If Michael Moore did not exist, we would have to invent him.
Not that he’s perfect. He makes mistakes, cuts corners… does all the things that humans do.
But he cares, and admits that he cares. He never pretends to that myth “objectivity” or places himself “above the fray.” He’s the perfect human antidote to the lumbering CNN dinosaur that looks down in amusement at the ‘little people’–never realizing that its time is done and completely oblivious to the need for change.
Which, of course, brings me to his letter today to CNN about this weeks’ Gupta brouhaha.
In that letter, Moore makes point after good point (drawing attention to the point that Gupta hasn’t the experience for the type of evaluation he was making is a particularly good one), but I’d like to draw attention to just a couple, those having to do with the dinoraur aspect of CNN.
In the old days, before the Internet, you could get away with it. Your victims had no way to set the record straight, to show the viewers how you had misrepresented the truth. But now, we can post the truth — and back it up with evidence and facts — on the web, for all to see.
On the Web, even CNN is trying to get “with it,” recognizing that there’s a new dynamic in the news field, with things like “iReports.” On cable, however, it sticks to the old model. We tell you, and we don’t make mistakes (at least, we don’t draw attention to them–to yours, yes, but not to ours).
Moore makes it clear that CNN can’t pass this off as a one-timer:
We are now going to start looking into the veracity of other reports you have aired on other topics. Nothing you say now can be believed. In 2002, the New York Times busted you for bringing celebrities on your shows and not telling your viewers they were paid spokespeople for the pharmaceutical companies. You promised never to do it again. But there you were, in 2005, talking to Joe Theismann, on air, as he pushed some drug company-sponsored website on prostate health. You said nothing about about his affiliation with GlaxoSmithKline.
Old habits die hard, and sometimes the only way to shock people out of bad habits is to embarrass them or shock them. What Moore is trying to do with CNN is in CNN’s own best interest (Moore makes it clear that he actually likes the people of CNN).
Of course, being Michael Moore, he can’t keep away from CNN’s past failures:
You and the other networks were willing partners with Bush, flying flags all over the TV screens and never asking the hard questions that you should have asked. You might have prevented a war. You might have saved the lives of those 3,610 soldiers who are no longer with us. Instead, you blew air kisses at a commander in chief who clearly was making it all up. Millions of us knew that — why didn’t you? I think you did. And, in my opinion, that makes you responsible for this war.
There’s never been “objectivity” at CNN, or a real position “above the fray.” And that’s what’s so infuriating. Fox News may spout about “fair and balanced,” but they really make little pretense at being so. Fox is dishonest, too, of course… but it lies to us with a wink and a smile…. Fox knows that we know that it lies, and doesn’t care.
CNN pretends it is not lying… even now, after Moore has shown so clearly that it is… and does.
As I said at the start, if Michael Moore didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him. Yes, the dinosauars are dying, but they could fall and crush us all. Moore is not just warning CNN, but us, giving us time to get out of the way of an unfolding disaster.