Saturday, July 14, 2007

Love, Michael Moore

An Open Letter to CNN from Michael Moore

7/14/07

Dear CNN,

Well, the week is over -- and still no apology, no retraction, no correction of your glaring mistakes.

I bet you thought my dust-up with Wolf Blitzer was just a cool ratings coup, that you really wouldn't have to correct the false statements you made about "Sicko." I bet you thought I was just going to go quietly away.

Think again. I'm about to become your worst nightmare. 'Cause I ain't ever going away. Not until you set the record straight, and apologize to your viewers. "The Most Trusted Name in News?" I think it's safe to say you can retire that slogan.

You have an occasional segment called "Keeping Them Honest." But who keeps you honest? After what the public saw with your report on "Sicko," and how many inaccuracies that report contained, how can anyone believe anything you say on your network? In the old days, before the Internet, you could get away with it. Your victims had no way to set the record straight, to show the viewers how you had misrepresented the truth. But now, we can post the truth -- and back it up with evidence and facts -- on the web, for all to see. And boy, judging from the mail both you and I have been receiving, the evidence I have posted on my site about your "Sicko" piece has led millions now to question your honesty.

I won't waste your time rehashing your errors. You know what they are. What I want to do is help you come clean. Admit you were wrong. What is the shame in that? We all make mistakes. I know it's hard to admit it when you've screwed up, but it's also liberating and cathartic. It not only makes you a better person, it helps prevent you from screwing up again. Imagine how many people will be drawn to a network that says, "We made a mistake. We're human. We're sorry. We will make mistakes in the future -- but we will always correct them so that you know you can trust us." Now, how hard would that really be?

As you know, I hold no personal animosity against you or any of your staff. You and your parent company have been very good to me over the years. You distributed my first film, "Roger & Me" and you published "Dude, Where's My Country?" Larry King has had me on twice in the last two weeks. I couldn't ask for better treatment.

That's why I was so stunned when you let a doctor who knows a lot about brain surgery -- but apparently very little about public policy -- do a "fact check" story, not on the medical issues in "Sicko," but rather on the economic and political information in the film. Is this why there has been a delay in your apology, because you are trying to get a DOCTOR to say he was wrong? Please tell him not to worry, no one is filing a malpractice claim against him. Dr. Gupta does excellent and compassionate stories on CNN about people's health and how we can take better care of ourselves. But when it came time to discuss universal health care, he rushed together a bunch of sloppy -- and old -- research. When his producer called us about his report the day before it aired, we sent to her, in an email, all the evidence so that he wouldn't make any mistakes on air. He chose to ignore ALL the evidence, and ran with all his falsehoods -- even though he had been given the facts a full day before! How could that happen? And now, for 5 days, I have posted on my website, for all to see, every mistake and error he made.

You, on the other hand, in the face of this overwhelming evidence and a huge public backlash, have chosen to remain silent, probably praying and hoping this will all go away.

Well it isn't. We are now going to start looking into the veracity of other reports you have aired on other topics. Nothing you say now can be believed. In 2002, the New York Times busted you for bringing celebrities on your shows and not telling your viewers they were paid spokespeople for the pharmaceutical companies. You promised never to do it again. But there you were, in 2005, talking to Joe Theismann, on air, as he pushed some drug company-sponsored website on prostate health. You said nothing about about his affiliation with GlaxoSmithKline.

Clearly, no one is keeping you honest, so I guess I'm going to have to do that job, too. $1.5 billion is spent each year by the drug companies on ads on CNN and the other four networks. I'm sure that has nothing to do with any of this. After all, if someone gave me $1.5 billion, I have to admit, I might say a kind word or two about them. Who wouldn't?!

I expect CNN to put this matter to rest. Say you're sorry and correct your story -- like any good journalist would.

Then we can get back to more important things. Like a REAL discussion about our broken health care system. Everything else is a distraction from what really matters.

Yours,
Michael Moore
mmflint@aol.com
www.michaelmoore.com

P.S. If you also want to apologize for not doing your job at the start of the Iraq War, I'm sure most Americans would be very happy to accept your apology. You and the other networks were willing partners with Bush, flying flags all over the TV screens and never asking the hard questions that you should have asked. You might have prevented a war. You might have saved the lives of those 3,610 soldiers who are no longer with us. Instead, you blew air kisses at a commander in chief who clearly was making it all up. Millions of us knew that -- why didn't you? I think you did. And, in my opinion, that makes you responsible for this war. Instead of doing the job the founding fathers wanted you to do -- keeping those in power honest (that's why they made it the FIRST amendment) -- you and much of the media went on the attack against the few public figures like myself who dared to question the nightmare we were about to enter. You've never thanked me or the Dixie Chicks or Al Gore for doing your job for you. That's OK. Just tell the truth from this point on.
*****

Guess I'd better let you know I am on the Michael Moore mailing list and that's where I got this. It was in an email I received today.

Score one, MM!

22 comentarios:

tink said...

Wow! I'm not sure what to say yet!

Anonymous said...

Get on a treadmill Michael Moore!

KYOKO said...

He needs to take a Prozak.

Christiane said...

CNN have been very loose with their fact checking lately. Loose? No. LAUSY!

A Keeping CNN Honest by Moore would be something I would definitively watch!

courtney01 said...

Come on! Surely you guys can do better than just posting personal attacks against Michael Moore!

What about his comments about the war? And what he's saying about CNN lying to us?

Suzanne said...

A superbly written letter and one that CNN ought to address. I did read somewhere that Dr. Gupta admitted there was "an" error in his report; I did not realize it was numerous errors.

I thought Sicko was long past coming and was very grateful to M. Moore for making it. And I expected it to be trashed by the media - Moore's films always are even when they turn out to be right.

His letter did not rant; it did not yell; it was a concise summation of the situation and a call to a network to correct a mistake visibly instead of hiding it in a small press release that no one would see. And he did acknowledge if you read that far that CNN had treated him very nicely in the past and he thanked them.

I'd like to see CNN respond - positively or negatively but respond. No name calling, no hedging, just truth.....if anyone knows what that is anymore.

Anonymous said...

Michael and his movie are 100% on target. However, IMO he comes off a little arrogant and defensive in his letter. Hopefully, CNN will acknowledge the letter but I bet they won't.

jen said...

MM needs to take a lesson from Rosie O'Donnel and "filter" himself.

Anonymous said...

This is America and everyone is entitled to voice their opinion.

Anne said...

I'm glad Moore wrote the letter. If CNN is going to expect its viewers to believe they are a credible news source, then they should acknowledge and correct mistakes that are brought to their attention. I figure they'll ignore the letter though, and move on the next ratings-generator.

Anonymous said...

I don't agree with Michael Moore, but I do like that he voices his opinions and puts topics out there that are a problem, bringing them to light and causing debate.

The fact that so many Americans, myself included, cannot afford medical insurance. I am a single mother and work my tail end off and at the end of the day come up short. Michael Moore may be wacked, but I do like that he made this movie, now everyone is talking about it, debating it, and perhaps something might be done.

He is free to express his opinions and that is what is great about America.

Anonymous said...

CNN did respond, it's on CNN.com

http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Movies/07/15/moore.gupta/index.html

ivy said...

@12:02

what exactly don't you agree with Moore about -- his reaction to the Gupta's piece or his political views? Those critisizing him in regards to the latest movie or anything related to it should see Sicko first. I'm not a huge fan of Moore but Sicko is a MUST-SEE. Many draw conlusions from the "hit" pieces like Gupta's that lie about a movie and aim at those who haven't seen it yet to convince them not go see it at all.

Gupta's report seriously undermined his credibility. First of all, when you accuse somebody of "fudging the facts" you can't afford factual mistakes yourself. Secondly, there's such thing as twisting facts. Moore's anger about it was righteous, 'cause that's what Sanjay did throughout the whole report. Like nitpicking about longer wait times in a certain country for a certain procedure ommiting the overall reality -THAT is fudging facts. Gupta tried to make believe Sicko didn't talk about high taxes and profit medicine in countries with socialized medicine. Sicko did address that issue. And different mentality in societies where people think those who are well-off should support less fortunate ones, sooner or later everybody in their life will need healthcare. Those who can afford more can have more benefits but EVERYBODY needs to have ACCESS to free healthcare. And that is totally not the idea of the movie you'll get if you see repots like Sanjays.

ivy said...

@courtney

Thanks for posting Moore letter! I'ts nicer then I thought it'd be, I'm glad Moore kept it respectful and on point. Somebody has to keep CNN honest -) Sanjay got slammed on some blogs, and got a "reality check" on hismelf in this post

Anonymous said...

CNN's response to Michael Moore

In response to a letter Michael Moore wrote about CNN's reporting on his documentary "SiCKO," a CNN spokesperson released the following statement:

"It's ironic that someone who has made a career out of holding powerful interests accountable is so sensitive to having his own work held up to the light by impartial journalists, as we did in our examination of 'SiCKO,' " the spokesperson said.

"In our original report, we made one mistake, which we apologized for and corrected on air and online six days ago, despite Mr. Moore's claim yesterday in his letter to us. Further, the e-mail Mr. Moore released in an effort to cast doubt on our reporting does no such thing.

"We appreciate Mr. Moore's attention to the important subject of health care and have featured him on CNN four times to discuss his movie and our reporting on it. While Mr. Moore may want to continue the discussion in order to drive publicity to his movie, we have presented the facts and are comfortable letting the viewers judge for themselves.

"We have zero vested interest in shading the numbers to tell a certain story. Suggesting otherwise, of Dr. Gupta or of CNN, just doesn't hold water," the spokesperson concluded.

CNN has always prided itself on balanced reporting of claims made by special-interest groups. Moore's documentary "SiCKO," which makes an impassioned case for a complete overhaul of the U.S. health care system, was not exempt from that reporting.

Moore recently posted and open letter and two so-called "Truth Squad" statements on his Web site. This document responds to the specific points Moore lays out:

POINT NO. 1:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN: "(Moore says) the United States slipped to number 37 in the world's health care systems. It's true. ... Moore brings a group of patients, including 9/11 workers, to Cuba and marvels at their free treatment and quality of care. But hold on -- that (World Health Organization) list puts Cuba's health care system even lower than the United States, coming in at No. 39."

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

"But hold on? 'SiCKO' clearly shows the WHO list with the United States at number No. 37 and Cuba at No. 39. Right up on the screen in big 5-foot letters. It's even in the trailer! CNN should have its reporter see his eye doctor. The movie isn't hiding from this fact. Just the opposite.

CNN RESPONSE:

Moore appears unhappy with Gupta's use of the phrase, "But hold on."

Moore appears to be creating an issue where none exists.

Gupta and Moore agree that the U.S. ranks 37th and Cuba ranks 39th on a WHO report. Gupta in his fact check says this is true.

And Gupta never said Moore didn't convey that Cuba was 39th, even though the verbal emphasis at that point in the movie is a comparison between the United States and Slovenia.

POINT NO. 2:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

CNN: "Moore asserts that the American health care system spends $7,000 per person on health. Cuba spends $25 dollars per person. Not true. But not too far off. The United States spends $6,096 per person, versus $229 per person in Cuba."

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

According to our own government -- the Department of Health and Human Services' National Health Expenditures Projections -- the United States will spend $7,092 per capita on health in 2006 and $7,498 in 2007 (Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures, National Health Expenditures Projections 2006-2016).

As for Cuba -- Dr. Gupta and CNN need to watch "SiCKO" first before commenting on it. "SiCKO" says Cuba spends $251 per person on health care, not $25, as Gupta reports. And the BBC reports that Cuba's per capita health expenditure is... $251! (Keeping Cuba Healthy, BBC, August 1 2006). This is confirmed by the United Nations Human Development Report, 2006. Yup, Cuba spends $251 per person on health care. As Gupta points out, the World Health Organization does calculate Cuba's per capita health expenditure at $229 per person. We chose to use the U.N. numbers, a minor difference - and $229 is a lot closer to $251 than $25.

CNN RESPONSE:

CNN has corrected and apologized for an error in transcription in our report. We did so on television and online.

CNN had said that in the film Moore reported Cuba spends $25 per person for health care when the film actually reported that number to be $251. We regret that mistake.

However, we originally fact checked Moore's reporting because he uses numbers for each country from different reports and he compares a number that describes actual spending to a projection from another source.

He sources his number from Cuba to a BBC report. In that same BBC report, the number cited for U.S. spending is $5,711. Moore doesn't use that number, but instead a higher number found in another report (as cited by Moore above) from the Department of Health and Human Services' National Health Expenditures Projections. That projection is that the United States will spend $7,092 per capita on health in 2006 and $7,498 in 2007 (Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures, National Health Expenditures Projections 2006-2016). Actual numbers for the years 2006 and 2007 are not yet available, which is why CNN could not use them.

We believe the most accurate comparison of statistics comes from analysis of numbers from the same report and the same year.

CNN used the WHO's World Health Statistics 2007 report for both the Cuban and U.S. data. That report uses the latest information on actual dollars spent, in this case from the year 2005. These summaries of actual expenditures -- not projections -- reported by CNN are: Cuba-$229, U.S.-$6,096.

Both of these numbers come from the same report and provide consistency under statistical analysis.

The only controversy here is within Moore's numbers. Moore uses $251 to describe Cuban health care spending in his movie, but when CNN e-mailed Moore's production company to verify numbers, his own staffer e-mailed back that $229 was the correct number.

As Gupta said, CNN's numbers and Moore's numbers aren't far off, but we believe ours are a fairer comparison.

POINT NO. 3:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

CNN: In fact, Americans live just a little bit longer than Cubans on average.

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

Just the opposite. The 2006 United Nations Human Development Report's human development index states the life expectancy in the United States is 77.5 years. It is 77.6 years in Cuba (Human Development Report 2006, United Nations Development Programme, 2006 at 283).

CNN RESPONSE:

Moore cites the 2006 United Nations Human Development Index, which uses life expectancy data from 2004. CNN relied on the 2007 World Health Organization report, which uses life expectancy data from 2005. That data shows Americans with a life expectancy of 77.9 years and Cubans with a life expectancy of 77.2 years.

The 2005 data is available online at:

http://www.who.int/whosis/database/life_tables/life_tables.cfm

POINT NO. 4:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

CNN: The United States ranks highest in patient satisfaction.

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

True, but even when the WHO took patient satisfaction into account in its comprehensive review of the world's health systems, we still came in at No. 37 ("World Health Organization Assesses The World's Health Systems," Press Release, WHO/44, June 21, 2000).

Patients may be satisfied in America, but not everyone gets to be a patient. Forty-seven million are uninsured and are rarely patients -- until it's too late. In the rest of the Western world, everyone and anyone can be a patient because everyone is covered (And don't face exclusions for pre-existing conditions, co-pays, deductibles and costly monthly premiums).

It's not that other countries are unhappy with their health care -- for example, "70 to 80 percent of Canadians find their waiting times acceptable." ("Access to health care services in Canada, waiting times for specialized services [January to December 2005]).

CNN RESPONSE:

Moore does not seem to have an issue with CNN's report on this point. Here's what Gupta actually said on the air:

"SiCKO" Film clip: "The United States slipped to No. 37 in the world's healthcare systems..."

Gupta: "It's true. Thirty-seven is the ranking according to the World Health Organization's latest data on 191 countries. It's based on general health level, patient satisfaction, access and how it's paid for. France tops the list. Italy and Spain make it into the top 10. The United Kingdom is 18."

Again, Moore seems to be creating controversy where none exists.

POINT NO. 5:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

CNN: Americans have shorter wait times than everyone but Germans when seeking non-emergency elective procedures, like hip replacement, cataract surgery, or knee repair.

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

This isn't the whole truth. CNN pulled out a statistic about elective procedures. Of the six countries surveyed in that study -- United States, Canada, New Zealand, UK, Germany, Australia -- only Canada had longer waiting times than America for sick adults waiting to schedule a doctor's appointment for a medical problem. Eighty-one percent of patients in New Zealand got a same or next-day appointment for a non-routine visit, 71 percent in Britain, 69 percent in Germany, 66 percent in Australia, 47 percent in the U.S. and 36 percent in Canada ("The Doc's In, but It'll Be a While," Catherine Arnst, Business Week, June 22, 2007).

"Gerard Anderson, a Johns Hopkins health policy professor who has spent his career examining the world's health care, said there are delays, but not as many as conservatives state. In Canada, the United Kingdom and France, '3 percent of hospital discharges had delays in treatment,' Anderson told The Miami Herald. 'That's a relatively small number, and they're all elective surgeries, such as hip and knee replacement.' " (John Dorschner, 'SiCKO' film is set to spark debate; Reformers are gearing up for 'SiCKO,' the first major movie to examine America's often-maligned health care system," The Miami Herald, June 29, 2007).

One way America is able to achieve decent waiting times is that it leaves 47 million people out of the health care system entirely, unlike any other Western country. When you remove 47 million people from the line, your wait should be shorter. So why is the U.S. second to last in wait times?

And there are even more Americans who keep themselves out of the system because of cost - in the United States, 24 percent of the population did not get medical care due to cost. That number is 5 percent in Canada and 3 percent in the UK (Inequities in Health Care: A Five-Country Survey. Robert Blendon et al, Health Affairs. Exhibit 5).

CNN RESPONSE:

We believe our example of so-called "elective" procedures such as hip replacement and cataract surgery is accurate and is helpful information. More than 400,000 Americans have hip or knee replacements each year in the U.S. (http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/arthritis/jointrep.htm). By age 80, half of all Americans either suffer from a cataract or have had cataract surgery (http://www.nei.nih.gov/health/cataract/cataract_facts.asp).

POINT NO. 6:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

CNN: (PAUL KECKLEY-Deloitte Health Care Analyst): "The concept that care is free in France, in Canada, in Cuba -- and it's not. Those citizens pay for health services out of taxes. As a proportion of their household income, it's a significant number ... (GUPTA): It's true that the French pay higher taxes, and so does nearly every country ahead of the United States on that list."

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

"SiCKO" never claims that health care is provided absolutely for free in other countries without tax contributions from citizens. Former (member of the British Parliament) Tony Benn reads from the NHS founding pamphlet, which explicitly states that "this is not a charity. You are paying for it mainly as taxpayers." "SiCKO" also acknowledges that the French are "drowning in taxes." Comparatively, many Americans are drowning in insurance premiums, deductibles, co-pays and medical debt and the resulting threat of bankruptcy -- half of all bankruptcies in the United States are triggered by medical bills (Medical Bills Make up Half of Bankruptcies, February 2005, MSNBC).

CNN RESPONSE:

On Moore's Web site "Prescription for Change" (http://www.michaelmoore.com/sicko/health-care-proposal), item one is a call that "Every resident of the United States must have free, universal health care for life."

One of Gupta's overall critiques of the film is that Moore leaves viewers with an impression, as he does on his Web site, that universal health care comes without cost. In fact, substantial taxes are required to pay for such programs around the world.

POINT NO. 7:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

CNN: "But even higher taxes don't guarantee the coverage everyone wants ... (KECKLEY): 15 to 20 percent of the population will purchase services outside the system of care run by the government."

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

It's not clear what country Keckley is referring to. In the United Kingdom, only 11.5 percent of the population has supplementary insurance, but it doesn't take the place of NHS insurance. Nobody in France buys insurance that replaces government insurance either, although a substantial amount buys some form of complementary insurance (Private health insurance and access to health care in the European Union. Spring 2004).

CNN RESPONSE:

The very same newsletter cited by Moore points out that complementary insurance "provides cover for services excluded or not fully covered by the state." The rates cited for complementary insurance in that newsletter show 85 percent of the French buys such policies, 9 percent of the Germans, 45 percent of the Irish, and 15.6 percent of the Italians. In Britain, 11.6 percent buy supplementary health insurance, which the newsletter says provides "cover for faster access and increased consumer choice."

POINT NO. 8:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

CNN: "But no matter how much Moore fudged the facts, and he did fudge some facts..."

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

This is libel. There is not a single fact that is "fudged" in the film. No one has proven a single fact in the film wrong. We expect CNN to correct their mistakes on the air and to apologize to their viewers.

CNN RESPONSE:

Gupta believes picking and comparing numbers from different places and times to suit an argument is not the best approach to a complicated issue like this one. Again, as pointed out earlier, by mixing types of data and time periods in some of Moore's comparisons, Gupta felt that the film effectively fudged points that could have been made just as compellingly by comparing data from the same source and time period.

POINT NO. 9:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

GUPTA: "Well, I mean, he pulls $251 from this BBC unsourced report ... Where you pulled the $251 number was a BBC report, which, by the way, stated that the per capita spending in the United States was $5,700. You chose not to use the $5,700 from one report and chose to go to a totally different report and you're sort of cherry picking data from different reports ... Well, why didn't you use the $5,700 number from the BBC report?"

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

Actually, the number "SiCKO" cited for per-capita Cuban spending on health care -- $251, a number widely cited by the BBC and other outlets -- comes from the United Nations Human Development Report, helpfully linked on our Web site. Here it is again: http://hdr.undp.org/hdr2006/statistics/indicators/52.html.

That U.N. report does list American health care spending as only $5,700, but it's a few years old. Since then, the U.S. government has updated its projections for health care spending, to $7,498 in 2007. So we used that number. It's the most recent, and comes right from the Department of Health and Human Services. If the Cuban government gave a figure on 2007 projected health spending, we'd have used it.

CNN RESPONSE:

To reiterate, we believe numbers should be compared apples to apples, oranges to oranges. Moore himself says the data he's citing from the U.N. Development Programme is dated. Consistency is important in statistical analysis and is not present in Moore's comparison.

POINT NO. 10:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

GUPTA: "Medicare is going to go bankrupt by 2019, and is going to be $28 trillion in debt by 2075 ... Look, I believe the very measure of a great society is in how we take care of those who cannot take care of themselves. But would you say that this is going to be still a working system 20 years from now?"

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

Medicare indeed has enough money to cover all seniors until 2019. At that time, it will simply need more funding. That shouldn't be hard to find in a nation spending trillions of dollars to invade other countries.

Medicare is not in trouble because it is socialized medicine. Medicare faces the same economic problem private health plans do -- health care inflation is out of control, far outpacing inflation for other goods and services. And in fact, Medicare is much more efficient at dealing with this inflation than is private insurance. According to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Table 13), per beneficiary costs have risen in nominal dollars by 519.5 percent since 1980. By contrast, the cost per enrollee of private insurance has risen by 676.6 percent over this same period. So Gupta should instead be pointing his finger at the inefficiency of private insurance (Social Security and Medicare Myths, Lies, and Realities. Institute for America's Future and "Gupta Says Medicare is Going Bankrupt," Dean Baker, Beat the Press) blog).

There is a clear way to make our health economy more efficient. We waste $400 billion dollars per year administering our mess of a private, profit-driven system. The answer is switching to a single-payer, Medicare-style system and taking absurd profits and administrative costs out of the equation (Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H., Terry Campbell, M.H.A., and David U. Himmelstein, M.D., Costs of Health Care Administration, N Engl J Med 2003;349:768-75 ).

CNN RESPONSE:

Again, Moore seems to be creating controversy where there is none. Moore agrees with Dr. Gupta's reporting that Medicare solvency is only assured until 2019.

POINT NO. 11:

FROM MOORE'S WEB SITE:

GUPTA: (On the lone expert shown in the original piece, Paul Keckley). "His only affiliation is with Vanderbilt University. We checked it, Michael. We checked his conflict of interest. We do ask those questions."

"The Truth" (from Michael Moore's Web site):

Keckley left Vanderbilt in October 2006 to become the executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. The chyron on CNN even notes his new position ("Vandy administrator to head Deloitte research center," Nashville Business Journal. November 1, 2006).

The independent chairman of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions is Tommy Thompson, who was George W. Bush's Health and Human Services Secretary from 2001 to 2005 and is currently running for president as a Republican ("Meet Tommy G. Thompson," Deloitte Center for Health Solutions).

Keckley has made large contributions to Republican candidates and organizations. He gave $1,000 to GOP Senator Bob Corker in 2006, $1,000 to the Tennessee GOP in 2002, along with $1,500 to two GOP congressional candidates and $1,000 to the Tennessee GOP in 2000 (www.fecinfo.com).

Keckley was also the CEO and Founder of EBM Solutions Inc., of Nashville, Tennessee, which counted among its customers Blue Cross of Tennessee, the drug company Aventis and others. Considering Keckley makes his living in the for-profit health care world -- a world "SiCKO" argues should be abolished -- viewers should have been told exactly where Keckley was coming from.

CNN RESPONSE:

Moore is correct. Paul Keckley left Vanderbilt in late 2006. That is the affiliation Gupta referenced on "Larry King Live." In addition, CNN obtained the following details about Paul Keckley from his current employer, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions:

"The original CNN report accurately described Paul Keckley's role as a Deloitte health care expert. Keckley is executive director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions. He left Vanderbilt University in October 2006 to take this new position.

"The comments by Keckley in the CNN interview were factual, neutral and descriptive. The accuracy of his balanced comments in the broadcast has not been challenged.

"Neither the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions nor Paul Keckley has a political or ideological agenda. The center's mission is to develop innovative, practical and workable solutions to systemic issues of the U.S. health system. As such, it embraces a diversity of viewpoints that transcend easy labels.

"Keckley as an individual and Deloitte as an organization operate under rigorous rules, government regulations and professional standards designed to ensure his and our independence.

"The center has been an active participant in the national dialogue about the critical challenge America faces to preserve the best that our health care system delivers -- while at the same time seeking ways to provide coverage for the uninsured, promote wellness and prevention, deploy more effective information technology to improve patient outcomes, and reduce soaring health care costs.

"One example of how the Deloitte Center's approach is a report issued in late 2006 titled, 'The Catalyst for Health Care Reform: Providing More Choices and Innovation to Heal the U.S. Health Care Financing System.' In addition to providing a thoughtful and comprehensive overview of the key issues, it presented one possible, innovative approach to solving health care coverage for America's [46] million uninsured citizens. It reflects the serious, thoughtful and independent nature of the Deloitte Center.

'Keckley does not maintain any professional or financial ties to Aventis or Blue Cross. From 1998-2002, Keckley did serve as CEO of EBM Solutions, a private company formed by researchers from Vanderbilt, Duke, Emory, Washington University and Oregon Health Sciences University. EBM developed and licensed evidence-based guidelines to 32 hospitals, medical groups, insurance companies and drug companies during this period. Among those licensing these guidelines were Aventis and Blue Cross of Tennessee.

CONCLUSION

CNN has long been committed to covering health care issues in the United States and around the world. During the same period that Michael Moore has been working on his movie, CNN has aired hours and hours of health care related reporting. Topics included: lack of insurance, under-insurance, quality of care, access to care, problems with drugs and inappropriate ties between drug companies and lawmakers. Just this week, CNN aired a second investigative piece on hospitals that dump homeless patients onto Los Angeles' skid row.

Gupta lives with the painful problems of the health care industry every day. He is a practicing physician, serving as a neurosurgeon for the past five years at a large indigent-care hospital. His experience as a White House fellow gave him a deep understanding of the political issues surrounding health care reform. For the last six years, Gupta has also worked as a journalist whose reporting on health care and health care issues is widely recognized for its objectivity and care.

We have laid out the facts, plain and simple.

Suzanne said...

That sure is a long response and not plain and simple. A long litany of relatively minor points. If CNN wants to claim an impartial review of Sicko they should get a reporter other than their resident medical doctor who would not benefit from a national health insurance policy to review it.

An auditor would cite CNN for the appearance of a conflict of interest just on that point alone.

And the claim that you only use one source for something is somewhat incredulous. I've done a lot of research in my career and was trained in it and one of the first no-nos was using just one source of info; you use many and compare and then choose the best.

I don't think CNN did anything with their letter but make themselves look like the government trying to placate their critics.

As far as saying Moore is using this to get more publicity last I heard Sicko was doing quite well and doesn't need the publicity. Nice try CNN but next time make it shorter and don't make wild accusations. Lot of assumptions in there that you didn't back up with facts - you know - find the facts and let them speak for themselves....where did we hear that one??

Sarah said...

Suzanne,
I agree with you here. As much as I may like Sanjay Gupta, he has a big conflict of interest here and CNN should not have had him do that story. He will never admit that the American healthcare system is in serious trouble beacuse that's part of his bread & butter.

ivy said...

@7:44 -thank you for posting this, I have never visited Moore's website and didn't read cnn responce yet. And their reposince only proves what I said before about playing with facts, and they're still on it.

@ Suzanne - agree, it's not at all "plain and simple"
Some of Cnn responces made my blood boil, they are an assault on my logic.

courtney01 said...

CNN's response is typical. They're upset that anyone would call their credibility into question. Personally, I've stopped listening to most things reported by the so-called major media--at least American sources. My disgust with CNN and other "news" outlets came to a point with the Anna Nicole Smith debacle and I've yet to gain any respect I had for them--especially now with their response to Michael Moore's letter.

They're simply government and corporate shills, out to sell a product and lull the American public into complacency.

Anonymous said...

Gupta DID say the health system was in serious trouble in the original report and on Larry King. And I think CNN was about as clear as they could be considering that this is all dealing with multiple different statistical matters and what not and they are trying to be exact and comprehensive in response.

Gupta was the obvious CNN person to do the report as he has a special knowledge of medicine and working experience the area. It would be problematic in my view if they tried to hide the fact he is a doctor and thus benefits from the present system. Even so, I'm sure he makes plenty from CNN and could try relocating to another country if he's desperate for higher pay for his medical services (that's what a lot of our talented Canadian medical students do - dash south of the border for the better equipment, lesser regulation and higher pay).

I didn't see anything upsetting about Gupta's report, and I'm a Canadian who would be buried before I accepted the US health system. He was tasked with checking for accuracy because, as Anderson said in the intro, some people have accused Moore of sketchy tactics and fudging facts in the past. Gupta pointed out some minor problems, acknowledged that they were minor and concluded that while no system is perfect (ours in Canada isn't, and Gupta is right that dissatisfaction exists here especially regarding long ass wait times and that Moore's repeated "it's free!" cries in the Larry King interview were misleading) and the US system desperately needs reform.

Like most Canadians I'm flattered by Moore's public admiration for our nation. However, I reserve some skeptism for him myself because he seems very much like an "ends justify the means" type of guy who loves grandstanding and publicity. Like when he had all those documentary filmmakers stand behind him at the Oscars and claimed at the microphone that they were united against Bush. Immediately afterwards the other filmmakers were all complaining to the press that he had asked them at the last moment to come up on stage with him without mentioning that he was going to claiming they were part of his political protest. The documentary "Michael Moore Hates America" looked into the accuracy of Bowling for Columbine and found a lot of what seemed to be blatant misrepresentations. In the style of Michael Moore in Roger & Me the filmmaker (who was actually a polite, respectful and reasonable-seeming little guy) went to a convention and during the Q&A session requested an interview so Moore could address his findings. Moore repeatedly refused to provide any sort of interview without getting any support from the crowd for acting that way to a polite request he himself had made in the past.

I'm all for gun control and socialised medicine, but I'm suspicious of Moore and was happy to see an assessment of his acccuracy. It was a short report that looked like a bit of a throw away, and I doubt Gupta was given a lot of time to research it. In the initial report he really needed to explain the foundations for his and Moore's assertions better, but he made up for that on Larry King while Moore sounded hysterical and debated poorly. There should have been a bit more care in the first place on Gupta's part to be more clear and detailed. And since Moore loves to make a big fuss if it will get him publicity, CNN should have been EXTRA careful about all this.

Suzanne said...

Courtney - on the war question - did you see Bill Moyers show on PBS - Buying the War? It was excellent and brought out some very interesting points on the media and their coverage or lack thereof of the war.

The basic premise of the show as described on Crooks and Liars was:

"How many Americans is this President willing to sacrifice on the altar of his ego?"

"We're entering the fifth year of this war. Tens of thousands of people have died and are still dying, and the press has never come to grips with its complicity in helping this administration market a war that's being fought under false pretenses.""

From a review on Huffington it says of the show:
"To call the media's complicity in the Iraq War a conspiracy is an insult to conspiracies, because it wasn't hidden - as Moyers shows, it was all out there for everyone to see. The problem was, Beltway reporters didn't want to see it. As New York Times White House correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller admitted, in the lead up to war most self-respecting Washington journalists who wanted to stay on the White House Christmas card list refused to ask tough questions because "no one wanted to get into an argument with the president."

The review ends by saying "I went to journalism school because I thought journalism was about sifting through the B.S. in order to challenge power and hold the Establishment accountable. Bill Moyers and the folks I've gotten to know at McClatchy Newspapers who Moyers highlights show that that long tradition still exists. But the fact that they are such rare exceptions to the rule also show that the incentive system in journalism today is to reward not the people who challenge power, but the people who worship it."

Gives one something to think about doesn't it.....

By the way they have video clips of the show on pbs.org - search for Moyers.

courtney01 said...

Suzanne,

Thanks for the info about the Moyers program. I haven't see it but you've piqued my interest.

Have you seen the documentary "Why We Fight?" Talk about eye-opening! It discusses the importance of Eisenhower's farewell address to the nation when he cautioned against unwarranted influence from the military industrial complex--strange words from a retired General and Republican!

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