Michael Moore blitzes Wolf on CNN

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Michael Moore came out swinging in “The Situation Roomâ€? with Wolf Blitzer on CNN last evening. First, CNN replayed a several-days old report by Sanjay Gupta that concluded that Moore “fudged the factsâ€? in his “Sickoâ€? documentary on the U.S. health care system.

Then Blitzer led off with an insipid, insulting introduction of Moore: “Give us a couple of headlines, what you’d like to say.â€?

MOORE (excerpts of a long answer): “I don’t talk in sound bites. That report was so biased. I can’t imagine what pharmaceutical company ad’s coming up right after our break here. … I mean, you guys have such a poor track record. … And I’m just curious when are you going to just stand there and apologize to the American people for not bringing the truth to them that isn’t sponsored by some major corporation?â€?

BLITZER: “Just in fairness, we had a lot of commercials for “Sicko” that we’ve been running on CNN as well. So we have commercials. This is a business, obviously. But let’s talk a little bit about …â€?

MOORE: “You have a nightly medical report. You have something called “The Daily Dose.” I watch CNN. You have it every day. “The Daily Dose” sponsored by — fill in the blank. And you are funded by these people day in and day out. Don’t even compare that to my movie being out for a couple of weeks and a couple of rinky-dink ads for 15 seconds. Come on. Come on, Wolf!â€?

Did Blitzer actually claim that CNN was being fair to Moore by taking his money to run his commercials? Does this acclaimed anchorman actually believe that commercial content should be taken into account when one judges editorial balance? Or was Blitzer suddenly commenting on CNN’s ad sales policies? Either way, I’ll join Moore’s plea: “Come on. Wolf!â€?

CNN doesn’t have a journalist that can stand up to Moore on a discussion about health care policy issues because it doesn’t have a journalist that has researched health policy issues in this country as much as Moore and his documentary team has. And that was clear in yesterday’s silly situation as Wolf got Blitzed in “The Situation Room.â€?

The complete CNN transcript is available online and the complete video clip is available on Michael Moore’s website.

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July 10, 2007 at 1:36 pm

The Daily Dose Joke…very funny. Michael’s a funny chap. I like him because he’s truly genuine and sincere. ;-)

Dr. Walter Rohloff, MD

July 14, 2007 at 12:41 pm

I am a physician and tried to leave a comment on Dr. Gupta’s CNN Blog regarding his exchange with Michael Moore – unfortunately it did not make it into the published comments:
Dear Dr. Gupta,
I have seen both Michael Moore’s recent interview with Wolf Blitzer and later with Larry King and yourself and I feel that your review on CNN was quite unfair and it would serve you well to admit its shortcomings. You have nowhere made a convincing argument that Michael Moore indeed “fudged the facts” as you claim. If your presentation about mildly different health care cost estimates in the USA or CUBA that you and Moore have found should justify “fudged facts”, it would only be one more of the trivial nit pickings that hardly matter in comparison to your own distortions (like calling universal health care as it exists elsewhere a “Utopia” and “not truly free”) and omissions (Not to talk about the humane and financial benefits of Universal Health Care ) . Instead, your “fact check” parades a conservative hit man for the health for profit industry as an “expert – only associated with Vanderbilt University” and allows him to make unreferenced claims against the film that are hilariously misleading or plain false. I have grown up in Germany under the universal health care system there and worked and studied medicine in Great Britain for many years and can well confirm that Michael Moore’s film presents no “utopia” and that indeed basic health care is unrestricted and rapidly available for everyone. Your “fact check” again repeats the false litany preached to the public by greedy insurers and uninformed doctors about the “long waiting times” in Canada, England, Germany etc. without mentioning that waiting time for emergency access is shorter than in the USA and longer mainly for non urgent (elective) procedures – and this is quite acceptable. In the USA on the other hand, 47 million uninsured Americans cannot get other than emergency medical care no matter how long they wait! The insured rest may also not get it because of a ruthless denial by some HMO cubicle clerk, no matter how long they wait! You even challenged Michael Moore to decide whether he would rather be seen in the USA or elsewhere for cardiac emergency care. As the National Institute of Health has recently concluded, an enormous number of cardiac interventions are done in the USA without proper need and benefit for the patients, possibly because of the wrong kind of incentives. I found the interview with Tony Benn in Michael Moores SICKO the most significant contribution: The British NHS Universal Health Care system was born during and despite the economic hardship of the postwar years because people understood that to take care of each other in such a vital matter as health care should be a human right in an industrialized country – and even Margaret Thatcher never tried to do away with the NHS. I can tell you from my personal experience in Germany and Britain that there are few if any citizens who would want to exchange their Universal Health Care system for some for profit or individualized health care system instead as it is glorified in the USA. America’s Health system needs an aggressive overhaul, bold vision and infusion from good examples elsewhere.
I hope you will join the wave for universal health care for all Americans !
Dr. Walter Rohloff, Renal Medicine, Albuquerque


July 17, 2007 at 12:30 pm

I saw Moore’s documentary. I agree with the statement that our health industry is in need of an overhaul. I also agree that the corps are abusing the system and us. I would also probably support national health care with a moderate increase in taxes to support it. And finally, to be clear, I do respect Moore. However, I am still confused as to why Moore sets himself up to get attacked and ridiculed. It is his own fault sometimes.
However, I did notice that a lot of people have unfairly attacked Moore by saying that people have to wait in long lines for health care service in Canada, GB and France, and therefore their health care service is poor. I don’t buy that argument. The reason why they have to wait in long lines in those countries is because everyone who needs care is getting served. In the US, those 50 million people without health care are not standing in our lines so of course the lines are short. There is a need for health care and that’s why lines are long in those countries. There is a need here too but it is not being met.