Tavis Smiley's interview of Michael Moore, aired June 29 on Smiley's eponymous PBS program, is just another reminder of the ridiculous lack of credible journalism which goes on at the taxpayer-funded network.
The interview was nothing more than Smiley lobbing softball after softball straight over the plate while Mr. Moore hit his talking points out of the park on everything from the "far right"to a wage gap between whites and African-Americans.
Smiley’s ceremonial first pitch was enough to clue in viewers that there would be no attempt on Smiley's part on conducting an unbiased or challenging interview. “You have done it again,” Smiley gushed to the veteran political filmmaker.
Not only does Moore advocate for socialized medicine, he also gets to let loose against what he calls the "far right" (anyone who doesn't think socialized health coverage is the answer) and portrays himself as someone who just wants to enlighten America on the "facts."
Below is part of the interview (emphasis mine), followed by my analysis:
This is a little old as it was published last Thursday, but MTV's Kurt Loder (pictured at right) did a yeoman's job in dissecting Michael Moore's paean to socialized health care, in a movie review on MTV.com entitled, "'Sicko': Heavily Doctored."
While Loder conceded that Moore's handpicked stories of bureaucratic madness are "horrifying, and then infuriating" and praises scrutiny of HMO manager Kaiser Permanente, the MTV personality quickly turned to slamming Moore for a one-sided propaganda film that failed to present viewers with a command of the complexities of providing health care to a nation of some 300 million people. Portions below in bold are my emphasis:
Unfortunately, Moore is also a con man of a very brazen sort, and never
more so than in this film. His cherry-picked facts, manipulative
interviews (with lingering close-ups of distraught people breaking down
in tears) and blithe assertions (how does he know 18,000* people will
die this year because they have no health insurance?) are so stacked
that you can feel his whole argument sliding sideways as the picture
unspools. The American health-care system is in urgent need of reform,
no question. Some 47 million people are uninsured (although many are
only temporarily so, being either in-between jobs or young enough not
to feel a pressing need to buy health insurance). There are a number of
proposals as to what might be done to correct this situation. Moore has
no use for any of them, save one.
On Friday's Anderson Cooper 360, CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta examined the accuracy of the claims presented in Michael Moore's film Sicko. Gupta found that while there are complaints about America's health care system, "you won't find medical utopia elsewhere." Although Gupta did not show much skepticism in reporting that life expectancies in Cuba are about equal to those in America despite being outspent by American 26 to 1 in health care, the CNN correspondent did report that in countries with tax-funded universal health care, that "even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants."
Gupta discussed the waiting lines that exist in some industrialized nations, and found that "Americans have shorter wait times than everyone but Germans when seeking non-emergency elective procedures," although he also found that "only Canada was worse than the United States when it comes to waiting for a doctor's appointment for a medical problem." After informing viewers of the higher taxes paid in other countries, he also relayed that "even higher taxes don't give all the coverage everyone wants" as health analyst Paul Keckley informed viewers that "15 to 20 percent of the population will purchase services outside the system run by the government." (Transcript follows)
Joseph Berger's New York Times column on education today doubled as a film review. "Film Portrays Stifling of Speech, but One College's Struggle Reflects a Nuanced Reality" criticized an anti-PC documentary, "Indoctrinate U," by bringing in an incident that occurred at Vassar college that was not even featured in the movie. Berger actually defended Vassar punishing a conservative campus publication by defunding it and shutting it down for a year.
"A new documentary is making the rounds that argues, with vivid examples, that the nation's colleges are squelching freedom of expression and are no longer free marketplaces of ideas.
"The film carries the striking title 'Indoctrinate U,' and was made by Evan Coyne Maloney, who describes himself as a libertarian and is looking for a national distributor.
The June 27 edition of "MSNBC Live" was sponsored by liberal filmmaker Michael Moore.
"'MSNBC Live' is brought to you by 'SiCKO', a Michael Moore film in theatres everywhere Friday," read the announcer dipping into a commercial break about 14 minutes into the 10 a.m. block of MSNBC programming.
The front of the Washington Post Style section on Saturday was dominated by two features on Hollywood stereotyping. At the bottom was Teresa Wiltz suggesting that Angelina Jolie playing Afro-Cuban Mariane Pearl in "A Mighty Heart" is somehow comparable to blackface minstrel shows. But that's not as odd as the top story by William Booth on stereotyped Arab villains, illustrated by the cartoon image of Jafar, the villainous vizier in the Disney cartoon "Aladdin." Earth to the Post: everyone in "Aladdin," heroes and villains, is Arab.
Booth's story actually only raised the issue of the opening song lyrics of "Aladdin," which joked about vicious ear-slicing barbarians, which the Arab-American activists successfully pressed Disney to remove. After that scrubbing, I imagine the children would also hear about "Ali Baba and the Forty Upstanding Merchants." The star of the Booth piece, retired professor Jack Shaheen, also deplored the Fox drama "24" as "the worst of smears" for portraying American Arabs as the terrorist next door. Booth began in Los Angeles:
Reviews for the movie "Evan Almighty," opening in theaters today, have been largely lackluster. The general consensus is that the talents of Steve Carell and the rest of the cast are largely wasted and the religious theme is somewhat bland. The plot in a nutshell is that Evan Baxer (Carell), recently elected to Congress, is recruited by God (Morgan Freeman) to become a modern-day Noah, building an ark in order to serve humanity on a Biblical scale.
Bruce Newman, reviewing the film for "San Jose's Mercury News," poses a vital question for any serious moviegoer:
One thing that's never clear is whether Evan has been elected to Congress as some kind of Rush-lovin', wilderness despoiling neo-con. And if not, why the first piece of legislation he hitches his star to is a bill that will open the national parks to development. This is boilerplate conservatism, and yet that doesn't seem to be who Evan is.
It was bound to happen. A Sci Fi film is being produced presenting humans as the evil, alien aggressors invading a peace loving alien planet, the allegory, according to the producers, being a comment upon the "imperialism" of the United States. Innocent aliens being killed by evil, imperialist space faring humans and it appears to be all George Bush's fault... again.
Science Fiction has used the alien invasion over and over for decades supposedly as an allegorical statement about the human condition contemporary to the production of a given film. In "Independence Day" the aliens are here to destroy us. This film was ridiculously criticized as nothing but "American jingoism" with Americans imagining themselves the saviors of the world because, with the USSR fallen, Americans were the only remaining superpower. Conversely, in the classic 1951 film "The Day The Earth Stood Still", a friendly alien visitor to Earth is shot down by the evil military and it is we, rather than the aliens, who are the bad guys. This film was supposedly about the Cold War but at least we humans were characterized as simply fearful in the 50s classic. Perhaps that benefit of the doubt for humanity is now gone as far as this new cartoon is concerned?
USA Today reports on "Terra", a new cartoon with voice work from the likes of Danny Glover (no selling point for the film there!), Dennis Quaid, Ron Perlman, Luke Wilson, Amanda Peet, Rosanna Arquette and James Garner.
As we all know, Andrea Mitchell having told us so, Chris Matthews is no liberal. However the Hardball host did emphatically state on this afternoon's show that, at least when it comes to health care, he agrees with Michael Moore.
Matthews had just aired an impromptu interview that MSNBC's David Shuster had snared with Moore when the filmmaker appeared on Capitol Hill today on the occasion of this week's release of his latest work, "Sicko," regarding health care in the United States. In both Shuster's depiction of Moore's views, and in Moore's own statements in the course of the interview, Moore made clear that he wants to eliminate private-sector participation in health care insurance.
As Shuster put it: "in this movie, Moore calls for the end, the end, of for-profit healthcare."
In the aired interview, Moore described private-sector insurers as a "racket" and said "I want private insurance companies out of the equation."
So how did Matthews react to Moore's call for the killing of private-sector health care?
HARDBALL HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: You know, I gotta agree with him on this stuff. I gotta agree with him. He's got a case. Healthcare in this country is not working.
Sometimes, it’s a little tough for the Fox News-bashing left to stamp the Ailes Network with the Uniformly Right-Wing complaint. For example, it’s not every day that Fox News looks liberal on CNN. But I caught the new commercial for leftist propagandist Michael Moore’s new mockumentary "Sicko" on CNN late this morning. One of three ecstatic reviewers in the TV ad is Roger Friedman of FOXNews.com ("Brilliant!")
Is that one of those tricky studio edits that doesn’t really represent the critic’s opinion? Um, no. Friedman’s online review was a rave. It began: "Filmmaker Michael Moore's brilliant and uplifting new documentary, ‘Sicko,’ deals with the failings of the U.S. healthcare system, both real and perceived. But this time around, the controversial documentarian seems to be letting the subject matter do the talking, and in the process shows a new maturity."
Mireya Navarro of The New York Times took 32 paragraphs in her June 10 Fashion & Style section article to tell you what I'm about to in one sentence. (h/t Clay Waters of NB sister publication TimesWatch)
Liberal Hollywood doesn't feature women having abortions in TV and movies very often because it's bad to alienate a sizable chunk, if not an outright majority, of your audience who are pro-life.
Of course, you can't fault Hollywood for being pro-choice where it counts to them most. Choosing plotlines and conventional stories that boost the bottom line. That is, unless you're an artiste who is forever battling the crass capitalistic forces of banality, like say, Christopher Keyser. You know, the cinematic Michelangelo that gave us the late-1990s Fox drama 'Party of Five.' Navarro thought it important that we hear from him and other liberals in the industry who lament this one area where Hollywood remains mostly conservative, if only because they feel the heat rather than see the light.
Maybe Michael Moore should listen to people who actually have socialized medicine—at least those who are allowed to disagree with their government’s policies. Singer Elton John’s partner David Furnish slammed Michael Moore and his latest docuganda “Sicko” for misrepresenting the quality of the US health care system. On June 02, Furnish stated, ”[America] was the only place to get good treatment”(emphasis mine):
News magazines love to float above the real news and focus on nebulous trends, and perhaps none are more nebulous than the sudden popularity of the "beta male," as represented by Al Gore. The "cultural dispatch" by writer Jennie Yabroff celebrates Gore as "the proto beta male" who’s "having the last laugh as a movie star, an ecosavant, a best-selling author, and a potential dark-horse presidential candidate."
Yabroff’s article in the June 4 edition was headlined "Betas Rule: What do Jim from 'The Office,' Shrek and Al Gore have in common? They're beta males—losers who are winning. Look out, alpha dogs." While the grasping, ambitious "alphas" are out, Gore and Bill Clinton are singled out as the hottest political embodiments of sensitively surrendering men, as if they have no ambitions at all:
The international press is currently enthralled with the Cannes Film Festival, and the usual celebrity suspects who push the agenda of the Left at such events. Bradley Jacobs, an editor for "Us Weekly," appeared on Monday's "American Morning" and reported on two such celebrities and their current projects - Leonardo DiCaprio and Michael Moore. Jacobs was particularly enthusiastic about Moore and his last two film projects, and gushed, "I was a big fan and proponent of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11,' and I have to say that I thought ‘Sicko' was even better."
Jacobs, who was reporting live from Cannes, even went so far to make a personal appeal of sorts for "Sicko," the latest film from Moore.
Multichannel News magazine reports that the History Channel will air the documentary "Star Wars: The Legacy Revealed" on May 28 at 9 PM. But it has some unconventional movie pundits.
Eric J. Smith felt "History should be applauded for the diverse group of commentators it has drawn together. Politicians Nancy Pelosi and Newt Gingrich give their opinions alongside journalists Linda Ellerbee, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather. And their voices are joined by intellectuals like Camille Paglia and Mary Henderson (author of Star Wars: The Magic of Myth), directors Peter Jackson and Kevin Smith and comedian Stephen Colbert."
Jonathan Last notes there's also Iranian commentary on the last installment of the series.
The “Weekly Standard” profiled libertarian-leaning conservative and political commentator turned documentarian Evan Coyne Maloney, whose new documentary about the leftist ideological indoctrination and pervasive political correctness in the US higher education system is called “Indoctrinate U”. Saturday May 19, CSPAN ran a segment about his film on the network’s “Washington Journal”, but CSPAN posts footage of the shows online (when they have it up, I'll post it. His spot is at the two-hour mark). You can see a clip of his film on YouTube as well as the film's website, Indoctrinate-U.com.
“Indoctrinate U” focuses on the pervasive trampling of free speech and thought on college campuses and traces the modern history of free expression on campuses from the ‘60s through today. The doc covers personal stories like “the Kafka-esque nightmare faced by Steve Hinkle, a student at California Polytechnic, whothe school attempted to sanction for placing a flier in the university's multicultural center announcing a speech by conservative African-American author, Mason Weaver.” It also features a professor who “excitedly tells the camera ‘whiteness is a form of racial oppression…treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity’.”
The “Weekly Standard” highlighted what the documentary covers (my emphasis throughout):
A 12 year old girl is suing the Chicago Board of Education for negligence, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress after a substitute teacher led her 8th grade class to watch the film Brokeback Mountain with the warning, "What happens in Ms. Buford's class stays in Ms. Buford's class," according to the lawsuit.
The teacher then proceeded to show the 8th grade elementary school class the R rated gay themed film; a film that garnered its rating for sexual content, language and drug use.
According to the suit, a substitute teacher introduced herself as Ms. Buford to Jessica's class at Ashburn Community Elementary School, 8300 S. St. Louis Ave. She then said, "What happens in Ms. Buford's class stays in Ms. Buford's class," the suit claims. Buford then had a student close the door, and started showing the controversial R-rated film, which features two men engaged in sex.
David German, the AP movie writer, reported that notorious liberal bomb-thrower and fact-fudger, Michael Moore “is under investigation by the U.S. Treasury Department for taking ailing Sept. 11 rescue workers to Cuba for a segment in his upcoming health-care documentary 'Sicko.' " The May 10 article seemed very matter of fact, but Moore and his movies were presented from the perspective that the filmmaker is controversial but accurate and is persecuted by his “adversaries.”
The AP indicated that the Treasury Department is investigating Moore because he did not follow the law. The AP obtained a copy of a letter, dated May 2, sent by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which informed Moore that it was investigating potential violations of the US trade embargo which restricts US travel to Cuba. According to an unnamed source affiliated with “Sicko,” this past February, Moore took ill Ground Zero workers to Cuba for “treatment” (my use of irony quotes because Cuba used new and unproven procedures. Emphasis mine throughout):
"This office has no record that a specific license was issued authorizing you to engage in travel-related transactions involving Cuba," Dale Thompson, OFAC chief of general investigations and field operations, wrote in the letter to Moore.
Kids and parents love the highly-successful series of “Shrek” movies, starring Cameron Diaz, Mike Myers and many others. “Shrek the Third” opens May 18, and that means the cast is on a promotional tour. Several cast members gave an interview to Michael Ordona for the Tribune Newspapers, which own the Chicago Tribune and the LA Times, and disclosed that “Shrek 4” might continue a relatively recent Hollywood trend.
The trend in children's movies has been propagandizing them, usually about environmental issues, and it looks like the the upcoming “Shrek 4” will be no different, especially if Diaz has anything to say about it.
Cameron Diaz wants “Shrek 4” to involve an eco-friendly story line about a threatened swamp environment. Fellow cast members Myers, Julie Andrews and Amy Poehler are also in the below interview excerpt where Diaz revealed her propagandist goal (emphasis mine):
Reminiscent of an earlier review of "Spider-Man 3" that complained about the American flag's cameo in the superhero blockbuster, Times of London film critic James Christopher added "Sunday School morality" as a black mark against the action flick.
This incessant Tom and Jerry action makes it impossible to actually
care. The Sunday School morality, and the inevitable flash of the
American flag, are perfectly irritating. It’s extraordinary how often
the third movie of a tent-pole franchise fails to deliver, in this case
by trying to deliver too much. It’s hardly the kiss of death for Raimi,
but with a budget as huge as his the pressure is surely on to pull in
more than $400 million.
That's much harsher than critic Leo Lewis, who said it was "disappointing" that director Sam Raimi was unable "to end the romp without a fleeting shot of the American flag."
You'd think that by now the left would have abandoned the ludicrous argument that businesses are inherently conservative. Simply untrue. There is so much evidence that this is not the case such as how most public TVs are tuned to CNN, not FNC, or how conservative books generally get worse placement at bookstores compared to liberals ones.
Via LGF, I learned of another proof of this: Virgin Airways is showing a 9/11 conspiracy film, "Loose Change," as the in-flight movie to some travelers. There's contact info for Virgin at Charles's entry.
Update 16:14. To keep track of these types of stories, I've made a new category for it "Corporate liberalism." Use our feedback form to send us examples of this when you see or read about it.
CBS ombuds-blogger Brian Montopoli advises "Taking a Step Back In the Cho Debate" in an April 23 post, as he takes issue with conservatives like Hugh Hewitt who objected to NBC News (and other media outlets) airing the videotaped "manifesto" of the Virginia Tech mass murderer. Montopoli concludes on this note:
If, as a culture, we want to suppress the Cho manifesto, than we have
to ask ourselves what else we are willing to suppress. After all, the
Cho materials at least had some value beyond entertainment; it's harder
to say the same for cultural products like "Grand Theft Auto" or "300."
It seems to me that anyone criticizing NBC News for releasing the
materials – and CBS News and its counterparts for airing them – should
be thinking long and hard about how far down that path they are willing
A NewsBusters reader alerted me a few minutes ago to London Times film critic Leo Lewis and how he threw in a complaint about the American flag's brief cameo in "Spider-Man 3." The superhero sequel is set for wide release in the United States on May 4, Lewis filed his review from Tokyo.
Lewis liked the film overall (3 out of 5 stars) but was disappointed that the evil alter-ego that inhabits Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) in the film is "still hopelessly mild-mannered." Of course, unlike say "Grindhouse," "Spider-Man" is intended for a wide audience from fathers and sons to teenagers on a Saturday night date.
At any rate, Lewis then puts in his anti-American potshot with his complaint about a scene featuring an American flag. The scene is similar to one in the first movie with Spidey atop a skyscraper crowned with Old Glory:
I suppose it's possible she could defensively argue that this refers to Iran's Ahmadinejad or North Korea's Kim Jong-il, but in context it seems NY Post columnist Liz Smith refers to President George W. Bush in her March 29 article "Cruise-ing to WWII":
March 29, 2007 -- 'EVERY SECOND is a door to eternity. The door is opened by perception," said Rumi.
does a nation's elite rid itself of a deranged chief executive or
commander who is bent on leading the country astray? No, we're not
talking here about our own life and times. We're talking Nazi Germany.
Smith's piece was syndicated to other papers, including The Toledo Blade, where NewsBusters reader John Page noticed the item and forwarded it to me. The Blade headline for the Smith item: "Tom Cruise to star in film about Hitler."
Brent Bozell's culture column this week explored the outer reaches of the movie ratings system, and how the movie industry is looking hard at creating a more "respectable" adults-only rating of NC-17, which is often considered for movies featuring topless Nazis, toothy private parts, and grossly obese men chewing on babies.
In time for the Persian New Year, CBS's Melissa McNamara trawled the blogosphere (including MySpace blog entries) and found bloggers who think Iran's Islamic extremist government has a point about "300" being "anti-Persian." In doing she, she produced a handful of blogs that appear to generate light traffic and in at least one case is just a rambling screed.
McNamara told readers that the "Islamic Republic News Agency" (IRNA) finds fault with the film's version of historical events. She left out that IRNA is Iran's official state-controlled news/propaganda service. CBSNews.com's resident "Blogophile" also noted objections from an Iranian newspaper, Hamshahri, which she described simply as "Iran's biggest circulation newspaper."
That's akin to a journalist during the Cold War describing Pravda as simply the Soviet Union's best-selling newspaper. Hamshahri co-sponsored a political cartoon contest that the Iranian government held last year that generated hundreds of entries that were anti-Jewish or anti-Israeli. Portions in bold are my emphasis:
Cinematical.com reports that the Egyptian production company, Good News, has an Osama Bin Ladin bio-pic in the pipeline. Last year, Good News made the very successful award-winning “The Yacoubian Building,” which was the most expensive film ever produced in Egypt. Now Good News is ready to tackle one of the most controversial figures in the world today, Osama Bin Ladin.
The movie is meant to appeal to Western audiences as well as those in Egypt and will “frame” the script for sensitive Westerners. Adeeb and Good News are trying to make films more palatable for Americans to swallow and the Bin Ladin bio is no exception (my emphasis throughout):