The June 12 “American Morning” featured almost two and a half minutes about Michael Moore’s much-ballyhooed latest effort. It might as well been a commercial for the film that advocates socialized health care, the abolition of the health insurance industry and a move toward government regulating the pharmaceutical industry like it is the local water and sewer board. (That would be Moore’s policy proposal, as he put forth on his Web site.)
“American Morning” host Kiran Chetry, setting up an obvious answer with a leading question, asked pop culture and entertainment correspondent Lola Ogunnaike if the scene from “Sicko” where Moore passed by Guantanamo Bay was just a publicity stunt.
However, Ogunnaike found a much more profound reason for the scene: “Well, you know Michael Moore loves his stunts and he loves to ambush people. And, I think he was trying to prove a point. The point he was trying to make is you have these detainees at Guantanamo Bay that in his mind are receiving far better care than the people on 9/11 who are sick now as a result of the injury they sustained rescuing people down at the site of 9/11,” said Ogunnaike.
Ogunnaike’s reporting seemed to echo the same points expressed on Michael Moore’s Web site promoting “Sicko,” which is set to be released in the States June 29. Ogunnaike joined CNN last month after spending nearly nine years at The New York Times covering various beats. She was briefly suspended by the Times in 2006 for appearing on “The View” without clearing it with her editors beforehand.
Ogunnaike detailed a Treasury Department investigation into Moore’s visit to Cuba. At issue is whether he violated U.S. travel restrictions by entering the communist nation. With a very earnest demeanor, she commented about the federal probe: “Well, he’s worried that they might try and confiscate the movie. He is so worried in fact that he has sent a copy overseas and it is in a secret location. He is not playing around with this at all and he’s very scared that this … could destroy what he’s worked for.”
Perhaps the most humorous part of the segment was the revelation of Moore’s slight weight loss by Ogunnaike. “He’s lost a few pounds in fact he’s saying ‘Look if I’m going to talk about health care, I’ve got to deal with my own problems first. [I have] got to be the messenger.’” Last summer, Moore checked into South Florida’s Pritikin Longevity Center at a cost of $3,800 per week as an effort to lose weight.