Created on Tuesday, 10 July 2007 09:36
Written by Danny Schechter
In This Corner, Wolf Blitzer. In that corner, Michael Moore.
by Danny Schechter
olf Blitzer is not my favorite TV journalist. Do you remember when he was interviewed by Jon Stewart? He was asked why the media, including him- promoted the war.
"Was it government censorship or mental retardation," was the question. Blitzer, in one of the more honest moments on television opted for the latter explanation. He was right, and I can say that as one time CNN employee.
t is often retarded, and so predictable. Back on Comedy Central,
Blitzer also admitted TV journalists were not critical enough, an
admission he did not repeat when Moore demanded an apology for CNN's
promotion of the war.This is of course an issue that I and Mediachannl
have been raising for years.
Finally, last night, three years
after his last CNN performance, Blitzer finally had Michael Moore
on allegdly to discuss his film Sicko. Michael does not suffer for a
lack of publicity but what happened was so, hmm, CNN ish. First, before
he had a chance to say one word, the audience was instructed on the
alleged flaws in the "facts" in his film in a set-up piece. Never mind
that a real factchecker would tear much of CNN's reporting apart on a
The exercise was superficial, sloppy and skewed,
using scenes from Sicko as B roll for a critique by CNN's Dr Sanjay
Guota, a good heath communicator but hardly an expert on health care
policy. [here's a link to the day-after head to head between Moore and Gupta on Larry King
- lex] He had ten minutes to go after Moore's argument which he poked
at but did not really refute. I saw a similar attack on Fox arguing
about health care expenses in other countries with higher taxes. No
mention of the points Moore raised about 47 million uninsured Americans
or for that matter about the tax giveaways to the rich by this
Administration. When asked about Socialized Medicine later, he said
matter of factly that that is waht we have with Medicare etc.
whole exercise pissed Moore off and he was on fire going after Blitzer
for this report and a similar trash job on Fahreneit 911 years ago.
There will be more of the confrontation on tomorrow night.
was no knockout but I would score this round for Moore. He promised
that he will refute Gupta's report on his website as if CNN really
cared about the issue, and Blitzer, in a vain attempt to reestablish
credibility, said they would report any corrections although Gupta will
be on live tonight to respond to Moore who will have been taped.
unequal exchange. Clearly Wolf wantd Moore on the defensive, but
instead the tables were turned on him and his network. Moore gave no
Fortunately, there is an emerging movement for health care reform underway inspired by SICKO.
BUILDING A MOVEMENT AROUND "SICKO"
the way, I googled some audience survey which asked back in 2004:
"Which network and anchor do you trust most for the election?"
Comedy Central (Jon Stewart) got 69%, Blitzer l percent.
As for the war as raised by Moore, there were reports yesterday that with Republican support eroding,
the White House may have to announce some troop pullbacks and at least
concede a failure to reestablish order. A report of some kind is due
out today saying NO goals have been meet.
The Iraqi government,
meanwhile is going on the air to war that if the US pulls out, their
goose is cooked. No Surprise there. What was surprising and appreciated
was that CBS finally reported on civilian casualties in Iraq. They gave
the 650,000 Figure. And also had on an expert who said the US has to
assume major responsibility. This type of journalism has only taken 4
years to materialize on TV. This is another nail in the coffin of US
policy. But for "balance" in the we are not all that bad department,
was a report by the military's best friend, CBS's Lara Logan on an Iraq
veteran who adopted a handicapped orphan. It reminded me Operation
Babylift, an attempt to softsoap the Vietnam War back in '75 by
building sympathy for, and "rescuing" sympathetic war orphans. I did a
piece on what a disaster that turned out to be for ABC's 20/20 decades
ago. That same propaganda template is, sadly, alive and well.