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Truth, it seems, is in the telling

August 12, 2007

The most interesting, and misleading, statement in Robert Lloyd's "Truth, the Franchise" [Aug. 5] is: "But the truth about documentary film is that any documentary tells only a partial truth. Every film is the product of a series of subjective decisions, based on the material acquired and the story it seems to want to tell."

The argument is no doubt true, but the implication that it is exclusively a problem of producing documentaries is misleading, because it is also true for people who produce newspapers such as The Times. Isn't that what editors do -- make subjective decisions regarding what will appear in a newspaper and how it will be presented?

In virtually every review of his work, the knock on Michael Moore is that "his work is flawed" because he gives "only one side of the story." That is also true, but the major media are no more objective than he is, and he gives a side that gets little coverage in the major media and it is a side the public has a right to hear.

The truth is that the case Moore makes in his movie is true. We do have the most expensive healthcare system in the world and, measured by the criteria that matters -- such as life expectancy, infant mortality and our ability to provide healthcare to "all" of our citizens -- our "free market" system isn't giving us our money's worth. We have the shortest lives and more of our babies do not grow to maturity than in almost any other developed country. And for that kind of result, we pay the highest cost in the world.

The question Moore poses is, why should that be true of the richest country in the world? It is a legitimate question that needs an answer.

Sanford Thier

Marina del Rey

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