Sunday, August 08, 2004

Greenberg: Michael Moore-Pantagraph story grows and grows

I got a call a few days ago from a man asking if The Pantagraph wanted to take on filmmaker Michael Moore on a new NBC primetime show set to debut this fall.

The show features lawyers trying real court cases with judges and juries, resulting in final, legal and binding outcomes.

It wasn't a joke. The show is real. David E. Kelley -- who brought viewers "The Practice," "Ally McBeal," and "L.A. Law" -- is an executive producer.

We said no thanks.

It's just one example of the reaction we've received since attorney Casey Costigan sent a letter to Moore on behalf of The Pantagraph a couple of weeks ago.

The letter asked Moore for an apology after someone took a Dec. 5, 2001, letter to the editor from our paper and made it look like a Dec. 19, 2001, news story in Moore's latest controversial documentary, "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Well, we still have not heard from Moore or his representatives. Not sure we ever will.

That's not the only reason we asked Casey to send the letter and published our own story on July 30 about the issue.

More important to me was putting something on the record for our readers -- and other journalists.

We're not documentary filmmakers. We don't know if taking something from a newspaper and tweaking it is common practice.

But to take something out of any newspaper without asking and changing it is not our common practice.

If we didn't say something, we give tacit approval.

A copy of Casey's letter went to The Associated Press and a few other papers.

The story got around.

It was in newspapers all over the country and overseas. It was on CNN's "crawler," Headline News, Fox News.

We did interviews with the Chicago Tribune, WJBC and Entertainment Weekly. Casey even got a crank call from someone saying he was with "60 Minutes."

(click on the title for the whole article)

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