Every Friday night, my Tivo fires up to save what is one of the best arguments for the existence of television, Bill Moyers Journal. As a human being and a journalist, Bill exudes the kind of integrity that has all but disappeared from the practice of television journalism today.
This may explain my genuine shock to hear on his show this week that he is retiring as of the end of this month. His show will end then on PBS though he mentioned it will continue online.
He is too classy and too much of a gentleman to ever mention if this wasn’t his idea (there’s no indication it wasn’t as far as I am aware).
I have so many fond memories of his shows and discussions, he has been a voice of calm, reason, compassion and reality during difficult times. And he has never failed to astonish me with his even handedness especially when he’s had discussions with people who I find distasteful…I still don’t know how he does it!
One of my more recent favorite memories was when a Bill O’Reilly troll tried ambushing Moyers at a media conference in 2008. Using calm demeanor, his razor sharp mind and his unshakable persistence, Moyers took that little weasel to school and the journalists witnessing this followed the weasel hounding him as he had Moyers…of course the weasel could dish it out but not take it.
As far as my favorite interviews he’s hosted…it would be virtually impossible to choose one gem over another. So, I’ll just focus on his most recent show from last week, his penultimate episode, which presented a brilliant exploration into the reality of the banking and corporate domination of our nation, the machinations of Goldman Sachs in their fraud and other insights into the mercenary nature of our corporate system. One of his two guests, Simon Johnson, conclusively described America as no longer a democracy but an oligarchy. I can’t embed from PBS here so you can follow this link to view this enlightening and brilliant episode:
With the passage of time, so much is gained and so much is lost. In the case of Bill Moyers, what is lost is a little bit of what’s best in this democracy and this nation.
Thinking about this, I’d have to say that the work by Bill Moyers that had the most profound impact on me was the series he hosted with Joseph Campbell, “The Power of Myth”.
If you haven’t seen this, you haven’t yet seen what is one of the most brilliant and enlightening documentaries on the human race’s relationship with existence, religion and explaining it all through storytelling.
Here is the first episode, I can’t urge you enough to watch this if you haven’t before…and even if you have!
The Power of Myth – The Hero’s Adventure from John Allen Bell on Vimeo.
Adlib– This series played a big part in my decision (when I went back to school at age 49 EDIT– No, that’s when I graduated!) to get a degree in Religious Studies. I was determined to go back to school but had no real plan–thought I should get a degree in something practical. I talked to the admissions department, and a wonderful woman there asked me, “What do you really love?” I told her I loved the study of world religions. That was that.
I owe that to Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell, who both advised to “follow your bliss.” So when you say they had a profound impact, I can only say, “Me too!”
Bill Moyers is a National Treasure. Period.
The Country will become at least slightly more ignorant for losing him.
I am at a global loss. but gosh how I love you all, does that count?
You know it does………it counts for alot
Oh Sue, now you really made me blush, I do need to learn more. You have been a great source, I can’t thank you enough but will thank you anyway Sue, wow!
More than all the words on the Planet.
I heard this a few weeks ago. It’s a shame. Moyer’s is a Jouralist. The Glen Beck’s of the world are nothing more than “urinalists.”
Excellent, Dildenusa! 😀
BTW Adlib I saw Simon Johnson on bill Maher last week and I bought the book 13 Bankers. It is a must read
This is the website for Simon Johnson and James Kwak the authors of 13 Bankers
Excellent piece Adlib. It is such a shame he is leaving, one of the last fair and balanced reporters. Face it most of the rest are actors/anchors playing at being journalists. I loved it when he kept pressing the “journalist” part of it.
Forgive this naturalized Brit, but one night in 08, Bluestatesman and I became fans of each other talking about the GOP hanging like tissues in trees and Bill Moyers on a loop 24 hours in their living rooms.
AdLib – thank you for defining Moyers as what he has become, a voice for moral sanity.
Back when he was LBJ’s press secretary, most of us of (cough) a certain age had grave reservations about him. He is/was a Methodist minister (like Bob Edgar now head of Common Cause) but as a younger man, willing to make a pact with not the devil but, well, convenience.
Since then, he has grown, much as Jimmy Carter has grown, into a man of such profound core beliefs about decency, morality, and commitment to the common good that yes, even I, profoundly judgmental bitch that I can be, have not overlookd but in fact have forgotten his past. And who among us has NOT had that kind of past?
Moyers raises up the issues, the perspective, the questions that so necessarily need to be asked. In the world of faith advocacy, our strongest statement is that we must “speak truth to power”. That is the daily life of Bill Moyers.
Those of us in the faith biz are especially drawn to Moyers. He has lighted our way more than once.
I am growing older. I want someone to be there to help lighten MY load as I move forward doing what needs to be done. I’m exhausted by my own fights for justice, trying to mobilize people (often ages older than I) to speak up for what needs doing. I’m running out of energy – so why should I be surprised Moyers is as well?
I mourn his removal from PBS and the public view, but most of all I envy him the time and the peace to do what HE wants to do. This pursuit of social justice work is exhausting, and I cannot begrudge him the time he has foresaken for all of us.
But damn. I will miss him. He has been a presence and force for the best that lies within us, regardless of religion or absence thereof – he has TRUSTED us to do the right thing. Always. No matter who we are. And he’s given us the ideas, the words, the sources, the courage, the energies, the allies – and I will miss that SO much.
So have a great and long retirement, Mr./Rev. Moyers. I will do my best to honor you by keeping on keeping on. But come out once in awhile, will you, Mr. M,? We need to be reminded that this is an ages old struggle, and we cannot lay our burdens down, not yet. We will need you though, to remind us we can do it. That’s what you gave us, and we may need a refresher now and then. Hope to see you. Take care.
He also gave one of the best comments on a book by Dr. Robin Meyers. The book is Why the Christian Right is Wrong and he said…………….”This is not a book for narrow sectarian minds; read it and you will want to change the world.”
That book was my introduction into the destructive forces on the religious right and the beginnings of my research on the religious right and the desire to let others know what is out there. It is very dangerous.
I find it profound that he never shied away from what was dangerous but instead made it safe. How did he DO that? He had very conservative people on his program, and he treated them well, and they revealed so much! He was amazing. He will be missed. I want him to live many years and prosper and enjoy his retirement in good health. He has earned it!
AdLib, Moyers announced his retirement late last year, but was asked to stay on until May. I think he is just going into semi-retirement, and it is a big loss for all of us. I have a few of his books–the ones form various series he did over his stellar career. Your post is a lovely tribute to him.
It makes me feel old and a little uneasy when an institution like Bill Moyers Journal is gone.
I agree, AdLib.
Bill Moyers retiring is a huge loss and I will definitely miss him.
We tape his show, also, and last Friday’s show about corporate influence was superb.
I hope that PBS produces a similar show but no one will ever be able to replace the dignified and rational Mr. Moyers.
Bill is sad to go but he has been doing this a long time and would like to retire and do some things with his family. One can’t blame him but we are all feeling the loss, like a death in the family. However, all of his shows are archived and can be watched at anytime. He will have a website where we can follow what he’s doing. I am sure he will still be active in the community,
Bill Moyers is a real National Treasure
Your last sentence is exactly what I was thinking.