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Michael Moore “Blitzes” CNN’s Coverage of Iraq War, Healthcare in Live Wolf Blitzer Interview

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In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Monday, filmmaker Michael Moore blasted CNN for its coverage of the Iraq War and called on the network to apologize to American viewers. Moore also took Blitzer to task for CNN’s coverage of his film “SiCKO” on the U.S. healthcare system. We play an excerpt. [includes rush transcript]

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StoryDec 30, 2004Democracy Now!’s 2004 Year-In-Review
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Filmmaker Michael Moore appeared on Wolf Blitzer’s show on The Situation Room Monday for the first time in three years. Moore took CNN’s Blitzer to task not only for a piece he had just broadcast on Moore’s new film SiCKO about the ailing U.S. health industry, but for his coverage of Iraq. This is an excerpt.

MICHAEL MOORE: Why don’t you tell the truth to the American people? I mean, I wish that CNN and the other mainstream media would just for once tell the truth about what’s going on in this country, whether it’s with healthcare — I don’t care what it is. I mean, you guys have such a poor track record. And for me to come on here and have to listen to that kind of crap.

I mean, seriously, I haven’t been on your show now for three years. The last time I was on, you ran a similar piece about Fahrenheit 9/11, saying, “Oh, this can’t be true, what he’s saying about the war, how it’s going to be a quagmire, the weapons of mass destruction.” You know, and why don’t you start off, actually, with my first appearance back here on your show in three years and maybe apologize to me for saying that three years ago, because it turned out everything I said in Fahrenheit was true. Everything has come to happen, everything I said. I mean, I took you in that film to Walter Reed Hospital, and it took three years before you or any of the rest of the mainstream media would go to Walter Reed Hospital and see what was happening to our troops.

So for me to have to sit here and listen again to more crap about socialized medicine or how the Canadians have it, you know, worse than us, and all this — all the statistics show that we have far worse healthcare than these other industrialized countries. We’re the only ones that don’t have it free and universal.

And there’s a — you said that Germany was the only one that was better than us in terms of wait times. The Commonwealth Fund last year showed, of the top six countries, we were second to last, next to Canada. It showed that Britain, for instance, 71 percent of the British public, when they call to see a doctor, get to see the doctor that day or the next day. It’s 69 percent in Germany. It’s 66 percent in Australia.

And you’re the ones who are fudging the facts. You fudged the facts to the American people now for I don’t know how long about this issue, about the war. And I’m just curious, when are you going to just stand there and apologize to the American people for not bringing the truth to them that isn’t sponsored by some major corporation? I mean, I’ll sit here for as long as it takes, if you can do that for me.

WOLF BLITZER: Alright, well, just to be —- in fairness, we had a lot of commercials for SiCKO that we’ve been running on CNN, as well, so, you know, we have commercials. This is a business, obviously, but let’s talk a little bit about one of the -—

MICHAEL MOORE: You have a nightly medical report. You have something called The Daily Dose. I watch CNN. You have it every day, The Daily Dose, sponsored by fill-in-the-blank. And you are funded by these people day in and day out. Don’t even compare that to my movie being out for a couple of weeks and a couple of rinky-dink ads for 15 seconds.

WOLF BLITZER: No, I would say that —- I don’t know if you’re familiar with -—

MICHAEL MOORE: Come on! Come on, Wolf!

WOLF BLITZER: No, no, no. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s record, but I would stack up his record on medical issues with virtually anyone in the business.

MICHAEL MOORE: Alright, so when I now put on my website, as I will do tonight, how his facts were wrong about the $7,000 that we spend, it’s actually — I’ve read one report now, it’s even more than $7,000 that we spend per person each year in this country. I’m going to put the real facts up there on my website so people can see what he just said was absolutely wrong.

WOLF BLITZER: Well, if we get that confirmed, obviously, we’ll correct the record. Sanjay —- but I’m just saying .—-

MICHAEL MOORE: Oh, you will?

WOLF BLITZER: Obviously.

MICHAEL MOORE: You’ll be getting it.

WOLF BLITZER: Sanjay Gupta is not only a doctor and a neurosurgeon, but he’s also an excellent, excellent journalist. Look, I saw the film, and it’s a powerful, powerful —

MICHAEL MOORE: Yeah, I saw Dr. Sanjay Gupta over there embedded with the troops at the beginning of the war. He and the others of you in the mainstream media refused to ask our leaders the hard questions and demand the honest answers. And that’s why we’re in this war. We’re in the fifth year of this war, because you and CNN, Dr. Gupta, you didn’t do your jobs back then, and now here we are in this mess.

What if you had actually done the job on that? That’s why anybody who hears anything of what you say now about universal healthcare should question what you’re saying, what you’re putting out there. You didn’t do the job for us with the war. You’re not doing it with this issue. And I just wonder when the American people are going to turn off their TV sets and quit listening to this stuff.

WOLF BLITZER: Sanjay Gupta did an excellent job covering that war. He was with the Navy’s medical doctors, and he went in and risked his life, and he actually started to perform some neurosurgery on the scene. It was —

MICHAEL MOORE: You have to ask the questions.


MICHAEL MOORE: Why are we here? That’s the question. Why are we here in this war? Where’s the weapons of mass destruction? Why didn’t you — why did it take you so long, Wolf, to finally take on Vice President Cheney? It took you to 2007 before you made the man mad at you.

WOLF BLITZER: Those are fair questions.

MICHAEL MOORE: I mean, four years!

WOLF BLITZER: Look, let’s talk a little —

MICHAEL MOORE: Where were you?

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Moore lambasting CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. Last night on Larry King, Michael Moore went up against Sanjay Gupta.

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