The Washington Post
Could They Have Been Sick? Lobbyists Absent for ‘Sicko’
As part of yesterday’s rollout for “Sicko,” Michael Moore — liberal firebrand, master of the promotional stunt — invited 900 pharmaceutical and insurance lobbyists to a free screening of his attack on America’s health-care system. Guess how many showed up? Eleven. It was a win-win proposition for the director of “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine”: Hundreds of lobbyists show up, jacking the film’s buzz; or no one comes, leaving him to claim moral victory. “I was really hoping they’d show their faces,” said Moore, who squeezed in the appearance at Union Station between a pep rally on Capitol Hill and last night’s red carpet premiere. “They’re probably busy doing what they do — making lives miserable for us.”
The handful of lobbyists who did show tried to bring a touch of reason to the debate. “Look, identifying problems in our health-care system is like shooting fish in a barrel,” said consultant Claudia Schlosberg, who said the real issue is finding solutions. (Yeah, but who’d pay to see a movie about that?) Said John Greene of the National Association of Health Underwriters: “I want to ask Mr. Moore, ‘Where’s the popcorn and soda?’ ” (Not covered under Moore’s lobbyist-care plan.)
Aside from the snack debacle, Moore — in blue plaid shirt, jacket and sneakers — was gracious and noncombative to his guests. “It is my sincere hope that if I raise some issues you will consider them,” he said before the film started.
We would have stuck around to see what they thought of it, but the studio closed the screening to the press.