MOORE JOURNALISM: American newspapers have no one to blame but themselves for their bleak business prospects, according to Michael Moore, who gave an impassioned harangue on the topic during a Q&A with Tina Brown, following the New York premiere of his latest documentary, “Capitalism: A Love Story.” “The truth is that newspapers in Europe are not folding — and I think they have the Internet there. The reason is that in Europe they fund themselves primarily through circulation, and advertising is number two,” he explained from the stage of Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center to a crowd including Mario Batali, Gretchen Mol, Wallace Shawn, Morgan Spurlock and Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, who makes a star turn in the film. “Here [in the U.S.], advertising is the main source of funding, and circulation — the people who are reading the paper — is number two. If you put the people secondary to the advertising community, then people are going to stop buying the paper.”
Moore said newspapers were losing readers by laying off journalists and producing less meaningful content, in a counterproductive effort to boost profits. The message tied in neatly to the film, which is an indictment of the modern American capitalist system, particularly Wall Street banks and the politicians and purported financial regulators, both Democrat and Republican, who enjoy cozy relationships with one another.
Moore’s message was somewhat dampened by the plush environs of Lincoln Center, which is largely funded by some of the companies he takes on in the film: Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Citibank and other financial institutions. The incongruity only increased when attendees — who witnessed heart-wrenching foreclosures and forcible evictions in the film — were bused to a lavish after party at the new Esquire Signature Space, a pair of penthouses in the Soho Mews luxury building currently on the market for $20 million. Moore took the paradox in stride. “I’m already starting my next movie in my head right now, the irony is so supreme,” he told WWD, ensconced on a sofa in front of a fire in the Costas Kondylis-designed living room, as a DJ blared Madonna. “As you know, I love that,” Moore said. — David Lipke
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