It has recently come to light that filmmaker Michael Moore is being investigated by the U.S. Treasury Department for taking ten sick 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for medical treatment as part of his latest documentary about the American health care industry titled Sicko. The government said that Moore had submitted a travel request as a full time journalist in October 2006, but when the government didn’t act on Moore’s production company’s request, he went anyway in March 2007. In response to this, the Office of Foreign Assets Control sent Moore a letter wanting to know all the details of Moore’s trip.

For their part, Moore and his production company are claiming that the Bush administration is launching a politically motivated investigation against them. The producer of the film, Meghan O’Hara said in a statement that, “Our health care system is broken and, all too often, deadly. The efforts of the Bush Administration to conduct a politically motivated investigation of Michael Moore and ‘SiCKO’ will not stop us from making sure the American people see this film.” But by taking 9/11 rescue workers to Cuba for medical treatment, and putting it on film, I think Moore crossed line into becoming exactly what he professes to hate. It appears to me that he is exploiting the Ground Zero workers as a publicity stunt to hype his new film.

Let me be completely up front by saying that I enjoy Michael Moore’s movies, but his films reflect a distinct political point of view and they should be watched with this in mind. His movies are not objective, but then again, they don’t claim to be. In my opinion here is what really happened, there is no way that the Bush administration would give Moore permission to go to Cuba, but he wanted those scenes for his movie, so he went anyway. The embargo against U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba is very clear, so Moore knew he would get investigated if he went to Cuba. Thus, there is nothing political about this investigation. The political part came when the feds ignored his travel request. The investigation is standard operating procedure. Moore knowingly violated the law, hoping to trigger an investigation that he knew would serve as good publicity for his soon to be released film.

Michael Moore is a brilliant filmmaker and there is no one on the right that can comes close to his talent and ability for telling a compelling story, but Michael Moore is no different than Bill O’Reilly or any of the other media types who exist on the extreme political fringes. Michael Moore thinking that the Bush administration is out to get him is exactly like all the conservative talk show hosts who rail about the liberal media, all the while ignoring the fact that conservatives dominate the airwaves.

If Moore really was concerned about Ground Zero rescue workers then why didn’t take them for treatment somewhere in the U.S. without the cameras? Mike is a wealthy guy. He can afford it. The problem is that this wouldn’t have been good for his film. I will go see the movie, and I will probably like it, but it should be noted that, in many ways, Michael Moore is no different than the people he can’t stand. In short, the Michigan kid has gone Hollywood.

Statement on Michael Moore’s website

Related AP story.

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse
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