April 24, 2007

Bill Moyers on PBS

Bill Moyers is coming back to PBS this week to report on how the media failed in the lead-up to the war. After all, very few reporters or media sources have ever admitted that they were wrong to let this war happen. And thousands of American soldiers and tens, no, make that hundreds of thousands of Iraqis are still paying for the bad judgement of the press.

Through interviews with a number of reporters like John Walcott, Jonathan Landry and Warren Strobel (the lauded reporters of the Knight-Ridder DC bureau, which has become McClatchy), Dan Rather, Tim Russett and others, he examines the way the media abdicated their responsibility in informing the public because they didn't want to rock the boat. As Greg Mitchell of E&P puts it:

At the close, Moyers mentions some of the chief proponents of the war who refused to speak to him for this program, including Thomas Friedman, Bill Kristol, Roger Ailes, Charles Krauthammer, Judith Miller, and William Safire.

But Dan Rather, the former CBS anchor, admits, "I don't think there is any excuse for, you know, my performance and the performance of the press in general in the roll up to the war…We didn't dig enough. And we shouldn't have been fooled in this way." Bob Simon, who had strong doubts about evidence for war, was asked by Moyers if he pushed any of the top brass at CBS to "dig deeper," and he replies, "No, in all honesty, with a thousand mea culpas….nope, I don't think we followed up on this."

Instead he covered the marketing of the war in a "softer" way, explaining to Moyers: "I think we all felt from the beginning that to deal with a subject as explosive as this, we should keep it, in a way, almost light – if that doesn't seem ridiculous."

Moyers replies: "Going to war, almost light."

Some reporters were doing some real reporting (such as Seymour Hersh, Walcott, Landry, and Strobel), but they were drowned out by the vast propaganda machine run by the administration and their backers including the publishers who supported the status quo by either being already on board for war or by being anxious to stay in the war-sellers good graces.

As Greg Mitchell says, even if you'd followed this closely, Moyers piece brings a new perspective and focus on this topic.

In the California Bay Area, you can catch it this Wednesday on KQED at 9pm. It promises to be Don't Miss Television.

Posted by Mary at April 24, 2007 06:19 AM | Media | Technorati links |

If it didn't seem like they were willing to make the same mistakes all over again, I might regard mea culpas such as the above in a somewhat hopeful light.

At dKos today, an Army mom requests that all of us sign on to oppose a war with Iran long before it gets close to starting.

Posted by: natasha at April 24, 2007 08:47 AM

Tim Russert???

The Tim Russert who just lets them lie unchallenged?

That one?

Can't wait to hear his tale.

Posted by: Duckman GR at April 25, 2007 02:38 PM

Thank you so much for the marvelous program of the media and Bush Administration's role in getting the country bamboozled into going to war in Iraq.

We, in the Bay Area were aware of the lies and under-reporting of the protests, and could not understand the acceptance of the bogus reasoning, except to ascribe it to real fear of another 9/11.

I had forgotten How Ted Kennedy stood firmly against the neocoms & their lies. He also seemed to get short shrift in reporting by the major pundits.

Thank you again for having people like Bill Moyer on.

Posted by: Beverly Bogart at April 26, 2007 04:25 PM