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Michael Moore Brands BuzzFeed Report a Lie

Newly installed BuzzFeed LA reporter Tessa Stuart is causing a commotion on Twitter with her story about Michael Moore. But not necessarily the good kind of commotion.

The above tweets were rattled off by Moore around 4:45 p.m. PT this afternoon. He is taking issue with Stuart’s claims that an LAX incident last week involving Oscar-nominated Palestinian director Emad Burnat (5 Broken Cameras) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel was wrongly characterized as “racial profiling.” From Stuart’s piece:

A source working at LAX familiar with the situation said when Burnat wasn’t able to produce that document [Oscar invite] on the spot, he was taken to a secondary inspection area where he found the ticket, showed it Customs officers, and was immediately allowed to proceed to the baggage claim. This source insists the whole process took no longer than 25 minutes total, and was standard practice for anyone entering the country.

At the end of the article, BuzzFeed displays the first of Moore’s above tweets with the note: “We continue to await Moore’s response to our requests for comment or clarification.”

Update – 02/25/13: In a series of tweets spaced out for extra effect, Moore pointed out that tickets to the Oscars are never made available until the last Thursday before the show, meaning there’s no way Burnat could have produced a “ticket” – as the source told Stuart – at LAX on Tuesday, February 19. BuzzFeed has added most of this series of @MMFlint tweets to the end of their article.

Update – 02/26/13: Stuart accessed a handwritten log of the February 19 LAX incident. She writes that the incident is said to have lasted 23 minutes, far less than what Moore claimed:

“While there is nothing in the log to contradict Burnat’s account or his gratitude to Moore for leaping to his aid, the document does suggest that Moore overstated, at least, the length of the incident.”

One of the officials BuzzFeed spoke to also clarifies that what Burnat actually displayed in connection with the Academy Awards was not a paper ticket but a “copy of the invitation on his Smartphone.” This latest BuzzFeed item has triggered a new series of dismissive Twitter responses at Moore’s end.

Update – 02/26/13: Moore has shared a brief statement from Burnat on his website and also spoken with The Atlantic Wire.

Update – 02/27/13: Moore offers a very thorough and must-read “Final Word” take on this whole saga.

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