NBC has done a lot to rehabilitate former President George W. Bush’s image this week. Now filmmaker Michael Moore is offering a way to restore some balance to the network by allowing them to air his documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, for free.
NBC gave the former president an hour-long platform during primetime to push his new book Decision Points. They played clips of the interview on The Today Show several mornings in a row. On Wednesday, NBC’s Matt Lauer did a live interview with Bush on The Today Show.
In his book, Bush goes as far as to compare Michael Moore to Osama bin Laden.
Bush recalled that bin Laden released a videotape just days before the 2004 election mocking his response to 9/11. The former president compared it to something Moore had done in the movie Fahrenheit 9/11.
“It sounded like he was plagiarizing Michael Moore,” Bush wrote.
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann gave Moore a chance to respond Tuesday.
“Great to see president Bush back,” said Moore. “We actually needed him a couple of weeks ago [during the midterm elections] to remind ourselves who was responsible for these two wars, who was responsible for this crash on Wall Street, who created this mess that our grandchildren will be cleaning up.”
“I wish that NBC itself had a little more balance,” Moore added. “Not that I’m taking this personally but, I mean, he trashes me in his book and makes a reference between Osama bin Laden and myself. That just shows how insane and crazy these Republicans are and have gotten.”
“I made a film — this is what upset him — I made a film and I showed how he sat there for seven minutes after he was told the nation is under attack and he just sat there reading My Pet Goat,” Moore said.
“And the other things I pointed out in the film in terms of his connections to how this war happened and he and Halliburton and the others were going to make money from it.”
Moore’s documentary, Fahrenheit 9/11, looked critically at Bush’s handling of the attacks on 9/11 and the Iraq war.
“I would love it actually — my plea if [GE CEO Jeff Immelt] or anyone who is watching here at GE, if they — I will give them for free Fahrenheit 9/11 to run on NBC as balance to all this publicity they have been giving president Bush this week and his answers, you know, that the worst thing that happened to him was Kanye West and all this,” Moore offered.
“I hope we never forget what this man did. Parents tonight, thousands of them sit at home, their children no longer with them because of a war that was essentially a lie. So that’s my answer to Mr. Bush,” Moore concluded.
While the topics in Lauer’s interview with Bush were wide ranging, the former president was largely spared tough follow up questions.
In the book, Bush said, “Damn right” I ordered waterboarding. Lauer asked Bush why he thought waterboarding was legal but failed to ask him if it was the morally right thing to do.
Waterboarding is legal, Bush said, “because the lawyer said it was. He said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act. I’m not a lawyer, but you gotta trust the judgment of people around you and I do.”
Bush also told Lauer that after failing to pardon I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, he was afraid that his friendship with then-Vice President Dick Cheney would be jeopardized.
In one of the strangest moments of the interview, the former president said that his mother, Barbara, had given him permission to tell the public that she had once showed him her miscarriage in a jar.
This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Nov. 9, 2010.
In the following video, Bush talks about he decision to approve waterboarding.
In the following video, Bush talks about his mother showing him a fetus in a jar.
In the following video, Bush talks about his decision to commute “Scooter” Libby’s sentence.