Be careful about placing style above substance.

While I too happen to agree with Moore’s points, I have to disagree with weighing someone’s “personality” (and I’m not sure what, exactly, that means) rather than the substance of what they say. It suggests a lack of priorities I find dangerous on important issues of the day—we’re dealing with life and death issues when we talk about war and health care. We really don’t have time, nor is it in our best interest, to give people any excuse to dismiss an argument for being vaguely unpalatable. I thought Moore’s stridency was perfectly appropriate and I look forward to more of the same. The war machine and HMOs are quite strident when pushing their points, it’s time the rest of us framed issues plainly, directly, and without reservation.

To the extent anyone in the US supported the invasion and occupation of Iraq is due to the misinformation the corporate media fed them. Now the US public knows better and they aren’t fans of that war at all. The media were busy kissing administration ass instead of holding the government’s feet to the fire. The media have a duty to ask the tough questions and they reliably still don’t (note the lack of examination of proponents of war with Iran such as Senators Clinton and Obama; when Sen. Gravel points out the code talking in a debate, he is dismissed as a kook). We need more people to get the courage to call the corporate media on their lies and lack of apology. We know they can do it, look at how the New York Times (a leading proponent of war with Iraq during the run-up to the war) ran an exposé on Jayson Blair for some relatively unimportant lies. If the Times had any real pressure on them, they’d have to expose how Judith Miller lied about far more important issues on the Times’ front page.

Another problem: time in interviews. As Chomsky points out in “Manufacturing Consent”, restricting people’s time to short interviews and soundbites is another way to get people to reiterate the same old (invariably business-friendly) points you hear on corporate “news” all day every day—you don’t have time to say anything new or different. If a ten-minute segment is ever thought to be a gift, something is very wrong.

One such different point on health care, for instance, is one Moore explains in proper interviews with real journalists who aren’t embedded with corporations or government (such as his recent interview on Democracy Now! with Amy Goodman). Moore explains that “universal” health care isn’t good enough. We can have “universal” health care the way some US states have universal car insurance: simply legally require everyone to buy a plan with an insurance agency. What the US needs is single-payer universal health care, and HR676 (the Conyers/Kucinich health care plan) is a great step in that direction. The HMOs had their turn and they kill people. They need to go. American readers should require their Congresspeople to co-sponsor HR676 now.