the capitalism a love story fact checker

Michael Moore‘s latest documentary Capitalism: A Love Story has run its course with festival judges and critics, and has racked up its fair share of controversy. It’s a Michael Moore film, would you expect anything less? The Associated Press recently posted an article that takes some of the director’s largest claims from the film and runs them against a fact checker. It’s an interesting read, so find out what’s rooted in truth, and what’s all smoke and mirrors.

One of Moore’s largest opponents besides the overall government is Wall Street. According to him, brokers have robbed tax payers of their hard earned money. In the film, Moore showed up at the the headquarters of Goldman Sachs Group Inc. claiming that they owe tax payers 10 billion dollars.

The Facts: Three months after that scene was shot, Goldman Sachs was one of 10 large banks that repaid in June some $68 billion they received from the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program. Since then other large financial companies have repaid funds, too, including Chrysler Financial and American Express Co.

Another big issue in the film is the ugly truth behind insurance policies that benefit companies after their employees die.

The Facts: One of the main culprits involved in such an act is Walmart, who earned a $81,000 life insurance payout when a 26 year old employee of theirs suddenly died. But it’s never mentioned in the body of the film that in 2000 the world’s largest retailer canceled all 350,000 of these policies it took out on employees between 1993 and 1995.

You can’t leave politicians unscathed in any Michael Moore film so he had to highlight the fact that government officials unfairly and hypocritically benefit from financial programs not available to all. “He asserts that Senator Chris Dodd received more than $1 million in discounted loans for being a “Friend of Angelo,” referring to Angelo Mozilo, the former CEO of Countrywide Financial Corp. That lender, which was heavily involved in the subprime-mortgage business, was sold last year to Bank of America.”

The Facts: Dodd has acknowledged that he participated in a VIP program at Countrywide, refinancing loans on two homes in 2003. One was a 30-year adjustable rate loan for $506,000 with an interest rate of 4.25 percent and a fee of 0.45 percent. He also got a 30-year adjustable rate mortgage for $275,042 with an interest rate of 4.5 percent and a fee of 0.73 percent.

Last month, the Senate’s Select Committee on Ethics cleared Dodd and Kent Conrad of North Dakota of getting special treatment on the mortgages. But the bipartisan panel also said the senators should have “exercised more vigilance” in their dealings with Countrywide to avoid the appearance of sweetheart deals.

Are any of us really surprised at this? They’re not boldface lies, a lot of stuff happened after the film wrapped. Some stories are only told from a specific point of view, but isn’t that the basis of any documentary? I’m sure once the film is released more arguments will need to be made.

What do you think about the fact-checking done on Michael Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story?