Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bill Moyers: The Power of Myth and BS

The new Republic now makes available on the net an article by Andrew Ferguson from August 19, 1991 about Bill Moyers. That long ago this much trash was known about him and he’s still been allowed to strut around, acting like some kind of moral compass. The mouthy critic of George Bush apparently has nothing to teach anyone about morals and ethics in government. I have to admit Moyers makes me physically sick. He drips with cloying earnestness and never stops being judgmental. I find it easier to watch Keith Olbermann. So, yes , I think I might have gotten too much enjoyment out of all of this dirty linen being made public. You’d think I’d be able to muster some empathy for Moyers since I’m also more judgmental than necessary. But not as yet. I do feel some shame at how much enjoyment his discomfort gave me. But I’m over that and now just feel a need to document this PBS hypocrisy.
There are a number of accusations against Moyers. He misused the FBI when he was an LBJ aide to spy on Martin Luther King, to keep a black delegation from Mississippi from being seated at the Democrat convention and instead seat a white delegation, to snoop into the private lives of political aides to find evidence of homosexuality to be used for political purposes. Here are relevant passages from the Ferguson article about these issues:

“. . . while at the White House Moyers tracked the bureau's infamous campaign against King. The surveillance, begun under Kennedy, was broadened under Johnson. The rationale at the time, and the one Movers clings to on the few occasions he has discussed his involvement, was that King's association with supposed Communists endangered the civil rights movement.
"As the campaign against King progressed, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover routinely forwarded to the White House summaries of the King wiretaps, which were placed not only in King's home and office but also in his hotel rooms around the country. The summaries covered not only King's dealings with associates but also his sexual activities. After receiving one such summary, Moyers instructed the FBI to disseminate it widely throughout the executive branch, to Dean Rusk. Robert McNamara, Carl Rowan, and many others. Moyers was also aware at the time of Hoover's efforts to leak the King material to the press.
“Moyers's interest in King was not limited to the "Communist" scare. King was allied with a group even more worrisome to the Johnson White House: dissident Democrats. At the Democratic convention in Atlantic City in 1964, King assisted civil rights associates in a credential challenge to the all-white Mississippi delegation. The White House, fearing trouble for the fall campaign, instructed the FBI to intensify surveillance of the dissenters during the convention. As a result a wiretap was installed in King's Atlantic City hotel room. One bureau memo reported happily that "we have been able to keep the White House and others very currently informed concerning King and these important matters." The agent in charge of the bugging, Cartha "Deke" DeLoach, kept in telephone contact with Moyers and his fellow Johnson aide, Walter Jenkins, throughout the convention, and the two aides successfully countered the King group's maneuvers, allowing the good old boys to take their seats on the convention floor.”
. . . . . . . . . . .
“Not long before the election. Jenkins was arrested in a bathroom stall at the YMCA on a charge of "disorderly conduct." Johnson, convinced that Jenkins was somehow set up by Goldwater's campaign operatives, ordered Movers to gather information on the sexual histories of Goldwater's staff. Movers called DeLoach, who reported back that he had been unable to find anything of political use. Ten years later Moyers won an Emmy for two PBS shows on Watergate, both noteworthy for his fiery indignation over Richard Nixon's abuse of government power for political ends. The outrage was displayed again in the two ninety-minute PBS shows he has produced on the Iran-contra affair.”

There have also been objections about the large amounts of money that Moyers has made from his work at PBS. Here is much of what Ferguson wrote about that:

“How much money Moyers has made as a private businessman by availing himself of public broadcasting is a mystery. The flow of funds within the hermetic world of public TV is one of its tightest secrets. (Though government-funded, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.) Moyers himself says only, "I've been lucky. I've always made a nice living."
“Moyers draws the bulk of his funding from two sources: mostly left-leaning tax-exempt foundations and corporate sponsors. Since tax-exempt foundations are forbidden by law from supporting for-profit enterprises, the money is given to a middleman--in Moyers's case, usually WNET "in support of" particular programming. The middleman then contracts with the production company to produce the shows. (For Moyers, the costs apparently include not only his own salary but his wife Judith's, president of PAT (usually listed as "executive producer" or "series consultant" on his shows), and on at least one show his son Cope's ("researcher"). In other businesses this circuitous routing of funds would be called money-laundering. Within the cloisters of PBS, it's business as usual--and, of course, perfectly legal.”

It makes me angry that PBS involves itself in quasi-money-laundering schemes. Somehow the extreme bias and sell out nature of PBS just makes it sting more.

ht/Noli insipientium iniurius pati

1 comment:

Joe said...

Bill Moyers is the schmuck of smugness, the prince of the principleless, the pompest of the pompus.

He is so inept as a true journalist, that he must wear his hypocrasy on his wrinkled, sincere looking forehead for all to see.

But he's so sincere???