Michael Moore is a hypocrite. He embodies all that is wrong with Hollywood: He is a shameless, self-serving propagandist masquerading as an idealistic “artist.”
This week the famous left-wing movie director filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against the producers of his 2004 anti-war, anti-Bush film, “Fahrenheit 9/11.” The reason: Mr. Moore is demanding $2.7 million in unpaid profits that he says are owed to him. He has already pocketed nearly $20 million in profits from the blockbuster documentary. In other words, he has reaped a huge financial windfall. But this is not enough for him.
Mr. Moore has built an entire career - a vast personal industry - upon denouncing capitalism, the profit motive and “greedy” corporations. He is exhibiting the very behavior he claims to abhor. His lawsuit reveals that, despite his public image as a champion of the working class and the common man, he is a cynical, money-grubbing charlatan who worships the almighty buck. Rather than being a principled progressive, he is simply another crony capitalist on the make.
Mr. Moore is a jet-setting multimillionaire living a life of luxury, leisure and fame. He travels in a private plane and a fleet of SUVs. He is completely detached from the workers he claims to defend. In fact, he has misrepresented almost every facet of himself in order to forge a false “little guy” persona. As Peter Schweizer convincingly documents in his superb book, “Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy” (Broadway Books, 2005), Mr. Moore is a fraud.
For example, he claims to come from working-class roots in Flint, Mich. “I think once you’re working class, you’re always working class,” the filmmaker said. The Moore’s family home, however, was not in Flint but in the nearby middle-class town of Davison. His father - contrary to Mr. Moore’s claims - was not some low-level autoworker struggling to put food on the table. Instead, he worked at General Motors where he earned a comfortable salary, owned a bourgeois home, sent his four kids to private Catholic school and played golf nearly every day at a private club. Mr. Moore had a privileged upbringing.
Moreover, Mr. Moore’s films often have one common theme: America is a racist nation based on the exploitation of the poor. Hence, he is a vocal supporter of numerous liberal causes - nationalized health care, class warfare, the redistribution of wealth, affirmative action, empowering labor unions, gun control and the demonizing of HMOs, pharmaceutical companies and big oil.
He claims that white flight from the cities to the suburbs is based on fear of blacks - supposedly a glaring illustration of deep-seated racism. He said that whites “gave black America a pat on the back - and then ran like the devil to the suburbs.” Yet, Mr. Moore has not practiced what he preaches. He does not live in an interracial neighborhood. Instead, he has made his home at a swanky mansion in Central Lake, in an upscale, exclusive and overwhelmingly white community in northern Michigan.
For his films, including “Fahrenheit 9/11,” Mr. Moore rarely hires blacks in senior positions - whether producers, editors, cameramen or production managers. Apparently, racial quotas do not apply to him. He also dislikes using union workers on his sets - or paying them union wages. Again, his economic populism only goes so far.
His investment portfolio has included owning significant shares of stock in medical, health, pharmaceutical, defense and big oil companies, such as Pfizer, Merck, Eli Lilly, Pharmacia Corporation, Tenet Healthcare, Sunoco, General Electric and even the “evil” Halliburton. He has also invested in firms that outsource jobs to the Third World - including China, where slave labor is rampant. He wants to soak the rich with higher taxes, but uses accountants to exploit every loophole and exemption to reduce his burden to Uncle Sam. For Mr. Moore, profits evidently trump principle.
Like many on the radical left, his philosophy boils down to one seminal idea: hatred of America.
Mr. Moore has done more to damage the cause of democracy, political freedom and human rights than any other filmmaker - with the possible exception of Oliver Stone - in recent memory. He has defended brutal socialist dictators such as Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and the former Yugoslavia’s Josip Broz Tito. He supports WikiLeaks’ founder, the odious Julian Assange. He has praised terrorist insurgents in Iraq, comparing them to America’s revolutionary patriots.
“Fahrenheit 9/11” was not simply a crude piece of anti-Bush propaganda. It was a deliberate attempt to distort the reality of what occurred in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001: that radical Islam had declared war on America. Just as the infamous director, Leni Riefenstahl, produced “Triumph of the Will” as a propaganda tool to bolster Adolf Hitler’s regime and demoralize the Western democracies in the struggle against Nazism, Mr. Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” sought to undermine America’s resolve to confront Islamic fascism. He is the Riefenstahl of our time - someone who uses film in order to aid and abet the mortal enemies of the West.
Mr. Moore - like most transnational leftists - is a traitor. He has betrayed his country by calling for its defeat in Iraq. He has betrayed his fellow progressives through his blatantly hypocritical behavior. And he has betrayed his fellow filmmakers by peddling cheap propaganda as art. His celebrity status is a damning indictment of contemporary Hollywood.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute.