Michael Moore

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Michael Moore, 2004.
Parroting squawkbox
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And a dirty dozen more

Michael Moore is an American documentary filmmaker, activist, and humorist who is known for his left-populist and left-liberal political commentary. He is most known for media he published from 1989 to 2007.

Moore has been criticized as occasionally prioritizing propaganda and storytelling over truth, even among his allies on the left. Moore sometimes responds to criticisms of his works with handwaves or ad hominem attacks as opposed to answering to said criticisms.[note 1]

Moore is known for old-school journalism techniques such as barging in on prospective interviewees unannounced, and mixing it with his own partisan humor. While Moore's movies are much more funny and entertaining than knockoffs, he's likely inspired an increase in disturbing yellow journalism among his ideological opponents. One example being the right-wing rag Project Veritas, which seems to want to repeatedly one-up Moore and others in aggressiveness, perhaps out of anger and resentment for decades of liberal-leaning political commentary taking the spotlight. Nowadays, Moore has transformed from a social activist into more of a boilerplate Democratic Party advocate.

Lawsuit against Mother Jones magazine[edit]

In 1986 Moore got a new job as the editor of the San Francisco-based magazine Mother Jones. It lasted about five minutes; as a Michigan boy, he didn't quite fit the San Francisco culture, or something. The ostensible reason, depending on which side you believe, is either that Moore nixed an article critical of the Sandinistas in Nicaragua, or that Mother Jones nixed a cover story about General Motors plant closings in Michigan. In any case, Moore sued for wrongful dismissal, settled out of court, and took his winnings to finance his first film, Roger & Me, which was about those GM plant closings.


Michael Moore's documentaries are dressed up political commentaries. While often completely on the mark, they are also sometimes not particularly concerned with documenting things, or establishing a fully accurate narrative or an accurate sequence of events. This has led Moore's critics to criticize him of simply being a propagandist.

Roger & Me[edit]

Roger & Me was a 1989 documentary about the human consequences of General Motors layoffs in the town of Flint, Michigan.

At this time, Moore had connections to Ralph Nader's social circle. Nader, Nader associates, and United Auto Workers' union leaders had varying negative reactions to Roger & Me. Nader and his associates implied that the film was just "satire" and neglected activism against GM that had occurred for years prior. A Nader associate also alleged that Moore was selfishly capitalizing on information about GM that he had allegedly acquired through private talks with Nader's circle, and using it for a false premise. One of the alleged false premises of the film was that the CEO of GM was impossible to pin down for an interview. According to one of Nader's associates, Moore had allegedly pinned down the CEO of GM for an interview outside of the events of the film, during a 1988 auto technology exposition. As a response to the film, Nader asked that Moore repay $30,000 to a journalistic non-profit that had helped subsidize a side project that Moore had abandoned while working on Roger & Me. U.A.W. leaders complained that the film falsely portrayed their union president as not caring about layoffs.[2]

Moore's response to the criticism was that his political allies were 'resentful' of him, and that he could have included more events, and more accurately portrayed events, in the film, but wanted to keep the runtime short.[2]


In 1999, Michael Moore directed a Rage Against the Machine video whose basic thesis was that George W. Bush and Al Gore were exactly the same.[note 2]

Bowling for Columbine[edit]

See the main article on this topic: Bowling for Columbine

This is a movie wherein Moore blames the Columbine shooting and American gun violence on what Moore believes is a historical American culture of insecurity, fear, and racism. Moore claims that the American elite advances this culture for selfish gain. Moore claims in the film that the ready availability of guns alone does not cause gun violence. He also suggests that violent video games, violent media in general, and lascivious music artists should not be a moral panic or much a cause for concern. The film never reaches a firm conclusion, instead focusing on debunking popular explanations for gun violence. After the film's release, Moore suggested that the Columbine shooting could have been caused by psychiatric drugs like SSRI antidepressants in a 2012 YouTube video, and pushed for an investigation into child psychiatry.[3] The YouTube video cited an academic article by David Healy, et al and says that

Both clinical trial and pharmacovigilance data point to possible links between these [SSRI drugs] and violent behaviours... Many jurisdictions appear not to have considered the possibility that a prescription drug may induce violence. In these trials, hostile events are found to excess in both adults and children on paroxetine compared with placebo & are found across indications, & both on therapy & during withdrawal.

Eric Harris, for example, was prescribed and began regularly taking the 'antidepressant' (anhedonic) SSRI Luvox, not long before launching his attack. A definitive assessment of any link between antidepressants and violence is still lacking as of 2022, but a systematic review and meta-analysis was begun in 2021.[5]

Fahrenheit 9/11[edit]

Fahrenheit 9/11 was an anti-war film that criticized the rationale for the US going to war with Iraq during 2003. The film included conspiracy theorizing, including highlighting alleged business connections between the Bushes (George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush) and the Bin Ladens (Osama bin Laden's family owns a major construction company in Saudi Arabia). George W. Bush is paraded around as a pure force of idiocratic evil who is tight with Saudi Arabia.

This movie also contains quote mining, where Condoleezza Rice,Wikipedia who was national security advisor at the time, is portrayed as arguing that there was a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks, even though she was actually saying the opposite.

In 2004, Moore made a false prediction about then-President George W. Bush, declaring that if Bush was re-elected:

…he's going to bring back the draft. He will be forced to. Because, thanks to his crazy war, recruitment is going to be at an all-time low. And many of the troops stuck over there are NOT going to re-enlist. The only way Bush is going to be able to staff the military is to draft you and your friends. Parents, make no mistake about it — Bush's second term will see your sons taken from you and sent to fight wars for the oily rich.

Over nineteen years later, the draft had not been reintroduced.[note 3]


In Sicko (2007), Moore reminds Americans how much their health care system sucks and how Republicans are particularly bad at ensuring that citizens get health coverage. He also gave the Cuban dictatorship a propaganda photo op on his trip there (in truth, not everyone gets such prompt care by their system).

Fahrenheit 11/9[edit]

Fahrenheit 11/9 is a 2018 movie about Donald Trump, then-Michigan Governor Rick Snyder,Wikipedia and the Flint water crisis. We knew he would make one eventually. As you may have guessed, the name is a reference to his previous film, Fahrenheit 9/11, as well as November 9th, 2016, when Trump won the presidential election.

Planet of the Humans[edit]

The film's case is akin to arguing that because fruit contains sugar, eating strawberries is no healthier than eating a cheesecake.
—Dana Nuccitelli[6]

Planet of the Humans (2019), directed by Jeff Gibbs and produced by Moore, is a terrible film about the green movement which has been called "dangerous, shockingly misleading and absurd."[7] How terrible is it? Climate scientists have overwhelmingly called out its inaccuracies, while far-right movements and global warming denialists have lauded the film for promoting population control and going after environmentalists, respectively.[8] The film engages in a peculiar form of denialism by acknowledging global warming while rather bizarrely opposing renewable energy as part of the solution.[6] The film engages in a balance fallacy by arguing that because renewable energy is imperfect (e.g., solar panels 'only' last decades and require resources to manufacture), therefore all forms of energy production are bad.[6] The denialists at The Grayzone whine about the supposed "censorship" of the movie and blame it on… billionaires?

Beef with Joe Scarborough[edit]

Moore vs Scarborough on Bush response to 9/11[edit]

In his film Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore implied that George W. Bush authorized a transfer of the Bin Laden family after 9/11. Joe Scarborough claimed that a Bush critic actually authorized this transfer.[9]

Scarborough as murderer conspiracy[edit]

He also spread a particularly vicious (and debunked) conspiracy theory that Scarborough had murdered one of his Congressional staff members.[10][11]

Wildly off-base political predictions[edit]

Moore wrote over 40 blog posts predicting that Democrats would retake the US House and Senate during 2022, in a way that would resemble a "tsunami". He theorized such a thing would happen as a negative reaction to abortion rights being overturned by the US Supreme Court.[12] No such tsunami transpired,[13] and Moore ended his short streak of correct political predictions (which had occurred once before, when he predicted Trump would win the 2016 election[14]).

Christopher Hitchens on Moore[edit]

Hitch wasn't too fond of him, remarking that it was quite hypocritical of the European left, who regard the average American to be a fat, stupid, greedy white man, to embrace Moore, who absolutely embodies all of these traits, as their figurehead.[citation needed] Hitchens was also critical of Fahrenheit 9/11.[15] Then again, Hitch was pro-War on Terror in general.

More of Moore[edit]

Moore paid Julian Assange's bail, which was greater than USD100,000, in December 2010. However, given the nastiness that Assange and Wikileaks have been up to, that should be re-reassessed (irresponsibly endangering the lives of innocent and vulnerable people with unredacted leaks). He also made Capitalism: A Love Story (2009), which has a higher-than-average percentage of truth than is typical for him.

"Rust Belt Brexit" was a brilliant forecast of the situation in the Great Lakes region. (Then again, he said "Get used to saying President Romney'" back in 2012, so…) At least Moore will be happy; he has someone new-to-make movies against. As of 2017, he was attempting to destroy the Trump presidency by… doing a Broadway show.

Published work[edit]

(Stolen from Wikipedia)


  • Moore, Michael (1996). Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American. Perennial (Harper Edition). ISBN 0-06-097733-7.
  • Moore, Michael; & Glynn, Kathleen (1998). Adventures In A TV Nation. Perennial. ISBN 0-06-098809-6.
  • Moore, Michael (2002). Stupid White Men ...and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation!. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-039245-2.
  • Moore, Michael (2003). Dude, Where's My Country?. Warner Books. ISBN 0-446-53223-1.
  • Moore, Michael (2004). Will They Ever Trust Us Again?. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-7152-1.
  • Moore, Michael (2004). The Official Fahrenheit 9/11 Reader. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-7292-7.
  • Moore, Michael (2010). Here Comes Trouble. Penguin. ISBN 0-713-99701-9


  • Roger & Me (1989)
  • Pets or Meat: The Return to Flint (1992) (TV)
  • Canadian Bacon (1995) (Non-documentary comedy)
  • The Big One (1997)
  • And Justice for All (1998) (TV)
  • Lucky Numbers (2000)
  • Bowling for Columbine (2002) (Winner - Best Documentary Feature Oscar)
  • Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) (Winner - "Palme d'Or" in Cannes)
  • Sicko (2007)
  • Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
  • Where to Invade Next (2015)
  • Michael Moore in TrumpLand (2016)
  • Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)
  • Planet of the Humans (2019) — as producer

TV series[edit]

  • TV Nation (1994)
  • The Awful Truth (1999)
  • Michael Moore Live (1999)

See also[edit]


  1. An example can be found here in his defense of Stupid White Men in an interview with Lou Dobbs.[1]
  2. Yes, you read that correctly.
  3. It will be reintroduced any day now. It'll come real soon, we promise.


  1. Lou Dobbs Moneyline — Transcript (April 12, 2002 - 18:00 ET) CNN.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Levin, Devon P., "Maker of Documentary That Attacks G.M. Alienates His Allies", New York Times 1.19.90.
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DpinCRaAQOk
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1564177/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7812107/
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Michael Moore's 'Planet of the Humans' documentary peddles dangerous climate denial: The YouTube film offers outdated and wildly misleading information on renewable energy, sacrificing progress in pursuit of unachievable perfection. by Dana Nuccitelli (Friday, May 1, 2020) Yale Climate Connections.
  7. Climate experts call for 'dangerous' Michael Moore film to be taken down: Planet of the Humans, which takes aim at the green movement, is ‘full of misinformation’, says one online library by Oliver Milman (28 Apr 2020 08.54 EDT) The Guardian.
  8. How did Michael Moore become a hero to climate deniers and the far right? by George Monbiot (updated 7 May 2020 19.03 BST) The Guardian.
  9. "Fahrenheit 9/11" distorts the truth: Deceit and deception is breathtaking by Joe Scarborough (updated 6/25/2004 12:10:23 PM ET) NBC News.
  10. Florida family grieves as Trump spreads debunked conspiracy theory to attack MSNBC host by Craig Pittman (May 24, 2020 at 1:02 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
  11. Trump’s vicious claim that Joe Scarborough might have murdered an aide by Salvador Rizzo (May 12, 2020 at 11:15 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
  12. https://www.michaelmoore.com/p/midterm-tsunami-truth-40
  13. https://www.michaelmoore.com/p/midterm-tsunami-truth-41
  14. https://michaelmoore.com/trumpwillwin/
  15. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2004/06/the-lies-of-michael-moore.html