Bill Moyers, who has spread his left-wing ideology for decades courtesy of your contributions to the Public Broadcasting System, is a hateful, despicable little man.
And I may be putting it much too nicely.
A little over a week ago, in the wake of the announcement of the resignation of presidential adviser Karl Rove, Moyers let the hate flow as he accused Rove of being an agnostic who suckered the religious right into supporting President George W. Bush.
You can watch it -- I did -- but I really didn't write about it because just about everything I felt like writing would've been decidedly un-Christian. It wasn't just the characterization of conservative Christians as fools that annoyed me. It was also the characterization of President Bush as an "intellectually incurious draft-averse naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco in his back pocket." They said similar things about Ronald Reagan (remember the "amiable dunce" characterization?) and just about every other Republican holding public office. The line used to go that Republicans think Democrats are wrong and Democrats think Republicans are evil. You can add stupid to the latter characterization. And doesn't it seem the slightest bit odd that the same people disdain as simplistic Bush's talk about "evildoers" are the same types who draw horns on his head?
I tackle this issue now because there are a couple of updates to the story which expose Moyers for the lying hack that he is. First is this column from Michael Getler, the ombusdman for PBS.
Now, let's set aside the question, for a moment, of whether editorials (again, that's my word for it) belong on PBS. One other thing that jumped out at me, especially, about this commentary was the use of the formulation, "even as reports were circulating," to portray Rove as not a religious person and thus a "skeptic, a secular manipulator."
That, in my view, is not like Moyers; not up to his standards. Although Moyers is clearly a consistent target for conservatives, his reporting frequently hits a nerve but is almost always well-attributed, which is what makes it so often hard-hitting and why it draws a strong reaction from supporters and critics. I, personally, didn't know what Moyers was talking about when I heard this line, and my guess is that most viewers were also in the dark about what reports were circulating, where they were circulating and what, exactly, were they saying. The portrayal of this contrast in Rove's use of the Christian right politically and his own alleged non-belief was at the core of this commentary. So it seemed an important point, not to be skimmed over without any attribution or evidence.
Well, Moyers responded, lamely with a letter referencing an editorial in the San Antonio Express-News, and postings on Atlantic.com, HuffingtonPost.com and a line in a book on Rove by a former Austin bureau chief for The Dallas Morning News all reporting hearsay that Rove is an agnositc.
Last Sunday, on "Fox News Sunday," host Chris Wallace asked Rove about his religious beliefs:
WALLACE: After you resigned, Bill Moyers — some would say he's part of the mob — went after you as an agnostic who flim-flammed the Christian right . . . Your response.
ROVE: I'm a Christian. I go to church. I'm an Episcopalian. I think he may have taken a comment that I made where I was talking about how — I have had colleagues at the White House — Mike Gerson, Pete Wehner, Lindsey Drouin, Josh Bolten and others — who I'm really impressed about how their faith has informed their lives and made them really better people. And it took a comment where I acknowledged my shortcomings in living up to the beliefs of my faith and contrasted it with how these extraordinary people have made their faith a part of their fiber. And somehow or another he goes from taking it from me being an Episcopalian wishing I was a better Christian to somehow making me into a agnostic. You know, Mr. Moyers ought to do a little bit better research before he does another drive-by slander.
This didn't cause Moyers to back down, instead he calls Rove a liar.
Rove also called Getler to protest:
"If someone says he is a believer, why is that not accepted? He (Moyers) has decided he will be the judge and the jury about whether I'm a believer. He attributes this to unknown parties and then defends it in a letter to Chris Wallace, with no personal interface with me at all. How does the San Antonio Express know? They don't. They don't know me well. He (Moyers) then relies on a blogger who says 'I could be wrong here.' Well, he is wrong." Rove calls Moore an "incredible left-wing ideologue." Bill Israel, he says, "was once my teaching assistant. He was no more a close friend of mine than the man in the moon. I attend church in my neighborhood and here in Washington. I was married in church, worship in church, tithe to the church. My faith is my business. This is just beyond the pale."
On Today's "Fox News Sunday," Wallace responded to Moyers' letter with slams usually directed by the arrogant elite of the mainstream media at bloggers.
Well, to save on postage Bill [Moyers], here's my response:
If you want to find out about someone's religious beliefs, a good first step might be to ask him. If you had talked to Rove, as I did, you would have found out he reads a devotional every day and the biggest charitable contribution he ever made was to his church. Of course, you never called Rove. That's Reporting 101, but it would've gotten in the way of a tasty storyline about a non-believer flim-flamming the Christian right.
I guess, Bill, reporting is easier when you don't worry about the facts.
If you're going to question someone's sincerity in their religious beliefs, you'd better have something better than third-hand hearsay. Liberals have been crying wolf for years about "christofacism" and "theocracy," yet they seem to have no problem questioning and passing judgement on the sincerity of others' religious beliefs.
Moyers should apologize, but his Bush Derangement Syndrome doesn't appear to let him.