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"Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man" by David Hardy and Jason Clarke (6 weeks on NY Times Bestseller List)


Moore's "How to Deal with Lies," just digs him in deeper. This webpage trying to answer criticisms of his veracity actually admits the stronger criticism, ignores most of the rest, and snipes at a few criticisms where he has something of a point. Good! Let's get down to the fun! (If you came here directly, here is my webpage on Moore).

Let's start with the minor stuff:

Quoth Moore: "One thing you get used to when you're in what's called "the public eye" is reading the humorous fiction that others like to write about you. For instance, I have read in quite respectable and trustworthy publications that a) I'm a college graduate (I'm not), b) I was a factory worker (I quit the first day)"

Ah, wonder where they would have gotten that idea? Perhaps his interviews:

"Moore said his roots shape his work. "It's part of being from the working class--we're not very well mannered," he said." Source. He addresses letters as "Michael Moore, Flint," even tho he lives in NYC, etc. Example.

" Newsweek wrote that I live in a penthouse on Central Park West (I live above a Baby Gap store, and not on any park)...."

Mike does have a way with words, dear reader. Sounds like he's parked in some loft in a commercial area.

He lives in a $1.9 million penthouse, a block or two west of Central Park. I looked it up. Here's a photo (couldn't really get the penthouses into it very well. But yes, I suppose there IS a very swank Baby Gap store at the corner, 16 floors below him (actually, he's on the other side).

and he enters here, through a lobby protected by armed guards, of course. Also a doorman, receptionist, and concierge.

"Lately, my favorite mistake is the one many reviewers made crediting the cartoon in "Bowling for Columbine" as being the work of the "South Park" creators. It isn't. I wrote it and my buddy Harold Moss's animation studio drew it. I've enjoyed reading these inventions/mistakes about this "Michael Moore.""

Actually, that's something that greatly annoyed the creators of South Park. Moore commissioned someone else to imitate their style, and then put in an interview with one of them, Matt Stone, just before it, creating (without quite saying so) the impression that it was their work.

“We have a very specific beef with Michael Moore,” Stone said. “I did an interview, and he didn’t mischaracterize me or anything I said in the movie. But what he did do was put this cartoon right after me that made it look like we did that cartoon.”

Parker and Stone still harbor hard feelings about that sassy, anti-gun cartoon because they feel it was done in “South Park” style. They believe the proximity to Stone’s interview misled some fans into thinking they had done the cartoon, even though Moore never said they did.

For this slight, Moore’s punishment in “Team America” is extreme: he’s depicted as a gibbering, overweight, hot-dog eating buffoon who straps explosives to his body to blow up the American do-gooders. The puppet was reportedly stuffed with ham when it blew."

But back to Moore's defense. Alas, when we get down to the substance, what remains is half confession and half silence. He simply omits all the serious criticisms, and instead focuses on the few points where he has something somewhat defensible. Since he never bothers to link to where the original critiques can be found, the reader can never realize how much even Moore himself cannot defend as truthful. The result is not really an answer so much as vague assurances to his true believers that he can reply, and they must continue to believe.

Let me illustrate. Here are the first five criticisms raised on my webpage, and Moore's replies. One he implicitly admits is correct, another he partially ignores and partially admits is correct, and the remaining to the remaining three he makes no reply at all.

1. Willie Horton ad. I pointed out that Moore spliced together two different campaign ads, using mostly one not produced by the Bush-Quayle campaign, yet attributes the resulting edit to that campaign. He also edits in a caption never found on either ad. I'm not original here. Spinsanity criticized Moore's first version for this, and pointed out that his capition was wrong -- it said Horton had killed again, when his second conviction was for assault and rape.

Moore's reply: he ducks the entire issue (and sticks it at the very end of his webpage to hide it, at that):

"Actually, I have found one typo in the theatrical release of the film. It was a caption that read, "Willie Horton released by Dukakis and kills again." In fact, Willie Horton was a convicted murderer who, after escaping from furlough, raped a woman and stabbed her fiancé, but didn't kill him. The caption has been permanently corrected on the DVD and home video version of the film and replaced with, "Willie Horton released. Then rapes a woman." "

Uh--Mike: Spinsanity's criticism was that you doctored the ad, spliced two different ones together to give a false impression, then spliced in a caption that was never in either ad. Your only defense is a concession that you made a typo in the caption you added. And since you consider it a typo, your typo, you basically agree that Spinsanity told the truth.

2. NRA and Heston at Denver. I point out that Moore doctored footage of Heston, and carefully omitted the fact that after Columbine NRA canceled all of their annual meeting except the voting members' meeting, which New York law (they're a New York corporation) mandated be held.

Moore replies to the doctoring of footage (his reply actually admits that, well, yes, he did splice in non-Denver footage -- I'll answer this below), but never replies to the omission of information about the meeting. What he does say is:

"Moore: "The oddest of all the smears thrown at "Bowling for Columbine" is this one: "The film depicts NRA president Charlton Heston giving a speech near Columbine; he actually gave it a year later and 900 miles away."

Clever, but that's not what I said. I said (a) Moore edits in the beginning of the speech -- "from my cold dead hands" from a speech never made at Denver, but a year later and 900 miles away and (b) in the remainder of the Denver speech, edits Heston's video, cleverly covering the splices, to assemble a speech which was not given. He actually makes a splice in the middle of one sentence.

Moore continues: "Um, yeah, that's right! I made it up! Heston never went there! He never said those things! Or.... The Truth: Heston took his NRA show to Denver"

Now, now, Mike. As pointed out on the main webpage, the NRA "show" was canceled. All that was held was the voting members' meeting, which was required by NY nonprofit corporation law. And you cut Heston's words making that announcement out of his speech -- "As you know, we've cancelled the festivities, the fellowship we normally enjoy at our annual gatherings.". Why did you cut that out?

"and did and said exactly what we recounted."

Okay, let's see it. . . . Watch for the sleight of hand here, it's a shell game and the hands are moving pretty fast.

"From the end of my narration setting up Heston's speech in Denver, with my words, "a big pro-gun rally,"

Ah, Mike. Think we wouldn't notice that those words "big pro-gun rally" come after the first edit, where you plug in Heston's speech, not from Denver, but from North Carolina a year later? So your defense amounts to 'except for the part that wasn't from Denver, my footage was from Denver."

"every word out of Charlton Heston's mouth was uttered right there in Denver, just 10 days after the Columbine tragedy."

A little more sleight of hand. If I splice together Moore saying "I venerate the memory of the firefighters and policemen who died trying to save people from the terrorists on 9/11" and turn it into "I venerate the memory of the terrorists of 9/11," he did say every word, yes, but that's no defense of having butchered his statement.

"But don't take my word ­ read the transcript of his whole speech. Heston devotes the entire speech to challenging the Denver mayor and mocking the mayor's pleas that the NRA "don't come here." "

Yep. Go and read the original speech. Either on Mike's page or in my side-by-side comparison. Heston points out that he and many NRA members have served their country, that since NRA members are already in Denver's police and fire squads, its schools and businesses and government, it is already here.

"Far from deliberately editing the film to make Heston look worse, I chose to leave most of this out and not make Heston look as evil as he actually was."

Evil, a curious choice of word. But common to narcissists, who see the world as divided into good (those who agree completely with them) and evil (anyone who differs with them). Of course, since those who disagree are "evil," the narcissist is entitled to do anything he wants to them.

Sure, Mike, you took out "So, we have the same right as all other citizens to be here. To help shoulder the grief and share our sorrow and to offer our respectful, reassured voice to the national discourse that has erupted around this tragedy," because that made Heston sound too evil for your taste? Or was it "NRA members are, above all, Americans. That means that whatever our differences, we are respectful of one another and we stand united, especially in adversity" that appalled you? Or "shocked and horrified as every other soul in America mourning for the people of Littleton."?

"Why are these gun nuts upset that their brave NRA leader's words are in my film? You'd think they would be proud of the things he said. Except, when intercut with the words of a grieving father


And cut and pasted to make them sound arrogant, whereas the original was dignified and concilliatory. And how does "far from editing the film to make Heston look worse" fit in here?

"(whose son died at Columbine and happened to be speaking in a protest that same weekend Heston was at the convention center), suddenly Charlton Heston doesn't look so good does he? Especially to the people of Denver (and, the following year, to the people of Flint) who were still in shock over the tragedies when Heston showed up."

Pity that Mike doesn't respond to my point that in Flint, Heston actually was attending an election event, ten months after the shooting, and unrelated to it. (Moore's own candidate, Nader, was speaking in Flint the same day).

"As for the clip preceding the Denver speech, when Heston proclaims "from my cold dead hands," this appears as Heston is being introduced in narration."

Ah, Moore is making a retreat here. You should have been smart enough to understand that "Cold dead hands" was just meant as an introduction, not to make you think Heston ever said that at Denver. If you thought it was said at Denver, Mike implies, that was your mistake, not his. You just don't understand his editing. Sure, Mike, you never meant people to believe that. Sure.....

As I said, Moore deals in impressions rather than words. He has Heston speaking, then cuts away to a billboard (to let you forget that Heston's shirt and tie are changed in the next shot), telling you Heston came to Denver, then goes back to Heston speaking. Here's he's lamely covering what he did ... 'Uh ... I thought everybody understood 'cold dead hands' wasn't from Denver, it was just to introduce Heston.'

"It is Heston's most well-recognized NRA image ­ hoisting the rifle overhead as he makes his proclamation, as he has done at virtually every political appearance on behalf of the NRA (before and since Columbine)."

Hardly. I found precisely one use of "cold dead hands" before that event -- he'd said it when given another presentation musket in 1999. His next use was when he was given the presentation rifle in North Carolina, a year after Columbine.

3. NRA and Heston at Flint (Kayla Martin). I point out that Moore created the false impression that Heston held a progun rally at Flint shortly after (as little as 48 hours after) the shooting, and in response to it. Actually, the rally was a presidential campaign rally, just before the elections, eight months after the tragedy and having no connection to it.Bush and Gore both held rallies in Flint the same day, and Moore's candidate, Nader, had held one shortly before. Moore creates the impression that Heston is lying when he says there was no connection, when actually that is the truth.

Moore's reply: There is none.

4. Animated sequence linking NRA and KKK. Moore's animation suggests that NRA sprang from the KKK. I point out Moore butchers history here. NRA was founded by Union officers, headed by former Union commanders, elected as its president U.S. Grant, who was the greatest enemy the Klan ever had, etc.

Moore's reply: again, there is none.

5. Shooting at Buell Elementary School in Michigan. I point out Moore omits a few facts. The boy who shot Kayla was not the innocent he depicts. He was violent, has committed stabbings of other students, and his family were the neighborhood crack dealers.

Moore's reply: once again, there is none.

So let's go on to a few of Moore's lesser points:

 

Violence Figures.

Moore: "I've also been accused of making up the gun homicide counts in the United States and various countries around the world. That is, like all the rest of this stuff, a bald-face lie. Every statistic in the film is true. They all come directly from the government. Here are the facts, right from the sources:"

Not terribly useful, since he doesn't tell us where the data can be found, or for what years. An attribution to an agency, or to "the International Journal of Epidemiology," volume, year, author, title omitted, is almost useless here.

"The U.S. figure of 11,127 gun deaths comes from a report from the Center for Disease Control."

Bingo! On my webpage I said that my research indicated Moore's figure probably came from just this source. Confirmation at last!

Too bad Moore doesn't answer the point I made: this figure is thousands higher than the FBI's, and includes police killings of thugs, and uses by citizens in self-defense against criminals.

"Japan's gun deaths of 39 was provided by the National Police Agency of Japan; Germany: 381 gun deaths from Bundeskriminalamt (German FBI); Canada: 165 gun deaths from Statistics Canada, the governmental statistics agency; United Kingdom: 68 gun deaths, from the Centre for Crime and Justice studies in Britain; Australia: 65 gun deaths from the Australian Institute of Criminology; France: 255 gun deaths, from the International Journal of Epidemiology."

Just try finding any of those cites. Moore doesn't give volume, page, date, or author.

"I can guarantee to you, without equivocation, that every fact in my movie is true."

I have to stop for a laugh here. I wonder if there's an intentional joke (for all his problems with veracity, Moore does have quite a sense of humor.) Of course "every fact" in the movie "is true." If untrue, it's not a fact. Goebbels, Nixon, and St. Ralph the Liar could make the same statement. Every fact they have stated is true.

And "equivocation" technically isn't waffling or being evasive. It's equi-vocation. A statement which has two equally accepted meanings, and is used for one, meaning to trick you into believing it was used for the other.

Hmmm... without equivocation, he equivocates?

Moore:. . . "Well, guess what. Total number of lawsuits to date against me or my film by the NRA? NONE. That's right, zero. "

That's becaue Mike is very careful about the law of defamation, which makes it almost impossible for a "public figure" to win. Freedom of speech protects a lot of defamation when directed at a public official or public figure. Here's a decent summary.

He should know how to do it by now. He lost a jury verdict in 1993 when he depicted a non-public figure in "Roger and Me," which may be the reason that film has never gotten a TV release. Blurb on suit: I later verified through attorneys that Moore's studio lost and did not appeal. Interesting note: the jury stuck it to him for misrepresenting a social activist, and until then friend of his, as a callous, dumb, rich guy.

Moore lost a big verdict, as in the jury awarding $7 million to punish for willful misconduct, over "The Awful Truth," but got it reversed because the victim was a public figure. Source. Source on reversal. (From what I can find out about the suit, plaintiff may have made a tactical error, suing the studios that released it rather than Moore, who was at that time a small player with a small pocket. That meant that on appeal the plaintiff had to prove that the studio, as opposed to Moore, had made the false statements with "actual malice," and no one could show the studio had such a state of mind -- it just released what Moore gave it.

And, what the heck, he has been sued over "Bowling." James Nichols filed suit over it back in October. Link. I would not, however, be putting any large wagers on Nichols winning, but he did sue.

Finally, we can turn this back on Moore. He's being blasted as deceptive by, oh, this webpage, Moorelies.com, Moorewatch.com, Larry Elder's documentary Michael and Me, the documentary Fahrenhype 9/11, the documentary Michael Moore Hates America, and of course Jason's and my book Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man. Haven't heard of him filing any lawsuits, have you?

 

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