Shoots from Grassroot Institute – Jan. 6, 2004-Oscar Winner Michael Moore: Capitalist Pig?

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“StuartHayashi Image”

Remember Michael Moore? He won the “Best Feature-Length Documentary”
Oscar for his 2002 film “Bowling for Columbine.”


One “Bowling” scene involved Moore’s confrontation with
celebrity-entrepreneur Dick Clark.

In Michigan in 2000, a 6-year-old-boy gunned his classmate Kayla
Rolland to death. Moore hounds Clark, asserting this tragedy is ”’his”’ fault for employing the boy’s mother, Tamarla Owens, at his “American Bandstand” Grill restaurant in a welfare-to-work program, exploiting her by making her work long hours to her son’s neglect.

But even before Owens’s welfare benefits ended, her son lived in a
household of crack users with a gun lying around. The real problem: the
boy’s environment. Yet Moore blames Clark and casts him as a “capitalist
exploiting the poor.”

Moore first gained renown posing as a voice for disenfranchised
laborers, like when General Motors closed its Michigan plants in the 1980s,
rendering Americans unemployed, and opened factories in Mexico, where pay
was cheaper.

Michigan’s Mackinac Center for Public Policy notes that its state’s
increasing government-regulation-induced costs contributed to this. But
Moore instead fingered corporate greed, and his breakout 1989 documentary
“Roger & Me” showed Moore stalking GM CEO Roger Smith, camping outside
Smith’s office, demanding repentance from him.

Since then Moore has become a multimillionaire from selling propaganda
denouncing the likes of Borders Books & Music for resisting the unionization
of its workforce, Nike for low pay in its factories, and Microsoft for its
industry dominance.

“Business,” Moore claims, “will never do the right thing unless they
are forced to.”

Moore prides himself on his apparent defense of proletarians against
capitalism. In his book “Downsize This!” he congratulates himself for
asking his two hired researchers to find unions to represent them.

But Moore’s “pro-worker” reputation is illusory.

The liberal-biased reported that Moore repeatedly tried
reneging on his contractual obligation to ”’actually pay”’ the writers of his network series “TV Nation,” acquiescing only after they joined the Writers
Guild of America — a union he tried dissuading them from looking into.

Moore denounces Borders’ labor practices, but at least it pays employees what it’s contractually obligated to, haggle-free.’s coverage angered Moore, so he yelped that it was just editor David Talbot’s way of getting revenge on him, because the anti-business advocacy magazine “Mother Jones” chose Moore over Talbot to be its editor in 1986.

But Moore became a tyrant at the publication and he relentlessly aggravated his employees, so “Mother Jones” fired him after four mere months.

In 1998, to cut costs on his cable show “Awful Truth,” Moore “downsized” his staff, firing producer Alan Edelstein. Sensing Moore’s hypocrisy, Edelstein tried to make his own “Roger & Me”-styled documentary,
following Moore around and asking him why he was terminated. Moore’s
solution: calling the police on Edelstein — something GM should’ve done
with Moore.

And if Moore loves laborers, why did he vigorously campaign for Ralph
Nader’s 2000 presidential run? Nader, yet another multimillionaire
anti-corporate activist, espouses the same “pro-union” rhetoric as Moore.
But in 1976, Nader’s former editor David Sanford noted that Nader only paid
his employees $5,000/year and expected them to log ”’all”’ activities from 7
a.m. to 9 p.m., otherwise they’d receive nada.

Workers at Nader’s muckraking periodical “Multinational Monitor” grew
so weary of their conditions that they attempted unionization, with leftist
Tim Shorrock as their leader. So Nader fired Shorrock and changed his
office’s locks.

Millionaire anti-corporatists like Moore and Nader should observe
their own behavior before telling other employers how to manage individuals.

“If you had … a reunion of people for whom working for Michael was the
least pleasant professional experience of their lives,” notes a former
employee of his, “it might be necessary to rent a large stadium.”

Actor Gary Oldman’s manager, Douglas Urbanski, says Moore is “the only
”’client”’ I ever fired in writing. He was the most difficult human … I’ve
ever met. . . . Moore would never withstand the scrutiny he lays on other
people. You would think that he’s the ultimate common man. But he’s
money-obsessed” (emphasis added).

Pro-labor crusader? Two steps Moore can take to cure his hypocrisy:
treat workers better, ”’and then”’ actually acknowledge the improvements his
corporate enemies make in civilization.

Nike pays Third-World workers low wages, like Moore says, but it’s
often wages ”’twice”’ what any company indigenous to the Third-World “host”
country pays, so it still raises people’s living standards. And Microsoft
may have had labor problems in the late 1970s, but it eventually made many
employees into millionaires.

So who’s the better boss: Moore or Microsoft?

”’Stuart K. Hayashi is a research intern at the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii. ”’See its Web site at:”’ ”’Hayashi is the founder of a news Web log, “The Fiftieth Star,” at:”’ ”’to be unofficially centered around activities at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. His older editorials can be seen at:”’ ”’and he can be reached at:”’

Recommended links:

The fabrications of “Bowling for Columbine” exposed

A liberal’s commentary on Michael Moore’s interfering with the job of a “working stiff” (a janitor) and hassling him

More about Moore vs. the janitor

“Michael Moore, Humbug” by Kay S. Hymowitz

“Not-So-Stupid White Men Fight Back” by Clive Davis

“The Truth About Michael Moore” by Pablo Wegesend,2933,48562,00.html

“Radar” magazine mocks Michael Moore

Tim Blair provides many links about Michael Moore,2933,48562,00.html’s early coverage of Michael Moore

Michael Moore and Alan Edelstein

Ralph Nader’s treatment of employees:

One of Michael Moore’s endorsements of Ralph Nader

On Nike’s Third World factories

Further coverage of Michael Moore here

”’This editorial is intended to provoke thought, discussion and an examination of issues. It does not reflect official policy of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii.”’

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