In this morning's OpinionJournal, Scott Simon of NPR takes Michael Moore to task for masquerading as a journalist. Those of us who've listened to NPR over the years harbor no illusions about Simon's politics, and unlike the Democrats this year, he doesn't make any secret of them. Also unlike the Democrats, he appears to be genuinely embarassed and more than a little angry at Moore's dishonesty. Simon takes on Moore on pretty much all fronts: he's not a journalist, he's discrediting my views, and he's lowering the standard of the debate. Good for him. To quote Daniel Patrick Moynihan, "Diogenes, put down your lamp."
In the New York Times, Paul Krugman wrote that, "Viewers may come away from Moore's movie believing some things that probably aren't true," and that he "uses association and innuendo to create false impressions." Try to imagine those phrases on a marquee. But that is his rave review! He lauds "Fahrenheit 9/11" for its "appeal to working-class Americans." Do we really want to believe that only innuendo, untruths, and conspiracy theories can reach working-class Americans?
Governments of both parties have assuaged Saudi interests for more than 50 years. (I wonder if Mr. Moore grasps how much the jobs of auto workers in Flint depended on cheap oil.) Sound questions about the course, costs, and grounds for the war in Iraq have been raised by voices across the political spectrum.
But when 9/11 Commission Chairman Kean has to take a minute at a press conference, as he did last Thursday, to knock down a proven falsehood like the secret flights of the bin Laden family, you wonder if those who urge people to see Moore's film are informing or contaminating the debate. I see more McCarthy than Murrow in the work of Michael Moore. No matter how hot a blowtorch burns, it doesn't shed much light.