I'll talk more about "Sicko" after seeing it, but here was an interesting explosion on Wolf Blitzer's CNN program by Michael Moore yesterday. Moore reacted angrily to Dr. Sanjay Gupta's four minute long fact-check segment on "Sicko" that preceded Moore's interview.
I like Sanjay Gupta and his programs, as well as Wolf Blitzer who I think of as the-man-who-rarely-smiles. But I can see why Moore was angry because at least some (if not all) of Gupta's critique was shoddy and inaccurate.
For example, he needlessly contested Moore's assertion that per capita US healthcare expenditure is $7000 a year saying it is actually $6,098. Even the 2004 figure as reported by OECD is $6,102 and the US Health Department's (HHS) estimates for 2006 exceed $7,000. More seriously, Gupta misquoted the movie as claiming Cuba spent only $25 per capita on healthcare (10% of the actual figure) while Moore fumes that the movie said $251. I just saw Gupta on TV admitting at least to this mistake, while needlessly losing grace by asking why it wasn't $229. (Well, duh, the lower number would just strengthen Moore's claim that Cuban care is much cheaper, so what is Gupta's point?)
As promised by Moore on the CNN program, he posted a strong rebuttal to Gupta's critique on his own website. But even if they've been sloppy, you've got to give CNN credit. They had interviewed Moore live so that his comments and outburst could not be edited, and then have been reporting on the story and the exchange since then on their news channels. Tonight, they've called Moore to Larry King Live for a full interview, with Sanjay Gupta in attendance. This should be interesting.
In a broader context CNN strengthens its centrist credentials with both the left and the right wings complaining that it leans towards the opposite side.