One recently released WikiLeaks cable stated that Cuban officials had banned Michael Moore's healthcare documentary Sicko. Critics of Moore's work pounced, delighted thata film that spent timepointingoutthat Cuba's national system has some merits would be banned in thatcountry.
The problem is that… well, it wasn't.Which is something that anyone could have known if they'd done a moment of factchecking.Like Michael Moore did (though, to be fair, he probably knew this stuff without having to check):
Sounds convincing, eh?! There's only one problem–Sicko had just been playing in Cuban theaters. Then the entire nation of Cuba was shown the film on national television on April 25, 2008! The Cubans embraced the film so much so it became one of those rare American movies that received a theatrical distribution in Cuba. I personally ensured that a 35mm print got to the Film Institute in Havana. Screenings of Sicko were set up in towns all across the country.
Moore slammed the Guardian's story (headlined, "WikiLeaks: Cuba Banned Sicko for Depicting 'Mythical' Healthcare System"). Other outlets were also guilty of taking the cable at face value. It shows–once again–that a lot of journalists have a strange relationship with these WikiLeaks cables. They don't like what WikiLeaks does, and they're pretty sure there's nothing explosive or newsworthy hidden in the cables. Unless, of course, there's something they find politically useful. Then it should be treated as a Top Secret Fact–no checking necessary.