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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Hypocrisy Watch: Michael Moore's 'Capitalism' premieres in N.Y.'s biggest capitalist oasis

Moore

The Wall Street Journal's sharp-eyed Deal Journal, which keeps track of the ups and downs of our most eminent corporate dealmakers, took time out this week to attend the New York premiere of Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story." As the Deal Journal's Michael Corkery notes in a surprisingly evenhanded report, having the film open at New York's Lincoln Center was a huge blunder, since it made Moore a fat target (no pun intended) for charges of hypocrisy.

After all, as Corkery puts it, the center's sleek new theater was largely funded "by the very institutions that Moore lambasts as greedy, sleazy and beyond repent. Before the film, the crowd sipped champagne and cocktails in the 'Morgan Stanley Lobby' and then headed to their seats in the 'Citi Balcony.' Movie tickets were available at the 'Bank of New York Box Office' and there's outdoor seating at the Credit Suisse Information Grandstand.' " (Geez, when you have to pee, do you think you can do your business at the Alan Greenspan Memorial Urinal?)

Corkery says there is "plenty of good entertainment" in Moore's film while acknowledging the emotional impact of some of the film's scenes, including one where Moore exposes how Wal-Mart profited from a life insurance policy it took out on a young woman who died unexpectedly, leaving behind a young family scrambling to make ends meet. But he also points out that Moore is often guilty of "throwing stones in a glass house he often frequents." Noting that Moore has gone from assembly line worker to well-compensated indie filmmaker, Corkery contends that "his journey alone exemplifies the social mobility made possible by the very economic system he savages in his latest film."

In an accompanying interview, Corkery gives Moore a chance to answer the apparent hypocrisy of having the film's debut in such an ornate temple of capitalist excess. The filmmaker's response: "I walked into the theater and saw the names of the banks and I said: This is what I do for a living -- irony. I am now piling irony on top of irony. These financial institutions should be giving their money away."

Personally, I'm a fan of the film. But I know what some of you are probably thinking: Hey, Michael, when it comes to giving away money, how about you first?

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Photo of Michael Moore by Sean Kilpatrick / Associated Press

 
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In an additional irony re Moore's movie:

Michael Moore's new movie "Capitalism: A Love Story" is being co-financed and distributed domestically by Overture Films, which is part of John Malone's Liberty Media. Liberty, reports Joe Flint of the Los Angeles Times, also owns satellite broadcaster DirecTV, and has a stake in satellite radio operator Sirius XM.

If the idea that Michael Moore has teamed up with a media magnate weren't ironic enough, Malone's company Sirius XM was the subject of the documentary "Stock Shock-the Short Selling of the American Dream," which highlights the company as one of the most corrupted stocks in the market. Investors in Sirius XM lost over 95% of the value of their stock in the company when it nearly went bankrupt earlier this year due to illegal market manipulation, and some contend, internal corporate greed. John Malone turned out to be the satellite company's white knight saving it from ruin at the 11th hour with a loan of several hundred million dollars.

"Stock Shock" interviewed disgruntled investors like Michael Hartleib, founder of SaveSirius.org, who insist that Malone virtually swindled the company away from shareholders when he was awarded a 40% stake in the billion dollar company for the last minute loan.

Hartleib asks, "How was this management team able to steal forty percent of our company without we, the true owners of this company, having a vote or a seat at the table?
How was Mr. Malone given forty percent of our company for free?"

"Stock Shock" filmmakers are hosting the first 10 minutes of the movie on youtube.com for a limited time. The movie was released on DVD this summer.

Wow, Moore's answer to a tough but oh, so obvious question really laid him bare. Man, how can anyone take this guy seriously? He must giggle for about an hour after every press event/interview ...

Hypocrisy is not a fallacy. There is no flaw in what Michael Moore is trying to accomplish. If you take it in the context, that Michael Moore is simply a smoker who is advising the public that smoking is bad for their health. Just because one is unable to practice something he is teaching doesn't make his advice wrong.

So someone who makes his living off the back of Catipotlism has an issue with capitalism, my my, let him go to any other country...we don't need him.

Michael Moore has been and always will be a Communist. I have listened to him, viewed his films and read certain articles. I avoid Oprah like the plague (or Swine Flu fake epidemic). No matter what he does, writes or creates my opinion is the same. He does not belong in the United States. He hates this country, free will, free trade, equal rights, freedom of religion, speech, the right to bear arms and everything else EXCEPT for the money he sucks in for himself. He is one of the biggest hypocrites on the planet.

Logicman:

So what you are saying is if a child molester advises people not to abuse children, then they are good for preaching a winning message?

Hitler champions world peace!

This article completely ignores the obvious: holding the premiere where they did was pure, delicious IRONY. It's a concept not a lot of Americans understand, apparently including the L.A. Times. Moore's film premieres right in the backyard of the very companies he roasts in his film. It's another dig at these companies, and it probably did not go unnoticed.

Those that despise Moore and this film (without having seen it) can continue to bury their heads in the sand, shop at Wal-Mart (and still claim to be red-blooded Americans, and Moore a Communist!!) all the while pouring their dollars into China and the pockets of the companies who have all but abandoned Americans except as pigs sidling up to the trough to gorge themselves on cheap, foreign-manufactured TVs and Rubbermaid brooms.

Maybe it's over your head. Either you are aware of the deliberate joke of where he premiered this movie and are ignoring it (ignorance) or you just don't get it (stupidity). Which is it, Patrick: ignorance or stupidity?

I don't understand the hypocrisy charge- it's a lame straw man argument. Why in the world should Michael Moore give his money away? What did he do wrong? He didn't steal my tax money or 401(k). He's not the one that caused the economy to crash or create Credit Default Swaps. He's just telling me how it happened. Are you saying that the only person who could make this film is a very poor film maker? Does that even make any sense? Are you're saying is that if you're rich, you shouldn't help to educate others? Do you call rich people who give to charity hypocrites? Why is it wrong for Michael Moore to expose what happened to the financial system? Filmmakers aren't problem solvers, they're problem exposers. It's up top the viewer to decide what to do with that information.

Thank you Nathalie, I have to agree whole heatedly. The thing is, Michael Moore DOES give his money away to people in need, so those claiming that he should take the first step are a little behind in the times.

Also, ANYONE is America who has a legal job (i.e. pays taxes) is "benefiting" from Capitalism. There isn't a way to avoid it. I suppose the only way people wouldn't have a way to complain about this film in particular is if Michael Moore filmed it for free.

Someone famous once said...if you're good at something, don't do it for free.


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