With the obvious exception of The Simpsons, most of Sky One’s output is an interminable shower of cack. Dream Team. Ross Kemp on Gangs. The Secret World of Airports. The Dog Whisperer (which, although it sounds like something Charlie Brooker might have come up with for the legendary TV Go Home, really does exist). Oh, the choices we are given in this brave new digital world!
But I did enjoy watching Michael Moore And Me last night. This programme saw Janet Street-Porter trying to hunt down the world’s richest ‘documentary’ maker, who has been conspicuous by his absence since. . . the re-election of George W. Bush, funnily enough. She never did get to meet the big man – it seems he’s none too forgiving when other people try to put him in front of a camera unprepared. Anyone who tries to snare him using his own techniques, in other words. Nonetheless, it did provide a few insights into this celebrated ‘man of the people’ and revealed, if anything, that he has more in common with his enemies than he might care to admit.
He’s certainly cavalier with the truth – something that has been well documented elsewhere on many occasions (my favourite of which is this decimating review of Fahrenheit 9/11 by Christopher Hitchens). Some of these blatant distortions of reality were highlighted on last night’s programme. The famous scene from Bowling For Columbine for example, where Charlton Heston addresses the NRA, proclaiming that gun control activists would only take away his weapon “from my cold, dead hands”. In the film, we are told that this was a speech made at a rally near to Columbine just days after the massacre. In fact, what we see in the film is two speeches, from two different rallies, about a year apart. The ‘cold dead hands’ segment was deliberately sliced in and used in a different context. Heston’s even wearing a different shirt and tie if you follow it closely. Even more skewed are the opening scenes of Fahrenheit 9/11 where he shows ‘real life’ in Baghdad before the invasion in 2003: children flying kites, happy market shoppers, a life of blissful tranquillity and normality. No mention of the brutal police state, or people being forced into the army, Kurds being gassed and enemies of the state beaten to death and left in the street. How strange.
Anyway, this is all old news.
Many on the left see Michael Moore as something of a hero, the flag carrier for their cause. In reality, they should be embarrassed to be associated with him. He only seems capable of viewing a subject from one perspective and is quite happy to pervert his sources to create a distorted picture, as long as it reinforces his viewpoint.
Not unlike the administration that he so despises, in fact.