Saturday, July 12, 2008


Bill Moyers = an American hero. Born in East Texas, wrote for the Daily Texan at UT Austin, took on a summer internship that culminated in his post as LBJ's press secretary; he afterwards became a famous and controversial journalist who specialized in long-form interviews, investigative reporting, and thoughtful analysis (a direct descendent of Edward R. Murrow, a character recently depicted in "Good Night and Good Luck").

His willingness to hold account to those in power caused problems for him... he was accused of a "liberal bias." He was eventually forced out of his position at PBS by Kenneth Tomlinson, an old friend of Karl Rove who was later convicted of misusing funds and running his horse-racing business from his PBS office.
Excerpts from Bill Moyers' Wiki entry.

On the media and class warfare
In a 2003 interview with, Moyers said, "The corporate right and the political right declared class warfare on working people a quarter of a century ago and they've won." He noted that "The rich are getting richer, which arguably wouldn't matter if the rising tide lifted all boats." Instead, however, "The inequality gap is the widest it's been since 1929; the middle class is besieged and the working poor are barely keeping their heads above water." He added that as "the corporate and governing elites are helping themselves to the spoils of victory," access to political power has become "who gets what and who pays for it."

Meanwhile, the public has failed to react because it is, in his words, "distracted by the media circus and news has been neutered or politicized for partisan purposes." In support of this he referred to "the paradox of Rush Limbaugh, ensconced in a Palm Beach mansion massaging the resentments across the country of white-knuckled wage earners, who are barely making ends meet in no small part because of the corporate and ideological forces for whom Rush has been a hero... As Eric Alterman reports in his recent book — a book that I'm proud to have helped make happen — part of the red meat strategy is to attack mainstream media relentlessly, knowing that if the press is effectively intimidated, either by the accusation of liberal bias or by a reporter's own mistaken belief in the charge's validity, the institutions that conservatives revere — corporate America, the military, organized religion, and their own ideological bastions of influence — will be able to escape scrutiny and increase their influence over American public life with relatively no challenge."

On media bias
When he retired in December 2004, the AP News Service quoted Moyers, "I'm going out telling the story that I think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee. We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Moyers said: Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people."

On Karl Rove and U.S. politics
During his speech at the "Take Back America" Conference, Moyers defined what he considered to be Karl Rove's influence on George W. Bush's administration. Moyers asserted that, from his reading of Rove, the mid to late 1800s were to Rove a "cherished period of American history." He further states, "From his own public comments and my reading of the record, it is apparent that Karl Rove has modeled the Bush presidency on that of William McKinley...and modeled himself on Mark Hanna, the man who virtually manufactured McKinley."

He stipulated that Hanna's primary "passion" was attending to corporate and imperial power.

Furthermore, Moyers indicates that Hanna gathered support for McKinley's presidential campaign from "the corporate interests of the day" and was responsible for Ohio and Washington coming under the rule of "bankers, railroads and public utility corporations." He submitted that political opponents of this transfer of power were "smeared as disturbers of the peace, socialists, anarchists, or worse."

Lastly, he refers to what historian Clinton Rossiter called the period of "the great train robbery of American intellectual history," when "conservatives--or better, pro-corporate apologists" began using terms such as "progress", "opportunity", and "individualism" in order to make "the plunder of America sound like divine right." He added that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was also used by conservative politicians, judges, and publicists to justify the idea of a "natural order of things" as well as "the notion that progress resulted from the elimination of the weak and the 'survival of the fittest.'"

He concludes, "This 'degenerate and unlovely age', as one historian calls it, exists in the mind of Karl Rove, the reputed brain of George W. Bush, as the seminal age of inspiration for the politics and governance of America today."

During coverage of the 2004 presidential election, Moyers stated, "I think that if Kerry were to win this in a tight race, I think that there would be an effort to mount a coup, quite frankly. I mean that the right wing is not going to accept it."

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