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Apr 26, 2007


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I wasn't able to watch through the end, but I saw enough to know that it is not just national journalists who deserve scrutiny. Knight-Ridder was offering up stories that actually applied some investigation to the claims of the White House, but local papers weren't picking them up.


The problem was that Knight-Ridder (now McClatchey) had no outlet in Washington or New York, so to the power people in America, those stories -- the only true reporting in the entire run-up to the war -- might as well not been written.'

The Moyers show is a must-see. Its a compelling indictment of the media for abrogating its duty as an essential part of American democracy. Its available online at:


Of course a comsym like Greenwald would give kudos to another comsym's work.

Why is PBS censoring other documentaries ?


Quick, look over there!

Ed Cone

Comsym? Is it 1955 already?

Elizabeth Wheaton

I'm no beltway insider, nor am I a media guru, but word of Knight-Ridder's exceptional reporting on the administration's war mongering came through to me very early--before the invasion if I recall correctly. I've had the K-R (and The Guardian) webpage bookmarked since then. There's absolutely no reason Dan Rather or Judith Miller couldn't do the same.

That America's mega news organizations could roll over so quickly and so thoroughly is one of the saddest aspects of this entire sordid event. Sad, and even worse, not the least surprising.


"There's absolutely no reason Dan Rather or Judith Miller couldn't do the same." -- Elizabeth

Or the N&R, or WFMY, or WSJS or the Rhino.


Fellow travelers Cone & Roch you obviously haven't read the Verona papers. Hiss was a Communist Spy, Edward R. Murrow's best friend was one and sent dozens of our spies to an early grave by betraying his country , Whitaker Chambers was right , Julius and Ethel Rosenburg were GUILTY. Scoff if you will but PBS is a feft wing bias operation suppoerted by the taxpayers. That is wrong by any standard expect perhaps by your denial , head in the sand belief

Ed Cone

Darn, I already used the 1955 line.

Aren't you a few chapters behind in the conspiracy manual, Julie? The right is scarier than the left in the former Soviet Union, we're more threatened these days by Chinese capitalists than Chinese commies, etc.

And anyway...what does any of it have to do with a press corps that failed to cover a neocon war?

Connie Mack Jr

we're more threatened these days by Chinese capitalists than Chinese commies, etc.*Ed

Make that Chinese "Fascist" Capitalists.

Guess who has the largest Merchant Marine Fleet in the world today? Over 10,000 Cargo and Tankers ships. The biggest known Merchant Marine Fleet in history was the American Merchant Marine Fleet at the end of WW2.

The USA is rank 36 th at the present. Now guess who will have the biggest Naval Task force fleet in history to protect that merchant fleet very soon?


Ed, you will recall that this thread started with your gushing over leftie sock puppet
Greenwald's salivating about leftie Moyers documentarty.

Julie asked why PBS was not airing some documentaries. I suspect that she may have been referring to the 52 minute, $600,000.00 production " Islam vs. Islamists "

The PBS (WETA)officials who have refused to air a documentary on moderate Muslims are using the same tools of suppression and censorship Islamists employ to stymie debate.

PBS has a long record( post 1955 ) of broadcasting primarily left-leaning programs. But I guess it would require waterboarding to pry to truth out of you on this point .

Ed Cone

The 1955 reference is to the bizarre "comsym" usage.

Greenwald and Moyers are talking about something real: the pitiful performance of the press in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. I don't see any attempts to refute or even discuss that subject, just name-calling and shout-outs to the Cold War.

One bit of press criticism doesn't preclude discussion of other issues, including other issues involving the press. I don't know anything about the documentary to which you refer. Can you provide some references and/or links?


Valiant effort Ed.

I keep thinking there must be some inherent value in forums where both sides of complex issues are well represented, which is often the case here. But I'm starting to have my doubts.

I'm sure I'm part of the problem, but I honestly don't know how to work around it. The only advice my wonderful wife has to offer is to not say what I think - or say it in a way that no one could find irritating.

That would probably work.

How's the weather over in Greensboro?

Ed Cone

The weather is fine, we've had a great weekend.

Some comments need no response. The comsym stuff is just funny, so I had some fun with it, and the vague statement about censoring documentaries too, well, vague to matter, but the almost specific mention of a documentary and a station may be worth discussing.


Regarding Moyers and PBS, Brent Bozell sums it up properly:

"'All PBS has become is welfare for activist has-beens,' said L. Brent Bozell, president of the Media Research Center.

'Their editorial rationale is self-incriminating. They subject viewers to the fanatical work of liberals like Bill Moyers, using viewers’ tax money and airwaves to peddle Moyers’ notion that the liberal media coverage of the Iraq war wasn’t liberal enough.

But, at the same time, they claim that Frank Gaffney’s very balanced and measured documentary on centrist Muslims does not meet the standards necessary for airing on their stations.

Why? Because they can – and that makes the words "public television" an oxymoron.

What PBS and Moyers should own up to is not having the backbone to allow a balanced, viable, perspective to stand on its own two feet because it clashes with their fringe ideology,' Bozell concluded."

Three observations:

-- Moyers has a book to sell

-- There is little substance to what he says.

-- The phony accolades and the rush to defend him by certain of the Usual Suspects on this blog are utterly predictable.

Jeffrey Sykes


I clearly disagree with you that there is little substance to what Bill Moyers has to say. Frontline and Moyers' other work on PBS is of great value. I have always found him to be probing, thoughtful and worthy of respect.

I watched the entire show last night via the web and thought it was a well documented piece of journalism. The politics of the war aside, the brush it painted the modern corporate media with was very telling.

I'm in no position to opine in depth on the current state of the media, but I agreed with the conclusions that the lack of independence and objectivity was and remains of concern to our democracy.

The pressure on the bottom line of corporate media enterprises, combined with the hype and hysteria Fox news brings to the market does make a difficult environment for objectivity.

The truth is what matters to me, not who or what side it benefits.


Thank you, Jeff.


Ditto. What Roch said.


C'mon, Jeffrey.....spare us the pontifications about St. Bill of the PBS.

Here is a compilation of some of the things he's said (from Tim Graham):

1.The mainstream media were cheerleaders for Bush.

2."Pro-war pundits" need to be banned from TV, put in a "penalty box."

3.Implausibly, he claimed his documentary "talks to people on all sides of the story."

3.Jon Stewart is the "Mark Twain of our day."

4.Dan Rather is an "honest man" but at CBS, he was a "good man caught in a rigged system," contained by corporate owners at Viacom who voted Republican.

5 And, weirdest of all, Moyers claims he and PBS "serve a sort of centrist role," and PBS needs to break free of control from Congress.

Read Graham's deconstruction of Moyers' absurd points.

The hero worshipping of Moyers here and elsewhere is a real howler.

Ed Cone

#1 is true, at least if you substitute "Bush's invasion of Iraq" for "Bush."

#2 is a good point, covered here frequently -- why do we keep listening to people who got everything wrong?

#3 is stretch, given the stature and durability of Twain, but certainly Stewart is one of the leading humorists of our day.

#4 if quoted accurately misses the point at best.

#5 has two parts; the first is a matter of perspective, the second may be true although I'm not sure of the context.

I don't see any hero-worshipping of Moyers -- the guy put together a documentary about an important subject. That work is subject to examination, but attacking Moyers rather than questioning the content is weak.


But of all the commenters, Bubba was the only one who did address the content, recall the one-sentence rebuttal: "There is little substance to what he says."

Thus spake Bubba. Is there really anything else to consider?

Gedeon Maheux

Bubba, a simple question for you. Do you agree or dissagree with the basic assertion that the main stream press were less critical of the Bush administration after 9/11, specifically to the run up of the Iraq war? I'm curious as to your opinion on this, please let us know. Thanks.


The major media were solidly on the pro war bandwagon pre Iraq invasion, as were the Dems because it was clearly the prevailing sentiment to reflect.

As soon as it was safe to jump off the bandwagon, both the media and the Dems did so, and began using the war as a wedge issue against the Administration and the Republicans.

We've discussed all this before on this blog. No amount of histrionics and rhetoric is going to change the facts of the matter as just stated.

In his own partisan way, Moyers was partially right about the media.

That is the only substance of his whole production.

The rest is simply partisan noise, the type we've become accustomed to here on issues of this nature.

To paraphrase what Bozell said in the excerpt I provided above, "Moyers’ notion that the liberal media coverage of the Iraq war wasn’t liberal enough" is all that needs to be said about this.

That particular statement speaks to the truth of the matter, whether Roch, Anglico, Cone, and others like it or not.

Ed Cone

The question is not really about political labels that might be applied to the media coverage, but about the quality of the coverage itself.

Did the US media do its job in the run-up to the war? By and large, the answer is no.


"The question is not really about political labels that might be applied to the media coverage, but about the quality of the coverage itself."

When it comes to the nature and "substance" of Moyers' criticism of the industry, Bozell's description is appropriate.

This is ALL political in nature.

Ed Cone

You sound like a left-wing academic from the '80s, Bubba.

Some of us are old-fashioned enough to believe in something approaching objective reality, and to believe as well in the responsiblity of an independent press.


"You sound like a left-wing academic from the '80s, Bubba."

No, Moyers sounds like a tired version of what we heard in the 60s and 70s, and he's been instrumental in making things like this political in nature.

"Some of us are old-fashioned enough to believe in something approaching objective reality...."

Unfortunately, Moyers provides "objective reality" is non existent in this circumstances.

He criticizes his fellow liberal media brothers and sisters for the absolute wrong reason.

Gedeon Maheux

"He criticizes his fellow liberal media brothers and sisters for the absolute wrong reason."

How so? Many of his fellow journalists have admitted that they felt extreme pressure to tow the party line leading up to the war. The sheer number of pro-war pieces in the Washington post (over 140) leading up to the invasion makes his point pretty clearly in my mind. The Knight-Ridder people seemed to be the only ones taking a serious look at the actual evidence.

When the administration leaks a false story to the NYT and then quotes that same story on Meet the Press that same day, few can say this has anything to do with liberalism or conservatism. It simply reaks of media manipulation. The Bushies sold the war to the American people and used the MSM to help them do it.


"How so?"

The Bandwagon Effect.

Public and political feelings were running high in favor of the coming Iraqi war. Democrat politicians were falling all over themselves to add their "Me, too!" sound bites to the cause.

The media didn't DARE sound negative in the face of all least not until the opportunity presented itself to start the criticism, and reveal their true feelings on the subject, and their hatred for George Bush.

Moyers should have criticized them for their abject phoniness, not their "capitulation".

Media "manipulation" by the President?

Don't make me laugh.

Meanwhile, Moyers is no saint of journalistic standards. He's been busted on that little legend for quite some time now.


"'In other words,' wrote L. Brent Bozell III, head of the Media Research Center, in translating Moyers' statement, 'Moyers believes that whatever furthers the revolution…is ethical…. The villains of his rhetoric are the free-market greedheads of for-profit businesses. But when Moyers and his foundation friends perform the same role for the left - manipulating millions throughout Washington advocacy groups and public television - it's not 'influence-peddling' or 'referee-buying," it's 'public education.'"

Moyers is symbolic of EVERYTHING that is wrong with our current sad state of the media.

Gedeon Maheux

Bubba, if you don't think that the constant drum beating by the media leading up to the war wasn't spurred by the Bush Administration, or that the leak of Valarie Plame's identity wasn't part of that, or that pressure exerted on journalists didn't have anything to do with Moyers report, then I simply can't help you.


"I simply can't help you."

I don't remember needing or asking for your help.

Far be it for me to destroy your little fantasy about "Bush media manipulation".

Gedeon Maheux

"I don't remember needing or asking for your help.

Far be it for me to destroy your little fantasy about "Bush media manipulation"."

Why must you always berate or belittle the people you speak with? I was trying to understand your position and possibly offer some helpful thoughts, but evidently you are not interested in having a meaningful dialog. Usually people of good conscious discuss and debate. They give ground in some areas and hold fast in others, but I guess with you there is none of that. I'm open to the idea that some of what Moyers did might be left-leaning. You evidently see nothing good in his report what-so-ever. I wonder why this is. Something for me to mull over until I comment next time I guess.


Ed Cone

"The media didn't DARE sound negative in the face of all that."

So...what's the argument about? Even Bubba agrees that the press failed to do its job. What Moyers shows is that there were plenty of people saying, hey, wait a minute, and those people were ignored by the lapdog media.

Sure, Bubba wants to spin the source of the pressure away from a President whose party controlled both houses of Congress, but that's silly on the face of it. Many Democrats went along with the pack, and deserve blame for it, but they weren't driving the bus.



Look, pal....YOU'RE the one who wrote this:

"I simply can't help you."

That's flat out arrogant and condescending.

Go try it it someone else.

I have no use for people like you.


".....but they weren't driving the bus."

"Sure, Bubba wants to spin the source of the pressure away from a President whose party controlled both houses of Congress, but that's silly on the face of it."

Whose fault was it that they got on the bandwagon?

"Manipulation" by the the Bush Administration, indeed.

Typical non-response from Cone.

Gedeon Maheux

I'm sorry if you took my comments to be condescending Bubba, they were not meant to be. Unlike a face to face conversation, some things get lost in translation. It was a figure of speech that obviously didn't carry its meaning as written instead of being spoken. I'll leave you be now.


Islam vs Islamists. Goggle it Ed.

It's the truth which is like Kryptonite to you

Ed Cone

Thnx. Much easier when you stop being cryptic and actually provide some info.

The doc in question, Islam vs. Islamists: Voices from the Muslim Center, is discussed here. I'd like to see it, with or without the scary music.

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