- Multi-millionaire filmmaker and author
- Views America as a deeply racist nation with a violent, gun-crazed culture
- Called the U.S. “a nation that was founded on genocide and then built on the backs of slaves”
- Believes that capitalism is “an evil system”
- Characterized American troops in Iraq as “the occupation,” and the Iraqi insurgents who killed American troops as freedom-fighting “Minutemen” who inevitably would emerge victorious
- Avid supporter of Occupy Wall Street
- Advocates government-run, universal health care
- Says that anthropogenic global warming will “lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet”
Michael Moore was born into an Irish Catholic family on April 23, 1954 in Flint, Michigan. He was raised in Davison, Michigan, a white, middle-class suburb ten miles east of Flint. His mother was a secretary and his father worked as an automotive assembly-line worker. At that time, the city of Flint was home to many General Motors factories.
After eighth grade, Moore enrolled in a Catholic seminary. “He admired the Berrigan brothers [radical Catholic priests Daniel Berrigan and Philip Berrigan] and thought that the priesthood was the way to effect social change,” wrote The New Yorker’s Larissa MacFarquhar in February 2004. “This resolve lasted only through his first year, though, after the Detroit Tigers made it to the World Series for the first time in Moore’s life and the seminary wouldn’t allow him to watch the games.”
At age 18, Moore ran for his local city school board on a simple platform: “Fire the Principal.” He won, becoming America’s youngest elected city official. The principal, who had been kind to Moore as a child, was forced to resign a few months later.
Soon thereafter, Moore began attending the University of Michigan but dropped out during his freshman year. He was subsequently hired to work on the GM assembly line, but he called in sick the first day and never went back.
Next, Moore became a local hippie and hosted a Sunday morning radio show called Radio Free Flint, where he developed a reputation for staging whatever stunts and protests would attract media attention. He could often be seen on television, leading anti-nuclear protests and other rallies, or criticizing the police.
In 1976 Moore began working for a small leftist newspaper, the Flint Voice (later called the Michigan Voice), which he edited for ten years. This position gave him access to left-wing activists and fundraisers, and an opportunity to do occasional commentaries for the National Public Radio feature All Things Considered. He also became involved in the anti-apartheid campaign at the University of Michigan.
In 1983 Moore traveled to Nicaragua to observe the Communist Sandinistas who were engaged in a civil war against the rebel Contras, the latter of whom were supported by the Reagan administration that Moore reviled.
In 1986 Moore was hired as editor of the San Francisco-based socialist magazine Mother Jones. But his authoritarian arrogance quickly alienated most staff members, and within four months he was fired. Adam Hochschild, chairman of the foundation that owns Mother Jones, described Moore as “arbitrary,” “suspicious,” and “unavailable.” Journalist Matt Labash reports that the termination “was partly due to Moore’s refusal to run a piece critical of the Sandinistas.” In response to his firing, Moore sued Mother Jones for $2 million and eventually pocketed $58,000 from the magazine’s tax-exempt Foundation for National Progress.
After leaving Mother Jones, Moore was hired by Ralph Nader to write a media-critique newsletter from Nader’s Washington, DC office. But Moore soon lost this job as well, because, according to Nader, he spent most of his time away in Flint instead of working on the publication. Moore, by contrast, contends that Nader fired him as a result of jealousy over the fact that a publisher had paid Moore an advance of almost $50,000 for a book (that in the end he never completed) about General Motors.
Next, Moore used the money he had gotten from Mother Jones to fund the production of his first film, Roger & Me—an assault on General Motors, its chief executive Roger Smith, and its large-scale worker layoffs in Flint, Michigan. With assistance from the movie critic Roger Ebert, Moore sold his documentary to Warner Brothers in 1989 for $3 million. Critics noted, however, that there were numerous inaccuracies in the film. The 30,000 GM layoffs that Moore claimed had hit Flint in 1986, for instance, had actually taken place over the course of a full decade and in several different states. Moreover, the film showed people getting evicted from GM, who had never even worked for the company.
At some point, Moore received two $20,000 grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
In 1995 Moore released Canadian Bacon, his only non-documentary film production. Its fictional plot, which satirized America’s obsession with its own military strength, centered on a U.S. president who tried to boost his sagging popularity by engineering a pointless war against Canada.
Moore also directed and hosted his own television show, TV Nation, which aired in 1994 and 1995 before being cancelled due to its small audience.
In 1996 Moore published his first book, Downsize This!, a broadside against corporate America’s alleged abuse and exploitation of working people.
Moore continued to work in television with The Awful Truth (1999-2000), a satire show jointly produced by the cable channel Bravo and Britain’s Channel 4, and Michael Moore Live (1999), which broadcast from New York City but aired only in the United Kingdom. In addition, Moore created The Big One, a documentary of the tour he had made for his 1996 book Downsize This!
Many of Moore’s Former Associates Detest Him
In a 1998 profile of Moore that appeared in The Weekly Standard, journalist Matt Labash wrote that it was “striking” how many of Moore’s former associates “bitterly revile him.” “Conversations with some dozen former employees,” said Labash, “turn up such descriptions of Moore as ‘mercurial,’ ‘demanding,’ ‘paranoid,’ and a ‘fork-tongued manipulator’ who is ‘totally disingenuous’ and ‘feeds on people’s insecurities.’” Some examples:
- Former TV Nation staffers compare their working conditions (under Moore) to “a sweatshop,” a “repressive police state,” “indentured servitude,” and a “concentration camp.”
- One former staffer says, “Most people hated Michael, not because he was a perfectionist, but because he was an a—hole.”
- A former producer describes Moore as “not just ruthless, but sadistic,” and says that his own stint as a Moore employee was akin to “working for Idi Amin—without the laughs.”
- Another staffer states, “My parents want him dead.”
- According to one of the world’s leading cinematographers, Haskell Wexler, who worked with Moore on Canadian Bacon in 1995, Moore chose to “maintain his adversarial view toward … everything and everybody around him.” “He’s not unlike a lot of people I used to know in the left-wing movement,” says Wexler. “They love humanity and hate people.”
- A former staffer, when asked to supply the name and contact information of anyone who was personally fond of Moore, replied: “I’m sorry. I can’t think of anyone.”
- Randy Cohen, a former co-executive producer of TV Nation, says: “I despise Mike and regard him as a vile and dishonorable man.” “You won’t find a range of opinions,” adds Cohen. “You’ll find everyone has a range of anecdotes to illustrate the same opinion.”
- In 1990 the director of the Sundance Film Festival complained that Moore was “overly demanding” and had “made a scene” upon discovering that his own accommodations were not as luxurious as Clint Eastwood’s.
- Said a studio source, “Michael’s the greediest man I’ve ever met. I’ve been disturbed on vacations by [Moore’s] agents shouting down the telephone at me [asking] how could we possibly expect Michael to fly business class rather than first class, and how could we expect him to stay anywhere other than the Four Seasons.”
Bowling for Columbine
Following the Columbine High School massacre of 1999 (in which two young Colorado gunmen murdered 12 students and a teacher), Moore purchased a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association (NRA). He explains: “I became a lifetime member after the Columbine massacre because my first thought after Columbine was to run against Charlton Heston for the presidency of the NRA…. My plan was to get 5 million Americans to join for the lowest basic membership and vote for me so that I’d win and dismantle the organization. Unfortunately, I figured that’s just too much work for me so instead I made this movie.” The movie to which he referred was Bowling for Columbine, an anti-gun documentary that reached U.S. theaters in 2002. This depiction of America as a violent, gun-crazed culture was honored at the Cannes Film Festival in France and won the 2003 Academy Award for Documentary Feature.
- The “weapon” factory which Moore photographed in Colorado actually manufactured weather satellites, not weapons.
- The film clips Moore included of NRA president Charleton Heston had been edited together from several speeches given months apart, so as to create a dishonest collage of sentences.
- The rifle with which Moore claimed to have walked out of a bank (as his reward for opening a new account) was a staged event that for real customers involved a six-week clearance process.
- Moore altered footage of an ad run by the 1988 George H.W. Bush/Dan Quayle presidential campaign, to implicate Bush in the controversial Willie Horton scandal.
- Moore falsely claimed that America had given $245 million in aid to Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers in 2000-01. (In fact, the aid consisted of food programs administered by the United Nations and a number of NGOs seeking to relieve an impending famine.)
- Even the film’s title, Bowling for Columbine, derived from a false claim that the two adolescents responsible for the fatal shooting spree had gone bowling that morning.
Moore defended his falsehoods by claiming that he was chiefly an entertainer and thus should not be held to the same standards (vis à vis accuracy) as a reporter or historian. The hypocrisy underlying Moore’s anti-gun outrage would become clear in January 2005, when one of his own bodyguards was arrested in New York City for possession of an unregistered handgun. All told, Moore had a total of nine bodyguards — all ex-Navy SEALs — at that time.
Stupid White Men
In 2001 Moore published the book Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation, which “Stupid White Men” (2001), was on the New York Times bestseller list for 59 weeks and sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. In this book, Moore argued that President George W. Bush and the leading members of his administration—for whom the book is titled—had collectively done more damage to America than had the members of any other demographic group. Notably, the book excoriated both Republicans and Democrats, who allegedly differed from one another in only one substantive way: “The Republicans tell you they’re going to screw you; the Democrats don’t, but then do it anyway.”
Spinsanity.org pointed out that Stupid White Men was “riddled with inaccuracies.” For example:
- Citing a New York Times article, Moore claimed that “two-thirds of [the $193 million that George W. Bush raised during the 2000 presidential campaign] came from just over seven hundred individuals.” But in fact, only 52.6% of Bush’s campaign funds came from individuals. The Times article actually stated that 739 people had supplied two-thirds of the soft money raised by the Republican Party (to support all GOP candidates, not just Bush). In short, Moore wrongly conflated the party’s soft money with Bush’s campaign funds.
- Moore wrongly claimed that five-sixths of America’s 2001 defense budget went towards a single plane.
Also in the book, Moore demonized wealthy Americans as greedy exploiters of the poor and middle class: “There is no recession, my friends. No downturn. No hard times. The rich are wallowing in the loot they’ve accumulated in the past two decades, and now they want to make sure you don’t come a-lookin’ for your piece of the pie.”
In 2003, an Indonesian suspect stood trial for the 2002 Bali terror bombings. During the course of that trial, the defendant (who was ultimately convicted) had his lawyer read to the court excerpts of Stupid White Men as justification for his hatred of the West.
Dude, Where’s My Country?
In 2003, Moore published the book Dude, Where’s My Country? Like his previous productions, this, too, was rife with errors and distortions. As Spinsanity.org reported, “Michael Moore makes at least 17 factual errors or misrepresentations in his latest book … ranging from stating disputed information as fact, to repeating a media myth, to twisting his own sources.” Some examples:
- Moore distorted the facts about the connections between the Carlyle Group (a private investment firm whose board of directors included George H. W. Bush) and the family of Osama bin Laden.
- Notwithstanding voluminous evidence connecting the 9/11 hijackers to al Qaeda, Moore suggested that the Saudi government was behind the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
- Moore used fake quotes as chapter headings, falsely implying that President Bush or members of his administration had said them.
- Moore misrepresented U.S. contributions to the United Nations Oil-for-Food Program in Iraq as “trade.” He wrote: “In fact, it was the Americans who were making a killing. In 2001, the U.S. was Iraq’s leading trading partner, consuming more than 40 percent of Iraq’s oil exports. That’s $6 billion in trade with the Iraqi dictator.” But in actuality, the vast majority of that money was used to purchase food and other UN-approved humanitarian aid for Iraqis; the rest was applied to war reparations and administrative fees for the program.
- Warning that the Patriot Act represented “the first step” toward “Mein Kampf,” Adolf Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto, Moore wrote: “To date, there are at least thirty-four documented cases of FBI abuse under the Patriot Act—and at least another 966 individuals have filed formal complaints. Many of these people were just minding their own business, or seeking to partake in our free society.” He then cited a number of examples, none of which actually involved the Patriot Act or the FBI.
- Moore claimed: “The overwhelming support for the war in Iraq came only after the war began. Before the war, the majority of Americans said that we should not be invading Iraq unless we have the backing of all of our allies and the United Nations.” But in fact, a Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted on March 17, 2003 (two days before the U.S. invasion) showed 71% of respondents in favor of “the United States going to war with Iraq.” A previous Washington Post/ABC News poll, taken five weeks before that, found 66% in favor of military action against Iraq.
During his book tour to promote Dude, Where’s My Country?, Moore stopped off in Cambridge, England, where he lamented before a large audience: “You’re stuck with being connected to this country of mine, which is known for bringing sadness and misery to places around the globe.”
Moore dedicated Dude, Where’s My Country? to the late Rachel Corrie, an International Solidarity Movement activist who had been accidentally killed by an Israeli bulldozer she was attempting to impede as it destroyed tunnels used by Palestinian terrorists to smuggle weapons. In the book, Moore made numerous significant assertions about Israel and its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians:
- “In their hearts [Israelis] know they are wrong, and they know they would be doing just what the Palestinians are doing [i.e., suicide bombings] if the sandal were on the other foot.”
- “I’m talking about a perceived notion that we Americans are supporting Israel in its oppression of the Palestinian people. Now where did those Arabs come up with an idea like that? Maybe it was when the Palestinian child looked up in the air and saw an American Apache helicopter firing a missile into his baby sister’s bedroom just before she was blown into a hundred bits.”
- “Hey, here’s a way to stop suicide bombings—give the Palestinians a bunch of missile-firing Apache helicopters and let them and the Israelis go at each other head to head.”
Moore’s Views on Israel
Moore has long sided against Israel vis à vis its conflict with the Palestinians. For example:
- In 1988 Moore traveled to Israel to witness, from up close, the First Palestinian Intifada.
- On June 5, 1990 at the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC, Moore spoke at a demonstration protesting Israel’s continued presence in Gaza and the West Bank.
- Also in 1990, speaking before the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Moore announced that as an act of protest against Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, he would refuse to attend a screening of his movie Roger and Me in Jerusalem. Three years earlier, this same Committee had honored Moore for his “courageous efforts in journalism.”
- In his 2001 book, Stupid White Men, Moore proposed that Congress should give Israel 30 days to end its use of military measures against the Palestinians—measures, he neglected to point out, that were in response to the massive wave of terrorism associated with the Second Intifada. By Moore’s reckoning, if Israel failed to put an end to the bloodshed in the region within the 30-day period, the U.S. should promptly terminate all funding for the Jewish state. He also explained that state-sponsored terrorism (a reference to Israel) was worse than the brand of terrorism practiced by the Palestinians. Further, Moore declared that the Palestinians should not only be given their statehood, but should receive twice as much economic assistance from the United States as Israel received.
- In 2003 Moore was honored by the Muslim American Public Affairs Council, for “his courageous commitment to social justice and uncovering the truth.” MPAC believes that “Israel was established by terrorism” that “involved the unjust and illegal usurpation of Muslim and Christian land and rights.”
- In 2004 Moore tried to prevent his film Fahrenheit 911 from being shown in Israel. (See a discussion of this film below.)
- In June of that year, Moore stated that “the support Bush and the Republicans feign for Israel is because Israel is near our oil. If the oil wasn’t there, I bet those same Republicans wouldn’t [care] about Israel.”
- Also in June 2004, David Brooks wrote in The New York Times: “In Liverpool, [Moore] paused to contemplate the epicenters of evil in the modern world: ‘It’s all part of the same ball of wax, right? The oil companies, Israel, Halliburton.’”
- In 2004 again, Moore had no comment when questioned about a rumor that affiliates of the Iran-linked terrorist group Hezbollah had been involved in the distribution of his film Fahrenheit 911.
In late 2002, Moore stated that President Bush was preparing to invade Iraq as part of a strategy to “create weapons of mass distraction” that would “get people’s minds off” the fact that during his administration, “the country has lost 2 million jobs, the stock market is down to nothing, and … the deficit is now … $200 billion, when we had a surplus before.” Just as important, Moore added, was Bush’s “desire to have control of the second largest supply of oil in the world.”
In October 2003, Moore, rejecting the notion that a key aim of the Iraq War was to combat terrorism, was quoted in the University of Michigan’s student newspaper saying: “There is no terrorist threat in this country. This is a lie. This is the biggest lie we’ve been told.”
As the Iraq War dragged on, and American troops became mired in deadly combat against a lethal insurgency, Moore clearly sided with America’s adversaries: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy,” said Moore. “They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow—and they will win.”
In 2004 Moore released the film Fahrenheit 911, whose title alludes to the classic book Fahrenheit 451, about a future totalitarian state in which books are banned. Moore’s film won the highest award at the Cannes Film Festival and became the highest-grossing documentary of all time, taking in more than $200 million worldwide. But like Moore’s previous films, this too was replete with what Spinsanity.org described as “deceptive half-truths and carefully phrased insinuations.” Some examples of these deceptions:
- At the start of the film, Moore used a quote from CNN legal commentator Jeffrey Toobin—“If there was a statewide recount, under every scenario, [Al] Gore won the [2000 presidential] election”—to give viewers a false impression about the results of the media recounts that had been conducted in Florida.
- The film alleged that the families of George W. Bush and Osama bin Laden had secret, nefarious ties to one another. Most notably, Moore claimed that members of Saudi Arabia’s bin Laden family (in which Osama was one of 53 children) had been allowed by Bush to fly out of the U.S., unquestioned, only hours after 9/11. But in truth, they were questioned extensively by the FBI and did not leave the country for at least six days. Moreover, permission for their departure was given solely by Clinton counter-terrorism holdover Richard Clarke, who was a Bush critic and a Fahrenheit 911 hero.
- Moore also suggested repeatedly that the Bush administration’s military and homeland-security measures were motivated by hidden, corrupt agendas—especially a desire to gain access to Middle Eastern gas and oil reserves, and ultimately to raise profits for “a company headed by a man named [Vice President] Dick Cheney: Halliburton.” “And who else stood to benefit from the pipeline?” Moore asked rhetorically. “Bush’s #1 campaign contributor: Kenneth Lay and the good people of Enron.”
So thoroughly did themes of American evil saturate the content of Fahrenheit 911, that affiliates of Hezbollah offered to help promote the film in the Middle East. As noted above, Moore had no comment when questioned about this.
Democratic Party Hero
Because the Left clearly saw Fahrenheit 9/11‘s potential for discrediting the Bush administration and ultimately helping Democrats regain the White House, Moore was personally invited to attend the 2004 Democratic National Convention. There, he was treated like royalty and given a seat of honor at the side of former President Jimmy Carter in his presidential box. Democratic leaders such as then-Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota openly embraced Moore as well.
Slacker Uprising Tour
Also during the 2004 presidential campaign season, Moore was a frequent speaker on U.S. college campuses. His “Slacker Uprising Tour,” where he exhorted young voters to support Democratic candidate John Kerry over Republican incumbent George W. Bush, took him to dozens of schools—mostly in swing states—during the closing days of the campaign. Emphasizing that even those who were politically uninformed and disengaged had a civic duty to vote Bush out of office, Moore urged cheering crowds of college students to observe “the slacker motto,” which was: “Sleep till noon, drink beer, vote Kerry November 2.” On one occasion, Moore put a twist on that slogan and issued an alternative mantra: “Pick nose, pick butt, pick Kerry.” He then ended with an echo of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels from the Communist Manifesto: “Slackers of the world, unite!”
In 2007 Moore released Sicko, a documentary extolling the purported virtues of Cuba’s government-run health-care system. The film completely ignored that system’s many serious problems.
Capitalism: A Love Story
In September 2009, Moore released a new documentary titled Capitalism: A Love Story, which likened free markets to the taking of property at gunpoint. The movie ended with the playing of the Soviet national anthem, The Internationale, and Moore stating: “Capitalism is evil, and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it.”
Moore’s Longstanding Contempt for Capitalism
It should be noted that Moore’s anti-capitalist sentiments have deep, longstanding roots. For example:
- In Stupid White Men, Moore demonized wealthy Americans as greedy exploiters of the poor and the middle class: “The rich are wallowing in the loot they’ve accumulated in the past two decades, and now they want to make sure you don’t come a-lookin’ for your piece of the pie.”
- In 2002, Moore declared on the CNN program Crossfire that “capitalism is a sin” and “an evil system.”
- In his 2003 book Dude, Where’s My Country? Moore wrote: “Horatio Alger must die! We’re addicted to this happy myth … that anyone can make it in America, and make it big. … Listen, friends, you have to face the truth: You are never going to be rich. … The system is rigged in favor of the few, and your name is not among them, not now and not ever.”
- In November 2008, Moore told interviewer Larry King that most Americans were struggling financially while “a few people at the top” were becoming “filthy rich.” Added Moore: “I think, really, what we’re seeing here right now with [failing automobile companies], with the banks, we’re seeing the end of capitalism—the end of capitalism as we know it. And I say good riddance. It hasn’t helped the people or the planet.”
Notwithstanding Moore’s disdain for capitalism, he has been unable to articulate what a preferable system would actually look like. In a 2011 interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, for example, Moore stated that “capitalism is an evil system set up to benefit the few at the expense of the many.” Cooper then asked: “So, what system do you want?” To this, Moore replied: “Well there’s no system right now that exists. We’re going to create that system.”
Moore Denies That He Is Ultra-Wealthy
Though he routinely excoriates wealthy people, Moore himself is one of the richest individuals in the world. He has a net worth exceeding $50 million. As of July 2014, he owned a combined total of nine real-estate properties in New York and Michigan. In the summer of 2015, he put his 11,000-square-foot lakefront mansion in Michigan up for sale, with an asking price of $5.2 million. When he gives speeches in various venues, Moore charges up to $30,000 per appearance.
When confronted with these facts, Moore typically tries to deny that he is in fact ultra-wealthy. In a 2011 interview, for instance, CNN’s Piers Morgan asked the filmmaker whether he was “in the 1%” of top income earners. Moore replied: “I’m not in the 1%, no.” When Morgan pressed him further “to admit the bleeding obvious,” Moore said: “No, I’m not…. How could I be in the 1%? No that’s not true…. I am devoting my life to those who have less and who have been crapped upon by the system. And that’s how I spend my time, my energy, my money on trying to upend this system, that I think is a system of violence, it’s a system that’s unfair to the average working person in this country …”
On a previous occasion, Moore—again trying to depict himself as a man of relatively modest means—had denied owning any stock investments. In a 1997 letter to the online magazine Salon, for instance, he said: “I don’t own any stock.” He repeated this claim in his 2001 book Stupid White Men, where he wrote: “I don’t own a single share of stock.” But in November 2005, Newsmax.com reported that the filmmaker in fact owned tens of thousands of shares in U.S. stocks. Indeed, Moore himself had written in Stupid White Men that a foundation totally controlled by him and his wife owned than $280,000 in corporate stock and nearly $100,000 in corporate bonds. And according to author Peter Schweizer:
“Moore’s supposedly nonexistent portfolio also includes big bad energy giants like Sunoco, Noble Energy, Schlumberger, Williams Companies, Transocean Sedco Forex and Anadarko, all firms that ‘deplete irreplaceable fossil fuels in the name of profit’ as he put it in Dude, Where’s My Country? And in perhaps the ultimate irony, he also has owned [more than 2,000] shares in Halliburton. According to IRS filings, Moore sold Halliburton for a 15 percent profit and bought shares in Noble, Ford, General Electric (another defense contractor), AOL Time Warner (evil corporate media) and McDonald’s. Also on Moore’s investment menu: defense contractors Honeywell, Boeing and Loral.”
Energy and Global Warming
In May 2009, Moore, upon learning that General Motors had declared bankruptcy, stated that he was “filled with … joy.” Using the occasion to denounce America’s carbon-based economy and corporations generally, the filmmaker charged that GM had “ruined my hometown and brought misery, divorce, alcoholism, homelessness, physical and mental debilitation, and drug addiction to the people I grew up with.”
Further, Moore called for President Barack Obama to “tell the nation that we are at war [against polluters] and we must immediately convert our auto factories to factories that build mass transit vehicles and alternative energy devices” (e.g., “light rail,” “bullet trains,” “cleaner buses,” “windmills,” and “solar panels”). Asserting that cars “are like a million daggers into the heart of Mother Nature,” Moore warned that their continued proliferation “would only lead to the ruin of our species and much of the planet.” “To help pay” for a movement away from reliance on automobiles, Moore said the government should “impose a two-dollar tax on every gallon of gasoline.” “This,” he explained, “will get people to switch to more energy saving cars or to use the new rail lines and rail cars the former autoworkers have built for them.”
In 2009, Moore said “it’s absolutely a good thing” for government to drive private health insurance companies out of business and replace them with a single-payer system. Maintaining that “we should be like every other Western Democracy and have a single-payer health care system,” he elaborated:
“We should have no talk of profit when it comes to helping people who are sick. The profit motive should be nowhere involved in this. And you know what? It’s not fair to the insurance companies either because they have a fiduciary responsibility to make as much money as they can for their shareholders. Well, the way they make more money is to deny claims or to kick people off the rolls or to not even let people on the rolls because they have a pre-existing condition. You know, all of that is wrong.”
In April 2010, Moore condemned Arizona’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, for having signed into law a bill deputizing state police to check with federal authorities on the immigration status of any individuals whom they had stopped for some legitimate reason, if the behavior or circumstances of those individuals subsequently led the officers to suspect that they might be in the United States illegally. Said Moore about the legislation: “I think it’s the result of a bunch of bigots in the Republican Party of Arizona. That’s … what it’s the result of. And it’s sad that they’re behaving that way, and it makes the rest of us look bad as Americans.”
Later in 2010, Moore lauded Bradley Manning, the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst who had stolen and distributed, to the Julian Assange-founded website WikiLeaks, hundreds of thousands of classified documents containing sensitive information about the American government and its military. According to Moore, Manning was a “patriotic” individual deserving of a “Profiles in Courage” award.
The Killing of Osama bin Laden
“We’ve lost something of our soul here in this country … something that separates us from other parts, other countries where we say everybody has their day in court no matter how bad of a person, no matter what piece of scum they are, they have a right to a trial…. After World War II, we just didn’t go in and put a bullet to the head of all the top Nazis. We put them on trial.”
Occupy Wall Street
In the fall of 2011, Moore became an avid supporter of of the anti-capitalist Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement and spoke at some of its gatherings. In November of that year, he wrote an op-ed proposing a number of suggestions aimed at helping OWS “wrestle the control of our country out of the hands of the 1% and place it squarely with the 99% majority.” These suggestions included, among others:
- “Eradicate the Bush tax cuts for the rich and institute new taxes on the wealthiest Americans and on corporations, including a tax on all trading on Wall Street.”
- “Assess a penalty tax on any corporation that moves American jobs to other countries when that company is already making profits in America.”
- “Reorder our nation’s spending priorities (including the ending of all foreign wars and their cost of over $2 billion a week). This will re-open libraries, reinstate band and art and civics classes in our schools, fix our roads and bridges and infrastructure, wire the entire country for 21st century internet, and support scientific research that improves our lives.”
- “Join the rest of the free world and create a single-payer, free and universal health care system that covers all Americans all of the time.”
- “Immediately reduce carbon emissions that are destroying the planet and discover ways to live without the oil that will be depleted and gone by the end of this century.”
- Pass “a constitutional amendment that fixes our broken electoral system by (1) completely removing campaign contributions from the political process; (2) requiring all elections to be publicly financed; (3) moving election day to the weekend to increase voter turnout; [and] (4) making all Americans registered voters at the moment of their birth …”
- Pass “a constitutional amendment declaring that corporations are not people and do not have the constitutional rights of citizens”—i.e., the right to fund political campaigns.
- Pass “a constitutional amendment that will act as a ‘second bill of rights’ as proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt: that every American has a human right to employment, to health care, to a free and full education, to breathe clean air, drink clean water and eat safe food, and to be cared for with dignity and respect in their old age.”
When Moore attended an Occupy rally in 2011, he was accompanied by two bodyguards.
Characterizing America As a Nation “Founded on Genocide and Built on the Backs of Slaves”
In a January 2012 interview recorded by C-SPAN, Moore said: “It’s not envy, it’s war, it is a class war, it’s a war that’s been perpetrated by the rich on to everyone else. The class war is one they started. The mistake they made to deal with the racial part of this, is, um, their boots have been on the necks of people of color since we began. This is a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves, alright, so we started with a racial problem.”
In December 2012, Moore spoke out publicly about a recent incident where a deranged gunman had shot and killed 26 people (including 20 children) at a Sandy Hook, Connecticut elementary school. The killings, he explained, had occurred as a consequence of “who we are” as a nation. Elaborating on this, Moore said: “We are a country whose leaders officially sanction and carry out acts of violence as a means to often an immoral end. We invade countries who didn’t attack us. We’re currently using drones in a half-dozen countries, often killing civilians.” Reiterating his contention that “we are a nation founded on genocide and built on the backs of slaves,” Moore continued:
“We’re an awfully fearful country considering that, unlike most nations, we’ve never been invaded. Why on earth would we need 300 million guns in our homes?… It’s because too many white people are afraid of black people. Period. The vast majority of the guns in the U.S. are sold to white people who live in the suburbs or the country…. I think it would be worth it to (a) do our best to eradicate poverty and re-create the middle class we used to have, and (b) stop promoting the image of the black man as the boogeyman out to hurt you…. Calm down, white people, and put away your guns.”
Further, Moore suggested that “we need a ban on automatic AND semiautomatic weapons and magazine clips that hold more than 7 bullets.” (Emphasis in original.) “We need better background checks and more mental health services,” he added. “We need to regulate the ammo, too.”
In March 2013, Moore called for the bloody crime-scene images of the December 2012 shooting victims in Sandy Hook to be released to the public. Publishing them, Moore reasoned, would turn public opinion against Second Amendment defenders and effectively “finish off the NRA [National Rifle Association].”
Eulogizing Hugo Chavez
“Hugo Chávez declared the oil belonged 2 the ppl. He used the oil $ 2 eliminate 75% of extreme poverty, provide free health & education 4 all. That made him dangerous. US approved of a coup to overthrow him even though he was a democratically-elected president…. Before they cheeleaded [sic] us into the Iraq War, the US media was busy cheering on the overthrow of Chavez. 54 countries around the world allowed the US to detain(& torture) suspects. Latin America, thanks 2 Chavez, was the only place that said no.”
In March 2019, Moore, characterizing himself as a “fanboy” of the late President Chavez, lauded Chavez for having called former President George W. Bush “the devil” in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly. “Loved how he drove the heads of our military-industrial complex crazy,” said Moore.
Moore Derides Military Snipers As Cowards
In January 2015, American Sniper — Clint Eastwood’s newly released film about the late Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, who was credited with more confirmed kills than any other sniper in American military history — was setting box-office records. Moore took the occasion to disparage snipers in general as “cowards,” tweeting: “My uncle killed by sniper in WW2. We were taught snipers were cowards. Will shoot u in the back. Snipers aren’t heroes. And invaders r worse.”
Calling for the Mass Release of Black Prisoners and the Disarming of Police
On April 30, 2015 — while the city of Baltimore was being overrun by rioters protesting an alleged act of police brutality against a black arrestee — Moore posted the following tweets on his Twitter account:
- Imprison u [blacks], shoot u, sever your spine, crush your larynx, send u to war, keep u poor, call u a thug, not let u vote. But u can sing for us.
- Here’s my demand: I want every African-American currently incarcerated for drug “crimes” or nonviolent offenses released from prison today.
- And the rest who r imprisoned- I dont believe 50% of them did what they’re accused of. Lies. Greed. A modern day slave system. Poor whites 2
- Next demand: Disarm the police. We have a 1/4 billion 2nd amendment guns in our homes 4 protection. We’ll survive til the right cops r hired
- Local cops now militarized. Founding Fathers said NO army policing on our soil. Why do cops have tanks? Oh, right – the Enemy: The Black Man
Moore Supports the Importation of Refugees from Syria
In November 2015, Moore objected to the decision of approximately 25 mostly Republican governors — including Michigan’s Rick Snyder– to bar the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their respective states, for fear that the refugees could not be properly vetted and thus might include terrorist infiltrators among them. In protest, he wrote the following letter to Snyder:
“I just wanted to let you know that, contrary to your declaration of denying Syrian refugees a home in our state of Michigan, I myself am going to defy your ban and will offer MY home in Traverse City, Michigan, to those very Syrian refugees you’ve decided to keep out. I will contact the State Department to let them know I am happy to provide a safe haven to any Syrian refugee couple approved by the Obama administration’s vetting procedures in which I have full faith and trust.
“Your action is not only disgraceful, it is, as you know, unconstitutional (only the President has the legal right to decide things like this).
“What you’ve done is anti-American. This is not who we are supposed to be. We are, for better and for worse, a nation of descendants of three groups: slaves from Africa who were brought here in chains and then forced to provide trillions of dollars of free labor to build this country; native peoples who were mostly exterminated by white Christians through acts of mass genocide; and immigrants from EVERYWHERE around the globe. In Michigan we are fortunate to count amongst us tens of thousands of Arab and Muslim Americans.
“I’m disappointed in you, Governor Snyder, for your heartless and un-Christian actions, and for joining in with at least 25 other governors (all but one a Republican) who’ve decided to block legal Syrian refugees from coming into their states. Fortunately I’m an American and not a Republican.
“Governor, count me out of whatever you think it means to be a Michigander. I look forward to welcoming Syrians to my home and I wholeheartedly encourage other Americans to do the same.
Moore Participates in Anti-Trump Rally Organized by Russians
On November 12, 2016 — four days after the election of President Donald Trump — Moore participated in a “Trump is NOT my President” rally in New York City. It was subsequently revealed — in a February 2018 indictment signed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller — that the anti-Trump rally had been organized by a group of Russians whose “strategic goal” was to “sow discord in the U.S. political system.” During the November 12 rally, Moore posted to his Twitter page a photo of himself posing with other protesters. He also posted to his Facebook page a lengthy video of himself debating Trump supporters.
Moore Says That No Country “Sh**s on Its Own” People As Much As the U.S.
In a February 9, 2017 conference call held by the Progressive Democrats of America, Moore said that the Trump administration’s pledge to repeal and replace Obamacare was evidence of America’s unparalleled willingness to abuse its own people: “Civilized countries that have universal healthcare – no country, no group of people, no tribe sh**s on their own to the extent and the level that we do to each other; it’s the most embarrassing and humiliating thing about this great country. Humans anyplace else, what they don’t do is sh** on their own. They need their own for their own defense. They need their own for their own survival – they need their own. They need to protect their children, not say to the child, ‘sorry, no, we got rid of Obamacare. We won’t help you. You’re sick? Tough.’”
One-Man Broadway Show Aimed at Undermining President Trump
On May 1, 2017, Moore announced that he was preparing to perform a one-man show on Broadway titled “The Terms of My Surrender,” which he described as “a humorous play about a country that’s just elected a madman [President Donald Trump] — I mean, there’s really no other way to put it.” A promotional flier for the show, which was slated to open for previews on July 28, read: “Can a Broadway show bring down a sitting president?”
Sharing Anti-Capitalist Views With Pope Francis
In a November 1, 2018 appearance on the NBC television program Late-Night, Moore told host Seth Meyers that he had recently had the following exchange with Pope Francis: “I went to the weekly audience, and then he asked to speak to me privately. It was an amazing moment, and I asked him if I could ask him a question. And he said, ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘Do you believe that an economic system that benefits the few, the wealthy at the expense of the many is a sin?’ And he said to me, ‘Si’ in Italian. And I said, ‘So you believe capitalism, the kinda — the capitalism we have now is a sin?’ He goes, ‘Yes, it is.’ He said, ‘The poor must always come first.’ And then he grabbed my hand and he said, ‘Please, pray for me.’ And I said, ‘I will, and please pray for me.’ And he said, ‘No, you have to make more movies.’ And I’m like, ‘I just wanted a prayer.’ He’s like, ‘No, you go back to — you go back work.’ He has a sense of humor.”
Moore Supports Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
In a February 2019 interview on MSNBC television, Moore stated that the newly elected House of Representatives member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was the new leader of the Democratic Party: “She is the leader. Everybody knows it. Everybody feels it,” he said, adding that the age requirement (35 years old) to run for president should be constitutionally amended so that Ocasio-Cortez could make a bid for that office. In addition, Moore urged those with moderate views on key issues to stop being so non-commital: “If you’re being moderate, stop being moderate. Take a position. There’s no middle ground anymore. There’s no halfway point to should somebody be paid a living wage…. You know, on the issue of choice, there is no halfway there. You’re either for it or you’re against it. Do you believe in equal rights for women? Do you believe we should have an Equal Rights Amendment? There’s no middle ground. There’s no time for moderation.” he continued.
Moore Describes White Male Trump Voters As Racists
In a December 2019 interview with Rolling Stone’s “Useful Idiots” podcast, Moore said: “I refuse to participate in post-racial America. I refuse to say, ‘Because we elected Obama that suddenly that means everything’s OK, white people have changed.’ White people have not changed. Two-thirds of all white guys voted for Trump. That means anytime you see three white guys walking at you, down the street toward you, two of them voted for Trump. You need to move over to the other sidewalk because these are not good people that are walking toward you. You should be afraid of them.” “We’re traitors to our race, that’s how they [Trump voters] see us,” Moore added.
Asking Iran to Forgive America for President Trump’s Decision to Kill Longtime Iranian Terrorist Leader Qassem Soleimani
In a January 2019 tweet, Moore apologized to the political leadership of Iran on behalf of the American people, for the airstrike ordered by President Donald Trump that had killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, earlier that day. Wrote Moore: “Sir, I deeply regret the violence on our behalf by a man that most Americans have never voted for. Avoid power. [Signed] A sincere man, Michael Moore, an American citizen.” Moore also issued a public plea asking Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, and its President, Hassan Rouhani, to refrain from engaging in any acts of violence against the United States – asking them, instead, to either: (a) let the American people vote Trump out of office in November, or (b) let the U.S. Senate remove Trump from office in an impeachment trial: “I want you not to respond violently, but to act bravely instead. We will take care of this in our Senate or at the ballot box, non-violently.”
Similarly, in an “Emergency Podcast,” Moore said: “I would like to ask you, as much as you have the right to and as much as you want to, I would like you, the leadership of the country of Iran, to not respond with violence to the United States. I am asking you to try what Martin Luther King and Gandhi said requires the most amount of courage which is to respond with non-violence. I am asking you to leave this up to me, give me all of 10 months and I and millions of Americans will remove Trump from the White House.”
Contributing Editor of The Nation
- Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph [Kindle Edition], by Dennis Prager (HarperCollins Publishers, 2012), Highlight Loc. 1129-34.
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