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Moore vs. Gupta: The Wrap-Up

July 20th, 2007 · No Comments · Culture, Film, Health, Healthcare Crisis, Media, News, Politics, TV, Video

Moore vs. GuptaI didn’t get a chance to weigh in on the whole Moore vs. Gupta dustup while it was happening (much to the relief of the scale!), but here’s a little post-mortem wrap-up.

First off, some links in case you missed any or all of it (all video links except the second one):

Now, here are the best blog comments I saw regarding the whole exchange.

First, Atrios sums it up very plainly, as is his gift:

I haven’t gone into the full details, but from what I could tell from the Larry King joint appearance tonight what happened was fairly typical. Basically, to “fact check” Moore, the kind of scrutiny which rarely happens to, say, hacks from AEI or the Preznit of Amurka, Gupta pulled up some nitpickery alternative numbers. One could determine whether Gupta’s chosen numbers were more or less correct than Moore’s, but nothing supported the idea that Moore “fudged the facts” as was claimed. More than that, the differences weren’t relevant to any point Moore was trying to make.

And Greg Saunders at This Modern World elaborates:

It’s okay if CNN’s numbers are questionable because they’re trying to get “the best available data”, but if Moore’s numbers don’t line up with theirs, he’s a liar. This is ridiculous. There are so many different healthcare studies being done around the world that there is no definitive set of data. If you choose to quote the numbers from Health and Human Services over the World Health Organization, it doesn’t mean you’re trying to deceive people. You just made a different judgment call. CNN’s failure to understand that is what’s most infuriating about their “fact check” segment they used to trash Sicko (and avoid getting angry phone calls from wingnuts).

… so, basically: Moore picks one set of numbers, and reports them faithfully. Then Gupta picks a different set of numbers and claims Moore was “wrong” for using a different source. I think this is typical of a lot of the so-called fact-checking that Moore gets subjected to.

And this is from James Clay Fuller, at the Twin Cities Daily Planet, taking down the whole ridiculous “But Sicko doesn’t let the insurance industry tell its side of the story!” meme:

My favorite criticism of Moore, however, is one employed by at least half the commentaries I’ve read: That the director didn’t give the insurance and pharmaceutical industries time in his film to tell their side of the story.

That, folks, is grandly absurd.

Moore is laying out facts. The industries that profit so hugely from our illnesses spend hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising, public relations and lobbying to “tell their side of the story.” One month’s expenditure by the insurance industry for those activities substantially exceeds the cost of making “Sicko.” And Moore doesn’t own a single member of Congress; they’ve bought dozens. (The insurance industry’s almost $400,000 in contributions to Hillary Clinton’s campaign purse alone would have covered a substantial portion of the cost of making the film.)

Let them tell their lies on their own dime.


Previously on Ocelopotamus:


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