Thursday, April 26, 2007

More Moyers - our failed and barren press

Glenn Greenwald

If you didn't watch Bill Moyers' documentary last night regarding the joint, coordinated behavior of our government and its media in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, I can't recommend it highly enough. You can watch it here.

One of the most important points came at the end. The institutional decay which Moyers chronicles is not merely a matter of historical interest. Instead, it continues to shape our mainstream political dialogue every bit as much as it did back in 2002 and 2003. The people who committed the journalistic crimes Moyers so potently documents do not think they are guilty of anything -- ask them and they will tell you -- and as a result, they have not changed their behavior in the slightest.

Just consider that, as Moyers notes, there has been no examination by any television news network of the role played by the American media in enabling the Bush administration and its warmonger propagandists to disseminate pure falsehoods to the American public. People like Eric Boehlert have written books about it, and Moyers has now produced a comprehensive PBS program documenting it. But the national media outlets themselves have virtually ignored this entire story -- arguably the most significant political story of the last decade -- because they do not think there is any story here at all.

I disagree with Mr. Greenwald on the last point: they know damn well there's a story there, but it's about them and their malfeasance. They're not about to drop a dime on themselves. Moyers did, though.

But credit is at least due to both Russert and Beinart for appearing on Moyers' program and facing his appropriately confrontational questions. Their willingness to account for their conduct stands in stark contrast to the long list of cowards who still constantly strut around self-lovingly touting their own courage, resolve, Churchillian backbone, and all of their other little self-glorifying platitudes, yet were too afraid to face questioning from a real journalist about all of the fact-free, false propaganda they spewed for years (and continue to spew).

That disgraceful, dishonorable roster of Great Warriors hiding under their beds from Bill Moyers includes Fox's Krauthammer, Fox's Kristol, Fox's Roger Ailes, Bill Safire and Judith Miller. [...]

People like Bill Kristol and Krauthammer will only go and sit with the likes of Brit Hume and speak only to Fox audiences, so they are never reminded of the literally countless falsehoods they churned out not only to justify the invasion but to profoundly mislead Americans for years about the ongoing occupation. And they both continue to issue one-way decrees from the pages of Time and The Washington Post, where they are never held to account for what they have done.

Moyers' documentary is a superb piece of journalism and makes inescapably clear how profoundly corrupt our dominant political and media institutions were prior to the invasion. But most national "journalists" will simply ignore the whole program (as Digby notes, The New York Times, one of the principal culprits, did not even review it).

They will almost certainly dismiss Moyers as a liberal partisan, not a real journalist, and continue to insist that they are doing a superb and even-handed job. They will continue to revere the most guilty parties responsible for the deceit and destruction of the last six years.

You owe it yourself to go read the rest. Thank you, Mr. Greenwald, for the strong language.

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