Friday, July 20, 2007

Michael Moore on The Colbert Report

Stephen Colbert had two separate guests on Thursday night's program. The first, joining him at the anchor desk, was Michael Moore, the filmmaker who brought us Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and, most recently, Sicko. They talked about Moore's recent dust-up with CNN regarding their coverage of this film.

[video no longer available on]

Here's the transcript: source material ©2007 Comedy Central
Stephen Colbert: Loyal viewers of the Report know that there's no love lost between me and CNN. They are worse than The New York Times, because I cannot line my bird cage with tapes of The Situation Room. I've tried: it's not absorbent. But I've recently discovered in my disdain for CNN, I have a strange bedfellow: Michael Moore, who for the past week has gone toe-to-toe with CNN over the facts of his new healthcare documentary Sicko. You see, CNN correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta filed a report called "A Sicko Reality Check" in which he claimed Moore misrepresented the facts.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN: Moore asserts that the American healthcare system spends $7,000 per person on health, whereas Cuba spends $25 per person — not true!
Colbert: Ouch! nothing hurts box office like a thumbs down from Gupta. Of course, he is a doctor, so you really don't want a thumbs up. Anyway, it all came to a head a few days later when Moore met Sanjay mano-a-Gupta, in what I call the Thunderdome, but some call Larry King Live.
Michael Moore: They've known now, since June 28, that all their facts are wrong. I have the e-mail right here. Here it is, right here, here's to your producer.

Larry King: Okay, now hold it right there. I believe you. Hold on just a sec. I'm sure he's going to — hold on, Mike. Hold on! Hold on!
Colbert: Hold on! Hold it! Someone explain what e-mail is to Larry King; it frightens him. He thinks he's making a kinescope. Anyway, Moore demanded an apology; well, look at this statement from CNN: "In our original report, we made one mistake..." Whoo!! CNN admits it is a web of lies! Now, I'm no fan of Michael Moore; Fahrenheit 9/11 demoralized our troops, Roger & Me destroyed the auto industry. He is a mendacious, muckraking, loudmouth bully who pulls cheap stunts to publicly humiliate our country, and he is a terrible dresser. Joining me now is filmmaker Michael Moore. [applause] Thank you so much. [applause] [to audience:] Now, thank you, thank you, save some of the applause for the guests. It's no secret: I'm no fan, okay, but the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and you really kicked CNN in the Blitzer on this one. How did it feel to take 'em down?

Moore: Good.

Colbert: It felt really good?

Moore: Yeah, because they're not used to anybody standing up to them.

Colbert: No, they've got a stranglehold on that tiny slice of cable.

Moore: Right — well, they and you, so don't sell yourself short here.

Colbert: I wouldn't. You know, you are not exactly a fan of America's helathcare system; that's what I understand. I haven't seen the movie and I don't plan to.

Moore: Stay ignorant.

Colbert: But why not? Is it because it's a free-market system? Is that a problem for you?

Moore: Yes, that's exactly the problem. Profit should have no business in our healthcare system.

Colbert: But that's why it's called the medical business. You go to the doctor shop.

Moore: Exactly. Right. And the doctor, before the doctor can treat you, has to call an insurance man sitting in a cubicle a thousand miles away and ask for permission as to whether or not he can help you. That's a crazy system.

Colbert: You know, speaking of "a thousand miles away," I'm not comfortable being this close to you. Jimmy, can we put him via satellite instead? [switch to split screen, Moore on the left, Colbert on the right] All right.

Moore: Where am I?

Colbert: You're in Flint, Michigan right now. Actually, that's not far enough away; can we get him further? Okay, that's better: Flint, Brazil; Flint, Brazil. That's better. Now, you said this when you were on with [Wolf] Blitzer: "That report was so biased, I can't imagine what pharmaceutical companies' ads are coming up right after our break here." What's wrong with that? Should pharmaceutical companies not advertise? Do we not get to know what's going to cure our Restless Leg Syndrome?

Moore: It's — I —

Colbert: What's wrong with that, man?

Moore: I'm sorry; when you said "restless leg," I was thinking back to your endorsement of the penis enlargement pill.

Colbert: Very restless. Wandering — a wandering leg.

Moore: I understand.

Colbert: So, why can't we — this is a free-market economy. Why can't they advertise on CNN? What's so bad about that?

Moore: Well, they can; I just want people to realize that that network, like most of the news — not just CNN, but all the broadcast news — there's a drug ad, every other ad, every night, telling their story, pushing their product, and so they're funded by these people and they don't dare go against what they want to have happen, and so I come along with my film and, for a couple of hours I'm saying, "Here's the other side of the story that you're not being told on the nightly news."

Colbert: But a pharmaceutical company pays for the time of the nightly news. They get to own that time. They own Wolf Blitzer's ass for that period of time.

Moore: Yes, that is correct.

Colbert: I am proudly owned by my sponsors. (Yes.) I will never say one thing against the Pasta Pro™ pasta strainer.

Moore: Right. And that's why you'll have a long and successful career.

Colbert: Good.

Moore: And so, your point is ... ?

Colbert: That I have a healthy relationship with my sponsors. (Yes, and —) And that's how TV works.

Moore: In other words, it's not really about telling the truth.

Colbert: No, we are selling things.

Moore: Why didn't I get that memo?

Colbert: I don't know — 'cause you make films.

Moore: Oh. Maybe that's it.

Colbert: No, but you want to see everybody have healthcare, right?

Moore: Absolutely. Every American.

Colbert: 45 million Americans don't have healthcare right now — they don't have health insurance. (That's right.) But you're not going to make 45 million more doctors. The waiting rooms are going to be crammed with these people. How many hours of Highlights magazine am I supposed to read?

Moore: Right. That's why we don't have, maybe, as long of a wait that you have in other countries, because we've removed 45 million people from the line, and so those who have healthcare sometimes get in before those who don't, but —

Colbert: I think the people who have healthcare in America are just what I call "Premium Citizens."

Moore: Uh-huh, right, and a gold card.

Colbert: Exactly. You've got healthcare, right? I've got great healthcare.

Moore: We're union members.

Colbert: Yeah, we're both Premium Members.

Moore: Right, there you go.

Colbert: Wow! That is a long handshake, all the way from Brazil.

Moore: Well, that's the long reach of your show!

Colbert: One Premium Member to another: you went to Cuba, right?

Moore: Yes, sir.

Colbert: Well, that's illegal. Put him in jail, Jimmy. [prison bar graphic superimposed on Moore]

Moore: Aaah!

Colbert: Michael Moore, everybody; we'll be right back.
It's difficult to argue that America has the best possible healthcare system in the whole world when 45 million people have no coverage at all. By the way, Gupta's $25 number was completely bogus: in Sicko, Moore uses the figure of $251, which is correct. The $7,000 that Gupta disputed — claiming Moore should have used the figure of $5,700 — is actually $7,498, per the latest official stats.

Some other transcripts you might want to check out...

Inside Iraq
on Al Jazeera EnglishThe Daily Show with Jon StewartReal Time with Bill Maher

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