July 11, 2007


I was happy to see Moore’s little explosion at Wolf Blitzer the other day on CNN. If you haven’t been following it, Moore was on for an interview regarding his new film “Sicko.” Preceeding the interview, they aired a criticism by Sanjay Gupta.

Moore didn’t take kindly to CNN and Gupta’s criticisms, putting them in the context of their critical responses to his previous efforts. (Moore and Blitzer video Part 1)

Why was I happy? Because it’s nice to see that Moore isn’t a hypocrite, appearing on TV to be all sweetness and light and “thank you for letting me promote my film.” CNN needed to be put straight on their responsibility in the run up to the Iraq war and their lack of critical focus.

But Moore also attacked the criticism that was leveled at him by Gupta as inaccurate. Blitzer didn’t like that, and defended Gupta, but apparently this was a real “who watches the watchers” moment.” Gupta’s criticisms, it turns out, had the facts wrong and bloggers have since shown that Gupta was provided with the corrections before this interview aired (after his criticisms were originally aired, but 10 days before CNN re-ran his piece as a companion to the Moore interview). (Here is the Huffington Post story about those facts)

Moore and Blitzer did get past this initial scuffle and had a mostly fireworks-free second half of the interview: (Moore and Blitzer video Part 2).

I haven’t seen the film yet, but it is not surprising that, for some people, the idea of Moore himself overshadows the film. Many people hate Moore for a number of reasons… some for what he’s said in the past, some for how he said it. But it would be hard to criticise Moore for being right about the folly of the Iraq war before most of the country caught up with him. Again, his opponents were pretty effective at killing the messenger last time by nit-picking his message and attacking the liberties he takes in his (almost universally admittedly) powerful style.

The word is that he has his more dramatic personal tendencies in check in “Sicko” and some are concluding that this results in a much more powerful and more tenable message. I have yet to verify this by viewing the film.

Some will just dismiss anything Moore says, and, in fact, use this film as an excuse to dismiss healthcare reform altogether. Some will prefer to get mired in whatever detail they can dispute rather than face the big picture.

But, as with Moore’s previous work, I bet that there are plenty of people who leave the theater with a bug in their heads. And with this, perhaps they will ask themselves “what am I going to do about this now?”

[Update: Here is a point by point response to CNN’s criticisms.]

Posted by James at July 11, 2007 7:14 AM
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I am very healthy, thankfully, so you won't be hearing about anything that all of us don't go through. I am pretty well traveled, however, and I have been living in Canada now for 5 years after having lived my life in the US. I think that gives me a unique perspective and I'd like to share it.

I was in Canada for school for two years. The reason I chose to come here is that schools were damn cheap (but that's a different topic) and the dollar was high, so it would be easy to afford a couple of years of school here as opposed to staying in Boston. Anyway, I had to get a medical prescription renewed and I was worried because my US coverage wouldn't help there. I went to a clinic, told them I had no coverage and they told me I would have to pay out of pocket. What choice did I have. I said fine.

After the doctor's visit, prescription in hand, I braced myself for the bill. I needn't have. They charged me $50. That's right! Read it again. $50.00. I got my prescription filled at a shop where I was also informed that I would have to pay out of pocket for my meds. "Ok, this is going to hurt", I thought, "I know how much these things cost me". The prescription cost me $18.

After that, I never even thought to apply for coverage. I have coverage now that I have a job up here, they cover dental, too, they even cover my eye glasses (up to $250). Now I never pay for doctor's visits, or prescriptions either. In the states we are getting raped on our drug prices. The prices up here are at least %50 lower, and frequently far far less. I buy medicated shampoo up here for my dad because in the states it costs him $75, up here, it's available for $15.

I was in the Philippines recently, and I got sick there. I got a stomach virus, montezuma's revenge, you know. I got feverish and pained pretty bad, so I had them take me to a doctor. They brought me to an emergency room. I was seen right away, and the doctor was fine, spoke great english, too. I got some meds and some treatment and was sent home. Cost? Hell, maybe $30. In Hong Kong, I caught a bad flu and my friend took me to a doctor. Same deal, except I don't even remember how much it cost me. It was stupid cheap though.

What about the US?

We can't go on letting these monied-interests, fear monger us into putting money in their pockets. Hell, if we have a few trillin lying around for any war that springs up, why is there not a few hundred million for the citizens? It's a question of priorities, and the US prioritizes it's citizens very low, far lower than industry, far lower than militarism. Those things get lots of tax breaks and dollars.

Posted by: Rui at July 11, 2007 9:17 PM

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