Michael Moore, Publicity Whore

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As pointed out in my piece on him on Reason Online yesterday, Disney had warned Miramax and Michael Moore a year ago they did not intend to allow Miramax to distro Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 doc in America. So why was it treated like breaking news in the New York Times this week? Because Moore was just trying to gin up publicity, he admits now, and it worked. And it's still working!

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  1. No, he didn’t, which you would have noticed if you had bothered to read the transcript.

    You’re just another whore.

  2. How about a link to the transcript in question? Anyone? Quick search of the CNN transcripts didn’t show it.
    The story’s quote ‘Moore told CNN, “Almost a year ago, after we’d started making the film, the chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner, told my agent he was upset Miramax had made the film and he will not distribute it.”‘ seems pretty clear to me.

  3. Moore is less.

  4. I don’t see the problem with this, if the media is that easily manipulated then by all means please manipulate them. The real issue here is that this movie could make money for the company yet they refuse to distribute it, this seems wrong.

  5. Moore’s obsessed with Mel Gibson’s profits and success wiht Passion (he rants about it a great deal, crew members told me) but he’d never spend any of his own money for a film.

  6. Moore’s obsessed with Mel Gibson’s profits and success wiht Passion (he rants about it a great deal, crew members told me) but he’d never spend any of his own money for a film.

  7. Mike & Mel might have had more going on than an on set love fest. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,119253,00.html

  8. Francois Truffaut called the documentary “the most dishonest form of filmmaking” (I quote from memory).

    Certainly Moore is the king of dishonesty.

  9. The real issue here is that this movie could make money for the company yet they refuse to distribute it, this seems wrong.

    Disney could also make money distributing porn; they don’t do that either. Of course, if they did, the odds of me actually someday buying a Disney film would dramatically improve.

    Companies routinely forego profits for the sake of image control. Moore is too high-profile and pushing too many positions that are both nutty and unpopular. That’s not something a relentlessly middle-of-the-road company like Disney wants to be associated with. They already regret buying Miramax at all; it did little to improve their profits, and a lot to dilute their brand name.

  10. Unpopular with whom, Dan?

  11. As if no one associated with the movie business has ever done anything disingenuous for the sake of publicity. It might be a decision that was made a year ago, but it’s timely in the sense that it’s never too soon to remind the public that Eisner is a putz.

    Disney gains as much as Moore because this provides them the opportunity to reinforce their brand image as wholesome and staid without spending any money on adverts. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if their PR flacks were in on the deal from the word go.

    My big gripe w/ MM is that he is so strident in making his points that he probably alienates a lot of people who would otherwise agree with him if he weren’t so bombastic. Like writing about an ALLEGED CONSPIRACY and using multiple exclaimation points undermines a writer’s credibility!!!!!!

    I’m hoping he drags the whole lying, cheating, warmongering family tree into out into the light – from Prescott and the nazis right on thru the Carlyle Group. Then maybe a more credible and less partisan news org can confirm the facts in a way that the public takes notice.

  12. Moore is a propagandist. Nothing wrong with that. But he is a propagandist who just happens to be severely lacking in his ability to assess reality. Of course, that’s only a problem for those who really care about reality. Many people consider him the funny fat guy who looks out for the underfed, exploited, misinformed little guy. That is funny.
    For the wrong reasons.

  13. Dan,
    are you kidding me? You think the average mother or father out there is gonna forego that trip to the newest Disney flick because one of the company’s subsidiaries financed a film that was anti-Bush?

  14. I agree that this definitely not ‘censorship’ and is probably the best thing that could have happened for Moore’s publicity. According to the times piece, the reason for Disney’s refusal was not disagreement with the film itself, as much as desire jeopardize tax breaks that Disney enjoys in Neil Bush’s Florida. My question is, if this is true does it amount to the state, perhaps completely unconciously, buying the silence of private companies through corporate welfare? If disney did not enjoy these perks, which are not shared by all Florida taxpayers, would it be inclined to ditch the film, and the potential profits? This could be a compelling case of the corrisive effect of corporate welfare in creating a co-dependent relationship between free enterprise and government. Perhaps something for even Moore-hating libertarians to think about?

  15. I admit to being a M. Moore fan but I put off seeing “Bowling” because I found the subject matter to be such a bummer. After reading so much criticism of the film I decided to check it out. I agreed with everything in it! I am amazed at the vitriolic hatred Moore inspires. It just confirms my observation that truth in the media is viewed as liberal bias and truly slanted viewpoints are “Fair and balanced”. Did Moore play the censorship card; definitely. I applaud him as one of the new breed of liberals/progressives unafraid to kick the rich republican elite in the teeth.

  16. Many people consider him the funny fat guy who looks out for the underfed, exploited, misinformed little guy. That is funny.
    For the wrong reasons.

    It’s entertainment, and that is what movies are for. Don’t watch his stuff expecting to be educated or enlightened; he’s not that good a filmmaker. He’s just another propagandist looking to sway public opinion. He gripes about the status quo, but without the controversial status quo he’d make no money. Moore loves Bush.

  17. `Should this be happening in a free and open society where the monied interests essentially call the shots regarding the information that the public is allowed to see?’

    It’s capitalism, foolish man. When you someone gives you $6 million to make something, they have bought the right to determine what they’re going to do with it. Capitalism is what allowed MM to make that crap in the first place.

  18. esco,

    It’s not the average moviegoer. It’s the marginal one.

    aix42,

    No, I like Moore less when he agrees with my policy views, as he often does on foreign policy. Let him discredit the other side.

  19. All this talk about Michael Moore reminds me:

    click here for the video (WMV)

  20. Unpopular with whom, Dan?

    Most of the population of the United States.

    are you kidding me? You think the average mother or father out there is gonna forego that trip to the newest Disney flick because one of the company’s subsidiaries financed a film that was anti-Bush?

    Bear in mind that most Americans’ only exposure to Michael Moore consisted of them wonder “who is this fat fuck ranting about ‘fictition’ and getting booed during the Oscars?”. The man’s biggest film to date made $21 million domestically — about half the take of such box-office smashes as “Undercover Brother” and Britney Spears’ “Crossroads”. So in a best-case scenario, where distributing a Moore film has no downside, Disney would maybe make a couple million bucks in profits. Maybe.

    But approximately half the people in the nation like Bush, and aren’t likely to have their minds changed by Moore’s “just make shit up and hope people believe it” approach to documentary filmmaking. Moore’s portrayal of Bush has, historically, been both hateful and completely out of touch with reality. Do I think that that half of the electorate that likes Bush will be marginally less likely to buy Disney products if Disney decides to release a flagrantly anti-Bush propaganda film during an election year? Yeah, actually, I do. Even if it only makes those people one-one hundredth of one percent less likely to buy a Disney product, the end result would still be that Disney loses more money than it gains by distributing the film.

    I’m hoping he drags the whole lying, cheating, warmongering family tree into out into the light – from Prescott and the nazis right on thru the Carlyle Group. Then maybe a more credible and less partisan news org can confirm the facts in a way that the public takes notice.

    The public is never going to give a shit that Prescott Bush had Nazi ties. So did Joe Kennedy. So did a lot of rich and powerful Americas in those days. Nobody cares! Hereditary guilt just isn’t a concept that Americans buy into, probably because we’re the least history-obsessed nation in the history of the world. 🙂

  21. This is a brilliant bit of guerrila publicity. Mr. Doherty seems to find it somehow objectionable, which may explain why his own books don’t exactly rocket up the bestseller lists.

    If you have a problem with the content of Moore’s work (which, evidently, many Hit and Run readers do), that’s one thing. But to somehow suggest that a filmmaker doesn’t have the right to publicize his work is bizzare, at best, particularly in a forum that ought to appreciate innovation, even in the field of marketing.

  22. Thanks, Justin. The clip is hilarious.

  23. Rick Blaine,
    The “censors” are hiding under every bed, aren’t they? Now criticizing the sincerity of a person’s claims is “somehow” suggesting that he doesn’t have the right to make them.
    It “somehow suggests” something — that’s such a useful expression when making insinuations.

  24. No matter what MM certainly gets a lot of attention [especially here!]. The way things work in the media makes pure truth difficult to sell. No excuse for outright lies, but milquetoast presentations are not going to reach anyone outside of the converted. I’m glad Moore does what he does, limo liberal behaviour aside [you have to be poor to be legitimate?] contrairian people need to question those in power. Maybe Mike would be liked here if he brought his over the top circus shtick to the drug war question. non-democracies seem to lock up the dissidents, we lock up substance dissidents [digress……]

  25. Come on, Brian, don’t you think you could give Moore a little more free publicity – and complain about it some more afterwards?

  26. MM gets so absurd and disingenuous that I think that fewer and fewer people take him seriously. Couple our country’s short attention span with his lack of credibility, and MM’s future is probably going to be pretty trivial.

  27. I applaud him as one of the new breed of liberals/progressives unafraid to kick the rich republican elite in the teeth.

    Michael Moore is the rich elite. That he is not Republican is hardly relevant.

  28. Moore plays the game well. Controversial films and art tend to be helped by protest or efforts to block them. It’s likely that Scorsese was involved behind the scenes in getting churches to picket movie theatres that showed “The Last Temptation of Christ.” Gibson must have been elated when the first anti-semite pronouncements came out about his movie. I worked for a company that put the play “Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it all for You” (lampoons old-school catholics) into very catholic Boston. When Mayor Raymond Flynn tried to ban it, that guaranteed our profits. At my current university, we performed the play “Angels in America” and a letter to the editor suggested that this gay filth shouldn’t be shown in our moral community. Ticket sales skyrocketed after the letter. The American Family Institute protested an exhibit we had in our art gallery — we had to re-print the exhibit catalogue due to the demand.

    Is Moore being harmed by Disney, et al? Of course not. Does he know how to do publicity? Damned straight.

    It’s amazing the amount of vitriolic reaction Michael Moore gets from people on the other side of the political spectrum, particularly since it guarantees an increase in viewership for his work. He’s got to be pleased. The only thing bad for Michael Moore is ignoring him.

  29. Anybody who beleived the spin produced by some of those media organisations, should also read the letter by Moore to get the whole picture of what was going on:

    The hatchet job in Independent.co.uk:
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=518901

    Michael Moore’s letter explaining the complete circumstances:
    http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php

  30. Anybody who beleived the spin produced by some of those media organisations, should also read the letter by Moore to get the whole picture of what was going on:

    The hatchet job in Independent.co.uk:
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=518901

    Michael Moore’s letter explaining the complete circumstances:
    http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/message/index.php

  31. Deric, you gotta remember that gun nuts are the core of the REASON readers. Bowling for Columbine struck a really raw nerve with these guys. They’re sensitive, you know.

  32. LOL Justin. The movie reminds me of “Bambi Meets Godzilla.”

  33. Just checked out the link to Michael Moore’s letter that Concerned Citizen kindly provided. It’s certainly interesting to read, and it sounded at least fairly plausible until a paragraph near the bottom with a couple of gems:

    “[Disney’s new] ‘Tower of Terror’ ride (what a pleasant name considering what the country has gone through recently)”

    What a hypocritical prick (as has been pointed out before for other reasons). He’s made a career of exploiting tragedies of various sorts and degrees to make political points. To imply that there’s some insult or insensitivity in the name “Tower of Terror” or that Disney is exploiting 9/11 in any way (without actually directly saying it, of course, so the insult is out there but he doesn’t have to acknowledge his authorship) is a joke.

    “NO filmmaker wants to go through this kind of controversy. It does NOT sell tickets.”

    What a load of shit. I don’t imagine he would have had too much trouble selling tickets before this situation, but a controversy about a movie that lost its distibutor because of its political message…yeah, that’ll keep ’em away in droves. As several others have pointed out on this thread and others, Moore’s got to be absolutely _loving_ this. Hearing him bemoan the tragedy and injustice of it all makes my dinner come up.

  34. “Deric, you gotta remember that gun nuts are the core of the REASON readers. Bowling for Columbine struck a really raw nerve with these guys. They’re sensitive, you know.”

    Seriously, a movie by a gunowner whose theme is, ‘It’s not the guns, it’s the people,” and you’d think he was posing Janet Reno nudes by the reception it got on this board.

  35. There aren’t any Florida tax breaks hanging over my head, Brent.

  36. He’s STILL a fat pant-load . . .

  37. Right, because all that matters is a movie’s theme, not its execution, or adherence to the truth (for a documentary!), or whether it performs a hatchet job on public figures, or . . .

  38. Exactly Joe, it’s not like he suggested that the NRA was started as a front for the KKK or anything.

  39. joe: “Seriously, a movie [….]”

    joe, did you have to get Jeb Bush’s permission before you posted this? Just wondering.

  40. “Seriously, a movie by a gunowner whose theme is, ‘It’s not the guns, it’s the people,’ and you’d think he was posing Janet Reno nudes by the reception it got on this board.”

    Seriously, it’s a movie that lays the blame squarely on the American “culture of fear” (even drawing on the expertise of a trio of teen stoners loitering outside a Canadian KFC), then spends its last quarter-hour beating up on the head of NRA. Because it’s the culture, not the guns.

    No one has ever mistaken Moore for a logical man or one who would accept the advice of a much-needed editor, but the contradictions found within _Bowling_ were just awe-inspiring.

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