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November 21, 2005

Bill Moyers - Always the Best

In a lovely homage to "The Texas Observer", the truth-telling Texas newspaper, on their 50th anniversery, Bill Moyers talks about the money-above all culture of Texas, the governor they foisted on the rest of the country, current dangers and the need for muck-raking journalists to come out and be heard once again.  He quotes the lead editorial, written by Ronnie Dugger, from fofty years ago.

We will have a good time and we hope you do. We will twit the self-important and honor the truly important. We will lay the bark to the dignity of any public man any time we see fit. Telling the whole truth is not an exercise to be limited to children before they reach the age of reason. It is the indispensable requirement for an effective democracy. If the press and the politicians lie to the people, or hide those parts of the truth which trouble the conscience or offend a friend, how can the people’s falsely-based decisions be trusted? Here in the Southwest there is room for a great truth-telling newspaper, its editor free, its editorials cast in a liberal and reasonable frame of mind, its dedication Thoreau’s ‘The one great rule of composition is to speak the truth.

And Moyers wishes, as we all will after reading this, that The Texas Observer could be cloned and the clone dropped down in Washington D.C to cover the national scene.  You get a sense of what they might be able to write from what Moyers himself says about our situation now:

Hurricane Katrina uncovered what the progressive advocate Robert Borosage calls the “catastrophic conservatism” of the long right-wing crusade to denigrate government, ‘starve the beast,’ scorn its purposes and malign its officials. We are seeing the results of an economic policy focused on top-end tax cuts and deregulations to reward private investors, as opposed to public investments in the country’s vital infrastructure. On the day that Katrina struck the coast, the census bureau reported that last year, one million people had been added to the 36 million Americans living in poverty. A few weeks earlier, the Labor Department had reported that while incomes had grown impressively last year, the gains had gone mostly to the top—the people with stocks and bonds and income other than wages. But the 80 million people who live paycheck to paycheck barely stayed even. It took a natural disaster to expose the stunning inequality and poverty produced when people are written off and shoved to the margins. And to remind us, as Borosage writes, of the dearth of basic investment in the boring but essential public works vital to civilization—schools, public transport, water systems, public health, and yes, wetlands and trees.

We are seeing now the results of systemic and spectacular corruption and cronyism and the triumph of a social ideal—the “You get yours/I’ll get mine” mentality—that is diametrically opposed to the ethic of shared sacrifice and responsibility.

These are just snatches of the whole of his piece.  It's long but well worth the read.

Posted by Lynn Allen on November 21, 2005 at 11:53 PM in Media | Permalink

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