Friday, July 13, 2007

Healthcare! Viral Agents! And the well-being of the media according to Michael Moore and Mika Brzezinski

Oops... Michael Moore freaks out a little at Wolf Blitzer.

Here we see another moment of rampant leftist opinionation. It follows closely on the heels of this video of Mika Brzezinski, which contradicts it, in a certain way. Here are two people who really seem to care about what they're doing. For the moment, I'm going to talk about Moore, because... his clip is longer, I guess.

The man is not just running a media stunt. He's not a good enough actor to pull that off. No, indeed, Moore is stuttering and twitching because he's truly pissed at the segment that ran about Sicko, and I can understand why... the segment's mildly oppositional tone is irritating, and its argument is pretty incomprehensible. Let's look at that for a moment.

The segment concedes, almost in passing, that the US is #37 on the WHO's list of national health care systems. It makes an even briefer mention of the fact that we're the only industrialized nation without universal health care. After conceding these EXTREMELY important facts, the segment grants exaggerated importance to some rather empty arguments. The US is superior in terms of waiting times for non-essential medical procedures? Now THAT is a highly-qualified achievement. And then the segment inadvertently reminds us that the United States has worse waiting times for physician appointments than four out of five other industrialized nations, surveyed by some unnamed source. HOW does this demonstrate that service in the US isn't so bad? WHY are we supposed to care so much about Canada's wait times?

The segment was a pretty strange logical construction, and it seemed to take its points pretty seriously. This annoyed me as a viewer, but it really annoyed Moore, whose film was its subject.

As my roommate confirms (another good contribution from Dom), Moore has an unfortunate habit of wrecking his own credibility by freaking out at newscasters who are interviewing him. Why he spends ten minutes spazzing at Wolf about his underrepresentation is beyond me, especially when Wolf makes it clear that Moore has, in fact, been invited back, and Moore has consistently declined.

Contrast Michael Moore's credibility issues with Mika. She's part of the media industry that she's criticizing... mainstream television news... and as a result, she's pre-stocked with a solid reserve of credibility. She spends some of it here, but spent carefully, as Mika does it, the net result is more credibility in the future. After all, she's just demonstrated that she cares more about her job as a social function than as a service to her bosses. Moore has spent too much of his credibility on partisan rants, and at this point, his outburst at Wolf seems like a cliche instead of a statement.

In light of this shortcoming, I was glad to see the interview turn reasonably intelligent at around nine minutes. When Moore calmed the fuck down, his arguments became much more persuasive.

Jesus Christ... the equivalent of six 9-11's a year. Moore says he doesn't debate in sound bites, but as far as sound bites go, that's a powerful one.

Moore knows how to drive a point home, as he's demonstrated in each film he's released. However, in terms of standing up to the news agencies themselves, I think Mika Brzezinski does a better job from within the confines of the institution than Moore does from outside.


Anonymous said...

The problem I think michael moore runs into is the problem that the message gets lost behind the persona of the person saying it. Not that I'm comparing them on a substantative scale, its the same thing that happens to Noam Chomsky. Both moore and chomsky have good points, but because of their reputations, some of their more controversial opinions or whatever, people throw the baby out with the bathwater and write off everything they say.

To turn it around, what was your reaction when you heard Jesse Helms speak? Fred Phelps? Dismissal. Both are/were odious men. Doesn't mean they didnt say anything worth hearing every now and then.

The established news system also has a good (in their eyes) reason to diss Moore. He trashes them pretty seriously in his films. Granted, he trashes them for not doing their job (which in a way is true). He isn't going to be the first to do so and not the last, but there is no love lost there. So naturally, they are going to augment his misses and write off his successes.

It's a shame really, that these movies are being made by Michael Moore. There are some amazing points, some perfect gadfly moments. But he tends to go a little too far in ways that could be seen as personal vendettas and he makes slightly disingenuous conclusions.

Doesn't mean he doesnt have good things to say, Wolf Blitzer.

Anonymous said...

(ps, it was me, Treff)