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The filmmaker says mainstream media has trouble telling the truth on any issue

By Tim Nudd
Updated July 10, 2007 02:00 PM
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In a combative interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer yesterday, Michael Moore lambasted the Situation Room host – and the mainstream media in general – for misrepresenting his healthcare documentary, Sicko, and for failing to heed the warnings of Fahrenheit 9/11, his 2004 film about the buildup to the Iraq war.

After CNN aired a segment questioning some of the data presented in Sicko, Blitzer went live to Moore, who was incensed. Calling the segment “crap,” he told Blitzer: “I wish that CNN and the other mainstream media would just for once tell the truth about what’s going on in this country, whatever it is. You guys have such a poor track record.”

(See the video on CNN.com.)

For the next 10 minutes, Moore claimed that Blitzer and CNN were pawns to corporate advertisers and had failed to ask the important questions about Iraq. “You’re the ones who are fudging the facts,” he said. “You’ve fudged the facts to the American people now for I don’t know how long – about [healthcare], about the war. When are you going to stand there and apologize to the American people for not bringing the truth to them that isn’t sponsored by some major corporation?”

No apology was forthcoming from Blitzer. When he did get a word in, he largely sidestepped Moore’s claims. In regard to pharmaceutical advertising on the network, he admitted that CNN was “a business, obviously,” but he defended its integrity, saying that CNN also ran ads for Sicko and would continue to evaluate the data in the movie and make any necessary corrections to its reporting.

Blitzer pointed to the work of chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta as proof of CNN’s commitment to healthcare coverage. But Moore said Gupta, who was embedded with American troops in Iraq early on in the war, was as guilty as anyone for “refusing to ask the hard questions and demand the honest answers” from the U.S. government about the war.

Moore concluded, “I just wonder when the American people are going to turn off their TV sets and stop listening to this stuff.”

Sicko took in about $3.6 million at the box office this past weekend, for a total of about $11.5 million in the three weeks since its limited release, according to Box Office Mojo. Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed about $119 million domestically.

Update: In response to Moore’s criticism, Gupta is standing by his report, although he’s admitted he erroneously said Sicko states that in Cuba, the annual cost of medical care is $25. In fact, the documentary says that cost is $250.