By MARC McDONALD
One might expect that any rational, clear-thinking adult would wait to actually see a movie before they decide to attack it.
However, there are three things that are certain in life: death, taxes, and the fact that the wingnuts will do whatever they can to slime Michael Moore and his work.
After all, Moore is the anti-Christ to these people. He's been detested by the right wing ever since he dared to speak out against George W. Bush in Fahrenheit 9/11.
It was all enough to make right-wing writer and Fox News commentator Bernie Goldberg rank Moore as No. 1 in his 2005 tirade, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.
Never mind the fact that Moore has been vindicated, time and time again.
The current wave of Moore-bashing seems to date back to his "infamous" March 2003 Oscar-night speech. The press reports I read about that event focused solely on the fact that his comments drew boos from some audience members.
Few people, though, seem to remember exactly what Moore said that night, a mere three days after the U.S. launched its war on Iraq.
"We live in a time where we have a man who's sending us to war for fictitious reasons," Moore said, thus throwing a wrench into the carefully choreographed TV event beamed around the world.
In hindsight, of course, this comment has turned out to be amazingly prescient. The Bush team's stated rationale for the war has been shown to be, indeed, fiction.
Since then, Bush's once-sky-high approval ratings have sunk into the toilet. Indeed, a majority of Americans today believe that the Iraq War wasn't worth it. It took a few years, but Americans finally came around to Moore's views about Bush and the war.
Of course, Moore wasn't the first commentator to attack Bush. But he was the first to really draw blood, during a time when the MSM was fawning over Bush.
And the wingnuts have never forgiven Moore.
In attacking Sicko, the right-wingers have wasted no time in smearing Moore and his film. Never mind the fact that the movie won't even be released in the U.S. until June 29.
The popular movie reference site, IMDB.com shows how polarizing a film Sicko, is already, despite the fact that it is a month away from release. As of May 27, already 39 people had voted to give the film a rating of "1" on a scale of 1-to-10. It's unclear as to how these people have managed to see the film, considering that it has only played to a relative handful of people at the Cannes Film Festival in France (where, by all accounts, it was rapturously received by adoring crowds).
How much do you want to bet that those 39 thumbs-down votes were from Rush-listening wingnuts here in the States who haven't seen the film (and have no intention of doing so)?
Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity is helping to lead the charge against Sicko. Recently, he has repeatedly claimed that the U.S. has "the world's best health-care system." It's a mantra that we can expect to hear repeated, ad nauseam, over the next few months.
In the coming weeks, we can expect a predictable chorus attacking Sicko, from both HateWing radio, and the nutcase wingnut blogs.
I expect that the right-wing will roll out the really heavy artillery on the eve of Sicko's release (just as the wingnuts did when Fahrenheit 9/11 was released).
Recall how the right-wing British writer Christopher Hitchens slammed F9/11 in a high-profile Slate review on June 21, 2004 that was titled, "The lies of Michael Moore."
Time hasn't been kind to Hitchens' review, which served up a heavy dose of spurious "evidence," trying to defend Bush's case for war (most of which, of course, has now been completely debunked).
Hitchens also accused Moore of "cowardice," a bizarre charge, considering that Moore was inundated with death threats in the aftermath of F9/11.
Indeed, even many theater owners who showed F9/11 received death threats. Although there's no way to be sure exactly who was making these threats, one can be sure that they weren't liberal Democrats. And if anyone was guilty of "cowardice," it was the mainstream journalists (of which Hitchens is a member) who helped sell Bush's war to the American people.
I expect the right-wing will do whatever it can to tarnish Sicko and slime Moore in the weeks to come.
But it's clear that the wingnuts have their work cut out for them, if they're going to try to convince Americans that Sicko's indictment of the U.S. health-care system is false.
After all, polls have repeatedly indicated that a majority of Americans want the government to step in and do whatever it takes to provide health-care to everyone. Additionally, most Americans have horror stories of their own in dealing with HMOs and the health-care system.
Wingnuts like Hannity can babble on all day about how America supposedly has the best health-care system in the world. But I suspect that most Americans are no longer buying this crap. We as a people know that there's something seriously wrong with our system. And no amount of propaganda and Fox News disinformation will change that fact.
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