This spring Bill Moyers' PBS's show which has been a journalistic example of sane and substantial reporting for 30 years has come to an end. He was known for simply telling the truth and in the process exposing the untruths that often thrive all around us, especially in the politics of the day.
He was able to do this for at least two reasons that I know. One is because he created an independent journalism company that could report on news the way it saw it and was not influenced in its reporting of it by corporate sponsors or advertisers. The product they created through their company was theirs and they had the last say on what the content would be and how it was presented and ultimately sold. They had the freedom of artistic expression preserved by their own independence.
The second piece to this puzzle is PBS, the company that aired Bill's show. With no commercials and a policy that demands authenticity, professionalism and creativity from its shows it's hard to imagine Bill Moyer's on any other network, it just wouldn't work. One wonders which one influenced which one more; they seemed synonymous with each other.
As some of the old genuine reporters gradually die off or retire like Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw, or even Ernie Harwell; people you grew up with and trusted because they were true to their profession. It becomes harder and harder to just find non-sensational reporting, or more important maybe, non-sensational seeking audiences who are interested in knowing what is happening in the world around them. To this end PBS (even as the outside world’s influences and pressures creep in) continues to be one of the last non-commercial safe havens for creative honest expression. It was Bill's home for a reason.
On his last show Bill reiterated, "Democracy works only when people embrace it and make it their own". To this I would add, we can only do that when we have unbiased factual reporting of the kind you offered, the kind that clearly and truthfully defines the issues of the day.
If truth needs no introduction as someone once wrote, then certainly Bill needed none here. But as he leaves us now and a certain truth and integrity of reporting leaves with him, then his truth at least should be announced. We should all be grateful for what he has contributed to his profession and our lives, and while we will miss him, we may miss the truth more.