Moore was asked by Rolling Stone to interview the top three democratic candidates for a cover story. As he explains in a recent letter on the eve of today's Iowa caucus at MichaelMoore.com
, the story never ran.
Moore opens his letter with a New Year's salutation and goes on to express his indignation at President Bush. He then notes "That the Democratic front-runners are a less-than-stellar group of candidates, and that none of them are the 'slam dunk' we wish they were."
Two months ago Moore set out to interview the big three Democratic contenders (Clinton, Obama, and Edwards) for Rolling Stone. While both Senator Edwards and Senator Obama agreed to sit down and chat, Senator Clinton refused and the cover story was killed pursuant to Moore's agreement with the magazine to interview all three.
It's not clear from the letter whether Moore was still able to interview Obama and Edwards. Most of the post is spent lambasting Clinton for her voting record on the war; he also criticizes her for taking more contributions from the health care industry than any other candidate.
Toward the end of his letter he briefly outlines his perspective on both Obama and Edwards, but there are few insights that haven't been brought up elsewhere and it seems quite obvious that much of the meat that would've been found in Moore's Rolling Stone article was forever lost when Clinton refused to play ball.
In examining Clinton's decision not to participate, it seems safe to assume that her campaign underwent a cost-benefit analysis before reaching a final decision. If the article were to prop up Clinton in comparison to the competition, it'd obviously be a boon for the Senator. On the other hand, if the article were to be highly critical of Clinton then it might deal a fatal blow at a moment when Iowa, New Hampshire and the entire country hang in the balance.
So why did Clinton decide to refuse the interview, thereby killing the story? As Moore points out, his first book contained a chapter titled, "My Forbidden Love for Hillary," and she did enter the White House in 1992 as a first lady set on solving the health care crisis (the subject of Moore's latest film). Of course, that was over 15 years ago and the New York senator has gone through some dramatic transformations since that time.
After reading Moore's letter it seems that Hillary Clinton's decision may have worked in her favor, but it is also possible that much of Moore's vitriol is the result of Clinton's rejection.
This actually isn't the first time that Clinton has had a hand in preventing a magazine story from going public. Last September, GQ magazine agreed to pull an inflammatory story after the campaign threatened to deny access to Bill Clinton
for their upcoming Man of the Year
With a news media willing to compromise coverage for access, it's vital for the American public to be cautious about voting for a presidential candidate willing to employ such tactics to control the flow of information. It's true that I have no reason to think other contenders would not do the same, but I don't think any other candidates have been caught manipulating the media in such a blatant fashion.
Yes, the press has an obligation to act as a watchdog; journalists have an ethical responsibility to resist compromising their work for access, but we can't count on the media to act with integrity any more than we can depend on our politicians. While some may joke that there's no such thing as an honest politician, I feel that Clinton campaign established that their integrity in regards to the press should be seriously questioned.