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At Occupy Denver, a testy Michael Moore waves off questions about his wealth
Leftist filmmaker Michael Moore got a warm welcome at Occupy Denver on Thursday when speaking to some 1,000 leftist protesters and signing autographs. But Moore's upbeat mood turned ugly when a local TV reporter dared to ask him whether -- with a net worth of $50 million -- he wasn't part of the "1 percent" of wealthy Americans whom he and the protesters were vilifying.
Moore was in Denver for a book signing for his recent memoir, "Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life." But the real story was Moore's appearance at Occupy Denver in the downtown - an event filled with the contradictions and absurdities also on display at similar anti-Wall Street protests around the country; protests that have drawn a strange mix of trust-fund kids, anarchists, communists, and scruffy street hustlers and petty criminals.
As entertainment goes, the give-and-take between Moore and local CBS reporter Evrod Cassimy was especially entertaining. Moore grew testy and defensive as he was peppered with questions about his personal wealth.
"Michael. It's rumored you're worth $50 million -- aren't you part of the '1 percent'?" Cassimy shouted at Moore as the rotund filmmaker made his way through the noisy crowd, led by a body guard.
"I do very well..." Moore replied, only to be cut off by Cassimy who asked: "How are you helping these people?"
"I want taxes raised on people who do well, including mine," Moore replied, prompting Cassimy to repeat: "How are you helping people with your $50 million?"
"I don't have 50 million dollars," Moore said in an exasperated voice.
"That's what it's rumored you're worth," Cassimy replied.
"Rumored," to be sure, was a poor choice of words -- one that Moore seized upon rather than answering the reporter's questions.
"Well, really, is that what you do -- sell rumors?" Moore said.
"We're asking for the truth," Cassimy answered.
In a flash of anger, Moore then revealed his bullying nature as he vented on the reporter. "You're just punk media, is all you are. You lie. You lie...to people. Stop lying. Stop lying...Just don't lie, OK?
One of my favorite critiques of Michael Moore comes from author and journalist Christoper Hitchens who once observed how ironic it is that "sophisticated" and "polished" European elites are so utterly enchanted by Michael Moore.
The irony, Hitchens pointed out, is that these same anti-American Europeans "think Americans are fat, vulgar, greedy, stupid, ambitious and ignorant and so on. And (yet) they've taken as their own, as their representative American, someone who actually embodies all of those qualities" - Michael Moore.
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