Thursday, June 21, 2007

More on Moore

This post started out as me following up on the challenge by a commenter to post the news that Michael Moore is denying charges in the upcoming documentary about him which asserts that he fabricated all the essential details in his first film "Roger and Me."

So, I started looking for the news story of Moore's denial to link to. But on the way I found this:

A veteran who lost both arms in the war in Iraq is suing filmmaker Michael Moore for $85 million US, saying Moore misrepresented him in the film Fahrenheit 9/11.

Sgt. Peter Damon, a National Guardsman from Middleborough, Mass., says Moore twisted excerpts from an interview he gave to NBC's Nightly News to portray him as anti-war.

Former National Guard Sgt. Peter Damon says filmmaker Michael Moore's portrayal of him as anti-war has caused "loss of reputation" and "personal humiliation."

"The work creates a substantially fictionalized and falsified implication as a wounded serviceman who was left behind when Plaintiff was not left behind but supported, financially and emotionally, by the active assistance of the President, the United States and his family, friends, acquaintances and community," Damon says in the lawsuit, according to the Associated Press.

He is claiming damages because of "loss of reputation, emotional distress, embarrassment, and personal humiliation," the lawsuit filed in Suffolk Superior Court last week says.

Damon claims that Moore never asked for his consent to use a clip from the interview. The clip, which shows him talking about an "excruciating type of pain," referred to pain from his injuries, rather than a complaint against the war effort, he says....

Moore did not immediately return calls seeking comment Wednesday. (CBC)

Anyway, here's a recap of the original Moore post about the two Toronto documentarians who started out to make a valentine to their idol, Michael Moore. But then...

"It was a slow reveal, really," Melnyk says. "We go into things and start to research them as we go along and start to do interviews with people, and we started to realize: 'Oh my God, there are some cheats in these films.' Obviously, the biggest one being that Michael actually did talk to Roger Smith twice during the making of 'Roger and Me.'

"That one really, really bothered me. Because, OK, if you're willing to lie about the entire premise of the film, then what is sacrosanct? There must have been other smaller cheats along the way. So that was a shocker."

Moore, for his part, hasn't commented on "Manufacturing Dissent," suggesting recently to a New York film website,, that he'd never heard of it - even though, as shown in the documentary, Melnyk approached him at various public events over two years to plead for an interview.

"There are a lot of films made about me ... there's probably nine or 10 of them out there," he told a reporter for the website.

Such apparent disingenuousness is par for the course for Moore, according to those who spoke on camera to Melnyk and Caine. Indeed, the couple say the dishonesty about Roger Smith wasn't the only false note in "Roger and Me" - an entire segment featuring an ABC news reporter telling viewers how a disgruntled autoworker had driven off with the network's satellite truck was a fake. (CBC)

And here is a recent story from the AP in which Moore calls the Canadian documentarians (expletive) liars:

BELLAIRE, Mich. - Filmmaker Michael Moore gave people in the rural county where he lives an early look at his new film “Sicko” on Saturday, and had some harsh words for critics of the documentary that launched his career.

“Manufacturing Dissent,” a film that accuses Moore of dishonesty in the making of his politically charged documentaries, alleges that he interviewed then-General Motors Corp. Chairman Roger Smith, the elusive subject of Moore’s 1989 debut “Roger & Me,” but left the footage on the cutting room floor.

“Anybody who says that is a (expletive) liar,” Moore told The Associated Press in an interview Saturday after a showing of “Sicko,” his take on U.S. medicine, in the northern Michigan village of Bellaire....

Moore, who said he hadn’t seen “Manufacturing Dissent,” acknowledged having had “a good five minutes of back-and forth” with Smith about a company tax abatement at a 1987 shareholders’ meeting, as reported by Premiere magazine in 1990. But that was before he began working on “Roger & Me” and had nothing to do with the film, Moore said.

A clip of the meeting appears in “Manufacturing Dissent,” released in March. Filmmakers Rick Caine and Debbie Melnyk also interviewed an activist who said he saw Moore interview Smith in 1988 in New York.

Caine and Melnyk say that undercuts the central theme of “Roger & Me” — Moore’s fruitless effort to interview Smith about the effects of GM plant closings in Flint, Moore’s hometown. Moore, however, said the film wasn’t primarily about interviewing Smith, but getting him to observe the economic devastation in Flint.

We report. You decide.


Anonymous said...

Moore made a point that if he had secured an interview with GM head Roger Smith during production, and then tried to keep it a secret, General Motors would have broadcast the fact across the media. Since they obviously did not, I am inclined to believe Moore is telling the truth on this one.

Anonymous said...

That is not how PR works for big corporations and Michael Moore knows it. Did George W. Bush commwnt on Fahrenheit 9/11? No because like GM with Roger & Me they didn't want to give it any press. I saw Manufacturing Dissent at SXSW. It's a great film that raises very interesting and disturbing issues around documentary filmmaking. From what I remember Roger Smith is in Melnyk and Cain's documentary saying that the best advice he got from the PR gurus at GM at the time Roger & Me was circulating was not to comment on "something as bad as that." Michael Moore is right that the US as one of the world's most affluent nations should have universal health care, it's too bad he's wrong about so much else.