Saturday, May 19, 2007

The Most Successful "Documentarian" in History....

When I was in grad school, the first question I had to answer for the film program was whether I wanted to be in the documentary track or in the narrative track. Even at mostly Marxist Northwestern University film school, my agenda -riddled professors understood the difference between making up a story and reporting one. Sadly, this is a question that no one ever asked Michael Moore, apparently. This following piece is from a longer story about the new documentary on Michael Moore called Manufacturing Dissent. The project comes from two liberal documentarians who started off as Moore admirers. But as they proceeded in their investigation of the methods of the "most successful documentarian in history," their enthusaism and their project's bent changed.

In another bit from Roger & Me, Moore explains how Nightline planned to do a special on Flint, where struggling local leaders were to talk with Ted Koppel via satellite hook up. In the next scene, a local TV reporter informs audiences that the special has been cancelled because ABC's satellite truck was stolen by an unemployed GM worker. What a gem. How did Moore get it? Caine and Melnyk made some calls.

The answer is, he made it up. There was no laid-off car thief. No truck had been stolen. There was no truck to be stolen. Nightline had never attempted to do a special on Flint. Moore made the entire incident up, gave a script to a cooperative reporter and passed it off as real...

...The premise of Roger & Me was that Roger Smith, (the CEO of GM) would not talk to Michael Moore. In Manufacturing Dissent's big payoff, Melnyk and Caine learn that Moore actually did get two interviews with Roger Smith, in which they talked--for longer than Moore talked to Melnyk--about Flint and GM. There are videotapes, transcripts, and witnesses (whom Moore subsequently asked to deny everything). So the very founding conceit of Roger & Me, the film that launched Moore's career, is predicated on a lie.

The thing that frosts my cookies the most about this is strictly personal. I had a roomamte once who fancied herself a "socially awakened Christian" who claimed Michael Moore as her guru of enlightenment. She said to me several times, "Roger and Me changed my life." It's always problematic when a Christian cleaves to any other guru than Jesus Christ. "These are not the times to pin your soul on anyone's sleeve. Pin your soul on Christ." (St. Teresa of Avila)

Go here to read the whole piece. Hat tip to the Overlords atThe New Advent

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