October 31, 2004: Headlines: Staff: Journalism: Television: South Bend Tribune: Moyers moving on after setting bar for media higher with 'Now'

Peace Corps Online: Directory: USA: Special Report: Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers: October 31, 2004: Headlines: Staff: Journalism: Television: South Bend Tribune: Moyers moving on after setting bar for media higher with 'Now'
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) (pool-141-157-21-111.balt.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 10:11 am: Edit Post

Moyers moving on after setting bar for media higher with 'Now'

Moyers moving on after setting bar for media higher with 'Now'

Moyers moving on after setting bar for media higher with 'Now'

Moyers moving on after setting bar for media higher with 'Now'

Los Angeles Times

NEW YORK -- Judging from the way the Bush political machine has allowed only people who sign affidavits of support to attend his campaign events, it seems unlikely that George W. Bush would ever subject himself to being interrogated by Bill Moyers, one of his most persistent and persuasive critics. But if the unthinkable happened, what would the host of PBS' "Now With Bill Moyers" ask him?

I put the veteran broadcaster on the spot when we sat down to talk recently, figuring the man who'd interviewed everyone from Joseph Campbell to Maurice Sendak to Ronald Reagan might conjure up a question that no one else in our overpopulated media universe had thought to ask. I wasn't disappointed. Moyers' response illustrates why the genteel 70-year-old journalist remains a beacon of intellectual clarity amid the tsunami of trash-talking bilge that passes for journalism in today's vast 500-channel wasteland.

"I'd like to ask the president how is it that you can grow up well-loved and well-taught and well-bred and be so unaware of other people's reality?" Moyers said. "How can privilege come to be a source of isolation so powerful that it prevents you from knowing the hurts and needs and hopes of others?"

It quickly became clear that Moyers -- who will leave "Now" in December to make documentaries and write a book about his years as an aide to Lyndon Baines Johnson -- was puzzling over how two born-again Texans such as Bush and himself could've taken such separate paths in life. "I guess I'd like to know: Why did the president, after he had his born-again experience, go into serving the powerful and the privileged instead of the people who are left out of the American bounty?" Moyers said. "It says something about the power of religion to reinforce our circumstantial benefits or distort our vision that we could have come from the same place and yet gone in such different directions."

As Moyers once said of himself, "I am a journalist, but I am also a pilgrim." The ordained Baptist minister-turned-TV commentator always has been ready and willing to wrestle with the big spiritual issues of the time. When "Now" arrived in January 2002, Moyers found a new pulpit to preach from. Clearly angered by how the renewal of civic values in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks had been plundered by what he calls "wartime opportunists -- the mercenaries of Washington, the lobbyists, lawyers and political fund-raisers," Moyers has used "Now" as a razor-sharp scythe for laying bare issues rarely scrutinized by his media peers.

With Moyers and co-host David Brancaccio at the helm, the show's team of reporters has regularly put the rest of the media to shame, pursuing stories few others bother to touch. Its first broadcast offered a devastating report on the secret meetings Vice President Dick Cheney had with a host of energy and oil company officials. Since then, the show, which airs Friday nights, has spotlighted all sorts of corporate shenanigans, exposed (with ABC News' Brian Ross) the lavish parties corporations hosted at this summer's political conventions and skewered local TV news' failure to cover political issues. Before the presidential debates this fall, "Now" examined how the debates had been "rigged" by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a corporate-sponsored group created by the two major political parties that established rules, by secret contract, preventing candidates from questioning each other and audience members from asking follow-up questions in the town hall forum.

Moyers' interest in far-flung topics is felt in the breadth of "Now" stories. The newsmagazine went to Israel to explore the influence Christian Zionists have had on the Bush White House's Middle East policy.

And "Now" visited Mississippi, where Republican Gov. Haley Barbour, in an effort to cure the state's budget woes, has cut Medicaid coverage for thousands of poor elderly residents, including cancer victims, dialysis patients and the mentally disabled, while refusing to raise the state's tobacco tax, currently one of the nation's lowest at 18 cents a pack.

The show's most impressive achievement remains its dogged coverage of the Federal Communications Commission's attempt to relax the rules governing media ownership -- a story that got skimpy treatment from media outlets that (choose your poison) found it too dull or ignored it because they had a stake in the outcome. When the FCC held a rare public hearing in New York City, just a cab ride away from network newsrooms, "Now" was the only TV outlet that showed up. With "Now" in the lead, an unlikely alliance of family-value proponents and anti-media-consolidation activists beat back the deregulation effort. It was a triumph of something we rarely get from today's attention-deficit-plagued news shows -- connecting the dots.

What really bothers Moyers, who was in the White House when public broadcasting was created in the 1960s, is the recent politicization of PBS. Its two new shows are rightward-leaning: a talk show with Tucker Carlson, and "The Journal Editorial Report," hosted by Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot.

"In my 33 years at public broadcasting, it's the first time I've seen shows that were clearly created for ideological reasons," he said.

One day, discussing how the term "liberal" has been demonized in recent years, Moyers was reminded of Galileo, who was condemned as a heretic for being the messenger of bad tidings in his time. "The church hated him because he undid the neat arrangement of their world," he explained. "People don't want to see their safe map undone or redrawn." It's an apt description of what it's like to be an outspoken critic, so apt that Moyers could just as easily have been talking about himself.

When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.
Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers Kerry reaches out to Returned Volunteers
The Kerry campaign wants the RPCV vote. Read our interview with Dave Magnani, Massachusetts State Senator and Founder of "RPCVs for Kerry," and his answers to our questions about Kerry's plan to triple the size of the Peace Corps, should the next PC Director be an RPCV, and Safety and Security issues. Then read the "RPCVs for Kerry" statement of support and statements by Dr. Robert Pastor, Ambassador Parker Borg, and Paul Oostburg Sanz made at the "RPCVs for Kerry" Press Conference.

RPCV Carl Pope says the key to winning this election is not swaying undecided voters, but persuading those already willing to vote for your candidate to actually go to the polls.

Take our poll and tell us what you are doing to support your candidate.

Finally read our wrap-up of the eight RPCVs in Senate and House races around the country and where the candidates are in their races.

Director Gaddi Vasquez:  The PCOL Interview Director Gaddi Vasquez: The PCOL Interview
PCOL sits down for an extended interview with Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez. Read the entire interview from start to finish and we promise you will learn something about the Peace Corps you didn't know before.

Plus the debate continues over Safety and Security.
Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention Schwarzenegger praises PC at Convention
Governor Schwarzenegger praised the Peace Corps at the Republican National Convention: "We're the America that sends out Peace Corps volunteers to teach village children." Schwarzenegger has previously acknowledged his debt to his father-in-law, Peace Corps Founding Director Sargent Shriver, for teaching him "the joy of public service" and Arnold is encouraging volunteerism by creating California Service Corps and tapping his wife, Maria Shriver, to lead it. Leave your comments and who can come up with the best Current Events Funny?
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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 can you come up with a Political Funny?

Read the stories and leave your comments.

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Story Source: South Bend Tribune

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Staff; Journalism; Television



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