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The Walter Duranty of the 21st century

Posted by Richard on July 3, 2007

I didn't have to read a movie review to know that Michael Moore's latest film, Sicko, was a steaming pile of crap just like its predecessors, full of blatant lies, distortions, and cynical manipulations of the people on both sides of the cameras. Nevertheless, it was a pleasure to read the review by MTV's Kurt Loder (!), which is a devastating critique of the film — and of socialized medicine. (HT: Ace of Spades )

Loder begins by praising Moore for bringing to light stories of people who were ill-served by the U.S. health care system. This makes the subsequent indictment of Moore all the more powerful:

Unfortunately, Moore is also a con man of a very brazen sort, and never more so than in this film. His cherry-picked facts, manipulative interviews (with lingering close-ups of distraught people breaking down in tears) and blithe assertions (how does he know 18 million people will die this year because they have no health insurance?) are so stacked that you can feel his whole argument sliding sideways as the picture unspools. …

As a proud socialist, the director appears to feel that there are few problems in life that can't be solved by government regulation (that would be the same government that's already given us the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles).

Loder contrasts Moore's glowing reports of the glories of socialized medicine in Canada, Britain, and France with the grim picture painted by the 2005 Canadian documentary, Dead Meat. He goes on to provide one of the best short summaries of the failings of socialized medicine I've seen in a while. 

Loder shows what a fool Moore is by nicely skewering Moore's fawning praise of France:

Moore's most ardent enthusiasm is reserved for the French health care system, which he portrays as the crowning glory of a Gallic lifestyle far superior to our own. The French! They work only 35 hours a week, by law. They get at least five weeks' vacation every year. Their health care is free, and they can take an unlimited number of sick days. It is here that Moore shoots himself in the foot. He introduces us to a young man who's reached the end of three months of paid sick leave and is asked by his doctor if he's finally ready to return to work. No, not yet, he says. So the doctor gives him another three months of paid leave – and the young man immediately decamps for the South of France, where we see him lounging on the sunny Riviera, chatting up babes and generally enjoying what would be for most people a very expensive vacation. Moore apparently expects us to witness this dumbfounding spectacle and ask why we can't have such a great health care system, too. I think a more common response would be, how can any country afford such economic insanity?

As Loder notes, even the French have come to realize that this madness can't go on, and soundly rejected Socialist Ségolène Royal for Nicolas Sarkozy, who made entitlement reforms and more market-friendly policies the centerpiece of his campaign.

Loder soundly critiques Moore's elaborately staged visit to a gleaming, state-of-the-art Cuban "Potemkin Village" hospital — a hospital to which no Cuban will ever be admitted. If you want to see what a real Cuban hospital looks like, Babalu Blog has some recent pictures. And lots of links to other Sicko-related stuff.

Michael Moore is a vile, contemptible creature. His glowing reports of the glories of Castro's Cuba and Saddam's Iraq make him the leading contender for the Walter Duranty Mendacity in Journalism Award, if there were one.

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One Response to “The Walter Duranty of the 21st century”

  1. Rick Shultz said

    C’Mon Richard geez what’s so bad about socialized medicine? It seems to me you used to be a shade more……well maybe compassionate is the word I don’t know. I’m not saying we need a system as completely insane as the French system is. That obviously won’t work.

    But dammit we need something better than what we’ve got because it’s just as insane as what the French are doing! I mean geez they hire people in our system whose sole purpose in life is to deny as claims as they possibly can! They have freakin contests and give out PRIZES

    to the guy who can deny the most claims! How insane is that? I’m not looking for a system as easily abused as a lot of them, I’m just looking for something that Joe Schmoe who makes

    less than 20 grand a year and I can both afford that’s actually going to pay for a good part of

    our medical needs and not be so fucking full of exclusions, loopholes, and damned pre-existing conditions that I wind up with “insurance” that never pays one centavo while the greedy bastards who wrote it sit in their corner offices and watch Joe and me both die because we

    can’t get decent coverage on the money we make! Why can’t we have a system like the

    British? I know theirs isn’t perfect either but dammit it works and that can’t be denied.

    The U.S. is 30 fucking SEVENTH in the world in affordable health care and that can’t be denied either! Look it up! I say it’s time to give some sort of national health program a try. And before

    you say it, YES I KNOW this government gave us the U.S. Postal Service, AND the Dept. of

    Motor vehicles, but I say give it a shot because I know they couldn’t possibly do worse than

    the French and just MIGHT possibly do better than the greedy SOB’s who are running things now. BTW I agree the Moore film is a biased piece of shit and I don’t see how it’s managed

    to get even ONE good review to say nothing of the number it HAS gotten.

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