By Dan Gifford
20 Oct 2009
If the evil men do lives after them, the legacy of dishonesty,
demagoguery and hypocrisy that Michael Moore has been enabled to
legitimize in film and the body politic will endure for a long time
after he quits making documentaries as he says he may. That hopefully
means his disingenuous indictment of capitalism now making him millions
in theaters will be the last time he’ll project his puerile class
warfare demons onto a movie screen and insult our intelligence by
calling it a documentary.
Don’t get me wrong. Moore came up with a clever shtick that can be
amusing, but he doesn’t make real documentaries. He makes sophomoric
agitprop that violates the Oscar’s rule against fiction in that form
which other documentary makers must apparently follow — a double
standard point I’ve made to the Academy awarders twice. Only the first
of those letters is listed below because of space limitations, but a key
point made in that second note is that there should be a separate
category for Moore’s type of fabricated political schlock if such stuff
is going to be receiving awards. Sans that, “anything goes with
documentary film … there are no standards … it’s all a game,” as
University of Texas film professor and indie producer John Pierson put it.
The Academy’s silence was and remains deafening. Disquieting as that is,
the worst silence is that of the news media that has known about Moore’s
lies and kept mum. Such has been the case ever since this baseball
capped faux populist schlub allegedly chased General Motors Chairman
Roger Smith around for an interview to no avail in “Roger & Me.”
The entire premise of that Warner Brothers distributed film was that
Smith would not meet with Moore to explain why the cruel GM capitalists
annihilated Michael’s Flint, Michigan home town with plant closings and
loyal employee firings. But according to the makers of two separate real
documentary films who researched Moore’s methods and fidelity to his
socialist political message, it’s all baloney.
Roger Smith never did an interview with Moore?
Kevin Leffler, a Flint CPA who grew up with Moore and made “Shooting
Michael Moore” confirmed to me that a member of the “Roger & Me” crew
told him he was present when Moore did interviews with Smith. Debbie
Melnyk and Rick Caine, makers of “Manufacturing Dissent,” corroborated
that in their film research. “Anyone who says that is a fucking liar,”
Michael doth protest too much.
How about those fired General Motors workers Moore shows?
According to Leffler, two of the film’s main characters, Flint locals
Rhonda Britton and James Bond, are presented as fired GM employees when,
in fact, neither worked for GM. They told Leffler that Moore coached
them on what to say, how to say it with the most drama, edited their
comments out of context and even promised money to the illiterate
Britton if she’d sign a paper Moore gave her. The paper was a trick
forfeiting any right to money from the film.
How about Fred Ross, the Flint hard heart presented as evicting fired
GM employees from their homes?
Ross told Leffler those he was evicting were not GM employees either.
The bottom line is that there are no limits to the outright lies Moore
has embraced in all his his films to create false realities that can be
exploited for leftist political causes, including the fabrication of
quotes. That’s what he did to the late Charlton Heston by editing two
speeches he made a year apart in order to make him say something on
screen he never said in person. He hid the cut with a cut-away shot.
Notice that Heston is wearing different suits, but the viewer doesn’t
catch the deception in real time and Moore wants to keep it that way.
Kevin Leffler’s well-researched film has so upset Moore that he is
trying to block it from being shown. Leffler told me Moore intimidated
Carmike Cinema, the fourth largest movie house chain, into pulling it
from its Traverse City, Michigan theater, a bully he may try elsewhere.
One reason among many Moore probably does not want “Shooting Michael
Moore” seen is that Leffler snuck into Fidel’s Cuban hospitals with a
hidden camera to show what socialized Castro care is really like and it
That’s a sharp contrast to the Cuban hospital Moore showed in “Sicko”
which was exclusively for rich foreigners and top communist party
officials in Fidel’s regime. But Moore never mentioned that and neither
have government health care advocates here who have shamelessly used
that Cuban hospital as an example of the utopian system Americans are
Leffler says he does have a distribution deals in Europe and America and
that “Shooting Michael Moore” is likely to be on its way to a screen
April 21, 2003
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
8949 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
RE: “BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE” INVESTIGATION REQUEST
Dear Mr. Davis:
This is a letter I had hoped not to write. However, the disturbing
amount of credible evidence published in reputable venues such as “The
Wall Street Journal” and “Forbes” that “Bowling for Columbine” violates
the Academy rules which define a documentary feature can no longer be
Therefore, as a prior Academy Award nominee who is concerned about the
integrity of the Oscar, I hereby respectfully request a fair and
complete formal Academy investigation as to the eligibility of this
Should that investigation determine that “Bowling for Columbine”
contains, as claimed, fabricated scenes and video of real people that
has been edited to manufacture a fictional reality intended to mislead
viewers, then the director and producer of this film should be stripped
of their award. That Oscar should then be awarded to the runner up.
Failure to conduct such an investigation and act according to its
findings will diminish the stature of the Oscar, establish an
exploitable precedent for future rule violators and be grossly unfair to
the other nominees who did follow the rules. That unfairness will be
particularly bitter to those whose film would have been nominated in
place of “Bowling for Columbine.”
Even the accusation of such rule violations taints the Academy Award
with implications of politics and favoritism that are most damaging. So,
I again respectfully ask that you not delay your attention to this matter.
Producer, “Waco: The Rules of Engagement”
Dan Gifford is a national Emmy-winning,
Oscar-nominated film producer and former
reporter for CNN, The MacNeil Lehrer
News Hour and ABC News.