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Posts Tagged ‘Sicko’

Viva WikiLeaks! SiCKO Was Not Banned in Cuba! LETTER TO EDITOR

In mainstream media and right-wing haters, Orwellian nature of bureaucrats, State Depart, Viva WikiLeaks! SiCKO Was Not Banned in Cuba on kp14 at 311018
Cover of "Sicko (Special Edition)"

Cover of Sicko (Special Edition)

It is a stunning look at the Orwellian nature of how bureaucrats for the State spin their lies and try to recreate reality (I assume to placate their bosses and tell them what they want to hear).

The date is January 31, 2008. It is just days after ‘Sicko’ has been nominated for an Oscar as Best Documentary. This must have sent someone reeling in Bush’s State Department (his Treasury Department had already notified me they were investigating what laws I might have broken in taking three 9/11 first responders to Cuba to get them the health care they had been denied in the United States).

Former health insurance executive Wendell Potter recently revealed that the insurance industry — which had decided to spend millions to go after me and, if necessary, “push Michael Moore off a cliff” — had begun working with anti-Castro Cubans in Miami in order to have them speak out and smear my film.

So, on January 31, 2008, a State Department official stationed in Havana took a made up story and sent it back to his HQ in Washington. Here’s what they came up with:

XXXXXXXXXXXX stated that Cuban authorities have banned Michael Moore’s documentary, “Sicko,” as being subversive. Although the film’s intent is to discredit the U.S. healthcare system by highlighting the excellence of the Cuban system, he said the regime knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.

Sounds convincing, eh?! There’s only one problem — the entire nation of Cuba was shown the film on national television on April 25, 2008! The Cubans embraced the film so much so it became one of those rare American movies that received a theatrical distribution in Cuba. I personally ensured that a 35mm print got to the Film Institute in Havana. Screenings of ‘Sicko’ were set up in towns all across the country. In Havana, ‘Sicko’ screened at the famed Yara Theater.

But the secret cable said Cubans were banned from seeing my movie. Hmmm.

We also know from another secret U.S. document that “the disenchantment of the masses [in Cuba] has spread through all the provinces,” and that “all of Oriente Province is seething with hate” for the Castro regime. There’s a huge active underground rebellion, and “workers there readily give all the support they can,” with everyone involved in “subtle sabotage” against the government. Morale is terrible throughout all the branches of the armed forces, and in the event of war the army “will not fight.” Wow — this cable is hot!

Of course, this secret U.S. cable is from March 31, 1961, three weeks before Cuba kicked our asses at the Bay of Pigs.

The U.S. government has been passing around these “secret” documents to itself for the past fifty years, explaining in painstaking detail how horrible things are in Cuba and how Cubans are quietly aching for us to come back and take over. I don’t know why we write these cables, I guess it just makes us feel better about ourselves. (Anyone curious can find an entire museum of U.S. wish fulfillment cables on the website of the National Security Archive.)

So what do you do with about a false “secret” cable, especially one that involves you and your movie? Well, you wait for a responsible newspaper to investigate and shout what it discovers from the rooftops.

But yesterday WikiLeaks gave the ‘Sicko’ Cuba cable to the media — and what did they do with it? They ran it as if it were true! Here’s the headline in the Guardian:


WikiLeaks: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting ‘mythical’ healthcare system


Authorities feared footage of gleaming hospital in Michael Moore’s Oscar-nominated film would provoke a popular backlash

And not one scintilla of digging to see if Cuba had actually banned the movie! In fact, just the opposite. The right wing press started to have a field day reporting a lie (Andy Levy of Fox — twice — Reason Magazine and Hot Air, plus a slew of blogs). Sadly, even BoingBoing and my friends at the Nation wrote about it without skepticism. So here you have WikiLeaks, who have put themselves on the line to find and release these cables to the press — and traditional journalists are once again just too lazy to lift a finger, point and click their mouse to log into Nexis or search via Google, and look to see if Cuba really did “ban the film.” Had just ONE reporter done that, here’s they would have found:

June 16, 2007 Saturday 1:41 AM GMT [that’s 7 months before the false cable]

HEADLINE: Cuban health minister says Moore’s ‘Sicko’ shows ‘human values’ of communist system

BYLINE: By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer

DATELINE: HAVANA

Cuba’s health minister Jose Ramon Balaguer said Friday that American filmmaker Michael Moore’s documentary ‘Sicko’ highlights the human values of the island’s communist-run government… “There can be no doubt this documentary by a personality like Mr. Michael Moore helps promote the profoundly human principles of Cuban society.”

Or, how ’bout this little April 25, 2008 notice from CubaSi.Cu (translation by Google):


Sicko premiere in Cuba 


25/04/2008 


The documentary Sicko, the U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore, which deals about the deplorable state of American health care system will be released today at 5:50 pm, for the space Cubavision Roundtable and the Education Channel.

Then there’s this from Juventudrebelde.cu (translation by Google). Or this Cuban editorial (translation by Google). There’s even a long clip of the Cuba section of ‘Sicko’ on the homepage of Media Roundtable on the CubaSi.cu website!

OK, so we know the media is lazy and sucks most of the time. But the bigger issue here is how our government seemed to be colluding with the health insurance industry to destroy a film that might have a hand in bringing about what the Cubans already have in their poverty-ridden third world country: free, universal health care. And because they have it and we don’t, Cuba has a better infant mortality rate than we do, their life expectancy is just 7 months shorter than ours, and, according to the WHO, they rank just two places behind the richest country on earth in terms of the quality of their health care.

That’s the story, mainstream media and right-wing haters.

Now that you’ve been presented with the facts, what are you going to do about it? Are you gonna attack me for having my movie played on Cuban state television? Or are you gonna attack me for not having my movie played on Cuban state television?

You have to choose one, it can’t be both.

And since the facts show that the movie played on state TV and in theaters, I think you’re better off attacking me for having my films played in Cuba.

¡Viva WikiLeaks!

Michael Moore

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How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff …a letter from Michael Moore

In EYEONCITRUS.COM on kp00 at 301021

How Corporate America Is Pushing Us All Off a Cliff …a letter from Michael Moore Learning how not to sway public opinion

Friday, November 19th, 2010

Friends,

When someone talks about pushing you off a cliff, it’s just human nature to be curious about them. Who are these people, you wonder, and why would they want to do such a thing?

That’s what I was thinking when corporate whistleblower Wendell Potter revealed that, when “Sicko” was being released in 2007, the health insurance industry’s PR firm, APCO Worldwide, discussed their Plan B: “Pushing Michael Moore off a cliff.”

But after looking into it, it turns out, it’s nothing personal! APCO wants to push everyone off a cliff.

APCO was hatched in 1984 as a subsidiary of the Washington, D.C. law firm Arnold & Porter — best known for its years of representing the giant tobacco conglomerate Philip Morris. APCO set up fake “grassroots” organizations around the country to do the bidding of Big Tobacco. All of a sudden, “normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-Philip Morris Americans” were popping up everywhere. And it turned out they were outraged — outraged! — by exactly the things APCO’s clients hated (such as, the government telling tobacco companies what to do). In particular, they were “furious” that regular people had the right to sue big corporations…you know, like Philip Morris. (For details, see the 2000 report “The CALA Files” (PDF) by my friends and colleagues Carl Deal and Joanne Doroshow.)

Right about now you may be wondering: how many Americans get pushed off a cliff by Big Tobacco every year? The answer is 443,000 Americans die every year due to smoking. That’s a big cliff.

With this success under their belts, APCO created “The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition.” TASSC, funded partly by Exxon, had a leading role in a planned campaign by the fossil fuel industry to create doubt about global warming. The problem for Big Oil speaking out against global warming, according to the campaign’s own leaked documents, was that the public could see the “vested interest” that oil companies had in opposing environmental laws. APCO’s job was to help conceal those oil company interests.

And boy, have they ever succeeded. Polls now show that, as the world gets hotter, Americans are getting less and less worried about it.

How big is this particular cliff? According to the World Health Organization, climate change contributes — right now — to the deaths of 150,000 people every year. By 2030 it may be double that. And after that…well, the sky is literally the limit! I don’t think it’s crazy to say APCO may rack up even bigger numbers here than they have with tobacco.

With this track record, you can see why, when the health insurance industry wanted to come after “Sicko,” they went straight to APCO. The “worst case,” as their leaked documents say, was that “Sicko evolves into a sustained populist movement.” That simply could not be allowed to happen. Something obviously had to be done.

As Wendell Potter explains, APCO ran their standard playbook, setting up something called “Health Care America.” Health Care America, according to Potter, “was received by mainstream reporters, including the New York Times, as a legitimate organization when it was nothing but a front group set up by APCO Worldwide. It was not anything approaching what it was reporting to be: a ‘grassroots organization.’ It was a sham group.”

Health Care America showed up online in 2007 (the year “Sicko” was released) and disappeared quickly by early 2008. You can still find their website archived here. As you’ll see, their “moderated forum” allowed normal, everyday, in-no-way-employed-by-the-insurance-industry Americans to speak out. For instance, here’s something Nicole felt very strongly about:

“Moore shouldn’t be allowed to call his film a ‘documentary.’ It should be called a political commercial. We need to fix our health care system, but we shouldn’t accept a Hollywood moviemaker’s political views as the starting point.”

Here’s what Wendell Potter revealed about the insurance industry’s media strategy:

“As we would do the media training, we would always have someone refer to him as ‘Hollywood entertainer’ or ‘Hollywood moviemaker Michael Moore.’ They don’t want you to think that it was a documentary that had some truth.”

Thanks for your perspective, “Nicole”!

Now, how big was THAT cliff? A pretty good size — according to a recent study, 45,000 Americans die every year because they don’t have health insurance.

And here we are in 2010. A lesser PR firm might be resting on its laurels at this point, content to sit back and watch hundreds of thousands of people continue to be pushed off the various cliffs they’ve built. But not APCO! Right now they’ve taken on their biggest challenge yet: leading a giant, multi-million dollar effort to help Wall Street “earn back the trust of the American people.”

We may never know the size of this particular cliff. But we can be sure it’s gigantic. According to the New York Times, one of the things Wall Street’s recession gave us is “the crippling of the government program that provides life-sustaining antiretroviral drugs to Americans with H.I.V. or AIDS who cannot afford them.” Internationally, organizations fighting AIDS and other diseases are “hugely afraid” of cutbacks in funding.

Of course, there are the 101 ways recessions kill quietly. For instance, children’s hospitals are seeing a sharp 55% rise in the abuse of babies by parents.

And that’s just the previous cliff. If APCO and its Wall Street co-conspirators lull us into turning our backs on them again, we can be sure the next cliff — the next crash — will be much bigger.

Anyway, this is all just a way for me to say to APCO: No hard feelings! My getting mad at you would be like a chicken who’s still happily pecking away getting mad at McDonald’s. Compared to the millions you’ve already turned into McNuggets, you’ve actually treated me much, much BETTER! Spying on my family, planting smears and lies about me, privately badgering movie critics to give the film a poor review, scaring Americans into believing they’d be committing a near-act of treason were they to go to the theater and see my movie — hey, ya done good, health insurance companies of America. And, most important, you stopped the nation from getting true universal health care. Good job!

There’s only one problem — I’m not one of those “liberals” you fund in Congress, the ones who fear your power.

I’m me. And that, sadly, is not good for you.

Yours in good health,
Michael Moore
MMFlint
MichaelMoore.com

P.S. It seems to me that APCO’s discussion of pushing me off a cliff should legitimately be part of their Wikipedia page. And why not something about their role in Wall Street’s new PR offensive? So I’m asking everyone interested to write something up that meets Wikipedia’s guidelines and help bring the APCO Worldwide entry up to date. Post it somewhere online and send a tweet about it to @mmflint. I’ll award a signed copy of “Sicko” by noon Sunday to the best entry…and then deputize you to post it on Wikipedia for real and make sure APCO’s minions don’t take it down. Just be sure afterward not to walk near any cliffs!

P.P.S. The late, great comedian Bill Hicks had some thoughts about marketing and the .

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