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Americans Who Tell the Truth

Bill Moyers

Writers, Journalists and Filmmakers

Bill Moyers

Broadcast Journalist, Public Official, Baptist Minister (1934 –  )

The framers of our nation never imagined what could happen if big government, big publishing, and big broadcasters ever saw eye to eye in putting the public’s need for news second to their own interests — and to the ideology of market economics. The greatest moments in the history of the press came not when journalists made common cause with the state but when they stood fearlessly independent of it.


Additional Quotes by Bill Moyers

As a student I learned from wonderful teachers and ever since then I've thought everyone is a teacher.

Creativity is piercing the mundane to find the marvelous.

Democracy belongs to those who exercise it.

Democracy may not prove in the long run to be as efficient as other forms of government, but it has one saving grace: it allows us to know and say that it isn't.

For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.

I own and operate a ferocious ego.

Ideas are great arrows, but there has to be a bow. And politics is the bow of idealism.

Our very lives depend on the ethics of strangers, and most of us are always strangers to other people.

Secrecy is the freedom tyrants dream of.

The printed page conveys information and commitment, and requires active involvement. Television conveys emotion and experience, and it's very limited in what it can do logically. It's an existential experience - there and then gone.

There are honest journalists like there are honest politicians - they stay bought.

This is the first time in my 32 years in public broadcasting that PBS has ordered up programs for ideological instead of journalistic reasons.

We don't care really about children as a society and television reflects that indifference to children as human beings.

We see more and more of our Presidents and know less and less about what they do.

What's right and good doesn't come naturally. You have to stand up and fight for it - as if the cause depends on you, because it does.

When I learn something new - and it happens every day - I feel a little more at home in this universe, a little more comfortable in the nest.



Hearing Bill Moyers described as “insightful, erudite, impassioned, brilliant,” as “a man who chooses his words carefully because he values and respects the power of language and the importance of his own integrity,” you’d never guess that he could do this while working in television.

Born in Oklahoma, Moyers grew up in Texas, where he received a journalism B.A. in 1956 from the University of Texas in Austin and then a divinity degree in 1959 from the Southwestern Theological Seminary. For most of the 1960s he alternated between working for the Peace Corps (as a director of public affairs and deputy director) and for fellow Texan Lyndon Johnson (as a personal assistant to the vice-president, then as a special assistant and press secretary to the president.)

Since then, TV has been Moyers’s main focus. In 1971, following a few years as the publisher of Newsday, he began almost 35 years of producing hundreds of hours of television interviews for various series broadcast primarily on PBS. Over the years Moyers earned more than 30 Emmy awards and 10 Peabody awards for his work creating shows like A Walk Through the 20th Century, The Power of Myth (with Joseph Campbell), A World of Ideas, and Healing and the Mind. Some of these series, converted into print, also became best-selling books. He had become, a biographer wrote, “one of the few broadcast journalists who might be said to approach the stature of Edward R. Murrow.” Another called him “a gifted storyteller through words and images,” someone who “reveals to us the spiritual, emotional, and historical sides of our culture.”

In December 2004, Moyers announced his retirement from his final show, the national newsmagazine Now. Before retiring he said, “I believe democracy requires a ‘sacred contract’ between journalists and those who put their trust in us to tell them what we can about how the world really works.” And, “Free and responsible government by popular consent just can’t exist without an informed public.”



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