The Michael Moore movie gets a fact-check
By Bill Adair
Published on Thursday, October 1st, 2009 at 4:30 p.m.
Michael Moore is a unique force in American politics.
He is a movie mogul who claims he doesn’t own a share of stock and a propagandist whose movies comfort the afflicted — and afflict the comfortable. His new film, Capitalism: A Love Story, blames unbridled greed for many of the nation’s problems.
Moore's previous movies often leave audiences wondering what's true and what's not. So we'll be checking claims from Moore and his movie over the next week or two. We'll add the items to this article as we publish them, so you can check back here for more. You can also see all of our ratings of Moore and his movies at PolitiFact's Michael Moore File .
• Public support for a single-payer system . In recent interviews, Moore has repeatedly cited public opinion polls to show support for policies he supports. We checked a claim he made at a Washington news conference that majority of Americans support single payer and rated it False.
• The impact of his movies . Asked about the impact of his films, Moore said President Bush's approval ratings declined after the release of Fahrenheit 9/11 . But we checked the polls and found that Bush's ratings actually increased for eight months. Barely True.
• Obama campaign money from Goldman Sachs employees . In the movie and in recent interviews, Moore has repeatedly said the Obama campaign got more money from employees of the Wall Street firm than any other private employer. We checked contribution records and rated that True.
• The wealthiest 1 percent has disproportionate wealth . A key point in the film and his interviews is that the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans has more financial wealth than the bottom 95 percent. We found he correctly cites a Citigroup memorandum but that another methodology of analyzing the numbers would have made his statement incorrect. Mostly True.
• Growing youth support for socialism? In the film, Moore suggests that the Joe the Plumber episode, which led to criticism that Barack Obama would pursue socialism, actually increased support for socialism among young people by Election Day. We rated that False.
• A 90 percent top tax rate. Moore says in the film that the top tax rate for the richest Americans when he was growing up was 90 percent. We found that was the marginal rate back then and rated it Mostly True.
We want to hear your suggestions and comments.
For tips or comments on our Obameter and our GOP-Pledge-O-Meter promise databases, please e-mail the Obameter. If you are commenting on a specific promise, please include the wording of the promise.For comments about our Truth-O-Meter or Flip-O-Meter items, please e-mail the Truth-O-Meter. We’re especially interested in seeing any chain e-mails you receive that you would like us to check out. If you send us a comment, we'll assume you don't mind us publishing it unless you tell us otherwise.
Keep up to date with Politifact:
- Sign up for our e-mail (about once a week)
- Put a free PolitiFact widget on your blog or Web page
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Truth-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on GOP Pledge-O-Meter items
- Subscribe to our RSS feeds on Obameter items
- Advertise on PolitiFact
- Shop the PolitiFact store for T-shirts, hats and other PolitiFact swag