Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addressed the State of Michigan after a plan to kidnap her and other Michigan government officials was thwarted by state and federal law enforcement agencies. She started by saying thank you to law enforcement and FBI agents who participated in stopping this [...]
ST. LOUIS – In his closing address at the National Conference on Media Reform May 15, Bill Moyers, the former host of the PBS program “NOW with Bill Moyers,” blasted the Bush administration and Ken Tomlinson, the right-wing Bush appointee who heads the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Moyers accused them of using propaganda and intimidation to silence him and other journalists who have criticized the administration, and he warned that further manipulation by government officials of the media could ultimately destroy our democracy.
“The quality of democracy and the quality of journalism are deeply entwined,” Moyers said.
Moyers was reacting to recent news stories in which Tomlinson has said he perceives there is a liberal bias in the reporting on CPB stations, which include all PBS TV stations and National Public Radio, and that he wants more control over news and information programming.
“What some on this board are now doing today, led by its chairman, Kenneth Tomlinson, is too important, too disturbing and yes, even too dangerous for a gathering like this not to address,” said Moyers.
Moyers, who served in the Johnson administration, was one of the architects of the legislation that created the CPB, which he said was established 40 years ago to be a firewall between political influence and program content.
“We’re seeing unfold a contemporary example of the age-old ambition of power and ideology to squelch and punish journalists who tell the stories that make princes and priests uncomfortable,” said Moyers.
Moyers saved his strongest words for Tomlinson, who he described as a right-wing ideologue who surrounds himself with like-minded minions. He chastised him for paying $5 million of tax payer money to air “Journal Editorial Report,” a conservative show produced by the Wall Street Journal, and for paying someone $10,000 to watch his show “NOW” and report back on who were the guests.
“Gee, Ken, for $2.50 a week, you could pick up a copy of TV Guide on the newsstand,” chided Moyers. “For that matter, Ken, all you had to do was watch the show yourself. You could have made it easier with a double Jim Beam, your favorite. Or you could have gone online where the listings are posted. Hell, you could have called me – collect – and I would have told you what was on the broadcast that night.”
Moyers also accused Tomlinson of hiding reports that showed the American public trusts PBS and NPR by wide margins, and that the majority of the U.S. adult population does not believe that the news and information programming on public broadcasting is biased.
Write to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and urge it to abandon the idea of meddling with NPR and PBS programming.
Corporation for Public Broadcasting
For a complete text version of Moyers’ speech go to www.pridesource.com and search “moyers.”