By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Bush boosts Michael Moore

You can’t make this stuff up. The Bush administration has given a huge boost to Michael Moore’s upcoming documentary, “SiCKO,” by investigating a trip he took to Cuba. The New York Times reports that Moore may have violated the travel ban by taking sick 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba in order to seek free medical care.

As a publicity stunt, what Moore did pales in comparison to what the White House has done for him. Moore’s having great fun with it on his Web site, and, as this Google News search shows, the administration’s attempt to intimidate Moore has garnered worldwide attention.

What the Bushies seem not to understand is that if you’re going to attempt to exercise Putin-like controls over your critics, you need Putin-like powers. Fortunately, they never quite succeeded in getting those powers — although they certainly tried.

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  1. Don

    Michael Moore is beneath contempt. Everything he does is for his own aggrandizement. The Bush administration would have been better advised to ignore him, for the fool that he is.

  2. Anonymous

    I didn’t think anyone would want to blow Michael Moore. Kennedy proves me wrong.

  3. Anonymous

    Well, that’s just crude, anon 3:16.Look, the law says you can’t go to Cuba without permission; foolish law, but it’s the law. Moore asked for permission, didn’t get it and pranced off anyway. He’s not practicing civil disobedience to try to bring down the Cuban embargo, he’s breaking the law to make a (for-profit) movie. So nuts to him, and maybe he’ll pay a federal fine for his transgression.Nuts to the Bushies, too, for letting him get under their skin. They could’ve, probably should’ve ignored him, but they can’t help themselves and now Moore’s got gratuitous publicity for another stunt film.Moore’s an entertainer – just ask him, especially when you’re pointing out his film’s factual and chronological mistakes; he’ll respond that he’s not a documentarian, he’s a comedian. Our – the public’s – problem is that we take him as if he were a journalist of some sort. The Bushies now appear to be treating him like one, too. God, the silliness just never ends, does it?

  4. Dan Kennedy

    Journalists are supposed to be allowed to travel to Cuba. Doesn’t matter whether you think Moore practices good or bad journalism.

  5. Anonymous

    Moore was supposedly going there to get people access to medical care, as crazy as that sounds.Going to Cuba with a camera crew in tow to record how wonderful a person you think yuou are is still against federal law. The journalism was not the driving factor of his visit. It’s hard to call what he does journalism. It’s getting in people’s faces to make a point, yes, but journalism as I’ve heard it defined is supposed to be devoid of partisanship.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 11:23: Then you’ve heard it defined wrong. There’s objective journalism, there’s opinion journalism, there’s advocacy journalism, there’s good journalism, and there’s bad journalism. The government has no right to judge which it is before deciding which journalists get to go to Cuba and which ones don’t.

  7. Anonymous

    Dan,Does that mean that the barrier to entry as a journo is so low that an actual college degree in it is a waste of time? Do journos, (of whatever stripe), get to break whatever law they want in pursuit of that which they deem a “story”? Pardon me, it’s time for me to take out my own appendix….

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Anon 12:16: You go to college to become a good journalist. As for what qualifications you need to become a journalist, I can say it no better than this: “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.”

  9. man who's a wbur fan

    Weren’t the rules for journalists traveling to Cuba tightened somewhat after WBUR was shamelessly exploiting them for the “Citizens of the World” trips to Cuba several years back?I doubt WBUR was the only one, but they’re a local example.

  10. man who's a wbur fan

    Moore was supposedly going there to get people access to medical care, as crazy as that sounds.Why does that sound so crazy, Anon 11:23? IIRC, Cuba has more doctors per capita than any other country in the world.

  11. Anonymous

    DK,I’m sure the folks run over by paparazzi-“journalists” in LA will find it comforting that they did their part in support of the 1st Amendment…

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