Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

The Michael Moore movie gets a fact-check

Michael Moore at a rally in New York's financial district
Michael Moore at a rally in New York's financial district

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.