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Michael Moore's New Film Is Denounced—by the Left

Critics say 'Planet of the Humans' is wildly inaccurate and smears the green movement
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2020 11:51 AM CDT
Updated May 2, 2020 1:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Michael Moore is used to taking all kinds of criticism over his films. His new one, however, offers a twist on that. Many environmentalists and other usual Moore supporters on the left are outraged over the documentary Planet of the Humans, while conservative sites, including Breitbart, are singing its praises. Coverage:

  • The film: You can watch it on YouTube. Moore is an executive producer, while Jeff Gibbs, who has collaborated with Moore frequently, is the director and narrator.
  • The premise: The film aims to call out hypocrisy in the green movement, particularly in regard to solar energy, electric cars, and big environmental groups such as the Sierra Club, per Gizmodo. It casts "renewables as no better than fossil fuels and environmental groups as sleek corporate outfits in bed with billionaires helping kill the planet," writes Brian Kahn. The film argues that population control is perhaps the best answer to the planet's problems, though Kahn complains that interviews conducted to buttress this point have "more than a whiff of eugenics and ecofascism."

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  • The criticism: Fellow documentary maker Josh Fox (Gasland) is leading the charge against the movie with a petition that is gaining steam. His letter calls the film "shockingly misleading" and says it "touts blatantly untrue fossil fuel industry talking points," reports the Guardian.
  • Briefly pulled: One of the movie's distributors, Films for Action, took down the film temporarily after declaring it was "full of misinformation." However, the company later rescinded the move, saying it didn't want claims of censorship to give the movie "more power and mystique than it deserves."
  • Detailed critique: At Vox, UC Santa Barbara assistant professor Leah C. Stokes provides a detailed takedown of the movie. Among other things, she says it uses old data on electric cars and wind and solar energy, adding that "the largest share of the movie's scorn goes to biomass—generally, burning wood—which supplied less than 2% of the US electricity mix last year." The filmmakers, though, "obscure that fact, showing graphs that imply biomass is leading to forest destruction across the US." The movie inexplicably goes after green groups instead of fossil fuel companies or utilities, she writes, and her essay's headline calls the film a "gift to big oil."
  • Al Gore a target: The film goes after green heavyweights, including Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, who has fired back with a defense. It also lays into Al Gore, suggesting that his famous An Inconvenient Truth documentary might have been timed to help Gore's green investments.
  • Moore's take: Promo material for the film calls attention to the coronavirus pandemic. "This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement's answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids," reads a promo cited by Real Clear Politics. "It's too little, too late." The promo adds that "getting a grip on our out-of-control human presence and consumption" is "the only thing that MIGHT save us."
(Read more Michael Moore stories.)

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