September 10, 2004

Moyers on the 9/11 Report

Don't miss Bill Moyers tonight as NOW will be covering the 9/11 Commission Report. Altercation raved about this show yesterday.

Bill Moyers has a special edition of “NOW” tomorrow night in which he digs more deeply into the 9/11 Commission Report than anyone on television has so far seen fit to do. In dong so he demonstrates a few things. One is the obvious power of television when used properly, to tell a story with words and images that is immensely more powerful than just the latter can be. (I read the transcript for the show and found the words to be somewhat dead, alone on the paper. But when combined with the images Moyers and his producers have assembled, their impact is positively visceral.)

Second, as Moyers demonstrates merely by sticking to the story, the media have pretty much given the Bush administration a pass on 9/11—both for its lack of serious planning and preparation for any predictable form of terrorist attack as well as its panicky and ultimately counter-productive reaction to the attack itself. Cheney ordered the shoot-down of the plane without even talking to Bush. Rumsfeld was completely out of the loop. Officers way down the line of responsibility were forced to make life or death decisions while those at the top were either out to lunch or too incompetent to deal with the crisis. Planes were scrambled without pilots being given any instruction whatever. (One says he was looking for a cruise missile attack from Russia.) Condoleezza Rice, in particular, comes off as profoundly incompetent and unwilling to take even the slightest responsibility for her failure to treat the threat of terrorism seriously.

And third, Moyers points out the poverty of this kind of reporting elsewhere in the broadcast media. Perhaps Ted K. does some of this. I don’t stay up late enough to say so. But nowhere else. And after the election, when Moyers retires, PBS is cutting NOW back to a half-hour to make room for the far-right ravings of The Wall Street Journal editors. So much for the Liberal Media.

Moyers is a remarkable reporter and he puts to shame all the pundits that seem to only wish to out yell each other. As someone who is deeply interested in discussion, he has had many of the right's leading thinkers on his show to discuss their ideas and so he can engage in a fair debate with them. He will be really missed and we will be much poorer when he is no longer on the air.

Posted by Mary at September 10, 2004 08:00 AM | Media | Technorati links |

It makes me sick to know Moyers will be soon be gone from full-time journalism. He's easily one of the very best journalists we have.

Posted by: paradox at September 10, 2004 09:52 AM

Moyers is great. Wish there were more like him.

Posted by: hope at September 10, 2004 05:27 PM

The report was great. I am glad to see someone in the media just highlight Condi's incompetence through video outtakes. Her lack of ability and frequent but poor lies is something she has demonstrated repeatedly.

Posted by: Gary Denton at September 11, 2004 03:20 PM

Where can we get a copy of this and other NOW reports?

Posted by: Norman at September 20, 2004 03:55 PM