Bill Moyers: Good Riddance

Bill Moyers, the sanctimonious left winger who has gotten rich at the public trough at PBS, is wrapping up Bill Moyers Journal on PBS.  Moyers has adopted the pose of an above it all sage in the past few decades.  Actually, Moyers has always remained a go-for-the-jugular-partisan, as he was when, as one of LBJ’s flunkies, he helped put together the Daisy Girl Commercial in 1964, the video above, which in essence stated that kids would die in a nuclear holocaust if Goldwater were elected.

My friend Jay Anderson at Pro Ecclesia has a do not miss send off for the Uriah Heep of PBS here.

17 Responses to Bill Moyers: Good Riddance

  • An older co-worker told me that people would tell him in 1964 that if he voted for Goldwater, the country would be at war and there would be rioting in the streets. So, he voted for Goldwater, and sure enough, the country was at war and there was rioting in the streets!

    Good riddance to bad rubbish!

  • Ion’t agree with much of what Bill Moyers said but don’t see your column or the one you linked to as anything more than a meanspirited attack on a long career that must have added something to the discussion of ideas at least.

  • Meanspirited is a phrase actually that comes to mind when I think of Bill Moyers. As the Daisy Girl commercial indicates, Moyers was interested in a discussion of ideas about as much as a cat is interested in having a culinary debate with a mouse. His career consisted of bashing those who had the termerity of disagreeing with him, and he got rich on the public dime doing it.

  • I used to listen to the Bill Moyers Journal podcasts on iTunes and found some of them very interesting. He was NOT constantly bashing people who disagreed with him but actually did some very thoughtful interviews. So I don’t know that his whole life ought to be defined by what he did for the LBJ White House.

    Believe it or not I do actually listen to (gasp!) NPR once in a while because even with their obvious liberal bias, you get far more information and insight on many of their stories, for which they allow a decent 5 or 10 minutes of coverage, than you get from the typical highly superficial radio or national/local TV news story which runs 2 minutes at best.

    I may be a bit stuffy or old fashioned on this point but I don’t believe it’s necessarily healthy to get ALL your news ONLY from sources you agree with 100 percent of the time. Still, I’m probably the only person I know who flips the car radio back and forth between public radio and EWTN on long car trips :-)

  • I listen to NPR Elaine, along with sources I find more congenial. I also read such rags as the Nation. Sometimes I view it as penance for my sins.

    As for Bill Moyers, his idea of balance in 2007 was to have two guests who favored impeaching Bush. That was too much even for the PBS Ombudsman who wrote:

    “So, Why Cover Impeachment, and Why Without Balance?
    To me, this was demonstrated once again by last week’s program on impeachment. This is a subject that gets almost no national media attention, especially from commercial broadcast television. Many will argue, of course, that it doesn’t get attention because it isn’t going to happen; that it has virtually no political traction, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has made clear. That is the conventional wisdom and it is probably true.

    But I would argue that it is still a newsworthy topic. So, as a viewer, I’m grateful that it is being addressed. Impeachment is a process spelled out in the Constitution for citizens to use and, although rarely used, the program reminds us that it was used against President Clinton by the House of Representatives just a decade ago for essentially lying to a federal grand jury about his sex life.

    On the other hand, there was almost a complete absence of balance, as I watched it, in the way this program presented the case for impeachment proceedings against President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

    The program featured two well-informed and articulate guests — Bruce Fein, a Constitutional scholar who wrote one of the articles of impeachment against Clinton, and John Nichols, the Washington correspondent for “The Nation,” a liberal magazine, and the author of a recent book on impeachment. The problem is that both guests favored moving ahead with impeachment proceedings.

    The only moments of balance on the show were actually provided by Moyers who, to his credit and on a couple of occasions, voiced concerns that others watching this program would have. For example, at one point he said, referring to Fein’s bill of particulars against Bush’s version of executive powers: “You’re talking about terrifying power, but this is a terrifying time. People are afraid of those abroad who want to kill us. Do you think,” Moyers then asked Nichols, “in any way that justifies the claims that Bruce just said Bush has made?”

    At another point, Moyers said: “But read that prologue of the Constitution. The first obligation is to defend the people, to defend their freedom, to defend their rights. And I hear people out there talking in their living rooms right now, Bruce and John, saying, ‘But wait a minute, you know, we’ve got these terrorists. We know. Look what happened in London just two weeks ago. We know they’re out there. Who else is looking out for us except Bush and Cheney?'”

    Moments later, Moyers challenged again, saying: “No president and no vice president have been sitting in the White House or sitting in Washington when terrorists, when killers tried to come in airplanes and crashed into the White House, crashed into the Capitol.”

    Nevertheless, there was no doubt where this program, including Moyers, was heading and it was allowed to go down that road. While Fein and Nichols laid out a range of abuses of power and the law as they see it — from usurping the power of Congress and undermining the checks and balances system to spying on American citizens, contradicting the federal statute known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, condoning torturing, jailing and sending people into foreign detention without any political or legal accountability, an so on — there were no rebuttal arguments or legal challenges other than those few Moyers interjections I mentioned.

    This was an hour-long program and it was, in many ways, an education, listening to this view of the impeachment process being laid out, whether or not you agree with it. But the program, in my view, would have been not only less vulnerable to charges of political bias, but also even more educational to more people in terms of illuminating the public about impeachment, if it had contained at the very least a succinct summary of the likely legal challenges to each of the main charges raised by the pro-impeachment process guests.

    A Less Well-Known Poll With Less Well-Known Numbers
    The scene, and tone, for what was to come was set right at the start of the hour when Moyers said, “A public opinion poll from the American Research Group reports that more than four in 10 Americans — 45 percent — favor impeachment hearings for President Bush and more than half — 54 percent — favor putting Vice President Cheney in the dock.”

    A couple of things struck me about this. One, the numbers sounded higher than I imagined or was aware of, and that polling group was not one of the major ones and did not strike me as one that was well known or often quoted in mainstream newspapers. And those numbers are very close to a majority, and are a majority when it comes to Cheney. And when there is a majority for anything, that usually means recognizable grounds for action. Also, Moyers did not say how the questions were asked, and pollsters point out that Bush’s approval ratings are so low that it is easier nowadays to get respondents to respond affirmatively to impeachment questions. I checked the questions later, and they seemed straightforward.

    Nevertheless, the numbers are quite high and, if they are close to being accurate, newly revealing. By comparison, however, a USA Today/Gallup Poll taken a few days after the ARG poll reported on July 10 that 62 percent of those polled said impeachment hearings against President Bush would not be justified, while 36 percent favored such hearings. It did not deal with Cheney.

    But even if 36 percent is the more accurate number, that is not an insignificant number and is a factor that, in my view, makes a broader public television report on the subject newsworthy. A recent article in The Boston Globe also summed up some of the things I didn’t know. For example, Democratic Party organizations in 14 states have passed resolutions supporting impeachment, as have the legislatures in nearly 80 towns and cities, and legislators in 11 states have introduced impeachment bills. The only impeachment move in Congress is against Cheney and was introduced by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (D-Ohio) joined by some of the estimated 14 like-minded House lawmakers.

    So there is something going on, although how much is in doubt. And yes, it’s news and worthy of a program on public broadcasting, but one that had more balance on such a controversial subject.

    I asked PBS whether editorial guidelines about balance apply to Moyers’ program or whether his program is in some special category, and to explain PBS support and funding for the program. Here is the response:

    “Bill Moyers Journal is fully underwritten by sources other than PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The series is funded by the Partridge Foundation, the Park Foundation, The Herb Alpert Foundation and sole corporate funder Mutual of America Life Insurance Company. The title of the series, Bill Moyers Journal, signals to viewers that they can expect to encounter the strongly reasoned viewpoints of Bill Moyers and his guests. Throughout each year, Bill Moyers deals with a variety of subjects and features guests who reflect a wide diversity of perspectives. The responsibility of balance does not fall to any one episode or series. PBS seeks to present, over time, content that addresses a broad range of subjects from a variety of viewpoints. There are many different types of news and public affairs shows; each with a different format and a different goal. For PBS, these vary from a daily news program like The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer to Frontline to Washington Week and Bill Moyers Journal. While we expect all programs to strive for fairness and accuracy, we also want to accommodate a variety of approaches to subject matter in addition to a variety of viewpoints.””

    http://www.pbs.org/ombudsman/2007/07/the_ombudsmans_mailbag_14.html

    Moyers is a complete partisan shill who was clever enough to do it in soothing tones and get rich on PBS while doing so.

  • Please……give me a break. Please remember when Lee Atwater’s conversion occured. Who doesn’t think they are a genius in their 30’s.

  • “……the sanctimonious left winger who has gotten rich at the public trough……….

    Sounds like a lot of our AGW diehard scientific and political apologists who have enjoined the doomsayer prophets at Hoaxenhagen with their snouts in the trough, meanwhile getting fat on the profits.

  • The episode on LBJ a few weeks back was actually really good. But on balance, good riddance. I’d find him less irritating if he just admitted that he was a left-wing apologist. Instead he masquerades as a journalist. But I suppose that’s why liberals love him. He creates the illusion that liberal conclusions are arrived at through objective methods.

    I had a theory that Moyers was responsible for the implosion of Rev. Wright. Moyers did everything he could to introduce Wright to the public as a misrepresented saint. Wright bought into it himself before discovering that the rest of the media wasn’t going to be as easy on him as Moyers was. I don’t think Moyers is merely distasteful. He does real harm.

  • Mr. McClarey. I watched him once and once was enough. Even this discussion is more than he merits.

  • “Who doesn’t think they are a genius in their 30’s.”

    Lots of people actually. However that has nothing to do with my chief complaint against Mr. Moyers. restrainedradical puts my chief complaint well:

    “I’d find him less irritating if he just admitted that he was a left-wing apologist. Instead he masquerades as a journalist. But I suppose that’s why liberals love him. He creates the illusion that liberal conclusions are arrived at through objective methods.”

    An above board partisan I have little problem with. James Carville for example does not pretend to be objective any more than Rush Limbaugh. They are advocates for their parties and to attack them for that is like attacking a dog because it barks. The deceit is what really raises my ire in the case of Moyers.

  • I agree with Don and Restrained Radical that Moyers would be less objectionable if he were up front about his biases. I would have much less negative to say about the man were he not (1) posing as an objective journalist, (2) doing so while pushing his agenda on the public dime at PBS, (3) so vitriolic in his attacks on religious and social conservatives (dismissing all as “fundamentalists” and “religious zealots” who “loathe democracy”), and (4) being touted as some sort of “moral authority” or “conscience of the nation”.

    The guy’s a mean-spirited, sanctimonious jerk, so I get a kick out of the notion that Don and I are being “mean spirited” for calling him out on it and taking issue with the fawning coverage of Moyers as some sort of “sacred American institution, a repository of the nation’s conscience”.

  • When I was young and accepted the idea that PBS was impartial, I thought Bill Moyers was very intelligent and engaging. As I got older and saw that, gee, PBS wasn’t in the LEAST impartial, I thought that Bill Moyers was intelligent, engaging, and very biased — some of the time. Like most journalists on PBS, he seems to think that he is unbiased and to try to BE unbiased, except in issues where he believes that he is right. Then bias goes out the window. Journalists are not taught to be unbiased anymore, and they don’t value a lack of bias. The liberal version of bias has given rise to the conservative journalist, so all the news is consciously biased. It’s discouraging, really.

  • I listened to (via podcast) the “Bush impeachment” episode of Bill Moyers’ Journal. I didn’t care for the arguments raised by Nichols (and by the way Don, I agree that The Nation is a gratingly liberal rag and I rarely if ever read it even online), but Fein — who did, after all, work on the Clinton impeachment — raised some valid points. In fact some of those points — usurping power belonging to the legislative branch, undermining constitutional checks and balances — were similar to those raised in the (later) Blago impeachment proceedings.

    I agree, though, that the show would have been much better had it included someone who made equally valid arguments AGAINST impeaching Bush, and pointing out how the Clinton and Bush cases were different although superficially it might APPEAR that there was “more reason” to impeach Bush (for alleged violations of the Constitution) than Clinton (for allegedly “only” lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky).

    I did eventually quit subscribing to the podcast after Obama’s election because most of the shows were just loaded with glowing praise of the guy and I’d had enoiugh of it. But, that doesn’t negate the fact that Moyers did some very good “Journal” shows.

  • I agree whole heartedly with Elaine Krewer. If you get your news from one source you are cheating yourself. Labeling one as a “political hack” is pointless as they are ALL political hacks and should be viewed so at the outset. If you are listening to “either side” and believing everything they say then IMHO that makes you a hack. It is up to YOU to apply the filter which for us is Catholic teaching – ALL of it – not just “moral” or just “social”.

    Sean Hannity was as wrong on contraception with Fr Eutenauer of HLI as Moyer and his merry band of “progressives” is / was with their “social Gospel” that ignores all moral teachings of the Church in the name of “alleviating poverty”.

    The Coup de grâce was Sean Hannity and Michael Moore debating interpretation of the Bible and Church teaching to defend their respective “hack” positions. It was like watching Abbot & Costello do their “Who’s on first” routine.

  • No one here is disputing that one should receive their news from multiple sources with differing perspectives. Heck, I rarely – IF EVER – watch Fox News, but watch PBS all the time. I’m also an avid listener of NPR.

    That’s part of the reason I know that Bill Moyers is NOT what his admirers claim him to be – because I’ve actually listened to what he says and how he says it.

  • You know, I wouldn’t mind a story presented by two people on the same side of the issue. The one pro / one con format gets a little shrill. So if you want to do a story about impeachment, lay out the case as solidly as you can. But don’t have every story presented from the same political viewpoint. Moyers goes to the left and the left on taxes, the left and the left on race, the left and the left on education….

    Maybe I’ve just given up on expecting my news stories unbiased. But I’d be willing to watch multiple stories with multiple biases. I mean, every Charlie Rose interview is with Tom Friedman, Ezra Klein, Paul Krugman, and/or involves quotes from those three. Can you imagine him having Ralph Reed and Mike Huckabee for a retrospective about Oral Roberts?

  • I agree with Don and Restrained Radical that Moyers would be less objectionable if he were up front about his biases.

    I will wager that Moyers does not conceptualize his biases as that, nor conceive of himself has having an authentic interlocutor outside of the circles of which he is a part. Argument is over strategy and tactics among friends. There is among those Thos. Sowell calls ‘the anointed’ an tendency to regard institutions as their possession by right and reason as their possession by default.

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