Michael Moore: Newspapers ‘Slit Their Own Throats’

Filmmaker says greed killed papers, not the Internet.

Filmmaker Michael Moore accused American newspapers of “slitting their own throats” in a news conference in Toronto on Monday where he was promoting his new film, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”

It’s not the Internet that has killed newspapers, the gadfly documentarian said in a four-minute detour from talking about his film, which rejects capitalism as “undemocratic.”

Instead, he said, it’s corporate greed. “These newspapers have slit their own throats,” he said. “Good riddance.”

Moore said that newspapers, bought up by corporations in the last generation, have pursued profits at the expense of news gathering. By basing their businesses on  advertising over circulation, newspaper owners have neglected their true economic base and core constituency, he said.

He also accused those corporations of supporting Republican candidates, which have discouraged reading and education in measures such as supporting the elimination of the Education Department at the federal level.

And Moore cited newspapers like those in Baltimore or Detroit, his home town, with firing reporters that cover subjects that affect the community.

Ultimately, he said, this was self-defeating. It would be like GM deciding to discourage people from learning how to drive, he said.

“It’s their own greed, their own stupidity,” he said. “It’s capitalism that taken (newspapers) from us.”

Moore said he tried to include the subject in his new film, but it became too large a topic and instead he may make an entire film about the fall of newspapers.

“One year or two years from now,” he predicted, “we are not going to have daily newspapers.”