Friday, March 12, 2010

Same Old Lies, Michael Moore Never Learns -- Do You? (A "Moorism" Refuted)

BEHAR: Well, there`s a difference between being trusting and being naive.

MOORE: Well, that`s, I`m just saying that`s the good side of the coin. The bad side of the coin is we have created a society of ignorant and illiterate people. Our schools have done this, our media has helped to contribute to this. We have 40 million adults in this country right now who are functional illiterates. That means they can`t read and write above a fourth grade-level. When you have a society that dumb, so to speak, that ignorant-

BEHAR: Well, ignorant, yeah.

MOORE: -that, well, dumb, I mean, dumb in the sense of-

BEHAR: Uneducated.

MOORE: -well, they`ve been kept that way.

BEHAR: Illiterate.

MOORE: I mean, it`s an enforced dumbness by a system that doesn`t value education that puts it low on the list of priorities. And I was just watching CNN here earlier today, and they had this guy on talking about this in terms of how the college tuition has gone up and kids, kids who come from the poor and working class, they were told to work hard in school all of these years and the ones who did, now they can`t afford to go to college.

BEHAR: Right.

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Michael Moore comes to mind first off. All his books are full of misstatements and misquotes put forward as truths. This is a great example he is still parroting:

According to Moore in his book Stupid White Men, “the entire nation is composed of morons”. He writes: “There are forty-four million Americans who cannot read and write above a fourth-grade level – in other words, who are functional illiterates. How did I learn this statistic? Well, I read it."

Moore should have read better. His endnotes attribute the figure to the U.S. Deptpartment of Education’s national Adult Literacy Survey. Yes, that survey found that 40-44 million Americans performed in the lowest level of literacy. But the survey doesn’t end there. In the next paragraph, it goes on to note that 25% of the people who scored in the lowest literacy category were immigrants who have learned little or no English. And in classic Moore fashion, he also fails to disclose that nearly 19% of the group he includes in the uneducated masses are actually people who have “visual difficulties that affect their ability to read print.”

Surprise: Functional English literacy is not high among the blind, and people learning to speak English may be highly educated, but only able to read their native language. This hardly makes the United States a nation that, writes Moore, “GOES OUT OF ITS WAY TO REMAIN IGNORANT AND STUPID” (capitalization in the original).

Just Two More Examples

  • Page 67 of Dude Where’s My Country: Moore claims that, in building the famous Maginot Line, France "built the bunkers facing the wrong way and Germans were deep into France before you could say 'garcon, stinky cheese, please!'" In fact, the Maginot Line was built with many of the heavy weapons facing back and to the flanks of the line, to allow the bunkers to support each other, and the German invasion avoided it entirely, coming through the Ardennes north of the line.
  • Page 69 of Dude Where’s My Country: Moore misrepresents US contributions to the United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq as "trade." He writes, "There were claims that the French were only opposing war to get economic benefits out of Saddam Hussein's Iraq. In fact, it was the Americans who were making a killing. In 2001, the U.S. was Iraq's leading trading partner, consuming more than 40 percent of Iraq's oil exports. That's $6 billion in trade with the Iraqi dictator." Most of the money, however, was used to purchase food and other UN-approved humanitarian aid; the rest went to pay war reparations and administrative fees for the program. (For details on the program, see this report to Congress.)

Some ~ Michael Moore ~ Links