Sunday, June 26, 2005

Notable Quotes: Bill Moyers on Journalism, Public Broadcasting, and Democracy

The following quotes are from an address given by Bill Moyers at the National Conference for Media Reform in St. Louis on May 15, 2005. The address is insightful, inciteful, and important. You can read it in its entirety on Salon's web site. If you're not a subscriber you'll need to get a free "Site Pass", which is easy and almost painless. Be sure to click on the "Enter Salon" link at the conclusion of the ad.

"A free press is one where it's OK to state the conclusion you're led to by the evidence."

"Those rules [of conventional "Beltway journalism" -mb] divide the world into Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, and allow journalists to pretend they have done their job if, instead of reporting the truth behind the news, they merely give each side an opportunity to spin the news."
"Objectivity is not satisfied by two opposing people offering competing opinions, leaving the viewer to split the difference."

"An unconscious people, an indoctrinated people, a people fed only on partisan information and opinions that confirm their own bias, a people made morbidly obese in mind and spirit by the junk food of propaganda, is less inclined to put up a fight, to ask questions and be skeptical. That kind of orthodoxy can kill a democracy -- or worse."

"Ideologues don't want you to go beyond the typical labels of left and right. They embrace a worldview that can't be proven wrong because they will admit no evidence to the contrary.

"I've always thought the American eagle needed a left wing and a right wing. The right wing would see to it that economic interests had their legitimate concerns addressed. The left wing would see to it that ordinary people were included in the bargain. Both would keep the great bird on course. But with two right wings or two left wings, it's no longer an eagle and it's going to crash."


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