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What Really Drives Bill Moyers

So much did the folks at Pajamas like my piece, Bill Moyers: The Power of Outing, they asked me to write followup piece for their web-page.

As i was researching it, I shared a gems from his own programs and ramblings, a along with my own observations about his prominence and media bias.  As I worked, I concluded that the driving force behind Bill Moyers’ work for the politically ruthless Democratic President Lyndon Johnson and his “journalism” was to undermine his political foes, all of them to the right of the American political center.

My piece is now up at Pajamas. It only scratches the surface of his malice, hypocrisy and sanctimony. Let me whet your appetite with the first few paragraphs.

On August 17, 2007, Bill Moyers closed his Journal, his weekly show on the taxpayer-subsidized Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), bidding farewell to Karl Rove, a top aide to President Bush, then leaving his job as Deputy Chief of Staff at the end of the month:

Using church pews as precincts Rove turned religion into a weapon of political combat — a battering ram, aimed at the devil’s minions, especially at gay people.

Interesting how that former Democratic White House Press Secretary singles out an aide to a Republican president for using gay people as political fodder.  When he occupied a similar position for Lyndon Johnson, a president far more eager than Rove’s employer to destroy his political opponents, Moyers did not hesitate to use sexuality as what he might call a “weapon of political combat.”

And not just political combat.  Moyers e even tried to find out about the sexuality of a number of aides to his Democratic boss.

Read the rest here.

UPDATE:  Jack Shafer at Slate notes why this story remains relevant forty-five years after the fact, “my beef with Moyers isn’t what he did in the mid-1960s but his refusal to acknowledge in a straightforward manner what he did.

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25 Comments

  1. Interviewing the once-famous Sister Wendy on art, Moyers sat silently with his usual golly-gosh face on while she explained to him the reason for the Mona Lisa’s smile: since Da Vinci was a homosexual, Mona knew that he could never understand her, and she was laughing at him.

    Comment by EssEm — February 24, 2009 @ 10:38 am - February 24, 2009

  2. #1 – Are you serious? Good God. The man’s an idiot.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — February 24, 2009 @ 11:10 am - February 24, 2009

  3. [...] B. Daniel Blatt has another take down of St. Moyers: Moyers, a former Democratic White House press secretary under [...]

    Pingback by Federalist Paupers » Blog Archive » Moyers, still awful — February 24, 2009 @ 12:53 pm - February 24, 2009

  4. Aside from my opinion, what’s so offensive in this comment that the filter eats it?

    Okay, let’s try it in parts.

    Man. Do you have a major thang for Bill Moyers or something? I mean, he did this one thing 40+ years ago, at the direction oif his boss, the POTUS. He publically recounted the whole affair in 1975 before the Church committee. [do I need to supply links?]

    Rove wasn’t “singled out.” Nor was it because he was Republican. It was becuase Rove was the political sultan. The top guy. The guy who decided to make gays a wedge issue. The guy who demonized us for political gain. The guy who directed the campaign of distortion, smear and lies. The responsible individual. And let’s note as well that Moyers had previously decried Rove’s tactics of division and fear mongering, specifcally with respect to gays.

    BM has, for many years, been an outspoken (and very visible) advocate of equality for gays. Why does his pattern of ardent support for the last 20 or 30 years mater less to you than s single incident from the dawn oh history? Why are you focusing on ONE event wherein he followed orders over four decades ago? Ask yourself this: what has he done for/to us lately?

    Let it go, just let it go.

    BTW, did you know that BM has a Divinity degree and was ordained in the Baptist Church?

    Comment by PeeJ — February 24, 2009 @ 2:48 pm - February 24, 2009

  5. Yes, shame on him for not slapping her upside da haid head and mocking her mercilessly! What an awful host!

    Comment by PeeJ — February 24, 2009 @ 2:55 pm - February 24, 2009

  6. Crininy!

    After all, she was only the GUEST on his show.

    Comment by PeeJ — February 24, 2009 @ 3:00 pm - February 24, 2009

  7. why does the filter dislike about ay ar tee aitch eye ess tee oh ar eye ay en?

    Comment by PeeJ — February 24, 2009 @ 3:06 pm - February 24, 2009

  8. How very bizzarre.

    So what should he have done when the guest on his show, a famous ay ar tee aitch …. done when she offered her opinion of the most famous painting in history?

    Comment by PeeJ — February 24, 2009 @ 3:07 pm - February 24, 2009

  9. PeeJ, first of all, we’ve been trying to figure out why the filter has been so capricious. It’s not just our critics. Whenever I check it, I find twice as many comments from our defenders there.

    So, if you find something gets held up, e-mail me and I’ll try to “rescue” it ASAP.

    Ok, in #4, you say Rove, “demonized us for political gain. The guy who directed the campaign of distortion, smear and lies.” Please provide evidence that he did so. Links to leftist sites or Op-Ed comments will not suffice, actually evidence of Karl Rove directing the campaign for state initiatives defining marriage.

    Fine, Moyers has been an advocate of “equality for gays” (whatever that means). But, if he truly wants to improve the lot of gay people and protect our privacy, rather than kowtow to the latest politically correct trends, please provide evidence that he apologized for his past actions.

    If Moyers had publicly admitted wrong for what he had done, back in 2005 when aspects of this story first became public, my respect for the partisan would increase a notch.

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — February 24, 2009 @ 3:18 pm - February 24, 2009

  10. A liberal complaining about “demonization”.

    Next, a vampire complaining about liquid lunches.

    Comment by DaveP. — February 24, 2009 @ 4:42 pm - February 24, 2009

  11. lease provide evidence that he did so

    Alas, those records were hidden in violation of the Presidential Records Act and many “lost” (more likely, destroyed) also in violation of that law. Do I have to cite prof of that or can I just say “by the Bush adminiistration’s own admission?”

    Even a cursory review of the campaign coverage by the media ( oh great, now I’ll get that crap about the “liberal” media bullshite) whether it be print, cable whatever, and also regardless of political leanings of the publisher/airer etc. will reveal that one of the major themse was “gays as a wedge issue.” The only differences was in how that fact was spun – “liberals” decried it, “conservativces” supported it.

    Karl Rove, as the chief honcho was the man responsible for that strategy. He was in charge of strategy. He made many if not most of the tactical decisions. To argue that he might somehow be inculpable is tilting at windmills.

    Y’know, I don’t stick up for fools, jackoffs and criminals just because they might be Dems. Burris? Get out, slimeball. William Jefferson? Little more than a common thief who should be in jail. Murtha? Slimey son of a bitch and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I can throw an elephant. What I’m getting at here is that I (try to) judge the person on their own merits. Sure, everybody has some bias but I try to judge people on what they do, what they conistently say without regard for their party or ideology. How does it go> … by their actions shall ye know them. Yeah, by their actions. Paying attention to their consistent atctions over time lets one get to know them very well indeed.

    So I don’t understand why you stick up for a man who spits in your face, stabs you in the back and pushes throws you under the bus. Who has done just that time and again. What did Karl ever do *for* you? It takes a willing suspension of disbelief to think that Karl Rove does, or ever did give, two turds about you or me.

    His party affiliation doesn’t matter. A Republican douchebag is a douchebag same as a Democrat douchebag.

    Note the comment above, “a liberal complaining about demonization.” Can’t you detach your brains from your emotions? Is it impossible for you to think of someone as a someone rather than a type?

    Comment by PeeJ — February 24, 2009 @ 6:32 pm - February 24, 2009

  12. PeeJ, it doesn’t matter what Rove did for me. I can list any number of people I have defended on this blog who did nothing for me.

    He did not push to put the marriage initiatives on the ballot in the states which voted on them in 2004. Indeed, in most states, it wasn’t state Republican parties or other auxiliaries which organized the efforts. They were, by and large, grass roots efforts and not part of a conspiracy (as so many on the left assume).

    Why is it that so many on the left can’t acknowledge grassroots efforts on the right?

    And um, PeeJ, given the tone of your response, I don’t think I’m the one who has trouble detach my brains fro my emotions. I asked for evidence you give me a rant.

    Glad to see you criticize liberal slimeballs as we have criticized Republicans ones. I just don’t see Rove as a slimeball. The evidence just isn’t there.

    Yeah, you’re right, one of the themes of campaign coverage was gays as a wedge issue. And there were a few GOP-produced flyers (nearly all from local parties) making an issue of gay marriage in 2004. You can rant all you want about such evidence being destroyed, but given the media’s fascination with demonizing Rove, if there were something we’d have seen it by now.

    But, the issue here isn’t Rove. It’s Moyers. And his non-apology. Doesn’t it bother you in the least that he hasn’t acknowledged his wrongdoing?

    Comment by GayPatriotWest — February 24, 2009 @ 7:14 pm - February 24, 2009

  13. PeeJ,

    did you just honestly use the the ‘absence of evidence is not evidence of absence’ argument?

    Comment by The Livewire — February 24, 2009 @ 9:22 pm - February 24, 2009

  14. I will give PeeJ credit where credit’s due. Taking him at his word (no chuckling please) he condemns the corruptacrats in congress, as opposed to Levi who looks at it as ‘our’ job to clean corruption. Apparently he’s just fine when there’s a D after their name http://www.gaypatriot.net/?comments_popup=9016#comment-375988

    Comment by The Livewire — February 24, 2009 @ 9:37 pm - February 24, 2009

  15. Problem is, he doesn’t, Livewire; for instance, he hasn’t said a word about Rangel’s tax cheating, Dodd’s sweetheart mortgages, Frank’s deliberate attempts to earn his sex partner who was working at Fannie Mae big bonuses and running a prostitution ring out of his apartment while lying for his pimp and fixing his parking tickets, and Nancy Pelosi’s campaign finance fraud.

    The last is particularly funny when you consider that the shrieking Pelosi insisted that anyone who was caught committing campaign finance fraud should resign from Congress. Seems she doesn’t practice what she preaches.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — February 25, 2009 @ 12:02 am - February 25, 2009

  16. #15: “…and running a prostitution ring out of his apartment while lying for his pimp and fixing his parking tickets.”

    NDT, I think you meant Barney Frank’s “pimp boyfriend.” No stimulus package conceived by man could spend enough trillions of dollars to get Frank a job being paid for sex.

    Comment by Sean A — February 25, 2009 @ 10:51 am - February 25, 2009

  17. #16 – Now THAT is funny! I don’t think Bawney Fwank could be elected Most Attractive at a school for the blind.

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — February 25, 2009 @ 11:12 am - February 25, 2009

  18. #16: Exodus International should use that mental image in their treatment. Pass the brain bleach.

    Comment by Attmay — February 25, 2009 @ 11:39 am - February 25, 2009

  19. I haven’t denounced, rejected and repudiated them because they haven’t been central to the topic. I used a couple examples above as, you know, examples. That’s a consisten reaction here, to insist that I (and you do it others as well, pretty consistently) renounce, reject, repudiate and call poopyhaids some seemingly canonical list of people you dislike.

    Shall I preface every comment with some denunciation? Can you just give me the list now so I can do denounce them all at once and be done with this nonsense?

    I am troubled by BM’s reluctance (it may be a refusal but I’ll give him the benefit of doubt for now) to say what he did was wrong. I’m very disappointed by his silence. I’m also somewhat surprised by it. But that barely changes my opinion of him and his work, an opinion informed by watching and listening to him for 30 or so years.

    At the center of your screed was the following snide, passive aggressive passage:

    nteresting how that former Democratic White House Press Secretary singles out an aide to a Republican president for using gay people as political fodder. When he occupied a similar position for Lyndon Johnson, a president far more eager than Rove’s employer to destroy his political opponents, Moyers did not hesitate to use sexuality as what he might call a “weapon of political combat.”

    I’ve already explained why it doesn’t make sense to claim Rove was “singled out.” One more time though, Rove was “singled out” becuase he was THE MAN IN CHARGE. Also, Bill Moyers is an ordained minister. Yes, he is. The excerpt you put up is BM castigating Rove for his cycnical use of religion as a political weapon. He mentions gays especially but only becuase that was the most vigorous (and vile) tactic in the whole strategy. An ordained minister (baptist, fwiiw) doesn’t get to challenge the politicqal abuse of religion? He’s not more qualified than most of us to make that determination?

    I also want to address the “demoinization” thing. Let’s start with the name “GayPatriot.” Gay people who don’t share your political views are what, traitors? We can’t be patriots? Not “real americans?” Palin played that card for the GOP in 2008 and look where it got you. Please don’t try the same lame rebuttals the GOP barfed out last year – we know what you really mean even if you’re not entirely conscious of it yourself.

    Git down offen yer high horse. This is manufactured outrage; its childish. You want to get noticed and respected by the big boys? Put something of substance in your blog. Develop theses and proffer them ion a cogent, reasonable fashion. In the mean time, go ahead and keep the same attack, we’re being oppresssed, all the Dems are stoopid tards and liberals are evil socialist communist marxist traitorous icky icky poos, you’ll have to be satisifed with languishing in the lunatic fringe.

    Comment by PeeJ — February 25, 2009 @ 1:27 pm - February 25, 2009

  20. [Rove] did not push to put the marriage initiatives on the ballot in the states which voted on them in 2004. Indeed, in most states, it wasn’t state Republican parties or other auxiliaries which organized the efforts.

    Indeed, the initiatives tended to pass in states where Kerry did comparatively better. (Either beating Bush, or suffering some of his smaller losses.) Translation: large numbers of Democrats voted for the initiatives.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 25, 2009 @ 1:45 pm - February 25, 2009

  21. Rove] did not push to put the marriage initiatives on the ballot in the states which voted on them in 2004. .

    How convenient that there is no evidence to contradict that claim. It’s so convenient becuase there actually is (or was) evidence until they illegally hid it and destroyed it. By their own admission.

    Comment by PeeJ — February 25, 2009 @ 2:59 pm - February 25, 2009

  22. #19 – “Gay people who don’t share your political views are what, traitors? We can’t be patriots? Not “real americans?” ”

    In a nutshell, yes – you are anti-American in my opinion.

    Liberals love America the way O.J. loved Nicole. (H/T Ms. Coulter)

    Regards,
    Peter H.

    Comment by Peter Hughes — February 25, 2009 @ 3:00 pm - February 25, 2009

  23. It seems that people are piling on Moyers, deservedly, and HotAir is there with a new round-up:
    http://hotair.com/archives/2009/02/24/shafer-sanctimonious-media-legend-quite-the-hack/

    I loved this part:

    When Moyers was Johnson’s press secretary, he believed that journalists existed to serve the president…
    Press secretary Joe Laitin told Moyers that it was OK to plant a question with reporters every once in a while at presidential news conferences…

    Moyers pitched the idea of planting questions to Johnson, who embraced it, giving Moyers a couple of questions for Laitin to distribute, which he did.

    Johnson so loved this innovation that he was determined to plant every question at his next news conference. About 15 minutes before the session started, Moyers brought Laitin about 10 questions from the president. When Laitin protested that this was too much—”Bill, this isn’t the way it’s done”—Moyers said, “Do it!”

    Um… I was going to say “Jeff Gannon, anyone?” – but isn’t that quite a leap *beyond* anything Gannon ever dreamed of?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — February 25, 2009 @ 3:15 pm - February 25, 2009

  24. #11: So all you have, PissJ, is your imagination? Where’s this “admission” you speak of frequently?

    So I don’t understand why you stick up for a man who spits in your face, stabs you in the back and pushes throws you under the bus. Who has done just that time and again. What did Chairman Obama ever do *for* you? It takes a willing suspension of disbelief to think that Chairman Obama does, or ever did give, two turds about you or me.

    Fixed it for ya.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — February 25, 2009 @ 4:31 pm - February 25, 2009

  25. i’d like to say that it’s a fact that PeeJ sucks his thumb, likes to listen to Kelly Osbourn and sleeps with a night light.

    Unfortunately he’s destroyed all the evidence to prove this, but i know he does!

    Comment by The Livewire — February 25, 2009 @ 5:03 pm - February 25, 2009

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