MediaWatch: December 1989
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Taxpayer-supported liberal advocate Bill Moyers was at it again in November in a new four-part series, Bill Moyers: The Public Mind. This latest PBS poutfest was dedicated to the shopworn idea that style and symbolism fooled people into electing Ronald Reagan even though they disagreed with his policies. Repeating the old style-over-substance thesis, Moyers went on to discuss how this meant the "hard reality" of a decaying America was lost in the "illusion" of prosperity.
"Beneath the distortion and deception of life in America today, there is hard reality. Our Earth is threatened with pollution. Nuclear weapons have been accumulating worldwide at a cost of one million dollars a minute. And the United States is sliding into an inferior status in the global economy. Yet our public mind is filled with an America where the vending machines are always full, the wounded always recover, and the bills never come due."
On board to testify for the Moyers theory: a whole roll call of left-wing media critics, including Ben Bagdikian, Stuart Ewen, Todd Gitlin, Mark Crispin Miller, Neil Postman, Herbert Schiller, and Mark Hertsgaard, author of On Bended Knee: The Press and the Reagan Presidency. No right-wing critics got any air time.
This latest Moyers crusade would qualify as classic PBS yawn-a- minute programming if not for the amusing irony of watching a guy who orchestrated LBJ's anti-Goldwater campaign commercials complain about Willie Horton ads.