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May 16, 2005


Wow, thank you Beth, for this link. I agree with every word you say about Bill Moyers, I've also long admired him. That Orwell quote is pretty scary alright.

Not ill-advised at all. Your widows mite, and Moyers', are the only kind of coin I take.

I don't watch much TV, but I took in Moyers' brilliant recent show, NOW, a few times. Watching it, sometimes, I had to ask myself: Where's the angle? Where's the spin? Where, for God's sake, is the cushioning?

These guys (Bill Moyers, David Brancaccio, et al.) made 60-Minutes look like Fox News.

I feared for their survival. It was a high-wire act, a take-no prisoners style, and it took on so many monsters (big media, campaign finance, the downsides of globalzation and, yes, the FCC) that it was doomed to fail.

Now that I know the back story, my admiration is even greater.

I already liked Moyers for his wonderful personal style, and for an open-minded approach to faith and religion that used to trouble me no end in my god-bothering days.

To that resume he can add one more thing: American Hero.

The Bush administration has already won. George Orwell's world has already begun to take hold. Not just in the media, but in everyday people like you and me. I say this because, in reading all the blogs and news that used to protest so strongly against what has been happening over the last three years, almost everyone has quietly backed away and declined to openly talk about politics. The fire has petered out. Even fear has crept in. Just the mention of the word "politics" has everyone running for cover now; say anything controversial or critical, even for a moment subject ourselves to harsh truths, and either the bell ringer is overrun with denials, or a vast silence greets them. A deep ire burns within me at the lack of stamina and the constant preference for sensationalism in all of us (and I include myself in this). As the saying goes, "Three things you should never talk about: Politics. Religion. And Sex." Yes, don't talk about them. The very things that underline our lives should never be thought about or mentioned, because that would ruffle the feathers of the ones in power. I believe that on the day that Bush was reelected blogs and bloggers lost the power that they had so effectively nurtured until then, not because the voices had become any less potent, but because we allowed ourselves to cower. We are just armchair spectators now. Our outrage but a puff of smoke.

Yes, Bill Moyers speech was a rabble rouser for the blue crowd, but, like his voice breaking over the airwaves, it is but a single firecracker. Even you, Beth, called him a "lone voice". If all the rest of us don't stand up and lend our equally grating voices to his, his courage will flare for a moment and wink out. Who will remember what he said this time next week?

Thanks for this, Beth. I get tired of the same points being made over and over in virtually the same words by people whose indignation is greater than their writing skills, which is why I avoid political blogs, but I'm always glad to listen to Bill Moyers, one of the few public figures I unreservedly respect. (Note to butuki: his voice is not "grating," it's well modulated and reaches out to pull people in and not push them away, which is why it's productive. Hollering "Bush sucks!" may be satisfying but it's not productive.)

It's a pity that the transcript doesn't seem to have been edited; it's easy enough to figure out that "including more tax on a single journalist" should read "more attacks," but most people will probably be confused by "So I put this on as a modest repose to men with flags" (should be "riposte") and "from resisting White House pressure to carrying out for the White House" (s/b "carrying water").

Language Hat, I love Bill Moyer, all the way back to my years in college. When I wrote "grating" I meant as a positive element in protest against the Bush-world. Moyers doesn't sound grating to me, but he surely must sound grating to those who oppose him.

Ah, thanks for clearing that up.

By the way, I forgot to respond to the final question in the post: Yes, I do believe the retraction. But I also believe my lovely and suspicious wife may be onto something when she suggests that the story was planted with Newsweek precisely so it could then be refuted and the opposition be made to look bad, just as in the case of the infamous Dan Rather memo. As long as greedy, impatient news media are eager to grab exciting "scoops" with only the most pro forma attempts at verification and are willing to accept anonymous sources from within the government, they're going to get gamed and burned, and they deserve it. If the jerks in the media would stop slavering after scoops and start trying to dig out genuine, verifiable information (as Moyers always does), they wouldn't have these problems, and the jerks in government would be sweating a lot more.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.