes.

HEMMER: ... that you make in your film about the Osama bin Laden family essentially given special treatment out of the country.

MOORE: Right.

HEMMER: And the implication in the film is that the White House directed that.

MOORE: Yes.

HEMMER: Your reaction of them saying that simply was not the case?

MOORE: Yes. Well, I disagree with the commission. I think there's a lot of evidence to show that they were given special treatment. They were moved to the front of the line. Just the story in "The Washington Post" on Thursday that -- that said that the actual plane that was used to fly the bin Ladens out of the country was the same plane the White House uses to fly you guys around in the White House Press Corps.

There are so many things that have not -- Senator Lautenberg, Senator Dorgan, as you showed there in the clip, there's still a lot of unanswered questions. And I think that -- I hope further investigations will -- will bring this out.

HEMMER: Allow me to go back to the report. This they say specifically...

MOORE: Yes.

HEMMER: ... on the screen for our viewers. "The commission concludes there is no evidence of political intervention in any of the nine chartered flights that left between September 14 and September 24. They also say the bin Laden family left September 20th after the civilian flight ban was lifted. Commercial airliners were flying again on that day.

Twenty-two of 26 people interviewed. That's more they say than would have been interviewed had they all left separately on commercial flights. Take that.

MOORE: And then again, "The Washington Post," doing a great job, points out that one of the bin Ladens that left was the roommate of Osama's nephew who was one of the founders of WAMY, whose offices were raided last month. They're considered a potential terrorist organization. And yet -- and yet here's the roommate of the person who was the founder of this on that flight.

There are still many, many unanswered questions. And of the 142, or now they say 160 Saudis, as you said, only, what, 20-some were...

HEMMER: Twenty-two of 26.

MOORE: Out of the bin Ladens. But then there's 142 members of the Saudi royal family who were allowed to leave without being interviewed. And the report says that.

I think that's wrong. If -- listen, if 15 of the 19 hijackers had been from North Korea, do you think we just would have let 142 North Koreans leave the country as soon as the air space opened up? I don't think so

HEMMER: Let's move away from that. I've heard people say Michael Moore is the greatest living American.

MOORE: Oh, who are those people?

HEMMER: I've heard people say they wish Michael Moore were dead.

MOORE: Oh, well. Jeez, who would say that?

HEMMER: How do you take in the reaction that you are getting? And there is no one who is neutral after they see your film.

MOORE: Well, there's a -- there's that minority of Republicans and right-wingers who are upset, because they know their days of numbered. I'd be upset, too, if I were them. You know, they've only got a few more months left in charge. And so they're all running around, all saying crazy things like that.

HEMMER: The DNC did not invite you here, is that right?

MOORE: The Congressional Black Caucus invited me here, yes. Yes.

HEMMER: Enjoy your week.

MOORE: Those black congressmen, you know.

HEMMER: Thanks for your time. Michael Moore, the filmmaker from "Fahrenheit 9/11."

MOORE: Right. Thank you very much.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis