Thursday, November 11, 2004

Moore Milking the Cash Cow

You didn't really think Michael Moore did his "Slacker Tour" of college campuses out of high-minded altruism, did you? Of course he didn't.

Although Moore’s effort failed (not only was George W. Bush re-elected, but the proportion of "youth" voters did not increase in 2004), it was certainly lucrative. He charged most colleges between $30,000 and $40,000 per appearance and appeared at multiple colleges in battleground states across the country. According to Moore’s website, his "Slacker Tour" featured appearances at 63 cities, "mostly on campus." While it is impossible to determine Moore’s fee for each of those appearances (on occasion, he did appear for free), it is easy to see that the Slacker Tour brought Moore a considerable amount of money.

However, a lot of that money may have been paid to Moore illegally. Moore's "Slacker Tour" appearances were often funded by "Student Activity Fees"--fees assessed from each student to support extracurricular activities intended to enhance the students' educational experience.

Despite the laudable goals of student activity fee programs, they are often hijacked by political activists who use the millions of dollars of student fee money to provide massive subsidies to leftist political causes. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (better known as FIRE) has received dozens of complaints regarding the misuse of student fee funds. At one university, the College Democrats received seven times the funding of the College Republicans. At another university, a professor reported that upwards of 80% of all student fee money goes to explicitly left-wing organizations. Michael Moore’s speaking fee reportedly accounted for one-third of the total funds reserved for student organizations at one western college. The list could go on.

All of this brings us back to the law. According to the Supreme Court, a public university student activity fee is legal only if the funds are dispensed on a viewpoint neutral basis. Viewpoint neutral does not mean "without a viewpoint." It means that a university cannot favor one viewpoint over another when dispensing student activity fee funds. A university can (and must) fund explicitly partisan or religious student organizations, but it cannot fund or favor only those groups that the university likes. A university can use student activity fees to pay Michael Moore, but it must not do so at the expense of groups or speakers who have alternative political views. (Emphasis mine.)

Consider: Colleges paid Moore tens of thousands of dollars to show up on campus offering students ramen noodles and clean underwear in exchange for votes against George Bush. Illegal or not, Moore certainly raked in the cash. Last time I checked, a package of ramen noodles cost about 17 cents. What a cheapskate! Governor Doyle's campaign paid at least a quarter for votes.

And what's he going to do with that money? Fund a sequel to his most notorious piece of propaganda, of course.

Michael Moore tells Variety he met with Harvey Weinstein and they plan to start working now on Fahrenheit 9/11 1⁄2. "We want to get cameras rolling now and have it ready in two-three years," Moore told columnist Army Archerd.

Stupid title. Lacks creativity. Not that I'm surprised.

"We want to document and commercialize it," added Moore, "Fifty-one percent of the American people lacked information (in this election) and we want to educate and enlighten them. They weren't told the truth. We're communicators and it's up to us to start doing it now. The official mourning period is over today and there is a silver lining -- George W. Bush is prohibited by law from running again."

The issues (for the next film) have not changed because of the election. "They are Iraq and terrorism."

Hear that, Bush voters? The problem is that you lacked information. You weren't told the truth. And now Moore is going to "educate and enlighten" you. (If you read that as "Bush voters, you are uneducated and unenlightened," you're not alone.)

As I suggested earlier, Moore realizes that he has four more years to make money off the hatred of George Bush. He's not going to waste any time.


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