Ed Driscoll

When Did Michael Moore Start Producing Texas Justice?

The Michael Moore-ization of the Democratic Party appears to be proceeding apace. Of Roger & Me, Moore’s first “documentary”, I wrote last year:

Back when I was a film junky, I also remember reading an article in England’s Sight and Sound magazine (hardly a bastion of conservatism) that exposed many of the lies in that film as well, which put Moore on the map. Not the least of which was the film’s premise: Moore wore a silly cardboard cartoon “PRESS” badge whenever he visited GM, thus ensuring that he’d never meet with Roger Smith–because if he did, there’d be no movie.

Byron York writes that Judge Ronnie Earle, Tom DeLay’s bête noire, is in the process of starring in a pseudo-documentary of his own that’s planned as an inversion of Moore’s concept:

For the last two years, as he pursued the investigation that led to Wednesday’s indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Travis County, Texas prosecutor Ronnie Earle has given a film crew “extraordinary access” to make a motion picture about his work on the case.

The resulting film is called The Big Buy, made by Texas filmmakers Mark Birnbaum and Jim Schermbeck. “Raymond Chandler meets Willie Nelson on the corner of Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue in The Big Buy, a Texas noir political detective story that chronicles what some are calling a ‘bloodless coup with corporate cash,'” reads a description of the picture on Birnbaum’s website, markbirnbaum.com. The film, according to the description, “follows maverick Austin DA Ronnie Earle’s investigation into what really happened when corporate money joined forces with relentless political ambitions to help swing the pivotal 2002 Texas elections, cementing Republican control from Austin to Washington DC.””We approached him [Earle], and he offered us extraordinary access to him and, to an extent, to his staff,” Birnbaum told National Review Online Thursday. “We’ve been shooting for about two years.”

DeLay’s indictment yesterday is a prerequisite of the film: As Orrin Judd concludes, “One hates to be too cynical, but it’s pretty basic: no indictment, no movie”.

Meanwhile, Bryan Preston of Junk Yard Blog writes:

You want a conspiracy, I’ll show you a conspiracy. The mid-terms are a year out. We now have House Majority Leader Tom Delay indicted by one of the most partisan prosecutors in the US. We have the Senate Majority Leader under fire for a stock sale. We have the abuse of Maryland Lt Gov Michael Steele’s SSN to get his credit report–no doubt a fishing expedition to find dirt to fling at him when he runs for the Senate. All of this is going on at the same time, and while in Florida Rush Limbaugh is fighting off a partisan invasion of privacy and prosecution meant to bring him down.This is starting to look like a concerted effort to criminalize Republicans out of office while silencing our pundits.

I’m not sure how much I agree with Bryan’s conclusions, and I think John Hawkins makes some great points about DeLay’s inability to trim governmental pork, but Bryan’s post was a strong reminder of something US News & World Report’s John Leo wrote back around this time in 2003, a year before a national election with even higher stakes:

We seem to be in the midst of a campaign to take down high-profile conservatives. The gay lobby did a job on Dr. Laura, in effect getting her new TV show canceled and portraying her as a hater for holding the traditional Judeo-Christian view of homosexuality. She is brusque and blunt, but no hater. There is plenty of testimony on the record about her kindness to gays and the help she gave to PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. But the gay lobby took her down anyway.William Bennett went down too, for his over-the-top slot-machine gambling. He did it himself, of course, but the only moral rule always observed in Las Vegas casinos is Thou Shalt Never Reveal How Much the Heavy Roller Hath Lost. That rule was somehow suspended in Bennett’s case. The total amount of his losses, $8 million, was somehow fed to the media. Curious, no?

John Fund, the very talented conservative journalist, got the treatment as well. He was smeared as a wife-beater. Eric Alterman, the liberal commentator, helped clear the air with a piece in the Nation headlined, ‘Who Framed John Fund?’ Alterman’s question for the left was this: Who do we want to be, people who try to destroy opponents or people who act on principle? It’s a good question for the right, too, and for everyone now poised to jump into the Limbaugh case.

As I wrote back then:

Perhaps, having gotten a taste of the politics of personal destruction in Washington, the press need fresh kills, and are expanding their hunting grounds to include any figure whose opinions they disagree with.

And evidently, the political left appears to be following their media colleagues with a similar tactic: if you can’t beat ’em at the ballot box–you take ’em to court.