Today is the nationwide release of Michael Moore’s new film Capitalism: A Love Story. The film chronicles how free market capitalism has created a system of “legalized greed” which corrupts government, removes basic elements of humanity from business, and has torn down the middle class. While Moore uses personal stories of individuals abused by corporate excess to create a narrative, he also explains much larger, sweeping problems like the rapidly widening gap between rich and poor.
As Moore has toured the media circuit promoting his film, hosts and pundits have worked quickly to try to marginalize his message. Rather than attack the substance of his film or debate the issues he raises, media figures are attempting to destroy Moore’s credibility. The most common trope has been to cast Moore as a “hypocrite” for being successful while at the same time criticizing capitalism. The other attack is to simply ridicule and mock Moore as an “extremist.” Business media in particular has been disdainful of Moore, accusing him of seeking “slavery.” Moore was scheduled to host CNBC’s Power Lunch, but was booted off shortly after six minutes. ThinkProgress has compiled a video of some of the character attacks on Moore. Watch it:
While Moore certainly has critics, in the past, much of the anti-Moore media assault had been orchestrated by powerful corporate interests. Bill Moyers Journal obtained two powerpoint presentations outlining in detail exactly how the industry coordinated an effort to marginalize Moore and the impact of his film SiCKO:
— Position Moore as “fringe” to stop any Democrats from embracing points he raises.
— “Position SiCKO as a threat to the Democrats’ larger agenda.”
— “Amplify the industry’s voice around the film’s release … outreach to broadcast and cable TV news.”
— “Create media tool kit on industry’s positions, strong track records, etc.”
The campaign to smear Moore has reemerged. Will the media ask serious questions about the failure of free market capitalism, or will they simply engage in character assassination against Moore?