I Disagree With Michael Moore

I disagree with Michael Moore on many issues, but that doesn’t mean I’d call him a liar or say his facts are wrong as some charge. I gave Sicko a favorable review because it succeeds in the important task of getting out the facts on the problems in our health care system. I disagree with some of his views on alternatives, but that comes from a difference in opinion as to the role of government in society and what Americans will tolerate as opposed to any disagreement over the facts.

CNN did something really surprising recently–they claimed to be fact checking Michael Moore. This is surprising as typically correspondents such as Wolfe Blitzer will repeat the administration line without question. Such fact checking is rare at CNN. Michael Moore has already debunked the claims that his facts were wrong and now writes an open letter to CNN chastising them for not admitting they were wrong.

There is plenty of room to disagree with Michael Moore without raising false claims that his facts are wrong. Moore does give what many would consider an overly rosy view of health systems elsewhere, but in doing so he makes the point that other counties do manage to provide far more comprehensive health care than we do in the United States. If Michael Moore was writing a scholarly review for a journal of health care economics he might be faulted for not providing all evidence for both sides. However he was writing a documentary to promote his position and should not be expected to provide all evidence for both sides. It would be fair to disagree with Moore’s opinions, and to discuss facts not included in Sicko, but that does not mean that there is incorrect information being presented by Moore.

During the 2004 campaign, I founded Doctors for Kerry (later merged with Nurses for Kerry) and for a while answered questions on health care for the campaign’s official forum. I found that large numbers of people who receive coverage from their employers were opposed to any system which would force them to give up their current coverage. Many Americans are fearful of placing their health care in government’s hands, even though the reality of the situation is that private companies are typically more restrictive than Medicare.

Michael Moore and I disagree on the solutions for the health care crisis, but that does not mean either of us would have to call the other a liar. While we disagree, I understand the economic arguments for Michael Moore’s position, and acknowledge there is validity to his arguments.

Conservatives tend to support the status quo and oppose any efforts to change the system. As their arguments do not hold up to close scrutiny, they rely on demonizing those who disagree with them. They cry “socialized medicine” even whey they are often the supporters of greater government restrictions on health care. This bogus fact checking by CNN is yet another example of conservative bias.

One good which may come of this is the greater realization of the conservative bias at CNN. Perhaps because of CNN being more liberal when owned by Ted Turner, the constant false claims of the right wing noise machine that the media is liberal, and because of CNN being far less conservative compared to Fox News, many have not detected CNN’s conservative bias. Moore’s open letter shows that this bias is part of a trend, and having Michael Moore devoting efforts to reporting on their biases might bring more of it to light. While there has already been one documentary exposing Fox News, maybe Moore’s next documentary should be on exposing conservative bias is much of the media.

Update: CNN has responded to Michael Moore.

Update II: Blog Like a Hurricane also suggests that Moore’s next documentary be on the mainstream media.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    daveinboca says:

    [Moore] told a Berlin audience that Americans are the dumbest people in the world…[and MM is walking proof of just how stupid one American can be!]

    Funny how when Bill Clinton was POTUS, the party-line was that “the American people in their wisdom”…whenever they supported one of his programs. Didn’t Moore graduate from Moo U in East Lansing? Maybe that’s where he got his impression of the IQ of Americans.

    Too bad lhe didn’t attend Ann Arbor’s University [he probably couldn’t qualify cuz of grades or SATs] and discover that many Americans are extremely intelligent, even in his native state of Michigan!

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Considering how frequently conservatives misquote someone, and then spread the misquotation around so much that they all accept it as fact, I don’t know that it is true that Michael Moore said what Dave attributes to him. Regardless, the flaw in Dave’s argument is quite obvious. Michael Moore does not speak for Democrats. He is far to the left of the Democratic Party and a comparison between what Moore and Clinton said is rather meaningless.

    As an alumni of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, it is tempting to allow Dave’s attack on our arch rival to stand without rebuttal. However, as I also have a faculty position at Michigan State, which has many intelligent students with high grades and SAT scores, I guess I should say something in their defense. After all, it isn’t football season.

    In rankings of universities, MSU might not be ranked as high as a world class university such as The University of Michigan, but the school typically does receive good rankings. Doing a quick search for rankings, the first I found was from Kiplinger, which looks at the best buys, so cost and financial aid are considered along with the academic quality. Michigan is ranked 19 and MSU is ranked 85.

    US News and World Report’s ranking of top national schools places Michigan at 24 and MSU at 70.

    Michigan may be a better school, but that doesn’t mean that Michigan State isn’t also a quality university.

  3. 3
    Mary says:

    I too am no longer a fan of Moore’s (haven’t been since 2000 when he made every excuse in the book to elect Bush), but he is spot on, with Sicko. I lost my husband Steve to a lymphoma that would have been easily detectable, had he the specialist he needed as a patient waiting for an organ transplant.

    It was only diagnosed after he was hospitalized after going to the emergency room because he was in end stage organ failure and had retained such an extensive amount of fluid in his abdomen that was no longer responding to diuretics.

    He died three weeks after being admitted and it was utter hell, what made it even worse was the fact that it didn’t have to happen. The oncologist told me that the Burketts Like Lymphoma would have been caught far earlier when it was treatable just from the blood tests he would have had, had he been able to see the specialist he needed. Ours isn’t an isolated incident, it’s widespread and pandemic.

    Keep writing Dr. Ron, I remember you from the Kerry blog and your articles are, as always, much appreciated.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    Mary,

    Sorry to read about your husband. Yes, your story is not an isolated incident.

    As you show you realize, this isn’t a matter of being for or against Michael Moore. Moore has said things I agree with and others I disagree with. The problems in the US health care system exist independently of whether it is Michael Moore talking about them. Moore may even be wrong in some of his comparisions to health care systems elsewhere, but that still does not mean we need improvements to our system.

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