Propoganda: A Love Story

I’ve tried to watch Michael Moore movies, but I can’t quite make it through the entire film. I like documentary films about our government, society and our economic systems. Good documentaries, like “The Secret History of the Credit Card” that aired on Frontline a few years ago, don’t go in with any agenda other than to educate their audience. A good film has a sense of balance that includes points-of-view from a variety of perspectives. Michael Moore is releasing “Capitalism: A Love Story” and is hitting the media circuit. From those interviews, it’s clear that balance is not the agenda of Michael Moore.

The first interview that I saw was with Keith Olbermann. It was a tug-of-war interview, but instead of a point-counterpoint interview striving for balance, Olbermann and Moore were both on the same side of the rope, both pulling farther to the left and farther from anything that looks like reality. Olbermann set up the interview with a mention of the Supreme Court ruling in the case of “Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railway” that imbued corporations with some of the same rights as individuals and, as Olbermann states, “Gave us the hell on earth that is the legally-sanctioned greedy vampires.” Before I switch from Olbermann to Moore, I have to point out that Olbermann did a series of expose pieces on Fox News doing “ambush journalism” and how awful that was. It seems to me that Olbermann’s hero, Michael Moore, is a pioneer in the technique. Moore, like those Fox News pieces, tries to corner people to get the sensational quote. Consistency is important, Keith, you pompous ass.

It’s hard to argue with some of the points that Moore tried to make in the interview. Not because they are good arguments, but just the opposite. The farther one gets from a rational center, the harder it is to reign the discussion back in. One clip from the movie claims there was a “scam to swindle people out of the homes they already owned.” No one is forced to re-mortgage their home. I have a friend who is a mortgage broker and he has several stories where he tried to talk people into the loan that was better for them – and, quite honestly, worse for him. They wanted the worse loan to get their “cash back” so they could buy something.  That illustrates two points. First, many of the consumers did it to themselves.

It also illustrates that capitalism isn’t evil as the movie purports. My friend’s corporation was altruistic, because he is altruistic. Making money is not in conflict with providing value and service. In my personal experience as CEO of a corporation, honesty, customer service and value have served to garner loyalty in my customers and ultimately make me money over the long haul.

When all you have is an ideology, like Moore, it’s all but impossible to find solutions to the real problems that exist. As a capitalist myself, I tend to start with an ideological center for free-market capitalism. The realities of our history suggest that some pragmatism is in order. Not all corporate leaders are altruistic. Not all people have an intrinsic sense of fairness in their business dealings. As a result, there is a need for government regulation. Ideally, the policy goal should be minimum, effective regulation.

I certainly don’t agree with Michael Moore’s point-of-view, but it took some introspection for me to figure out why I am so irritated by his films and interviews with him. I get the sense that he isn’t intellectually curious. I don’t think Moore is interested in finding out the differing point-of-view with a reasonable and rational person and having a discussion about issues. I don’t think Moore has an abiding respect for the truth. He takes the half-truth that supports his position and discards the rest. While it is valid to point out problems in our country, the complaints carry much more weight if they are matched with potential solutions.  I’ve seen no practical solutions from Moore.

A lack of intellectual curiosity, a lack of respect for the truth, ideology over pragmatism, no solutions to existing problems…. Wow, those are the same criticisms that I have of Sarah Palin.

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5 Responses to “Propoganda: A Love Story”

  1. Arthur Kevin McGrath Says:

    I have zero respect for kool-aid movies. I like my facts raw and unspun. I had history teachers in high school and college who were absolutely pathological on the subject of separating fact from opinion. They would flunk any paper that didn’t document every sentence that contained a statement that the writer didn’t personally observe with his or her own eyes.

  2. JimmyBean Says:

    I don’t know If I said it already but …Hey good stuff…keep up the good work! 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,)

    A definite great read..Jim Bean

  3. Julia Weisshaar-Mullin Says:

    I think the last film that Michael Moore made that was in the true documentary format was “Roger and Me”. Then he got obnoxious. I agree with his viewpoint but I don’t like how he presents the arguments. Yup, his attitude is just too snarky and defensive. At the end of “Bowling for Columbine” he badgers borderline senile Charlton Heston…that really made me uncomfortable. I understand his combative attitude, after all, his counterparts on the opposite end of the political spectrum indulge in vitriolic pursuit of their targets every day, and you gotta meet that head-on, but you’re right Gary, better to do it with measured reason rather than wild ranting. “The farther one gets from a rational center, the harder it is to reign the discussion back in.”
    Perhaps our culture requires the extremes of Moores and Limbaughs so that we may step back, take in the big picture and measure out the average/mean/midway point, kind of like a political bell curve. Yup, I hope we can find a common middle ground of compromise, and recognize that compromise is a good thing. Otherwise we are truly screwed.

  4. RobD Says:

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. There are some good points here. 🙂

  5. Savannah Says:

    Awesome blog!

    I thought about starting my own blog too but I’m just too lazy so, I guess Ill just have to keep checking yours out.
    LOL,

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