Yesterday we told you about filmmaker Michael Moore's CNN appearance to discuss his film SICKO, in which he ended up blasting Wolf Blitzer on his previous film, Farenheit 911, and took particular umbrage with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who's report on the facts Moore presented in SICKO ended with an accusation that Moore "fudged the facts." Larry King, sensing a ratings bonanza (because seeing Moore all riled up is nothing if not entertaining), got Moore to come on Larry King Live to debate Gupta about the facts on the show.
The result, which you can see in three parts on YouTube, is just about as entertaining as the CNN segment; watching the rough-around-the edges Moore and slick-and-polished Gupta - -both clearly two very intelligent guys -- thrust and parry as they toss around world healthcare stats, is almost as good as seeing the film itself. In the first of the segments, you can see Moore waving around an email his staff sent to Gupta's senior producer the day before Gupta's report originally aired on June 29 giving them facts and figures that weren't used in Gupta's segment, and then Gupta (who must practice staying calm under pressure, because he gives the impression he never breaks a sweat) calmly replying that his staff wasn't going to just use stats Moore provided them -- that, like Moore, they used stats from a variety of sources in order to give viewers the most accurate information.
Whether because Gupta holds his own better against Moore, or because King does a better job than Blitzer of keeping Moore reined in, Moore does at least stay a little calmer here than he did on CNN. He counters Gupta's arguments fact-by-fact, the man probably has more knowledge about the worlds' healthcare systems in his head than all of our politicians combined. Personally, I found Gupta's assertion in the second segment that Moore misleads people who don't have a "sophisticated understanding" of the costs of healthcare and equating higher taxes with what we currently pay in co-pays and deductibles to be pretty indicative of the stance's the two men have. Moore's whole persona is built around fighting for the "everyman," for the belief that everyone can and should understand the issues he brings to the forefront with his films. Gupta seems to imply that you have to be smarter than the average bear to understand health care and why we're the only industrialized nation not to have universal health care.
Part One of Moore vs. Gupta is right here, and then Part Two and Part Three are over here. The first two segments run just under seven minutes each, and the last is just under five minutes, so you'll need a little time to watch them all, but it's worth watching the Moore and Gupta go at each other. The ironic thing is that, in the end, they don't really seem to disagree overall on whether we need health care reform, they're mostly just arguing about stats and percentages. Maybe they just need to sit down over beers and burgers and hash it all out, and then work together to promote discussion of the issues Moore's trying to address with SICKO in the first place.