The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Michael Moore on Osama bin Laden: He was a millionaire, not a Muslim

May 5, 2011 | 12:59 pm

Michael_moore I'm convinced that Twitter has caused more public humiliation and embarrassment for celebrities than booze and cocaine ever possibly could.

The latest example: Michael Moore, who pretty much taught Donald Trump everything he knows when it comes to stirring the pot and manipulating the media. The right wing media have started using Moore as a punching bag after the controversial filmmaker began working his Twitter feed overtime, lobbing out a string of eye-popping conspiracy theories after the news arrived Sunday night that our special forces had killed Osama bin Laden at his cushy hideaway in Pakistan.

Moore started out by striking a reverent note, saying, "A moment of silence for all who died in 9/11." But he quickly veered off in a different direction, reminding his followers that they shouldn't be celebrating the killing of a thug who was, ahem, their country's own creation, saying, "Which reporter has the courage to say it? 'American-armed terrorist from the 80s, Osama bin Laden, was killed earlier today by America?' "

After pausing to raise an eyebrow over the news that Bin Laden was buried at sea according to Islamic law ("Yes most Muslim funerals I've attended we got in a chopper & tossed the deceased in L. Erie"), Moore revved up his engines Wednesday with a complex new conspiracy theory: Pakistan actually had Bin Laden under house arrest, but only after cutting a deal with the U.S. to keep him in a safe place as long as he promised not to undertake any more terrorist attacks. When Bin Laden went back on the deal, Pakistan said to the U.S.: "he's expendable, u guys can have him. And they looked the other way." Moore went on to say: "WH [White House], just say it. He was executed."

Later Wednesday, Moore was trying out a new line of attack, arguing that the media were misleading everyone by constantly referring to Bin Laden as a Muslim, when he should be more accurately described as a millionaire. Hence the tweet: "How come no headline ever read 'Multi-Millionaire Murders 3,000?' It would have been correct. No, best to focus on OBL being a 'Muslim.' "

For my money, Moore's best tweet of all came a little later, no doubt after he received a barrage of noisy criticism for his bizarre characterization of Bin Laden. He wrote: "Just because OBL said he was a Muslim, that made it true?...If I say I'm a Martian 2morrow, will the press just start calling me a Martian?"

No, but someone just may start calling Moore a loony crusader from another planet. I'm usually a vocal critic of the right-wing media, but when it comes to Moore's ravings, I think we've found plenty of room for agreement. Of course, you have to give Moore credit. Like Trump, he knows that the media can't resist giving unlimited attention to any celebrity who makes a spectacle of himself with preposterous blather. So let's give Moore the last word, shall we: "Somebody was reading my tweets. He texted. I said yes. '@piersmorgan Michael Moore will b my special guest tomorrow night live for the hour.' "

Ah, the sweet smell of success.

-- Patrick Goldstein

Photo: Michael Moore speaking before a rally at the Wisconsin state Capitol in March in Madison. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images