April 4, 2002
In a discussion of Pentagon spending, he refers to the “$250 billion the Pentagon plans to spend in 2001 to build 2800 new Joint Strike Fighter planes” and states that “the proposed increase in monies for the Pentagon over the next four years is $1.6 trillion.” To back this up, he refers to the Web site of the peace activist group Council for a Livable World. CLW’s own analysis of the 2001 budget, however, shows that $250 billion is the total multiyear cost of the Joint Strike Fighter program, not the amount spent in one year. $1.6 trillion, meanwhile, was the total amount of money requested by the Pentagon at the time for 2001-2005. It covers five years, not four, and is a total budget request, not a “proposed increase” over previously requested budget levels. It shouldn’t even take this much research, however, to determine that out of the total defense budget request of $305.4 billion in 2001, $250 billion was never intended to go toward one type of plane, nor that an increase of $400 billion per year in military spending was never proposed. […]We’ve seen a lot about the echo-chamber nature of discourse on the right, the interlinked network of think-tanks, foundations, magazines, Web sites, and radio shows that endlessly repeat the same dreary stuff, impervious to debunking. Anyone who can’t see that this is happening on the left as well simply doesn’t want to see—and is the natural prey of a predator like Michael Moore. [12:54 PM]
Just how did Moore get so many of his facts wrong? Lazy cribbing from media outlets and the Internet seems the most likely culprit. […]
For the bestselling nonfiction book in the country, “Stupid White Men” has received remarkably little scrutiny and few serious reviews. Moore is much beloved in Britain, and a review on a BBC show called his book “fantastic” with “loads of research.” Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to have read much of it — though the thousands of people who have bought his book surely don’t know that.