Retracted: What Was That About America’s “Culture of Fear” Again, Michael?

If FOX News’s story is correct, it would seem that Michael Moore employs (or employed) a (gasp!) armed bodyguard.

Unfortunately, Patrick Burke, self-proclaimed bodyguard to Michael Moore, didn’t bother to try to get a concealed-carry permit for New York (though he has licenses for Florida and California). When he told the agent at the ticket counter in JFK airport (!) that he was carrying, he was promptly arrested and may find himself facing a felony rap. (Which will result in the revocation of his other CCW licenses.) Guess Michael will have to hire himself another bodyguard.

Perhaps the next one will come with the requisite amount of Clue™.

Then again, if he did have a clue, he wouldn’t be working for Moore, would he?

UPDATED: I’m glad I opened the piece with “IF FOX News’s story is correct…” because it’s not.

Moorewatch has the facts, and I’ll quote them to save you the time:

Dear Moorewatch Editors:

Our firm employs Patrick Burk.

Fox News has now removed the link for this story from their home page; their original story contained several errors (below). We want to be certain you are aware of the appropriate corrections.

I know that Fox News editors must rely upon others when preparing their stories, and I offer with no judgment that their story titled “Michael Moore’s Bodyguard Arrested on Airport Gun Charge” contains several errors, including its entire headline.

Please correct the errors in your story below as soon as possible, because, as you are aware, the errors reach an ever-widening audience with each passing minute – and will predictably be picked up by other news agencies.

Our full-time employee, Patrick Burk, is not “Michael Moore’s bodyguard.” Accordingly, the headline in the Fox News Web site story is false and misleading.

If you believe Patrick Burk was ever assigned to protect Michael Moore, or any number of other public figures, you might accurately report that “A bodyguard who was once assigned to protect Michael Moore…”

You could as accurately say “A bodyguard that was once assigned to protect President Clinton,” because Patrick Burk has also been assigned to protect President Clinton in the past – but you wouldn’t be accurate if you said “President Clinton’s Bodyguard.”

Patrick Burk is not Michael Moore’s bodyguard, nor was he protecting Michael Moore or in any way involved with Michael Moore on Wednesday night, when he (Burk) was checking in at JFK for a flight to Los Angeles.

When checking in for the flight, Patrick Burk voluntarily advised United Airlines that he was transporting an unloaded, locked firearm in his checked luggage, precisely as regulations require, and not “carrying” a weapon, as your story inaccurately reports. Advising the counter ticket agent is a routine procedure for police officers and security professionals. In this case, a Port Authority officer decided to arrest Patrick Burk on the charge that he is not licensed to carry a firearm in New York City.

The Fox web site headline contains an error not present in the story. The headline indicates that Patrick Burk was arrested on an “airport gun charge.” He was not. The charge involves having a firearm without a New York City License to carry it. On that note, Patrick Burk was not carrying a weapon on his person (only locked in his baggage), and the police do not allege that he was carrying a weapon on his person, as your story implies.

Police, security professionals, sportsmen, and citizen gun owners who fly on the Nation’s airlines are legally bound to advise the airlines of firearms in their checked baggage – and the firearms are transported just like any other baggage.

The Fox News story also says Patrick Burk was carrying “an unlicensed firearm.” Please correct that error. Patrick Burk’s firearm is legally registered to Patrick Burk – it is not “unlicensed.” Patrick Burk is licensed to carry a firearm in several States, and a court will determine if any charge is appropriate for Patrick Burk in this matter, which involves New York City.

Though I realize a Michael Moore connection would be of interest to your web site, Patrick Burk is not Michael Moore’s bodyguard, and has never been employed by Michael Moore.

An important note for you is that Patrick Burk is not a public figure and even the smallest inaccurate detail that is widely disseminated could predictably interfere with his ability to pursue his profession. Patrick Burk is a former Marine who served with distinction in an elite and specialized Marine unit, and he protected, among others, then-President Clinton.

Our firm ( provides protective coverage for public figures and others, and Patrick Burk is a leading professional in his field.

I highlighted in red below the specific errors where they appear in the Fox News story.

Please let me know that you have received this email, and if you need further information or need to reach our firm, please call (redacted), and ask for (redacted).


Gavin de Becker

This doesn’t negate the fact that Michael Moore has employed armed security, but it sucks the wind out of the sails of the story as initially reported. Hat tip, Instapundit.

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