Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Bill Moyers Will Be Missed

With sanity and good sense so media rare these days, when Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck star in "The 100 Most Influential People in the World," the loss of Bill Moyers' voice on PBS every weekend is hard to bear.

His retirement at 75 marks the last of a generation of 20th century journalists, inspired by Edward R. Murrow, dedicated not to getting the story first but getting it right, to concentrating on what used to be scoffed as "soft news" but, in today's 24/7 flood of facts, factoids and fakery, is the news that really counts.

Starting out as an ordained minister, the young Texan was derailed into national politics by LBJ, emerging from Great Society idealism and the bitter reality of Vietnam into a media world, never losing the liberal, populist bent inherited from his father, an East Texas laborer, who thought of FDR as a friend in the White House:

"My father knew FDR was talking for him when he said life was no longer free, liberty no longer real, men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness--against economic tyranny."

In his final Journal this weekend, Moyers was still his father's son, warning that now the "marriage of money and politics has produced an America of gross inequality at the top and low social mobility at the bottom, with little but anxiety and dread in between, as middle class Americans feel the ground falling out from under their feet...

"So it is that like those populists of that earlier era, millions of Americans have awakened to a sobering reality: they live in a plutocracy, where they are disposable. Then, the remedy was a popular insurgency that ignited the spark of democracy.

"Now we have come to another parting of the ways, and once again the fate and character of our country are up for grabs."

Agree or not, losing that media voice is bad for the country at a time when Sarah Palin, in Time Magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential Americans, can rhapsodize about her fellow designee and Fox News colleague, Glenn Beck:

"Though he sometimes dismisses himself as an aw-shucks guy or just a 'rodeo clown,' he's really an inspiring patriot who was once at the bottom but now makes a much needed difference from the very, very top."

Somewhere in Media Heaven, Edward R. Murrow must be frowning, and Time's founding father Henry Luce can't be too thrilled, either.


section9 said...

Bill Moyers was Lyndon Johnson's hatchet man who helped LBJ lie the country into the Vietnam War. While claiming that Bush attempted to manipulate the media about the Iraq War, Moyers in 1966 (for example) went up to a New York "Times" reporter and asked him to promote a story that LBJ wanted to run about Indochina. The Timesman responded, "How dare you try and plant a story in the New York "Times"!"

Moyers was nothing but a partisan stooge and a toady for the Democratic Party. That is how he will be remembered. Cronkite is remembered differently, for while Uncle Walter was a Man of the New Deal and a liberal Democrat, he understood that the integrity of CBS News only lasted as long as the viewer could trust the content of what came through the box.

Moyers never understood this. He was a propagandist. He will only be missed by the Left. Good riddance to one of LBJ's worst hacks.

JSpencer said...

Well said Robert. Moyers has been a voice of reason in this cacophony of low standard journalism - when indeed it even is journalism. He will be greatly missed.

Anonymous said...

unless moyers is ill, he could have stayed. there's a powerful group around him. He could have remained