Just how in bed with the health insurance industry is our government? And just how lazy is our media? I’ll leave it up to you to decide, but I can’t think of any other way to describe this.
On Friday, WikiLeaks released another set of secret State Department cables, including one from a state department official stationed in Havana. Here’s an excerpt from it:
XXXXXXXXXXXX stated that Cuban authorities have banned Michael Moore’s documentary, “Sicko,” as being subversive. Although the film’s intent is to discredit the U.S. healthcare system by highlighting the excellence of the Cuban system, he said the regime knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.
Next, the media picks this up as a story. And not just the US media. Here’s the headline from The Guardian: “WikiLeaks: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting ‘mythical’ healthcare system. Authorities feared footage of gleaming hospital in Michael Moore’s Oscar-nominated film would provoke a popular backlash”.
What I find hilarious about this is that the media somehow just assumes that anything in a US State Department secret cable is true, and runs with it without doing even the slightest amount of fact checking. And in fact, the cable was completely made up. As Moore himself points out, the movie was certainly not banned in Cuba, it was one of the few US movies that was actually shown widely in Cuba, and was even shown on Cuban national TV.
If just one media organization had taken a few seconds and done a simple web search, they could have discovered that the cable was false. Google will even translate the stories from Cuba, if you don’t understand Spanish.
Ok, so we know the media is lazy and worthless, and investigative journalism is dead (let alone simple research). But the real question is where did this false information come from and how did it end up in a State Department cable? We may never know the whole truth, but we do know that the health insurance industry, which had vowed to “push Michael Moore off a cliff” worked with anti-Castro Cubans in Miami in an attempt to smear the film.
Of course, if the media can’t attack Moore because his movie didn’t play in Cuba, I’m sure they will now attack him because his movie did play in Cuba.