Bill Moyers on Journalism and Democracy

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Guysanto
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Post by Guysanto » Wed Apr 25, 2007 2:37 pm

[quote]He is launching a new weekly series on PBS in April, and his documentary Buying the War, about the press and the buildup to the war in Iraq, airs on PBS on April 25.[/quote]
I look forward to seeing this documentary and I highly recommend that you watch it too. Bill Moyers always offers some serious and deeply compassionate perspective of the events that shape our world today.

Tidodo
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Post by Tidodo » Thu Apr 26, 2007 5:32 am

I felt so bad I just read this interview today. I would have watched this series last night. Thank you Guy for posting this.

[quote]T. B. Maston, one of the great souls in my life, taught Christian ethics and more than anyone else helped me to see into the southern enigma of having grown up well loved, well churched and well taught and yet still indifferent to the reality of other people's lives.[/quote]

Southern Enigma! This was a national mistery to me 34 years ago when I left Haiti. It is still a mistery to me today!

Frantz
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Post by Frantz » Thu Apr 26, 2007 7:17 am

We are glad that Bill Moyers is coming back on PBS. His documentaries are always sound and deeply informative. He wrote:

"..politics is about settling differences while religion is about maintaining them."

Interesting statement, isn't it? What happens when political decisions are deliberately made based on religious convictions? Hum!!!! We'll be watching Bill Moyers for a fresh look at the world around us.
frantz

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Guysanto
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Post by Guysanto » Thu Apr 26, 2007 9:50 am

Well, I watched "Buying the War" (about the Washington D.C. Press Corps - which includes the New York Times! - and the buildup to the war in Iraq) last night. Bill Moyers exposed, like no one else would have, the behind-the-scenes story of the Bush/Cheney team's grand manipulation of the media to sell a prepackaged bundle of lies to the American people, so they would buy the rationalization for war in Iraq in answer to 9/11. Dick Cheney was at his cynical best. He planted stories in the newspapers and then when he knew the story would come out, he would go with impeccable timing and sit with the press pundits on their various Sunday shows, and quote from the very stories that he had planted, to get support for the War, based on the supposedly irrefutable evidence that he read (??) that morning in the newspapers.

Some top-level journalists watched in amazement the total fabrication of the news in support of the war, but were too intimidated to speak out, because they knew that the White House meant business! Phil Donahue is one of the rare people who insisted on airing a differing view, and his show was canceled. Oprah Winfrey would not take such chances. When a woman in her audience somewhat timidly raised some concerns about a piece of government propaganda one of Oprah's guests had just screened, Oprah quickly shut her down. [Of course, Oprah had already learned her lesson. She had at one time told people that beef was not a good part of their diet and that they should try to eliminate it. The multi-billion dollar beef industry came crashing down her shoulders and, horror of horrors, Oprah apologized publicly for her remarks). Smart move on her part, most would say, because she went on building her own multi-billion dollar empire... who cares for principles?]

Anyway, Noam Chomsky wrote a book on Manufacturing the News, which is a classic of the genre. But even after reading that book, you may not be sufficiently prepared to comprehend the extent of Washington's total manipulation of the Press and the disservice of trusted newspapers to their constituency. Journalists are people too and not impervious to pressure. Some, like Dan Rather, succumbed to a misguided sense of loyalty to the President in times of war, forgetting that the Press is supposed to be the 4th Branch of Government (after the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judicial) and that one of the U.S. Fathers said that he had rather live in a country without (executive) government but plenty of newspapers than a country with an executive branch but no newspapers. We came painfully close to that latter reality. The country's biggest newspapers surrendered their responsibilities and accepted willingly to be screwed by the likes of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and others. In the U.S. Senate, two lonely voices rose to energetically protest the force-feeding of government lies: Robert Byrd (from West Virginia) and Edward Kennedy (from Massachusetts). But those courageous voices were drowned in a rising tide of patriotic or opportunistic fervor. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton brilliantly arranged herself on the side of George Bush to call on the war against Iraqis, even though she was smart enough to know, like Byrd and Kennedy, that the government case was based on a pack of lies. It is obvious now that to Hillary, politics trumps humanitarian principles as well. Why should she take chances on becoming President some day? Both Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton are incredibly successful, greatly admired, very (very) smart women. Please do not trouble them with the truth.

Of course, and a lot of people I talk too do not realize this, there were always alternative news sources, such as local and foreign press agencies and radio programs (like WBAI in New York City, Democracy Now with Amy Goodman on Pacifica Network) that stuck to their guns, did not buckle under the pressure of being targeted as "anti-patriotic", "anti-American", "pro-terror" etc. They valiantly reported the truth and debunked the lies. But most people chose not to listen to those critical voices and preferred to place their trust in George Bush, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the State Department, the Pentagon... I think that it would be entirely false to believe that the truth was not accessible, in spite of the surrender of Big Media.

For instance, when Colin Powell made his by now infamous speech at the United Nations to present "irrefutable" evidence of Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, the very next day the British Press exposed the ridicule in it because the most crucial evidence he offered was plagiarized (with the same typos!) from the thesis written a few years earlier by a graduate student in England about some theoretical basis of weapon development in Iraq. Colin Powell, my man! ;-) He did not even bother to correct the typos and presented to the world some irrefutable evidence which was plagiarized from the Internet.

The British Press had a field day of it. People in Europe were laughing about it. What happened in America, while the truth was exposed in Europe? Well, the news pundits seized on it (Garry Wills, and all the others) and they showered praise on Colin Powell for his masterful show of evidence, while it was simultaneously exposed for the rubbish it was all over Europe and in the British Press in particular.

Politics is politics, and certainly, no one needs to be naive about it. But the politics of war ought to be something else. When you are sending hundreds of thousands of young men and women to war, and thousands of them will be killed in the process of killing tens or hundreds of thousands of people from another nation, to satisfy your greed and personal ambitions, you should pause... with the screwing and people should not be so willing to get screwed, I think.

That is the least of what real civilization should be about.

Leoneljb
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Post by Leoneljb » Sat Apr 28, 2007 3:55 pm

It is very easy to send other people'kids towards Death, it's not yours!

They will be less willing to go to War when their Sons/Daughters are serving in the Military.

Please, do not send our Kids to fight for your own Million-Dollar-interests!

That also applies to the Congress and Senate...

Leonel

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