“Fahrenheit 9/11″ — An article about Michael Moore’s documentary “Fahrenheit 9/11″ in Monday’s Calendar section said Walt Disney Co. “until recently” intended to release the film. Although Miramax Films provided financing for the movie, neither Miramax nor its parent company, Disney, which have separate theatrical movie distribution operations, ever announced that either would distribute the film. Disney said that it never planned to distribute the film.
When it was revealed that Michael Moore had lied about Disney’s plans to release the film, as part of an apparent publicity stunt, every conservative I know was talking about the news within hours. Moore had given a statement to CNN saying that Disney had told him a year earlier that they were not going to produce the film. This news had made it to New Zealand by May 7. (By May 8, even the Dog Trainer‘s Tim Rutten knew about it, for heaven’s sake.)
Yet the writer and editors charged with printing a story about the controversy were unaware that Moore had lied, and repeated Moore’s lies in an article written on May 17. The article even printed a quote from Moore in which he asserted that the media had gotten the story wrong — without confronting him with his admissions to the contrary on CNN.
The reporter and editors involved in this story had heard about Moore’s initial bogus claim, but not about the fact that it was a lie. This wouldn’t happen at a paper with a healthy population of conservatives.