WCU?s LUVIM series, the College Republicans organization, and Young America?s Foundation, a national conservative origination, hosted the writerproducer-director of “Michael Moore Hates America,” who showed clips of his film and criticized Moore?s statements and views Thursday night in Philips Autograph Library. Michael Wilson was inspired to create a film opposing Moore?s viewpoints after he watched “Bowling for Columbine,” Moore?s 2002 Oscar-winning film that analyzed the causes of violence and aggression in the United States.One particular scene in “Bowling for Columbine” prompted Wilson to oppose Moore?s views. In the film, Moore tells the story of a first grader that shot a classmate. Wilson believes that the film blamed economic woes and poverty for the boy?s crime, since the child?s mother worked two jobs and was rarely around her son. Wilson labeled the boy?s mother as a “bad mommy” in his speech and criticized the mother for not teaching her child morals. “My mom worked two jobs and went to school full time, but I didn?t shoot anybody,” Wilson said.
He also claimed that Moore left out crucial parts of the boy?s history and the murder. According to Wilson, the boy stole the gun, had problems of aggression in his past, and stabbed a classmate before committing murder.Wilson also said that the boy?s family has a history of drug abuse and drug trafficking. Wilson said he produced “Michael Moore Hates America” to portray America in a different light than Moore. “I wanted to talk about America in a way that wasn?t done in documentaries,” he said.
Through his film, Wilson talks to entrepreneurs and praises the American dream, the idea of coming from nothing and becoming successful. In a clip shown Thursday night, Wilson interviewed a young man who owns a deli in Flint, Mich., Moore?s hometown. The clip was shown to further Wilson?s argument that anyone can be a successful entrepreneur in America.
Wilson also showed that particular scene in his film to contrast the view of Flint as a run-down, gloomy city, which Wilson claims is the portrait of Flint presented in Moore?s films. “It?s not a dead city, it?s a struggling city,” he said. “There was this undeniable optimism about the town.”
The young filmmaker also attacked Moore?s recent blockbuster “Fahrenheit 9/11,” the 2004 film that protested President Bush?s policies and the war in Iraq. In “Michael Moore Hates America,” Wilson interviewed Sgt. Peter Damon, who was also in “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Sgt. Damon lost both arms because of the war in Iraq. Moore used a clip of Damon lying on a hospital bed with bandages on his wounds to show the brutality of war. However, the footage ofDamon shown in Fahrenheit 9/11 was from a previous news segment that aired before Moore?s film was released.
Wilson showed the clip of his interview with the wounded troop Thursday night, and in Wilson?s film, Damon expressed resentment towards Moore, especially since he did not know that he would be used in his film. Damon went on to say that he chose to fight in the war, and Moore should not speak for him.
However, Wilson did credit “Fahrenheit 9/11” for showing the ugliness and tragedy of war. Wilson acknowledged that the American media often glances over the causalities of war. “We don?t see that babies die, but Michael Moore did that.”
Though Wilson liked how Moore depicted the horrors of war, he was still critical of Moore?s statements overall. In the first clip of “Michael Moore Hates America,” shown Thursday night, Wilson interviewed people that went to see Moore speak at the University of Minnesota.
Wilson was stunned that fans of Moore?s that he interviewed did not question Moore?s facts and credibility. “Americans are so hungry to hear what they want,” Wilson said. “People like the news in their flavor.”
However, a student in the audience Thursday night questioned Wilson concerning his own credibility and asked Wilson if he presented any facts or statistics in “Michael Moore Hates America,” but Wilson admitted that he does not pay attention to facts and statistics. He also said that facts and statistics are not present in his film. He said that he believes facts and statistics can be manipulated and twisted.
Though he dislikes Moore, Wilson stated that he was not on campus as a cheerleader for the Bush administration or war. “I?m not here to say yay George Bush and yay war,” he said. Wilson also described himself as an independent and libertarian in his speech. “I just believe in freedom. I don?t want the government in my wallet or in my bedroom,” Wilson said.
Though Wilson stated he was an independent and libertarian, the groups that brought him to campus are Republican and conservative. A brochure available Thursday night promoting Young America?s Foundation, one of the organizations that brought Wilson to campus, states that the national group is “the principal outreach organization of the Conservative Movement.”
The group and its brochure stress conservative ideals. “Young America?s Foundation is committed to ensuring that young Americans understand and are inspired by the ideas of individual freedom, free enterprise, traditional values, and a strong national defense,” the brochure also says.
Currently, Wilson is traveling the country in opposition to Michael Moore, while discussing his film and views with audiences. Wilson only saw Moore in person when the popular filmmaker spoke at the University of Minnesota. As shown in “Michael Moore Hates America,” Wilson stood in the audience and asked Moore for an interview, but his request was declined because of the title of Wilson?s film.