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Feds Put the Screws to Michael Moore

Old 05-11-07, 10:49 AM
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Feds Put the Screws to Michael Moore

Its been a while since we had a MM thread.

Once again, Michael Moore thanks the right for the free publicity.

U.S. Queries Filmmaker on Cuba Trip for Movie

By LAURA M. HOLSON
Published: May 11, 2007

LOS ANGELES, May 10 — Michael Moore, the provocative filmmaker who has made a career out of skewering automakers, gun enthusiasts and the Bush administration, is being investigated by the Treasury Department over a trip he made to Cuba for his new film, “Sicko.”

This month the department sent a letter to Mr. Moore saying it was investigating whether he had violated restrictions on travel to Cuba when he accompanied sick workers seeking free medical care as part of a documentary on America’s health care industry.

Treasury Department representatives did not return phone calls seeking comment. On Mr. Moore’s Web site, the film’s producer, Meghan O’Hara, called the department’s actions a “politically motivated investigation.”

The ailing workers shown traveling to Cuba in the film had helped clean up the World Trade Center site after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The letter from the Treasury Department asked for detailed information about the trip, including evidence that Mr. Moore was employed as a journalist. Journalists can secure permission to go to Cuba.

The government also sought the name and address of the travel agent who made the reservations, and receipts, and the names and addresses of all of those who went on the trip. News of the letter was first reported by The Associated Press.

Chris Lehane, who was press secretary to Vice President Al Gore and has been retained by the Weinstein Company, the film’s distributor, said the Treasury Department had been aware of the trip for a long time.

“We feel comfortable with the terms with which we went to Cuba,” Mr. Lehane said.

Harvey Weinstein, a co-founder of the company, said the timing of the letter suggested an attack by the Bush administration meant to discredit the film. But Mr. Weinstein said: “They are only causing more publicity. It’s so ironic. They should let sleeping dogs lie.”

He said he was concerned that the Treasury Department would try to prevent the part of the movie shot in Cuba from being shown. “We have the resources to fight,” he said.

“Sicko” is set to open at the Cannes Film Festival on May 19 and nationwide on June 29.

If past behavior portends the future, Mr. Moore and his backers will most likely use the government inquiry to the film’s advantage.

In May 2004, Mr. Moore and his agent, Ari Emanuel, went public with complaints that the Walt Disney Company was refusing to distribute the film “Fahrenheit 9/11,” causing a ruckus in Hollywood and Washington. The movie earned $220 million at the box office worldwide.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/11/us...rssnyt&emc=rss
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Old 05-11-07, 10:51 AM
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I guess it is a legit complaint (legally, the actual travel ban is up for debate i guess).

But i agree, all this will do is give him more attention. I didn't know he was working on this movie until I heard about this "controversy".
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Old 05-11-07, 11:00 AM
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Old 05-11-07, 11:02 AM
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Statement in Response to Bush Administration's Investigation of 'SiCKO'

'SiCKO,' Michael Moore's new movie, will rip the band-aid off America's health care industry. Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival in just one week and opening across the U.S. on June 29th, 'SiCKO' will expose the corporations that place profit before care and the politicians who care only about money. Our health care system is broken and, all too often, deadly. The efforts of the Bush Administration to conduct a politically motivated investigation of Michael Moore and 'SiCKO' will not stop us from making sure the American people see this film.

On September 11, 2001 this country was attacked. Thousands of Americans responded with heroism and courage, toiling for days, weeks and months in the ruins at Ground Zero. These 9/11 first responders risked their lives searching for survivors, recovering bodies, and clearing away toxic rubble. Now, many of these heroes face serious health issues -- and far too many of them are not receiving the care they need and deserve. President Bush and the Bush Administration should be spending their time trying to help these heroes get health care instead of abusing the legal process to advance a political agenda.

-- Meghan O'Hara, Producer, SiCKO
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Old 05-11-07, 11:45 AM
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Ah, the Cuba embargo. Gotta love it when foreign policy is defined by Cuban exiles in South Florida and US sugar growers who don't like competition.
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Old 05-11-07, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Meghan O'Hara
instead of abusing the legal process to advance a political agenda.
That's funny coming from someone in Moore's camp.
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Old 05-11-07, 12:04 PM
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#3 on that letter is really interesting. Are you telling me you have to be employed by a news organization to be a journalist? That's crazy. I think it's something they decided when they wrote that letter so Moore couldn't claim to be a "journalist", which he most certainly is (among other things).
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Old 05-11-07, 12:14 PM
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"Land of the free" my ass.
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Old 05-11-07, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
#3 on that letter is really interesting. Are you telling me you have to be employed by a news organization to be a journalist? That's crazy. I think it's something they decided when they wrote that letter so Moore couldn't claim to be a "journalist", which he most certainly is (among other things).
I'd guess it's probably a requirement to claim the journalist exeption because otherwise any yahoo with a blog could claim to be a journalist. Just a guess.
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Old 05-11-07, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Shannon Nutt
#3 on that letter is really interesting. Are you telling me you have to be employed by a news organization to be a journalist? That's crazy. I think it's something they decided when they wrote that letter so Moore couldn't claim to be a "journalist", which he most certainly is (among other things).
this is by law, you have to be an accredited journalist
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Old 05-11-07, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
That's funny coming from someone in Moore's camp.
When did MM "abuse the legal process?"
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Old 05-11-07, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
this is by law, you have to be an accredited journalist
Yeah, the most popular documentary filmmaker in history is not considered a journalist because he's independent?
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Old 05-11-07, 01:40 PM
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Originally Posted by CRM114
Yeah, the most popular documentary filmmaker in history is not considered a journalist because he's independent?
I'm not sure he's really a 'documentary' fimmmaker anyway?
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Old 05-11-07, 01:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Nazgul
I'm not sure he's really a 'documentary' fimmmaker anyway?
He is, just not a very honest one.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Rockmjd23
He is, just not a very honest one.
so then he IS a journalist?
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Old 05-11-07, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Venusian
so then he IS a journalist?
Yes. He should be working for the NYT.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:10 PM
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Statement in Response to Bush Administration's Investigation of 'SiCKO'
Characterizing the government looking into why he and his crew went to cuba without going through the proper legal channels as "The Bush Administrations Investigation of 'SICKO'" is a prime example of Moores "facts". I wonder if he's ever said an honest thing his life.. seriously.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Venusian
I'd guess it's probably a requirement to claim the journalist exeption because otherwise any yahoo with a blog could claim to be a journalist. Just a guess.
Any yahoo with a blog is (if he/she wishes) a journalist. That's a new social reality that the laws will have to catch up with, although it will probably take a few lawsuits to prod the adjustment along.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by JustinS
Any yahoo with a blog is (if he/she wishes) a journalist. That's a new social reality that the laws will have to catch up with, although it will probably take a few lawsuits to prod the adjustment along.
Is anybody with a diary a journalist in the traditional sense as well?
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Old 05-11-07, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Nazgul
Is anybody with a diary a journalist in the traditional sense as well?
Someone who actively goes out and investigates newsworthy events and reports them to others is a journalist. There are thousands of "blogs" out there that do this very thing.

To draw some sort of legal distinction between those journalists that are employed by a large corporation and those that are not is obviously problematic.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by JustinS
Someone who actively goes out and investigates newsworthy events and reports them to others is a journalist. There are thousands of "blogs" out there that do this very thing.

To draw some sort of legal distinction between those journalists that are employed by a large corporation and those that are not is obviously problematic.
Exactly. Journalist isn't some kind of special status like being a police officer or something. Anyone can attempt to be a journalist by investigating stuff and reporting on it.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by General Zod
Characterizing the government looking into why he and his crew went to cuba without going through the proper legal channels as "The Bush Administrations Investigation of 'SICKO'" is a prime example of Moores "facts". I wonder if he's ever said an honest thing his life.. seriously.

Bush? I doubt it.
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Old 05-11-07, 02:47 PM
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This will only help the film gain more awareness & publicity....I think it's an excellent development!
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Old 05-11-07, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by al_bundy
this is by law, you have to be an accredited journalist
So I guess Matt Drudge isn't one either?
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Old 05-11-07, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Jaymole
This will only help the film gain more awareness & publicity....I think it's an excellent development!
Which is why it's not a stretch to think that Moore was looking for such a response.
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