Saturday, July 14, 2007

Open letter from Michael Moore to CNN

Michael Moore has just posted the following open letter to CNN on his website:
Saturday, July 14th, 2007
An Open Letter to CNN from Michael Moore

Dear CNN,

Well, the week is over -- and still no apology, no retraction, no correction of your glaring mistakes.

I bet you thought my dust-up with Wolf Blitzer was just a cool ratings coup, that you really wouldn't have to correct the false statements you made about "Sicko." I bet you thought I was just going to go quietly away.

Think again. I'm about to become your worst nightmare. 'Cause I ain't ever going away. Not until you set the record straight, and apologize to your viewers. "The Most Trusted Name in News?" I think it's safe to say you can retire that slogan.

You have an occasional segment called "Keeping Them Honest." But who keeps you honest? After what the public saw with your report on "Sicko," and how many inaccuracies that report contained, how can anyone believe anything you say on your network? 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. And boy, judging from the mail both you and I have been receiving, the evidence I have posted on my site about your "Sicko" piece has led millions now to question your honesty.

I won't waste your time rehashing your errors. You know what they are. What I want to do is help you come clean. Admit you were wrong. What is the shame in that? We all make mistakes. I know it's hard to admit it when you've screwed up, but it's also liberating and cathartic. It not only makes you a better person, it helps prevent you from screwing up again. Imagine how many people will be drawn to a network that says, "We made a mistake. We're human. We're sorry. We will make mistakes in the future -- but we will always correct them so that you know you can trust us." Now, how hard would that really be?

As you know, I hold no personal animosity against you or any of your staff. You and your parent company have been very good to me over the years. You distributed my first film, "Roger & Me" and you published "Dude, Where's My Country?" Larry King has had me on twice in the last two weeks. I couldn't ask for better treatment.

That's why I was so stunned when you let a doctor who knows a lot about brain surgery -- but apparently very little about public policy -- do a "fact check" story, not on the medical issues in "Sicko," but rather on the economic and political information in the film. Is this why there has been a delay in your apology, because you are trying to get a DOCTOR to say he was wrong? Please tell him not to worry, no one is filing a malpractice claim against him. Dr. Gupta does excellent and compassionate stories on CNN about people's health and how we can take better care of ourselves. But when it came time to discuss universal health care, he rushed together a bunch of sloppy -- and old -- research. When his producer called us about his report the day before it aired, we sent to her, in an email, all the evidence so that he wouldn't make any mistakes on air. He chose to ignore ALL the evidence, and ran with all his falsehoods -- even though he had been given the facts a full day before! How could that happen? And now, for 5 days, I have posted on my website, for all to see, every mistake and error he made.

You, on the other hand, in the face of this overwhelming evidence and a huge public backlash, have chosen to remain silent, probably praying and hoping this will all go away.

Well it isn't. 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.

Clearly, no one is keeping you honest, so I guess I'm going to have to do that job, too. $1.5 billion is spent each year by the drug companies on ads on CNN and the other four networks. I'm sure that has nothing to do with any of this. After all, if someone gave me $1.5 billion, I have to admit, I might say a kind word or two about them. Who wouldn't?!

I expect CNN to put this matter to rest. Say you're sorry and correct your story -- like any good journalist would.

Then we can get back to more important things. Like a REAL discussion about our broken health care system. Everything else is a distraction from what really matters.

Michael Moore

P.S. If you also want to apologize for not doing your job at the start of the Iraq War, I'm sure most Americans would be very happy to accept your apology. 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. Instead of doing the job the founding fathers wanted you to do -- keeping those in power honest (that's why they made it the FIRST amendment) -- you and much of the media went on the attack against the few public figures like myself who dared to question the nightmare we were about to enter. You've never thanked me or the Dixie Chicks or Al Gore for doing your job for you. That's OK. Just tell the truth from this point on.


Anonymous said...

Bravo to Michael Moore. I've seen the movie and it was liberating.

I'm shocked out how easy it has been to pull the wool over the eyes of Americans.

Sicko appears to be a very sincere and honest attempt at showing the facts and allowing the viewers to form their own opinions.

No one else in the US has shown what is like to be part of the health care system in Canada, Britain or France.

Financial ruin from denied insurance claims is one of the biggest threats to wealth accumulation there could possibly be.

Insurance is not cool, I think everyone knows of some horror stories that affect them or someone they love.

My full post about sicko is available online at

Anonymous said...

Wow! Moore is either a wizzard at promotion, or a complete idiot...I suspect a little of both.

Pot calling the kettle black - 'truth'? How many inaccuracies might there have been in F-9/11....

The man stretches the truth to suit his pocketbook and has the gall to throw accusations at CNN?

Dave Barrett said...

anonymous 7:32 PM
"stretches the truth.."
Are we supposed to take your word for that? Can you not cite a single untruth?

Anonymous said...

I have no desire to get into this. I am sure that you believe that everything in F-9/11 and Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' is 100% accurate.

Both docu-drama's have been thoroughly panned for truth content and both have been found wanting.

You have had the opportunity to deal with these and by your response, I believe that you are not willing to accept criticism of these (fine) works, so why would I even bother?

Dave Barrett said...

Opportunity to deal with what -- a statement that there was untruths with no specifics? How could I have possibly dealt with that?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Dave,

Entire TV shows have been done about the stretching of the truth and fabrications of the two. If you choose to ignore these and believe that these 2 docu-dramas are 100% valid, it would be fruitless for me to debate this with you. Thank you for the opportunity though.

Dave Barrett said...

I give you an opportunity to debate me by having a blog with open comments, so you're welcome. But I never made a claim that I believe there are no untruths in Michael Moore's movies. I am baffled why you think I should have to defend a claim I never made against TV shows I never saw.

Anonymous said...

Dave, the only thing that I had said is that Moore's movie, along with Gore's, had inaccuries and half-truths...that his letter to CNN was the 'pot calling the kettle black.'

I never asked you to defend him, or Gore. I am glad that we are in agreement that his movies have a thread of fiction in them.

Dave Barrett said...

"I am glad that we are in agreement that his movies have a thread of fiction in them..."
You are either one of the most intellectually dishonest persons it has ever been my misfortune to encounter or an idiot.
Nothing I said could possibly be honestly and intelligently interpreted as agreement with you that Michael Moore's movies contain fiction.
It was you who set up the false dichotomy that I must either claim that none of his movies contain any untruths OR agree with you that he is a man who stretches the truth to suit his pocketbook -- a dishonest person who passes off fiction as fact. There are many other possibilities than those two including my position -- I do not know whether all the facts in all his movies are 100% correct but have no reason to believe that Michael Moore is a dishonest person. That is why I was asking you if you had any evidence to the contrary. You responded that untruths in his movies were well known and that unless I was willing to assert that everything in ALL his movies was 100% correct I must be agreeing with you.
Tell me, anonymous, does your dishonest way of arguing in the comments section of my blog carry over to other areas of your life -- or do you make an honest living and only act in this manner when dealing with me?

Anonymous said...

Dave, relax...I am jerking with you.

However, I was right, if you are so seriously 'left' to believe that these docu-drama's are accurate, then you certainly are not worth debating.

Dave Barrett said...

Why should not readers of this blog conclude from your comments that the "right" are fundamentally dishonest people who, perhaps projecting their own sins onto their opponents, accuse the left of dishonesty on the flimsiest of evidence, trying to make up for the weakness of their arguments and evidence by endlessly repeating them?