This Sunday, I made a mistake on national TV. Ain’t that just the absolute worst kind to make?
During a discussion on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” about Michael Moore’s throw-down with CNN over “Sicko,” I mentioned a headline I’d read about Moore complaining that the iPhone’s release had cut down on his buzz. I mentioned it off-handedly, as a goofy example of Moore’s extreme self-absorption, which I think is his chief motivation in picking a fight with CNN. Heck, I think it’s his chief motivation for filmmaking, period.
It was a headline I’d seen a couple times throughout the week, repeated on several Web sites, with quotes from Moore. But here’s the thing. Moore may be self-absorbed, but he has no beef with the iPhone. Instead, the headline I’d seen belonged to a piece of satire produced at Liquid Generation. Moore never complained about the iPhone killing his buzz.
I failed to click through, read thoroughly, and verify the story, and mentioned the headline without thinking it through. It was entirely unintentional and careless, and I regret the misrepresentation. I hereby publicly apologize to Michael Moore for it. I certainly did not wish to fudge the facts about Moore when talking about his own famous tendency to fudge the facts. It’s an unfortunate irony, but there it is.
It was one sentence in a 12-minute interview, and one mistake among many facts about Moore, but I am sincerely sorry for it, and wished to correct it here, because that’s what you do when you make mistakes.
I have no wish to paint Moore as self-involved and dishonest through any sort of subterfuge. Nor do I have any need to. He provides all the ammo anyone would need.
Meanwhile, the hotter fight’s still roiling between CNN and Moore, and CNN is on the offensive, answering 10 of Moore’s characteristically unsound criticisms in a rebuttal to his open letter.
If you don’t know the background on this incident, let me bring you up to speed. Moore went on CNN’s “Situation Room” with Wolf Blitzer to talk about his new film “Sicko.”
CNN rolled a taped segment with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, their resident neurosurgeon/medical reporter, in which he presented some of Moore’s figures and conclusions alongside some conflicting figures and conclusions based on the record of universal health care around the world. He also conceded Moore’s broadest point—that Americans are dissatisfied with the current state of health care and ready for a fix.
The tone of the piece was skeptical, but not mean-spirited, and Moore was given a chance to respond at length after the segment ended—which he did, with gusto.