Michael Moore watches the media watching him

Published July 28, 2004 3:17PM (EDT)

For all his disdain of the media, Michael Moore has always been concerned about what the press says about him. Fifteen years ago in Flint, Mich., he showed up at our hotel room unannounced in the middle of the night, just to get a copy of a newspaper article about "Roger & Me" that he hadn't seen yet.

Moore hasn't changed. Early this morning at the Fleet Center -- and by early this morning, we really mean very, very late last night -- Moore was hanging out inside the Fleet Center, sitting in some empty delegate seats and holding forth for a few dozen reporters as he waited for a turn with Larry King.

A Dutch reporter demanded to know whether "Fahrenheit 9/11" perverted the documentary form, whether the film was really just "propaganda." Moore said that the TV networks provide "propaganda." His film, he said, was "anti-propaganda," the "antidote" to what people see in their living rooms.

As Moore spoke, Ted Koppel wandered up. "Give it a rest, will ya -- go home for Christ's sake," Koppel joked. Moore had taped a "Nightline" segment with Koppel earlier, and Koppel had just gotten off the air. Moore asked Koppel how much of the interview he had aired, and whether he'd used a portion in which Moore had urged Koppel to "speak truth to power." "Did you leave in the part where I said you could be our next Walter Cronkite?" Moore asked. "Actually," Koppel said, "we led with that."

He plainly hadn't, but Moore didn't seem to mind. "Thanks a lot!" Moore shouted out to Koppel. Then, turning to the other reporters, Moore smiled and said, "He put me on his show tonight!"

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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