A documentary film is not defined by its style or its subject matter, but by its approach. How does Michael Moore approach his films? His documentaries combine entertainment with information, a dangerous combination for a mode of mass communication that has become a trusted form of obtaining information for many people.
There is no question that Michael Moore has revolutionized the documentary film genre. Admittedly, when I first watched many of Moore’s films such as "Bowling for Columbine" (2002) and "Sicko" (2007), I found myself questioning the foundation of this country. This sentiment ended rather quickly.
When I decided to look further into the issues raised by Moore’s documentaries, I was astonished by the number of news sources calling Moore’s films dishonest and even demagogic. A 2004 film, "Michael Moore Hates America," points out specific cases where Moore uses clever editing to give viewers a slanted version of the truth and shows a number of prominent people in the film industry backing up the film’s title claim that Michael Moore hates America.
For example, in "Bowling for Columbine," Moore used various clips from a Charlton Heston (former National Rifle Associate President) speech to make it appear as though Mr. Heston was insistent on hosting a rally in Littleton, Colorado shortly after the shooting. In fact, Mr. Heston was bound by law to host the rally because he is required to give NRA members a ten day warning if a meeting is to be cancelled. The Columbine shooting occurred exactly ten days before the event and Mr. Heston was unable to cancel it.
In the same film, Moore also staged a scene that explicitly communicated that if one walked into a North Country Bank and opened up a bank account, then he/she would receive a free hunting rifle. In fact, Moore’s agents had been in contact with the bank for months prior to filming the scene. They convinced bank officials to have a gun waiting for Moore at the bank and told the bank that they were doing a segment on "Unique businesses across America," a blatant lie.
Furthermore, Richard Wolf, writer for USA Today, stated, "Sicko uses omission, exaggeration, and cinematic sleight of hand to make its points." This statement can be applied to most of Michael Moore’s films.
His filmmaking is essentially propaganda and is damaging the credibility of the documentary film genre. Moore’s distortion of the truth gives Americans an awfully distorted view of reality that reinforces his extremist liberal agenda.
Among the many objects of severe criticisms Michael Moore has of the country he supposedly loves is the wealthy, Caucasian male. He claims that he is standing up for underprivileged Americans, fighting for basic rights, and all that, but it seems that Michael Moore has become exactly what he hates: a wealthy, narrow-minded, Caucasian male who abuses the system. Moore goes to great lengths to boost the profitability of his films. His combination of entertainment and information in his documentary films has given Americans a frighteningly altered idea of America’s current state of affairs.