August 1, 2004: Headlines: Staff: Journalism: The Decatur Daily: Bill Moyers writes new book on the news media, politics, America

Peace Corps Online: Directory: USA: Special Report: Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers: August 1, 2004: Headlines: Staff: Journalism: The Decatur Daily: Bill Moyers writes new book on the news media, politics, America
Our debt to Bill Moyers December 11, 2004 Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."

By Admin1 (admin) ( - on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 - 3:21 pm: Edit Post

Bill Moyers writes new book on the news media, politics, America

Bill Moyers writes new book on the news media, politics, America

Bill Moyers writes new book on the news media, politics, America

Bill Moyers on the news media, politics, America

By John Davis
Special to THE DAILY

Many know Bill Moyers from the public broadcasting station where he has long hosted "Now With Bill Moyers." He has been a regular commentator and journalist for years, speaking on CBS as a senior reporter and writing as publisher of Newsday. In his political career, he was President Lyndon Baines Johnson's spokesman. Moyers has seen much over his long career, and this slim volume adds several significant essays to his observations on American Life.

He could best be identified as a New Deal liberal of the age when to be a progressive was a positive thing. His father grew up along the Oklahoma/Texas frontier, working long, long hours for any money he could get. Thus, to be in favor of Social Security, rural electrification, farm subsidies and the like was hardly something abstract. Moyers recounts how men of that generation saw the world. It is not hard to believe that they, like the union men who fought to get a fair salary and benefits, could and did fight against the vested interests of the age. Moyers has inherited that tradition, although perhaps many of his more modern liberal tendencies would be less acceptable to his father's generation.

Moyers spends most of this book commenting on journalism. He contends that the media are centralizing so much that they will not challenge their corporate owners. In fact, stations and newspapers become little more than house organs for the vested interests of the powerful. He laments the demise of what de Tocqueville admired most about America: that its newspapers were robust, independent and local. Interesting, then, that Moyers doesn't see the appeal of local control in other areas, for he appears little enamored of what he often concludes are the reactionary tendencies of regionalism. He foresees a great expanse of freedom of expression through the Internet, and for that he is positive about our future.

Where he is most convincing is in his observation that newspapers and the like are becoming less in-depth in their reporting because there are fewer reporters, thinly deployed, writing for fewer papers. He goes on to argue that journalists are doing less groundbreaking reporting for fear of their corporate masters.

While Moyers' contention that only right-wing reaction is well established in the wealthy of this nation is debatable, his notice of the demise of fearless reporting is not. He would have an argument, I am certain, with many on the nature of the demise of fearlessness. He is correct, however, that this is certainly not a nation of muckraker reporters, but rather the most risk averse media in my lifetime.

Moyers has a grasp of history, and that sets him apart in many of his evaluations. It is not for nothing that he reflects that we now number with Alexander the Great in sending an army across the Euphrates. He puts us in perspective: We won't live forever. That is why I think he has taken some of what must be his best essays about his family, LBJ, and his beloved journalism and offered them to us in this book. Agree with him or not, this is worth the reading time devoted to it.

A comment about the publisher is also in order. The New Press publication house was created, as it says, to offer a not-for-profit alternative to the commercial companies to bring out books such as this. A worthy effort such as this is worth supporting.

When this story was prepared, this was the front page of PCOL magazine:

This Month's Issue: August 2004 This Month's Issue: August 2004
Teresa Heinz Kerry celebrates the Peace Corps Volunteer as one of the best faces America has ever projected in a speech to the Democratic Convention. The National Review disagreed and said that Heinz's celebration of the PCV was "truly offensive." What's your opinion and who can come up with the funniest caption for our Current Events Funny?

Exclusive: Director Vasquez speaks out in an op-ed published exclusively on the web by Peace Corps Online saying the Dayton Daily News' portrayal of Peace Corps "doesn't jibe with facts."

In other news, the NPCA makes the case for improving governance and explains the challenges facing the organization, RPCV Bob Shaconis says Peace Corps has been a "sacred cow", RPCV Shaun McNally picks up support for his Aug 10 primary and has a plan to win in Connecticut, and the movie "Open Water" based on the negligent deaths of two RPCVs in Australia opens August 6. Op-ed's by RPCVs: Cops of the World is not a good goal and Peace Corps must emphasize community development.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: The Decatur Daily

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