As Revere points out, Michael Moore gave Sanjay Gupta a whomping. What I missed in the Moore-Gupta match, though, was the big picture. Basically, they argued over details: Gupta put together a “fact check” that claimed Moore fudged various numbers, while Moore showed that his numbers were legitimate. What appalled me, though, was the spin put on it, the spin that Gupta did not acknowledge.
Here’s the argument: Moore says the US spends something under $7000 per person per year on health care; Gupta says it’s ‘only’ something over $6000. Moore says Cuba spends $251 for the same thing; Gupta says it’s $229. Moore points out that we’re ranked 37th in the world for the quality of our health care system; Gupta claims Moore was hiding the fact that Cuba is 39th.
Look at the message CNN is sending. They are saying Moore is a sloppy researcher who is fudging his numbers, and giving ammunition to all the people who want to close their eyes and dismiss Moore’s movie and the problems in the American health care system. Moore is charging in and ably refuting the claims that his data isn’t backed up, but he’s fighting against CNN’s dishonest, sneaky, corrupt story.
Ignore the little variations in number: both cite different sources, accounting for the slight differences. Here’s the bottom line.
The US is spending several thousands of dollars where Cuba is spending a few hundreds of dollars to get roughly equivalent (that is, poor) healthcare.
Further, the media, including Sanjay Gupta, are mounting a spin campaign to cast doubt on the real problem and give cover to those who want to bury efforts to change the system.
Michael Moore sees that, although I don’t think he expressed it as well as he should. That’s where the outrage at CNN is coming from: this is a media outlet that sees their role as one of commissioning hatchet jobs on anyone who challenges the status quo, doing their best to hide an uncomfortable core of truth in a blizzard of irrelevant details. They will gladly paint Michael Moore as a truth-challenged liar on the basis of their selective reading of the facts, but give the Bush administration a complete pass on years of bloodshed and waste. They couldn’t even muster a single Gupta-style querulous whine against the lies behind the Iraq war.