“But why don't you tell the truth to the American people? I mean, I wish that CNN and the other mainstream media would just for once tell the truth about what's going on in this country, whether it's with health care – I don't care what it is. I mean, you guys have such a poor track record.” - Michael Moore, on “The Situation Room” on July 9.
It seems Michael Moore can do no wrong in the eyes of some in the media. Even when he goes on the attack against them, they still hold him in high esteem. “I thought it was a powerful film,” said Wolf Blitzer after being berated by Moore on the July 10 “The Situation Room.”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the focal point of his attack, praised Moore also. “I thought it was a good move because you're going to raise awareness about this very important issue,” said Gupta on the July 10 “Larry King Live” program.
Moore’s gotten more face time from that statement about CNN on mainstream media outlets because the network suggested Moore “fudged” the numbers in his movie “SiCKO.” Even before he pitched a fit on the July 9 “The Situation Room” with Blitzer, Moore was already enjoying positive media coverage leading up to the release of “SiCKO.”
Moore’s interview followed a piece by Gupta, CNN’s medical correspondent, questioning the data in the movie. Since that dust-up, Moore has appeared on CNN two additional times, including a primetime appearance on “Larry King Live,” and has been mentioned in 26 different stories. Even prior to the release of his movie – dating back to Jan. 1, Moore had been mentioned in 145 CNN news stories.
But, he has had difficulty staying on the topic of health care while on this campaign to promote “SiCKO.” The conversations often reverted back to criticism of President George W. Bush and the Iraq War. Both were targets in his previous film, “Fahrenheit 911.”
“I saw Dr. Sanjay Gupta over there embedded with the troops at the beginning of the war,” Moore said on the July 9 “The Situation Room.” “He and the others of you in the mainstream media refused to ask our leaders the hard questions and demand the honest answers. And that's why we're in this war – we’re in the fifth year of this war because you and CNN, Dr. Gupta, you didn't do your jobs back then and now here we are in this mess.”
Even in an appearance promoting the movie on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” Moore spent more time discussing the Iraq War than health care. Rather than argue with facts, Moore returned to the same premise – that the media can’t be trusted on the war, health care, etc.
Moore didn’t note the irony of his statement, given how often he had appeared on the network.
Friday, Moore released a letter he sent CNN that demanded an apology for the Gupta piece he claimed was factually incorrect. Interestingly in the letter, Moore demanded the apology for CNN’s viewers – not for himself. “Think again. I'm about to become your worst nightmare. 'Cause I ain't ever going away. Not until you set the record straight, and apologize to your viewers. ‘The Most Trusted Name in News?’ I think it's safe to say you can retire that slogan,” wrote Moore.
Prior to the release of the letter, Moore had been persistent about CNN apologizing to him. He said the word "apology" or "apologize" eight times in his July 9 “The Situation Room” appearance. “You know, and – why don't you start off actually with my first appearance back here on your show in three years and maybe apologize to me for saying that three years ago, because it turned out everything I said in "Fahrenheit" was true,” Moore said. “Everything has come to happen.”
In his letter, he acknowledged his previous treatment by the network had been respectable. “As you know, I hold no personal animosity against you or any of your staff,” wrote Moore. “You and your parent company have been very good to me over the years. You distributed my first film, ‘Roger & Me’ and you published ‘Dude, Where's My Country?’ Larry King has had me on twice in the last two weeks. I couldn't ask for better treatment.”