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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waves prior to a press conference about the situation in Syria at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, April 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Keystone/Sandro Campardo) United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon waves prior to a press conference about the situation in Syria at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Thursday, April 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Keystone/Sandro Campardo)  

Film takes on horrors of UN corruption, Michael Moore-style

Photo of Caroline May
Caroline May
Political Reporter

News reports of corruption, negligence and poor judgment at the United Nations have left many shaking their heads at the international body in recent decades.

A new film by Ami Horowitz and Matthew Groff, set to premiere in select theaters on June 1, aims to trace the U.N.’s decline from an institution created in 1945 — “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small … and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom, and for these ends to practice tolerance and live together in peace” — to one that would honor Zimbabwe dictator Robert Mugabe as a “Global Leader for Tourism.”

Horowitz, a self-described right-of-center foreign policy hawk, explained that the film, “U.N. Me,” is meant as a visual op-ed directed in a fashion suited to capture Americans’ elusive attention spans.

“I knew this stuff going in, I just didn’t realize how deep the rabbit hole went,” Horowitz told The Daily Caller in an interview, noting that while he is more conservative, the rest of the film’s production crew are left-of-center.

Watch exclusive clip from “U.N. Me”:

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Horowitz cited three central problems with the U.N.

“It comes down to three things. First of all, it is an incredibly opaque institution — they are essentially accountable to no one. That is a very dangerous combination for anything,” Horowitz said, adding that the two other elements make the mix even worse.

“You have a bureaucracy that make up the United Nations where the good guys, and there are a lot of good guys, essentially live in a moral fog,” he told TheDC. “They have a moral blindness: They don’t take stands against people because they think its wrong to do — you don’t pass judgment.”

“Moral equivalency is also a big part of it. Also, the other side of the same coin is you have these bad actors — countries that are bad governments, bad states. … So you have all those things combine for this perfect storm.”

While Horowitz’s goal was to expose the U.N. for the “perfect storm” it has become, he also wanted it to be entertaining and humorous in the fashion of Michael Moore’s “Bowling for Columbine.”

“Say what you will about Michael Moore, the guy knows how to make an entertaining and powerful film,” Horowitz said.

From the beginning, Horowitz explained, he wanted “U.N. Me” to be funny.

“We are dealing with very difficult issues ultimately — very heavy stuff — and to do it without levity, I thought, would be a recipe for disaster. Nobody wants to sit there for 90 minutes and be preached at, watching terrible images across the screen, so I knew humor had to be a part of it,” he said, noting that the film brought in writers from “The Daily Show,” The Onion and Michael Moore movies for assistance.