Michael Moore is ecstatic.
Premiering May 19 at the Cannes Film Festival, Moore’s new film, “Sicko,” is set to debut in U.S. theaters in June.
As if choreographed to a tee, the Bush administration has given the factually challenged filmmaker the thing that he needs the most to generate publicity—controversy.
Predictably, after the news broke about him being under investigation for a possible violation of the U.S. embargo of Cuba, Moore immediately issued an attention getter of a response, which invoked the name that has lefty mega-cyberspace bang for the buck: George Bush.
The U.S.Treasury Department is looking into Moore’s production trip to Cuba because he allegedly failed to get permission to conduct business in the Communist country.
Evidently, Moore received a form letter from the Treasury Dept. Each year the government sends out hundreds of such letters seeking additional information when sanctions violations appear to have occurred.
In characteristic propaganda-like fashion, Moore posted on his Web site an “open letter” to U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, which took a routine and foreseeable investigation and turned it into another set of Moore’s patented Bush administration conspiracies.
“First, the Bush Administration has been aware of this matter for months (since October 2006) and never took any action until less than two weeks before SiCKO is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and a little more than a month before it is scheduled to open in the United States,” Moore wrote, transparently trying to link the release of the film to the Treasury Department’s timing.
Not content with one conspiracy, Moore added another. He implied that a corporate conspiracy exists as well.
“Second, the health care and insurance industry, which is exposed in the movie and has expressed concerns about the impact of the movie on their industries, is a major corporate underwriter of President George W. Bush and the Republican Party…” Moore explained.
“For five and a half years, the Bush administration has ignored and neglected the heroes of the 9/11 community. These heroic first responders have been left to fend for themselves, without coverage and without care. I understand why the Bush administration is coming after me — I have tried to help the very people they refuse to help…,” Moore added.
He then demanded that the Bush administration call off the investigation.
Moore’s fantasy-filled “Fahrenheit 9/11” premiered at Cannes in 2004 while he sought PR using his disagreement with the Walt Disney Company. Disney decided that the film was detrimental to its brand and refused to let subsidiary Miramax release it.
Miramax owners Harvey and Bob Weinstein ended up releasing the film on their own and later left to form the Weinstein Co., which is now the distributor of “Sicko.”
Harvey Weinstein has joined in on the publicity revelry.
“The timing is amazing. You would think that we originated this. It reads like a fiction best-seller,” Weinstein told the Associated Press. “This is ‘Fahrenheit’ all over again. ‘Let’s pressure somebody.’ Last time it was Disney, this time it’s direct,” Weinstein said.
“It’s like the Bush Administration had Mickey Mouse as part of their investigative team,” Chris Lehane, a Weinstein Company consultant told Time magazine.
The Weinsteins have put David Boies on the “Sicko” case, the lawyer who lost Bush v. Gore in 2000.
It should come as no surprise that Cuba, a communist dictatorship that jails dissidents, arrests reporters and lacks free elections, is defending Moore.
Cuba described Moore as a victim of censorship. “Any resemblance to McCarthyism is no coincidence,” the Communist Party newspaper, Granma, read.
According to the Cuban paper, in investigating Moore American officials confirmed “the imperial philosophy of censorship.”