Sicko Controversy Continues

Michael Moore is a genius, at least when it comes to getting rich. Here’s the Michael Moore guide to making a lot of money. Step 1: Make a completely contrived propaganda film full of trumped up melodrama and fear-mongering, reactionary voice-overs that tell people how to think. Call the movie a documentary. Step 2: Do something so irresponsible and stupid that it gets you in minor legal trouble and then blow it completely out of proportion so you can pretend everyone is persecuting you for making that movie and play the victim to get your name in the papers.

Michael Moore started the victim phase of his Sicko production a month or so ago when the US Treasury began investigating him for traveling to Cuba with a group of 9/11 rescue works to shoot some sort of staged, contrived segment for his healthcare deficiencies propaganda movie. Oh, Moore claims his intention was to open the movie quietly and without controversy, but come on people, you’re not that stupid. Now Moore is lashing out against the United States government, and really upping the victimization ante. He’s calling the investigation a “discriminatory attack” and accusing the United States government of harassment.

Basically, the whole thing is turning into a big public mess of name calling. In an effort to defend themselves against Moore’s accusation the government has released the letter they sent him and accused Michael Moore of trumping up a smear campaign against the Bush administration. If I were the Treasury Department, I wouldn’t worry so much about Bush. It’s not like his approval ratings can get any worse.

Here’s the thing: It basically sounds like Michael Moore is admitting he broke the law. The Hollywood Reporter seems to indicate he flat out says he went to Cuba for his documentary, and he did it without a permit. He applied for one, but didn’t wait for it to be issued and approved before he went traipsing with his cameras into the land of Castro. The cynic in me says he did that on purpose, just to generate publicity for the movie when the US government started investigating him, but I can’t prove that. I do know that I can’t just hop a plane jaunt off to Cuba, so why does Michael Moore think he should be allowed to? Carrying a camera with you isn’t a get out of jail free card.

As for whether or not he’s being persecuted, so far the only thing anyone has done to Michael Moore as far as I can tell, is to send him a letter saying his trip is being looked into. It’s not like the CIA has formed a ring around his house and is preparing to shoot tear gas in through the windows. Moore however justifies it this way, “subjects of the work of journalists are transported by (journalists) all the time. We were acting not just as journalists but as human beings (to help) rescue workers. ... Take off your journalistic hats for a moment -- does this upset anyone?” So basically what he’s saying is that he did something wrong but it doesn’t upset anyone so it’s ok… is that it? The mind boggles. I’m sure Paris Hilton used a similar argument to get the cops to let her out of prison. Boy was she wrong.

Michael Moore, you make me crazy. The bitch of him, to me anyway, is that I agree with a lot of his viewpoints. Sicko for instance is about what a mess the US Healthcare system is, and I’d really like to get behind someone getting up off their ass to say something about the work that needs to be done on our medical system. But Moore’s methods and behavior are so completely abhorrent that he utterly undermines his own viewpoint with his rabble-rousing, media-whoring, manipulative behavior. My fear here is that Sicko is going to be just another example of it, and in the process undermine anything legitimate other more respectable people have to say about on the subject.

Josh Tyler