Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Moyers' Timely Response to Tomlinson

Bill Moyers' speech yesterday to the National Conference on Media Reform could not have been more timely if it were planned to coincide with the Newsweek apology/retraction fallout.

He was speaking in response to Kenneth Tomlinson in the context of political content on PBS. But in doing so, he succintly described the folks now using the Newsweek mistake as ammunition to further their existing agenda.

...[P]eople obsessed with control using the government to threaten and intimidate; I mean the people who are hollowing out middle class security even as they enlist the sons and daughters of the working class to make sure Ahmad Chalabi winds up controlling Iraq’s oil; I mean the people who turn faith-based initiatives into Karl Rove’s slush fund; who encourage the pious to look heavenward and pray so as not to see the long arm of privilege and power picking their pockets; I mean the people who squelch free speech in an effort to obliterate dissent and consolidate their orthodoxy into the official view of reality from which any deviation becomes unpatriotic heresy.

Everyone of us concerned about a better informed democracy would do well to heed Moyers' call (granted it's among many yesterday and today) for accuracy in reporting. But it is going to be really tough, and will take all our moral courage, to continue to hold those in power to account considering their own assaults on the truth.

Moyers' lays out examples of the administation's blatant use of propaganda to further its goals.

Without a trace of irony, the powers that be have appropriated the Newspeak vernacular of George Orwell’s 1984. They give us a program vowing no child will be left behind, while cutting funds for educating disadvantaged children; they give us legislation cheerily calling for clear skies and healthy forests that give us neither, while turning over our public lands to the energy industry.

I have frequently disagreed with Moyers, and I admit I haven't missed him greatly in the six months since he left PBS. But, this talk was right on time, and worth a full look.


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