Moyers on Journalism

MOYERS ON JOURNALISM….Here is Bill Moyers defending public television against the charge that it’s no longer needed because commercial TV provides us with everything we need:

One reason we get such pale and unquestioning journalism in America is that skepticism and irreverence toward the prerogatives of power and privilege are exactly what corporate media moguls don’t want from the journalists who work for them. If they did, there wouldn’t have been such gullible groupthink from the press when America went to war in Iraq on the basis of false information, faulty intelligence, fallacious propaganda, and flagrant secrecy. It’s what happens when the news media becomes a complacent conduit for the government and multimedia corporations, failing to challenge authority, and passing information spun carefully by special interests both in and out of government.

….I believe in “fair and balanced.”

I say let’s be more fair than anyone else. Let’s be as fair to Main Street as we are to Wall Street ? to the working men and women of America as we are to the big corporations, big government, and big investors.

….Let’s be as fair to the skeptic of official policy as we are to its spokesman, as fair to the commoner as to the celebrity, and as fair to the lived experience of ordinary people as we are to the calculated opinion of think tank experts.

I’m for balance.

Let’s balance the spin with the evidence, the rhetoric with the record, and opinion with reporting.

….And let’s balance programs written by the National Mining Association and Boeing with programs underwritten by the United Mine Workers, Consumer’s Union, and Citizens for a Fair Economy. If they can’t afford the underwriting, let’s at least give them a hearing.

You will be unsurprised to learn that Moyers is also appalled at the idea of setting up “digital tollbooths” on the internet that will transform it into “a system of corporate-controlled pipes.” Read the whole thing for more. It’s a manifesto for what journalism ought to be.