Monday, May 16

Moyers Replies

Everyone reading this is invited to take a moment to listen to Bill Moyers respond to charges of "liberal bias" that were recently made by Kenneth Tomlinson, the chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
Democracy Now deserves praise -- yet again -- and, where possible, financial support, for providing a platform for this kind of inspired and vital public discourse. This is even more so the case given that National Public Radio is, in many areas of the country, morphing decisively into the same sort of spineless and distracting info-tainment that is already blaring out of virtually all network media in the nation. (Micheal, of Musing's Musings, has a good post on this topic, which topic I will certainly return to. Someone needs to muffle Steve Inskeep and the whole gang of corporate-militarist apologists at NPR who provide light entertainment dressed up as "political commentary" in their "Morning Edition" program. Personally, I plan on submitting a petition to that effect very soon. I would like to see a total ban on all overtly political coverage by the staffs at "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered." Let them stick to the "Man Eats 134 Hot Dogs" stories and stop deluding the public into thinking that they are providing political news responsibly.)

A transcript of Moyers's comments is also available. I will close this short post by citing one passage from them:

Mermin also quotes public television’s Jim Lehrer, whom I greatly respect, acknowledging that unless an official says something is so, it isn’t news. Why were journalists not discussing the occupation of Iraq? “Because,” says Jim Lehrer, “the word ‘occupation’ was never mentioned in the run up to the war. Washington talked about the war as a war of liberation, not a war of occupation. So as a consequence, those of us in journalism,” says Lehrer, “never even looked at the issue of occupation.” “In other words,” says Jonathan Mermin, “if the government isn’t talking about it, we don’t report it.” He concludes, “Lehrer’s somewhat jarring declaration, one of many recent admissions by journalists that their reporting failed to prepare the public for the calamitous occupation that has followed the liberation of Iraq, reveals just how far the actual practice of American journalism has deviated from the First Amendment idea of a press that is independent of government.”