Media's Gushing for Moore Enough to Make You 'Sicko'

Michael Moore is a documented liar who uses “omission, exaggeration and cinematic sleight of hand” to make his political points. But that doesn’t seem to matter to the media who cover his movies. Now journalists are using “Sicko,” which opens June 29, to make a giddy, unabashed case for socialized health care in America – and even urging Moore to run for office.He shows “compassion” and “generosity,” he’s a great “campaigner” and an “adroit politician,” reporters have declared.He’s “taking on America’s deeply flawed health care system,” said Terry Moran on ABC’s “Nightline” June 13. And “… the point his movie ultimately makes: fixing health care is a moral, even a religious obligation.”Moran led Moore into a dialogue about “Sicko” as a statement of “faith.”

“Father Michael Moore – hard to imagine, maybe, or maybe not,” Moran said, after learning Moore once ventured to seminary. “Well, try this one: Senator Michael Moore.”

The media have been in awe of Moore’s film and Moore’s charisma, and enthusiastic about the idea of socialized medicine. Overall, coverage has glossed over Moore’s distortions in favor of keeping the snowballing policy discussion going.As the media have increased health hype, using “Sicko” as a jumping-off point, many journalists have gushed with praise for Moore and his film.

“The film emerges as a fascinating exploration and powerful indictment of a pressing national problem,” wrote Claudia Puig in the June 22 USA Today. Puig praised Moore’s “biggest, best and most impassioned work,” claiming it was not “too politically charged.” “There’s something different about this Michael Moore movie,” said ABC’s Terry Moran on the June 13 “Nightline.” “For all the laughs, it’s very serious and laced with qualities not usually associated with his films: pity, compassion, generosity, sorrow.”

Other journalists have taken Moore’s exaggerated ideas and pro-socialist agenda and run with it.In just the two weeks before the opening of Moore’s movie, ABC, CBS and NBC have done numerous health care stories including: the “national disgrace” of children who don’t have health insurance; children of illegal immigrants who don’t get health insurance; baby boomers caring for aging and sick parents; how the Dutch are taller than Americans because of better health care; a homeless patient who got kicked out of a hospital; and failures of the military’s mental health system.The concept that health care is “free” for everyone in Canada, France, Britain and Cuba is a major argument in Moore’s film. While this is laughable considering the higher taxes and longer waits that come with “free” care, the majority of media coverage have barely challenged the idea.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.