Politics & Policy

Michael Moore Interprets The Constitution For Us; May The Force Be With You


Michael Moore was on the Today show yesterday promoting his new television show. Katie Couric, the giggle-buddy of Hillary Clinton who never met a left winger she didn’t hand the microphone to, thought Moore was the greatest thing since the last time he was on the show.

Now, it’s widely known that Moore recently put up a camera to peer into my parents’ living room. It is also widely known that Michael Moore has a fairly definitive body odor, but that is irrelevant.

The hook for having him on was the lucycam stunt. He thinks my mom should know what it is like to have her privacy violated because of her role in the Lewinsky scandal and her resumé (which he distorts as wildly as he inflates his own). He has exhorted my parents’ neighbors and others to “keep an eye” on her and report every suspicious move. On Friday I made my position on Moore pretty clear: he’s a professional idiot. But since I may be biased on this due to his harassing my family and thinking it cute, I will present a truncated case.

Moore told Couric that the camera would go away if Lucy offered an apology to the nation which is about as likely the Star Wars prequel under-grossing Stewart Smally Saves His Family. Well, fine. He has to say that. But the other necessary precondition for her redemption is to “read the Fourth Amendment.” Moore explains to Couric: “We have listed, you know, the words to the Fourth Amendment which is our privacy amendment. You know, because, actually we don’t believe this is the right thing to do.”

Okay, where to start?

At first I thought maybe he wanted her to read the Fourth Amendment as a kind of punishment, like maybe because reading it himself made his lips so tired — and he’s “brilliant” — that it would just knock the wind out of dear old mom. Then I figured, no, this guy isn’t necessarily a lead-paint eating idiot, he’s a professional idiot. I mean he edited Mother Jones, which has excellent grammar.

So maybe he really wanted Mom to read the Fourth Amendment. I did. I couldn’t agree with it more. The state shouldn’t have the right to search ones premises without probable cause. The state also shouldn’t use wiretaps indiscriminately (something the Clinton Administration has been doing to an unprecedented degree).

But the Fourth Amendment — like all the amendments — is a limit on government intrusion. It is a protection of personal privacy against the prying eyes of the State. I know that Moore has a very expansive and convenient definition of the State, but despite what Louis Farrakhan says, Lucy Goldberg is not a government agent. Of course, private individuals shouldn’t be allowed to break into other peoples’ homes or eavesdrop on their conversations. And, thanks to the infinite wisdom of the law, they can’t. If I break into your house to look for my baseball glove, it’s not called an unlawful search under the Fourth Amendment. It’s called breaking and entering. Or take the First Amendment. The government can’t tell me what I can or cannot write about in the Goldberg File. But William F. Buckley or Rich Lowry can.

Linda Tripp would have violated no laws whatsoever if she had only kept journals of her conversations with Monica Lewinsky. It was Lucy’s insight that an administration willing to say its staffers were lying to their own diaries, would not hesitate to call Linda a liar if all she had were “mere notes.” So, she suggested tape recording. Somehow, magnetic reels amount to evil but notes are fine. And, Linda’s still called a liar. I’ve never understood this and I never will. This is all very tired stuff and I really don’t enjoy rehashing it anymore. But Michael Moore seems to think that if Mom had read the Fourth Amendment she never would have given that advice to Linda Tripp. And if Moore had only read the nutritional guidelines on that case of Oreos…

Anyway. As I say, he’s an idiot. Mom is about to hang some signs out her window for the advertising revenue, turning this silliness to her advantage. Moore’s response when asked about it, “Yeah well, but you know that’s how conservatives are. They’re much better at that than we are you know.”

This comes from the guy who made a documentary about his book tour that Leni Riefenstahl could have directed. This comes from a guy on the Today Show hawking his new TV show by bragging about a webcam that provides less actual information than a deposition with Bill Clinton.

Back to this constitutional stuff. Moore seems to think that these Constitutional values somehow apply to private citizens in a straightforward way. Then how come the Fourth Amendment doesn’t apply to him? This guy would still be eating gallons of rice pudding at Mother Jones if he hadn’t come up with his peripatetic agitprop style of film-making. In his dishonest and deceptive Roger and Me, Moore went around trespassing on private property in an effort to ambush unprepared citizens with a camera. (How clever! raved the critics. The New York Times compared the guy to Mark Twain).

But wait a second. Mom gets snide comments, prying eyes, 24 hour surveillance, etc., for recommending to a legitimately frightened woman that she might need more proof than her word. Moore gets a career and an Oscar nomination for violating equally sacred constitutional values.

Ah, but wait. The odiferous one says the First Amendment protects his right to barge onto private property in an attempt to humiliate corporate executives. Hmm. Okay. Then why did Moore slap a restraining order on a film-maker trying to do a Roger and Me-style documentary about him? When someone wants to exercise the same right, he changes his tune.

Here’s how the Court Order read, “The defendant knowingly entered and remained unlawfully in a building…with intent to harass, annoy and harm ….a course of conduct which alarmed and seriously annoyed another person.”

This isn’t an ironic commentary about Moore’s career. It is a description of it.


I am seeing Star Wars tonight. Non-Star Wars geeks be warned: tomorrow’s column may be unsuitable for mature adults.


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