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Profiles of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Moore

Aired June 28, 2003 - 12:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: Next on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, the mega-action star that is back reviving is most memorable role in "Terminator 3."


People always talk about -- says, hey when are you going to do another terminator?

ANNOUNCER: Growing up poor in a wartorn Austria, he saw his ticket to fame in the weight room.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I need to go and become Mr. Universe in order to get into movies.

ANNOUNCER: This staunch Republican fell in love and married into Camelot.

TIM SHRIVER, SCHWARZENEGGER'S BROTHER-IN-LAW: I mean, he's huge, confident and trying to make time with my sister.

ANNOUNCER: Now, he may follow the political tradition of his famous in-laws.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Maybe -- you know, run for office and then they -- I can reach out and help millions of people with that.

I am a machine.

ANNOUNCER: Cyborg, humanitarian, businessman, and possible gubernatorial candidate, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Then, he's the guerrilla filmmaker who has made a career of tackling tough issues.

MICHAEL MOORE, FILMMAKER: Do you think it's dangerous handing out guns in a bank?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Michael Moore basically goes in there and throws this supremely intelligent hand grenade right into the middle of the issue.

ANNOUNCER: He stirred up controversy by taking on big business and presidential politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will exaggerate the truth, leave out facts.

ANNOUNCER: Now, after his Oscar win and the uproar that followed a look at director, writer, and political lightning rod, Michael Moore.

Their stories.




PAULA ZAHN, HOST: Hi, welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Paula Zahn. Twenty years after he first crashed into theaters as "The Terminator," Arnold Schwarzenegger is still a man of action. On Wednesday, he muscles his way back with "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines." But, even as he pushes his new film, Arnold is sounding like a political candidate than a Hollywood star.

Here's Bill Hemmer.


BILL HEMMER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you don't remember the face, you may remember the body. A young Mr. Universe pumping iron in the early '70s, a physique that strained the imagination.

JOE WEIDER, CHMN. WEIDER HEALTH AND FITNESS: When it comes to size and proportion, he was the best.

HEMMER: As the gargantuan '80s action hero, "Conan the Barbarian."

JAMIE LEE CURTIS, ACTRESS: He is enormously talented man with enormous charisma.

HEMMER: And perhaps his biggest and most memorable role, the larger than life killer robot in "The Terminator."


HEMMER: "The Terminator" kept his promise.

SCHWARZENEGGER: When I go anywhere, people always talk about -- says, hey when you going to do another terminator?

HEMMER: Two decades after the original box office smash, Arnold Schwarzenegger travels forward through time to revive his role in "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines."

SCHWARZENEGGER: I am a machine.

It's a take. I love it.

HEMMER: But, can the release of T3 supply the 55-year-old the box office muscle he once had in the '80s?

SCHWARZENEGGER: She'll be back.

LEAH ROZEN, FILM CRITIC, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Arnold Schwarzenegger is hoping that T3 will be a really big payday. Arnold's a businessman; he knows what the movie business is like. He knows he does not have a whole lot of major films in his future.

HEMMER: There may be something else in the Terminator's future, the speculation being fanned by the press -- could Arnold Schwarzenegger be the next governor in the state of California?

SCHWARZENEGGER: It could very well be that eventually, you know, I want to go into something else in the political arena.

GEORGE BUTLER, DIRECTOR, "PUMPING IRON": Never underestimate Arnold. People have always counted and out at every particular moment in his career right from the beginning.

HEMMER: The odds were stacked against Arnold Schwarzenegger early on. His life began in Austria during a climate of uncertainty, July 30th 1947. Adolph Hitler was no longer in power and World War II had ended, but Europe in disarray with rampant unemployment and poverty.

SCHWARZENEGGER: My mother had to literally go 20, 30 kilometers around -- you know, to find food for us kids. So it was a really tough time in that way.

HEMMER: Little Arney and his big brother Meinhard grew up in this house in a sleepy farming community called Taw (ph), nestled in the hilly Southern region of Austria. His mother, Aurelia, was a homemaker and his father, Gustav, a police officer who kept a strict household.

SCHWARZENEGGER: That there was a serious, kind of, punishments if you did something wrong. My mother was much more disciplined, she was waiting at home after I came home from school, and she would demand to do the homework first before I was allowed out of the house.

HEMMER: Arnold's father, at one time, a member of the Nazi party was even more of a disciplinarian. He pitted son against son in everything from school to sports.

LARRY SUTTON, ASSOCIATED EDITOR, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: Everyone thought Meinhard was the one who was going to go on to bigger and better things, in fact, they say that Arnold was so timid, when he followed Meinhard around, that to goof on him, his friends would call him "Cinderella," as if he were -- you know, the sister that wasn't really getting the star treatment.

HEMMER: Those insults just pushed Arnold to work harder. He became obsessed with competition. He also discovered another passion -- action movies. Mostly those featuring muscular film stars like, Steve Reeves in 1958's "Hercules Unchained." SCHWARZENEGGER: I remember I looked at it and said, Wow, this guy became a Hercules star because he was Mr. Universe. So, maybe that's what I need to do. I need to go and become Mr. Universe and then win Mr. World competition and be a world champion in bodybuilding in order to get to movies.

HEMMER: Arnold convinced having a Herculean physique would lead him to fame and fortune. He plotted his destiny, studying muscle magazines, discovering the gym, and enduring grueling workout sessions.

SCHWARZENEGGER: When I started training with weights, at the age of 15, my body responded very quickly, so I -- it was very clear that that was where my potential was.

HEMMER: In 1961, the well developed 15-year-old came in second at the first bodybuilding contest in Austria. During a short stint in the army, he entered and won more competitions. He took home the title of Junior Mr. Europe in a 1966 runner-up in the Mr. Universe contest. The 19-year-old trained even harder.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I wanted to be good at something; I wanted to be the best in something. I was very driven.

HEMMER: In 1967, at the age of 20, Arnold Schwarzenegger became the youngest Mr. Universe in history; American bodybuilding champ, Joe Weider, was impressed.

WEIDER: I knew at that time that he would be a great champion. He was charming, he made you laugh, and he trained hard, and he was totally dedicated.

HEMMER: Weider encouraged the 20-year-old to leave Austria and train in the United States. Schwarzenegger was elated, his family had a different reaction.

SCHWARZENEGGER: My father wanted me always to be like him, a police officer and -- you know, my mother wanted me to marry a woman that doesn't work and just -- you know, I want to get to movies, I wanted to be at the top in bodybuilding, I wanted to make a lot of money.

HEMMER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, Schwarzenegger makes millions.


HEMMER: Conquers Conan and marries into Camelot.

SHRIVER: He was huge, confident, and trying to make time with my sister.

HEMMER: And later, the Terminator goes to Washington.

MOORE: I want an account to get the -- a free gun.

HEMMER: Also ahead, love him or hate him...

MOORE: Ah, sweet.

HEMMER: ...his films and commentary get your attention.

MOORE: I won't let it be said I stood by and did nothing.

HEMMER: The movies and motives of Michael Moore, later on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.



HEMMER: By 1968, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the best bodybuilder in the world, but the 21-year-old Austrian was looking for more than just trophies.

SCHWARZENEGGER: And, I wanted to go to America and be part of something really big.

HEMMER: He left Austria and muscled his way to L.A.'s Venice Beach, the bodybuilding Mecca in the '60s. He took classes, learned English, and worked out. In 1969, he captured the coveted Mr. Olympia title. He still craved a bigger title and a bigger audience.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Bodybuilding was a wonderful sport, and I had a great time, but it was always a means to an end, as everything ought to be. The bodybuilding was a way of getting into the movies.

HEMMER: After a few acting classes, he landed his very first part, billed as "Arnold Strong," he was seen, but not heard in 1969's low budget flick "Hercules in New York." His voice was dubbed when movie execs decided his Austrian accent was too thick.

SCHWARZENEGGER: A fine chariot, but where are the horses?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A fine chariot, but where are the horses?

HEMMER: Schwarzenegger gained his first real notary in "Pumping Iron" the documentary about bodybuilders training for Mr. Olympia. George Butler directed the film.

BUTLER: The entire movie is almost like a Schwarzenegger monologue and he's wickedly funny in it, very smart, very canny, very surprising.

SCHWARZENEGGER, "PUMPING IRON": I have no fear of fainting in a gym, because I know it could happen. I threw up many times while working out, but doesn't matter because it's all worth it.


HEMMER: Schwarzenegger's body, charm, and wit made him a hit with American audiences. He also captured someone else's attention.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I would say that I fell in love with her, very much, in the beginning when I met her.

HEMMER: In 1977, 30-year-old Schwarzenegger was further Americanized when he began dating the niece of President John F. Kennedy, Maria Shriver.

Shiver's parents and brothers are well known philanthropists and liberals.

SHRIVER: There was no expectation that an Austrian bodybuilder, who was a Republican, would ever do -- be anything more than a weekend visitor. I think he was fascinated, most by my parents, really.

BUTLER: Right from the start, long before he met Maria, it was very clear that he was interested in the Kennedys and he really had a plan to do exactly what he's done. He wanted to get from A to Z, and Z was to be a millionaire, to be somehow associated with White House.

HEMMER: After an eight-year courtship, Schwarzenegger and Shriver married in 1986. Politics aside, he says they have much in common.

SCHWARZENEGGER: She was always a very ambitious girl and I was always ambitious and, we all are big believers in family. I wanted to have kids, she always wanted to have kids. I always wanted to have two, she wanted to five, so we settled with four.

HEMMER: Schwarzenegger had become a member of America's most famous family. His next role would make him a member of Hollywood's elite.

ROZEN: "Conan the Barbarian" was essentially a revival of these cheesy sword and sandals, sort of, cartoon epics. I mean, these things were cheesy, but made it clear that this guy could be a movie star.

HEMMER: And he continued to capitalize on his body off screen, building on the brawn and his brain. After earning a business degree from University of Wisconsin's Superior in 1979, he put the education to the test.

SCHWARZENEGGER: That I was smart enough to make money off my bodybuilding to write books, best selling books. Any money that I made I invested in real estate. I would say that by the late '70s, I was already a millionaire.

Hey, good to see you. Let's see those muscles. Wow!

HEMMER: A millionaire and a 1984 career changing role as the indestructible alien in "The Terminator."

SCHWARZENEGGER: It was the first movie that became, like a huge hit without really using the body and exploiting the body, because I had my leather jacket on throughout the whole movie.

HEMMER: He'd use his body again, though, in many '80s action flicks, as a war vet battling terrorists in "Commando"; a soldier on a dangerous mission in "Predator"; and a man sentenced to a game show execution in "Running Man."

ROZEN: They were very carefully tailored to his talent. No one gave him reams of English dialogue. You knew he couldn't do reams of English dialogue, so you gave him the short, often funny lines, these sort-of cracks, and you had him kill a whole lot of people in a whole lot of exciting special effects kinds-of ways.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Let off some steam, Bennett.

Beautiful, you did it perfect.

HEMMER: Schwarzenegger used his success to help disadvantaged kids. He launched the "Inner City Games" and became a driving force behind the Special Olympics.

SHRIVER: He's been an enormously powerful force for putting people of mental disability on the map in places where they're not known as a people of dignity and respect.

HEMMER: But, with fame, fortune, and good deeds came scathing reviews of his personal life. When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, Schwarzenegger's reputation butchered in a movie magazine.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I've gotten bad press, there's always some people out there that want to do you harm.

HEMMER: And, hasta la vista, Hollywood -- Conan, the politician.



SCHWARZENEGGER: Hasta la vista, baby.

HEMMER: In the early '90s, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the king of action heroes. He returned his as the unstoppable alien in "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and rocked the box office with a violent big budget "Total Recall."

SCHWARZENEGGER: Don't blow my cover! Everybody down!

HEMMER: His labor of love, "Last Action Hero," fell flat.

SCHWARZENEGGER: This hero stuff has its limits.

HEMMER: But he rebounded later as a spying family man in the romantic comedy "True Lies." Actress Jamie Lee Curtis played his wife.

CURTIS: From the first scene, I just -- I remember doing it and thinking, oh, this is just going to be good, because it just was so easy, and there was none of that actory stuff getting in the way.

HEMMER: And, Arnold Schwarzenegger earned kudos off the screen, he was a thriving businessman, owned cool real estate, and restaurants. DANA CARVEY, ACTOR So, we just want to...



SCHWARZENEGGER: Oh, you guys make me sick...

HEMMER: Hosted hit TV shows like "Saturday Night Live."

SCHWARZENEGGER, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE": ...this is what you have to do. Like this.


HEMMER: But, all the muscles in the world could not save is next movies, comedies, "Junior" and "Jingle all the Way" fizzled. And his cruel Mr. Freeze in 1997's "Batman and Robin" left audiences cold.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I went from five years to build a Terminator to now, the refrigerator.

ROZEN: The late '90s, in particular, were not that kind to Arnold. He tried to broaden the range because it was clear he was getting older and the stunts were harder to do. It was clear. He was no longer the box office star he had been.

HEMMER: Box office bombs coincided with some personal problems. In 1997, the 50-year-old underwent surgery to replace a defective heart valve. He made a full recovery, but rumors circulated that his bad heart was due to steroid use in his early years.

SUTTON: Arnold, as any young bodybuilder of his era, admits that, yes, he took steroids; that was part of the program, part of the process.

WEIDER: He knew I didn't like it, but they all had to take it in order to compete in those days. He didn't overdo it.

HEMMER: And, in 2001, Schwarzenegger was incensed when "Premier" magazine featured an article alleging his boorish behavior toward women, that he had fondled female costars.

SUTTON: An article came out in "Premier" magazine that sort-of brought to the forefront a lot of the things that had been whispered about Arnold in the past, basically, his infatuation with women. And, in Europe, he's known as the octopus. He contends it's playful. It was amazing the reaction to that article; he got, basically, all of Hollywood to line up on his side and deny these charges.

HEMMER: Actress Jamie Lee Curtis was one was one of those Hollywood friends. She even wrote a letter to "Premier" magazine defending him.

CURTIS: The door to his trailer was open every single day, all day. There is nothing going on. He's in there reading Christie's catalogs. "Jamie Lee, do you think I should buy this for Marie for birthday?" You know, I mean -- I just didn't see it.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I have gotten bad press. You cannot just expect people to talk nice about you or to just, you know compliment you with your movies or everyone loves your movies, everyone loves your politics, everyone loves your lifestyle.

HEMMER: Bad press and some bad movies have not deterred him.



HEMMER: But after other film flops like "Sixth Day" and "Collateral Damage" he's been seen less on movie screens and more on the political trail.



HEMMER: He funded and served as a lead spokesman for "Proposition 49," an act to establish after-school programs in California. The 55-year-old has even bigger aspirations.

SCHWARZENEGGER: Politics will be an interesting thing to do, and so that's where my -- basically my head is at. To maybe, you know, run for office and then, I can reach out and help millions of people with that.

BUTLER: Arnold is a natural born politician and, everything he's done comes out of a very firm political DNA in his brain.

HEMMER: Schwarzenegger is considering a run of governor of California in 2006. Political pundits say he'd have a good shot.

ALLAN HOFFENBLUM, POLITICAL CONSULTANT: And, the fact that Republicans, here in California, have not been able to field a winning candidate for governor since 1994, leaves the field wide open and there's some nostalgia, of course, but the last time they had a really popular Republican governor was another actor, by the name of Ronald Reagan.

HEMMER: But, unlike Reagan, Schwarzenegger labels himself liberal on social issues. He favors gun control, legalized abortion, and adoption by gay parents.

HOFFENBLUM: That helps him in the mind of the more pragmatic conservatives, because they do believe Republicans must nominate a pro-choice, more socially moderate candidate to be able to win statewide.

HEMMER: But, a run for office would surely mean more scrutiny of his personal life.

SUTTON: You've got to have a clean background. It's murky with Arnold and, I think, some people in California are afraid of that. HEMMER: For now, Schwarzenegger insists he is concerned about movie audiences than voters. This summer, he'll try to regain his title of box office terminator.


ROZEN: There's a question as to whether a generation that now, is completely "Matrixed" and "Spider-manned," et cetera, is going to be interested in "Terminator 3".

HEMMER: In "Terminator 3: Rise of the Machine," Schwarzenegger faces his toughest foe yet, a female super android.

SCHWARZENEGGER: And, she's just a very, very dangerous, very advanced Terminator, whereas I'm much more like the older model of the Terminators.

HEMMER: Older model, perhaps, but this machine shows no sign of breaking down.

SHRIVER: At the end of the day, Arnold is impatient and when he feels like he's gotten something, he wants to figure out what to do next.

BUTLER: He's always managed to find the odd angle that works and I would love to see Arnold Schwarzenegger fool everyone.

CURTIS: And, I think we would be so lucky if he could run for president.

HEMMER: That would take a constitutional amendment, but for this Austrian bodybuilding turned American entrepreneur, turned Hollywood action hero, anything is possible.

SCHWARZENEGGER: I have had the most interesting ride from the time of my childhood to now. I feel lucky. I feel thankful to all the people that helped me, and, you know, this is just the beginning.


ZAHN: Well, political watchers may not have to wait all that long to find out whether Arnold Schwarzenegger intends to run for governor of California, thanks to an increasingly popular effort to recall Democratic Governor Gray Davis. Supporters of the recall say they have already gathered more than half of the signatures necessary to bring the initiative to a vote.


ANNOUNCER: When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS returns, who knew a schlubby guy from Michigan could have so many political enemies?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Michael Moore's the best that the left's got out there, I think that that's a bad sign for the left.

ANNOUNCER: See what all the fuss is about, our look at filmmaker and activist, Michael Moore, is next.



ZAHN: Welcome back to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. Michael Moore is currently one of the most polarizing filmmakers in America. He's become synonymous with controversy. Whether he's slamming Corporate America, taking aim at guns and violence, or causing a political uproar at the Oscars. Here is Mike Machler.


MIKE MACHLER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you're looking for looking for controversy...

MOORE: Iraq didn't bomb Pearl Harbor. Iraq didn't send planes into the World Trade Center.

MACHLER: found it.

MOORE: Quit confusing these issues. Quit trying to manipulate the American public with fear, with fear, constant non-stop fear.

MACHLER: Filmmaker, best selling author, social commentator, Michael Moore refuses to be silent. Just ask him about the war in Iraq.

MOORE: There's 30 other dictators in the world. As bad or worse actually then Saddam Hussein. They just don't have the misfortune of sitting on a whole bunch of oil.

MACHLER: Listen to him discuss the 2000 presidential election.

MOORE: Al Gore is the president of the United States. The Republicans and the Democrats to me are two sides of the same coin. They both have let down the American people.

MACHLER: Watch him use an Academy Award acceptance speech as a political platform.

MOORE: I think anybody voting for me for this award, knew that they weren't going to get a speech thanking agents, lawyers, lawyers of agents, and agents of lawyers.

ROZEN: Michael Moore is Michael Moore.

MOORE: That's just who I am.

ROZEN: No one should be surprised that he got up and said what he did. That is who Michael Moore is.

MACHLER: Or, listen to the multitude of critics who can't stand him.

DAVE KOPEL, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, INDEPENDENCE INSTITUTE: If Michael is the best that the left got out there, I think that's a bad sign for the left.

JAMES HIRSEN, POLITICAL COLUMNIST: He's a very effective propagandist. Because he utilizes combination of incomplete data and emotional manipulation to pursue and push a one sided agenda.

MACHLER: Love him or hate him, Moore stirs people up, and that's just the way he likes it.

MOORE: I won't have it on my conscience, and I won't have it on my soul. I won't let it be said that I stood by and did nothing, said nothing. You know, while others had a rougher go of it than I had.

MACHLER: Michael Moore was born in 1954, and raised in an Irish- Catholic household, in Davison, Michigan, a suburb of Flint.

JEFF GIBBS, FRIEND: He was raised you know with the values from his parents, and from the church, that you take care of the least among you.

MOORE: You know generally I was a good kid, and I did well in school. But I got easily offended at any form of injustice. You know, whether it was you know, they ran out of you know chocolate milk and we had to drink the white milk in the cafeteria. It didn't matter what it was.

MACHLER: Moore's father worked in the auto industry making spark plugs. And Moore found himself influenced by a town where General Motors was king, and organized labor fueled the machine.

MOORE: Our fathers and grandfathers who built that union, created this enormous middle class, that for the first time in history allowed the children of working people to go to college, to have a better life. To be covered with health insurance and things like that. And that had I think and enormous impact on all of us.

MACHLER: In high school, Moore was voted class comic. And was on the debate team.

GIBBS: He was actually very similar to how he is now. We both loved staying up late, you know, contriving different schemes to change the world, and you know, change our town. And watching movies, and you know, listening to rock 'n' roll.

NAN JOHNSON, DAVISON AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY: If there was an issue that he did not agree with, if he felt that someone was being treated negatively, he was never afraid to stand up and speak for what he believed in.

MACHLER: At age 18, Moore put his words into action. He ran for Davison's school board.

MOORE: I basically had you know, one position which was fire the principal. Actually fire the principle and assistant principle, I guess there was two positions I had. And I won. And within nine months the principle and assistant principle turned in their resignations. I thought geez, you know this didn't take long, and I'm still 18. You know I thought, I learned at an early age that maybe you can affect change by not having to do a whole lot.

MACHLER: Moore flirted briefly with college, then at age 22, started his own independent newspaper, "The Flint Voice".

MOORE: I really saw the mission of the paper to stay on top of General Motors, inform the people what it was doing to the town, and encourage people to think about other issues too that were not being covered in the traditional news media.

ED BRADLEY, FLINT JOURNAL: It had kind of a reputation as a muckraking paper I guess in the eyes of the establishment here in town. Really raised a lot of eyebrows, and brought up a lot of issues and did start up some controversy.

MACHLER: After a decade working on "The Voice," Moore moved to San Francisco to become editor of the left wing magazine, "Mother Jones."

MOORE: They liked what I was doing in "Flint," and they were like how would you like to do this on a national level? And I thought wow, what a great opportunity to you know, cover these issues and say the things I wanted to say, but with a much larger audience.

MACHLER: His first issue was well received. And featured an autoworker on the cover. But after just four months, Moore was fired. He said for ideological reasons. The publisher said for job performance. Moore's national platform was gone.

When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues.

MOORE: I'm back home in Flint, and you know, I'm depressed, I'm getting $99 a week on unemployment, not knowing what to do.

MACHLER: Down and out in Flint, Michigan.



MOORE: Everybody should get fired at least once in their life. It's a life affirming experience.

MACHLER: In 1986, Michael Moore had lost his national voice as editor of "Mother Jones" magazine. He returned home to Flint, Michigan, where he saw General Motors laying off thousands of workers, and a town on the decline.

JOHNSON: People were losing their jobs. People that had worked for years and years for General Motors all of the sudden didn't have a job. They had families to take care of.

MOORE: I couldn't believe that a time that GM was still posting these big profits, that they would be doing this to the town. And so I just decided I had to do something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you hear me? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're rolling.

MOORE: Hi, I'm Michael Moore.

MACHLER: What Moore did was make "Roger and Me," a documentary about Flint's difficult times.

GIBBS: He'd been through a very difficult period of time. And he was just obsessed with making this movie, and telling the story of Flint.

MACHLER: Moore was a novice filmmaker, learning his craft through trial and error.

MOORE: I knew nothing. I learned that a tripod about maybe a year into the movie was a good idea, because it kept the camera steady.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are you guys going?

MOORE: Oh, we're going up to the 14th floor.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have an appointment?

MOORE: No we're going to try to see (UNINTELLIGIBLE).


MACHLER: The movie showed more on a personal quest to find General Motors CEO Roger Smith, and ask him why General Motors was eliminating jobs in Flint. It also became a social commentary on what Moore saw as corporate greed in America's economic ills.

MOORE: We lived in the wealthiest country in the world. And Flint is the hometown of the wealthiest corporation in the world. Why are they closing factories at a time when there's you know, making $5 billion in profits.

OWEN GLEIBERMAN, FILM CRITIC, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Well, Michael Moore invented his whole style. And "Roger and Me," of stalking CEOs. Michael Moore comes on as the fearless proletariat with a camera who's going to get the truth.

MACHLER: The film was shot for just $250,000.

BRADLEY: Michael actually said at the time that he felt he would be lucky if this movie could be -- if they put up a sheet in the union hall somewhere. And he could show this movie, and take it around in a van.

MACHLER: But instead, it became a surprise hit at film festivals. It was released nationwide. And at the time, was the highest grossing merit of documentary ever.

ROZEN: Your coming out of the Reagan era, your in the Bush era, the economy is allegedly so good, and yet anyone out there knew there were all these homeless people. Knew that things were not really as good as they were being portrayed. And this documentary plugged into that.

MACHLER: But "Roger and Me" also faced criticism. Moore was accused of misrepresenting the facts. Filming people being evicted from their homes who had never worked for General Motors. And not being precise about when GM had laid off 30,000 Flint workers.

ROZEN: The reason it's called a documentary is that everything in there is the way it's supposed -- is the way it is. He was a little loose with how he put it all together. The question is, did he learn from that? Or has he continued to do it?

MOORE: It was like; it was just 10,000 people that lost their jobs Mike, during those three years, not 30,000. I mean it's like -- can you imagine having that conversation about -- I mean it's 10,000 people. There's no dates in the film. It's meant as an essay about that decade.

MACHLER: Moore took the aggressive style he developed on "Roger and Me" to television with a satirical news magazine, "TV Nation."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's "TV Nation," with Michael Moore.

MACHLER: In it's two-year run, beginning in 1994, "TV Nation" won an Emmy ward. It reveled in going against the grain.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are crime fighters, and this is a corporate crime fighting chicken.

MOORE: The first part of the century we had comedians who, like Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx, and they used humor as a means of social commentary. And so we try to do that every week.

MACHLER: Moore brought the same attitude to another show, 1999's "The Awful Truth."

MOORE: Judge Starr, Judge Starr, I think I found a cheaper way to conduct a witch-hunt.

ROZEN: I think Michael Moore is probably best on TV. Michael Moore is going to go charging in, put his microphone in someone's face, and ask embarrassing questions. It's sort of here is the plumper version of Mike Wallace, and with a humorous twist.

MACHLER: Moore also invaded the publishing world. With the 1996 book, "Downsize This," which took more shots at corporate America.

MOORE: I mean didn't the American dream used to be that if you worked hard, and the company prospers, you prosper? Now it's you work hard, the company prospers, and you lose your job.

HIRSEN: He equates corporate downsizing with terrorism. He equated the corporate downsizing in Michigan with the Oklahoma City bombing. So I think his worldview is the far left. MACHLER: The book became a surprise hit, spending a month on the "New York Times" bestseller list. Michael Moore was a multi-media force.

When PEOPLE IN THE NEWS continues, Moore's guerrilla brand of filmmaking puts him in handcuffs.


MACHLER: In 2000, Michael Moore out on a different hat. That of music video director for the politically active rock band Rage Against the Machine. The video's concept was for the band to barge in and perform at the symbolic heart of the American economy, The New York Stock Exchange.

TOM MORELLO, GUITARIST, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE: What you see, the band being forcibly ejected from The Stock Exchange, and Michael Moore being lead away in hand cuffs, all really happened.

MOORE: There's lots of things you -- you know that you should make a stand for maybe in your life, and it might lead you to being arrested, but one of those shouldn't be a music video for "MTV." You know what I'm saying?

I'm voting for Ralph Nader because he is the most qualified candidate.

MACHLER: Moore spent the 2000 presidential campaign stumping for Ralph Nader, and taking shots at Al Gore, and George W. Bush.

MOORE: It's Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dumber.

RALPH NADER, GREEN PARTY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think he still like the Democratic Party to become more progressive. And he's willing to go outside and challenge it. As he did in support of my presidential candidacy.

MOORE: The election results...

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I George Walker Bush, do solemnly swear...

MACHLER: ...left him incensed.

MOORE: We've got somebody sitting in the Oval Office that isn't there by the will of the people, and I just thought you know, I've got to say something about this.

MACHLER: Moore's outrage turned into the book "Stupid White Men." In it he addresses issues of race, education, and the state of America. He asks President Bush, are you able to read and write on an adult level? He calls Bill Clinton one of the best republican presidents we've ever had. And he blast both major political parties.

MOORE: They are there to do the bidding of the top 10 percent. The wealthiest 10 percent. It's really wrong in a democracy to have the upper 10 percent, they get to have two political parties, and the other 90 percent have nothing.

HIRSEN: His worldview is in fact not centered, certainly not right, but not even -- you asked that question, not even really mainstream left.

MOORE: After the events of September 11, Moore's publisher, Harper Collins decided the timing wasn't right to release a book that referred to President Bush as the Thief in Chief. "Stupid White Men" stayed in limbo for months. With no sign of being released.

MOORE: I decided not to just let the thing die because the publisher didn't believe in it. I believed in it, and I believe that I'm the mainstream. I believe I'm the majority.

MACHLER: Moore went on his own speaking tour. Reading chapters from his then unpublished work.

MOORE: This talk today has been approved by the office of Homeland Security. Do not be afraid.

Some librarian heard me talk about how the book wasn't coming out, and she got on the Internet, and got all these librarians writing e-mails to Harper Collins demanding that the book come out.

ANN SPARANESE, LIBRARIAN: I wrote a little piece. It was a little letter; it might have had four or five paragraphs in it. Basically it said this seems like something that we might want to do something about.

MOORE: They called me up and they said, "What did you tell the librarians?" I said I don't know any librarians. "We're getting hate mail from librarians." That's one terrorist group you don't want to mess with. Ooh, scary librarians. They freaked out. Finally they said OK, this is going to be to much trouble for us, and they put the book out.

MACHLER: "Stupid White Men" reached number one on the "New York Times" best seller list in its third week of release. Not surprisingly, it has plenty of detractors.

HIRSEN: He will exaggerate the truth; he'll leave out facts very conveniently. But I think it's true of his ilk. So they think that the corporations and the government are secretly behind the scenes trying to shaft all of us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have to do a background check.

MOORE: At the bank here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At the bank. Which we are a licensed firearm dealer.

MACHLER: Moore stirred the pot again last fall, with the release of "Bowling for Columbine." The documentary took dead aim at what Moore sees as America's culture of guns and violence. MOORE: Wow, sweet. I'm afraid that as Americans, we've lost our compass. When you start to be afraid of everything. And you no longer can discern what the real fears are, and what the non-fears are, then you're kind of hopeless. And you're lost. And I think that's where we're at right now in this country.

MACHLER: The film received overwhelmingly positive reviews. But some critics again questioned whether Moore manipulated events and facts.

KOPEL: He gives the impression that just a few days after Columbine, Charlton Heston came to Denver and gave a speech, and did that thing where he waves a rifle over his head and says, "You'll never take it, only take it from my cold dead hands." Well, Heston never made that speech in Denver.

The clip that Moore uses comes from Heston speaking a year later in North Carolina.

MACHLER: However, in March, the film won the Academy award for best documentary.

ROZEN: He deserved the award for documentary. "Bowling for Columbine" is a terrific documentary. Maybe a little long, maybe a little full of Michael Moore, but he is talking about things that have to be talked about, gun control.

KOPEL: It's a well-made film. But a film that is composed of so many falsehoods. One after the other, after the other, after the other. Can't possibly be considered a documentary.

MACHLER: While accepting the Oscar, Moore used the international spotlight to speak out again. To a combination of cheers and boos, Moore denounced President Bush and the war in Iraq, saying, "We're against this war Mr. Bush. Shame on you Mr. Bush, shame on you."

MOORE: What's great about this country is that you're able to speak your mind, and that's what I do. I do that in my filmmaking, I do that in my daily life, and I don't stop being who I am when I come into this ceremony.

MACHLER: In other words, two things remain the same. Michael Moore will be controversial, and he won't be quiet.

MOORE: I have even more responsibility now than I had when I made "Roger and Me." I have even a greater burden on me to make sure that I do something with this camera, with my writing, to try and make this a little better place to live. Especially for those who have far less then what I or you have.


ZAHN: With the success of "Bowling for Columbine," Michael Moore has outdone himself. The film has surpassed Moore's first outing, "Roger and Me," to become the highest grossing documentary in history. That's it for this addition of people in the news. Coming up next week, General Tommy Franks and Vice President Dick Cheney. It is a July 4th weekend of patriots and power players.

I'm Paula Zahn, thanks so much for joining us. I hope you join us again next week.


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