Ed Driscoll

Michael Moore's Hindenburg-Sized Chutzpah

“Watch Unhinged Michael Moore Get In Reporter’s Face Over Questions of Wealth: ‘You Lie’,” proffers John Nolte of Big Hollywood. Click over for the video:

Cassimy: “How are you helping these people?”

Moore: “Because I do well, I want taxes raised on people who do well, including mine.”

Cassimy: “How are you helping these people with your $50 million?

Moore: “I don’t have $50 million.”

Cassimy: “That’s what it’s rumored you are worth.”

Moore: “Well, really. Is that what you do is sell rumors?”

Cassimy: “We’re asking you for the truth.”

Moore: “You’re just punk media is all you are. You lie. You lie to people. Stop lying to people. Stop lying.”

Michael Moore complaining about the media lying? Really?

I had stopped believing what Moore was saying very early; he was just too glib. Later, when he told us about the tourist schemes, I began to feel I was watching a film version of the thirties best-seller A Short Introduction to the History of Human Stupidity, and I began to wonder how so much of what was being reported had actually taken place in the two and a half years of shooting the film. So I wasn’t surprised when I read Harlan Jacobson’s article in the November-December, 1989, Film Comment and learned that Moore had compressed the events of many years and fiddled with the time sequence. For example, the eleven plant closings announced in 1986 were in four states; the thirty thousand jobs were lost in Flint over a period of a dozen years; and the tourist attractions were constructed and failed well before the 1986 shutdowns that they are said to be a response to. Or let’s take a smaller example of Moore at play. We’re told that Ronald Reagan visited the devastated city, and we hear about what we assume is the President’s response to the crisis. He had a pizza with twelve unemployed workers and advised them to move to Texas; we’re told that during lunch the cash register was lifted from the pizza parlor. That’s good for a few more laughs. But Reagan visited the city in 1980, when he wasn’t yet President–he was a candidate. And the cash register had been taken two days earlier.

— Pauline Kael, the New Yorker, 1989.

As documentary filmmakers, Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine looked up to Michael Moore.

Then they tried to do a documentary of their own about him – and ran into the same sort of resistance Moore himself famously faces in his own films.

The result is “Manufacturing Dissent,” which turns the camera on the confrontational documentarian and examines some of his methods. Among their revelations in the movie, which had its world premiere Saturday night at the South by Southwest film festival: That Moore actually did speak with then-General Motors chairman Roger Smith, the evasive subject of his 1989 debut “Roger & Me,” but chose to withhold that footage from the final cut…

The fact that Moore spoke with Smith, including a lengthy question-and-answer exchange during a May 1987 GM shareholders meeting, first was reported in a Premiere magazine article three years later. Transcripts of the discussion had been leaked to the magazine, and a clip of the meeting appeared in “Manufacturing Dissent.” Moore also reportedly interviewed Smith on camera in January 1988 at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York.

Since then, in the years since “Roger & Me” put Moore on the map, those details seem to have been suppressed and forgotten.

Greg Gutfeld, 2007.

To be fair though, it can’t be easy being the house documentarian for the Obama-supporting Goldman Sachs.