Author Topic: They Said They Would Push Me "Off a Cliff" ...a letter from Michael Moore  (Read 1416 times)

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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from MICHAEL MOORE:

They Said They Would Push Me "Off a Cliff" ...a letter from Michael Moore

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

Friends,

Yesterday, on the TV and radio show "Democracy Now" hosted by Amy Goodman, the former Vice President of CIGNA, one of the nation's largest health insurance companies, revealed that CIGNA met with the other big health insurers to hatch a plan to "push" yours truly "off a cliff."

The interview contains new revelations about just how frightened the health industry was that "Sicko" might ignite a public wave of support for "socialized medicine." So the large health insurance companies came together over a common cause: Stop the American people from going to see "Sicko" -- and the way to do that was to cause some form of harm to me (either personally, professionally or...physically?).

Take a look at this stunning section of the interview with Wendell Potter:

WENDELL POTTER [former executive, CIGNA]: ...We were concerned that the movie ["Sicko"] would be as successful as "Fahrenheit 9/11" had been. And we knew that if it were, it really would change public opinion about our health care system in ways that would be harmful to the profits of health insurers. So, it was very important for this [attack] campaign to succeed. At one point during a strategy meeting, one of the people from [the insurance companies' public relations firm] APCO said that if our efforts, our initial efforts, were not successful, then we'd have to move to an element of the campaign to push Michael Moore off a cliff. And not meaning to do that literally, but to—

AMY GOODMAN: Are you sure?

WENDELL POTTER: Well, I'm not sure. To tell you the truth, when I started doing what I'm doing [as a whistleblower], I was concerned about my own health and well-being, maybe just from paranoia. But these companies play to win. And we're talking about some big bucks at stake here—billions and billions and billions of dollars.

AMY GOODMAN: So what were they talking about when they said, "If this doesn't work, we're going to push him off the cliff"?

WENDELL POTTER: Well, it would be just an incredibly intense PR effort, if necessary, to spend more premium dollars to defame Michael Moore, to discredit him even more as a filmmaker.

AMY GOODMAN: So, were you doing research on him?

WENDELL POTTER: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: You were going—personally?

WENDELL POTTER: Well, I was a part of the effort. I didn't—that was part of the reason for hiring APCO and to work with a trade association, is that it relieved me of the responsibility of doing that kind of work. You paid for it to be done by people who were experts in doing that kind of research.

AMY GOODMAN: But they were doing an investigation into him personally?

WENDELL POTTER: Well, absolutely. We knew as much about him probably as he knows about himself.

AMY GOODMAN: About his wife, about his kid, about—

WENDELL POTTER: Oh, yeah. You know, it's important to know everything that you might be able to use in some kind of a campaign against someone, to discredit them professionally and often personally.

AMY GOODMAN: And did you use that?

WENDELL POTTER: You use it if necessary.

The interview goes on as Potter reveals how his front group was able to get its talking points and smears into stories in the New York Times and CNN. It is a chilling look inside how easy it is to manipulate our mainstream media -- and just how worried the health insurance companies were that the American people might demand a true universal health care system.

In particular, Potter talks about how they may have succeeded in influencing CNN to run a factually untrue story about "Sicko" by its reporter, Sanjay Gupta (which led to my infamous encounter with Wolf Blitzer and later, an apology from CNN for getting their facts wrong).

Potter believes his work to defame "Sicko" succeeded, as the film didn't end up posting "Fahrenheit 9/11" grosses. To be clear, "Sicko" went on to become the 3rd largest grossing documentary of all time at that point. And as the release of "Sicko" in June of 2007 was the first time since the defeat of Hillary Clinton's healthcare bill in 1994 that the issue of health insurance was brought to the forefront of the national media, I believe it helped to reignite the issue during the 2008 election year by exposing millions of Americans to the truth about the health insurance industry. More than one person on Capitol Hill will admit that "Sicko" was a big help in rallying public support for the compromise bill that eventually passed earlier this year. But I agree, their smear campaign was effective and did create the dent they were hoping for -- single payer and the public option never even made it into the real discussion on the floor of Congress.

(There was really only one reason "Sicko" didn't sell as many tickets as "Fahrenheit" and that was because of a felony that was committed -- a felony that I will discuss for the first time on this site in the coming weeks or months ahead. Stay tuned.)

Please read or watch the entire interview with Wendell Potter. It's a fascinating peek behind the curtain of how corporate America really runs this country. And how if any of us get in their way, then those people must be stopped. It begs the question: Seeing how there's more of us than there are of them, how long will we let their takeover of our democracy continue?

God Bless the Ruling Class,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com

P.S. Over the next few days I will continue this examination of the Wendell Potter revelations on "Democracy Now" and in his new book. Please check in to my website.



Offline Curtis Metcalf

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Here is a link to that interview on Democracy Now!

I heard it when it was broadcast yesterday morning and it's jaw-dropping...
"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."
"Be hard on systems, but soft on people."

Offline Reginald Hudlin

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from MICHAEL MOORE:

Last Thoughts Before the Turkey Comes Calling ...a letter from Michael Moore

Thursday, November 25th, 2010

Friends,

As I head off for Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a final thought with you about this past week's news regarding the health care executives who sat around that table in Philadelphia four years ago and decided on a course of action to, if need be, "push Michael Moore off a cliff."

Having spent the week reading all their secret documents (and the book "Deadly Spin"), it's clear that there was something far more scary to these companies than me.

They were, in fact, scared of you. They were afraid YOU would end up pushing them over their own greedy cliff.

Yes, they spied on me and my family in the hopes of finding something with which to smear me and my film, "Sicko." Finding nothing (sorry, guys, I live a pretty boring life), they then resorted to the old chestnuts that have been hurled at me by General Motors, the Bush White House, the National Rifle Association and others since my first film 20 years ago, and they essentially boil down to this:

"Don't listen to him! He hates America! He hates our way of life! He's not telling you the truth! He plays fast and loose with it! Patriots, don't waste your good money to see his movie!"

And it's that last message that's at the epicenter of their biggest fear. Back in 2007, these health insurance companies believed that if you strolled inside a theater showing "Sicko", their golden goose would be cooked.

They knew, according to former health care exec and whistleblower Wendell Potter, that the truth was up there on that screen -- and the LAST thing they wanted was for millions of Americans to be exposed to it.

Why? Well, we need look no further than the document containing their own secret directive on how they should deal with the movie:

"[We Must] Prepare for the Worst Case...SiCKO evolves into a sustained populist movement."

There it is. Their biggest fear. Their "worst case" scenario. That YOU, the American public, would rise up against them. I wasn't their worst nightmare -- you were. Their own research and private polling showed that you were getting fed up with how they were screwing you, gouging you, ripping you off, denying you coverage and flat out just kicking you off the insurance. They knew, according to Potter, that they were killing 45,000 of you every year simply by denying you coverage.

We Americans don't like people who kill us. We're the kind of people who will throw billions of dollars and the mightiest military on earth at just one guy because he killed just 2,977 people. What would we do if we discovered who's killing 45,000 of us every year? How fast would we act to sever the head of that beast?

You don't need to answer that question because the executives of the country's health insurance conglomerates already know it -- it's their big "What If", followed by an even bigger "Holy sh*t." "What If the millions of average Joes and Janes ever got it together enough to bring us all down, to end our profiting off the misery of others? What If the citizenry one day begin electing representatives who couldn't be bought and who would end our for-profit health insurance racket?" Holy sh*t, indeed.

Yes, they feared that day more than anything else, and a movie coming out before a big election year with two popular Democrats pushing for some vague version of universal heath care was all that was needed to get Big Insurance to spend millions of dollars to attack me. These corporate kingpins knew they had pushed their luck too far and now they were worried that a movie -- a movie! -- could ignite a "populist movement."

All that money spent smearing me because they thought you would get up from your theater seat and start a revolution.

It's a great compliment to you. They fear the power you have. But that's 'cause they're good at math. They know there will always be more of us than there are of them. And unless they can repeal "one person, one vote," they know they are doomed. In the meantime they will try to maintain the power they have by buying off politicians, dumbing us down, distracting us with Dancing/Ice Skating/Drinking with the Stars and getting us so scared we'll acquiesce to having naked pictures taken of us at airports this Thanksgiving weekend. Over the river and through the body scan, to grandmother's house we go...

So let us give thanks today that the richest 1% begrudgingly know that we are still, on paper at least, in charge. It is, I believe, a glimmer of hope of what we could possibly accomplish in the coming new year.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Michael Moore
MMFlint@aol.com
MichaelMoore.com