Washington Post television critic Tom Shales will miss Bill Moyers. Yet even Shales, who is paid to watch tv, admits he didn’t watch Moyers very much. But Moyers was on PBS, so it seemed not to matter whether anyone watched him. Virtue was its own reward. And, Shales assures us, Moyers was nothing if not virtuous, always taking the “high road” and playing “by dignified and gentlemanly rules.” Except that, in last night’s swansong, he compared the Pentagon’s overseas information efforts to Mein Kampf. And then there was his post-2002 election piece in which he said of the Republicans, among other pearls of well-modulated wisdom, “if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture.” But Shales may have missed that episode. As he said, he didn’t watch Moyers enough.
Moyers first appeared on the public stage as a hatchet man for Lyndon Johnson, one of the least scrupulous of our modern presidents. Disguised as a mild-mannered “high road” kind of guy, Moyes continued to be a hatchet man throughout his decades at PBS. It is fitting that he went out last night with the notorious character assassin David Brock as his mouthpiece.
Hat tip: Fred Ray.
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