Saturday, September 11, 2004

Updated on Sep. 11, 2004 at 7:00 pm

Not so Fair and Balanced with Bill Moyers on PBS and WTTW: your pledge dollars at work? For whom?

Ronald Reagan- a lackey of Business and the rich, as seen by Bill Moyers’ NOW.

Speaking to and receiving an award from the Take Back America Conference of Democratic liberal activists on June 4, 2003, Bill Moyers told the cheering partisans that the Bush Administration and its allies are “right wing wrecking crews,” and they are “part of an unholy alliance between Government and wealth” that is “engaged in the deliberate intentional destruction of the United States of America.” Moyers was listed at the Conference as a journalist, educator and citizen.

Moyers, who previously toiled in the LBJ [President Lyndon Johnson] administration as a Special Assistant to LBJ and his “Great Society,” for four years, has had his own television production company since 1986 and he has appeared in a variety of formats on PBS over the years.

Moyers’ current television show, NOW, which skews heavily to the left in it analysis and discussion of public policy issues, airs every Sunday at noon in the Chicago metropolitan area on public television station WTTW [Ch. 11, 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm and repeated on Monday morning, 4:00 am to 5:00 am]. The show is a slick, well produced, well presented program that is mostly by, of and for the Left.

In large part, NOW consists of hard left, partisan journalists such as Moyers, interviewing other hard left or simply left public policy analysts and personalities. Every once in a while they have a lefty interviewing a righty, someone in the center or what they really like, someone on the pseudo-right, but those non-left guests are the exception, not the rule.

Moyers is, as he advertises, in the education business, providing his wisdom for say, high school teachers, who need help with lesson plans. For example, in explaining conservatism, the NOW portion of the web site quotes from The Oxford Companion to American History: “[Ronald] Reagan combined important strands of American conservatism in a significant new way, employing populist rhetoric while working in the interests of corporate America and the wealthier classes.”

In the slanted view of Moyer’s NOW discussion, housed on the PBS site, tax cuts across the board to broaden individuals’ incentives to work, save and invest constitute “working in the interests of Corporate America and the ‘wealthier classes.’” Given that leftist partisans like Bill Moyers are out there guiding school teachers on the impact of Ronald Reagan on America, it is no wonder our educational system suffers from imbalance.

Putting the hostility of teachers’ unions [and their fully owned subsidiary, on the issue of school vouchers-- the Democratic Party] to school choice/ school vouchers aside, the above makes clear why liberals are so terrified by school choice/school vouchers. Most parental consumers would like their children to become well educated and informed by the full spectrum of viewpoints, not fed pabulum representing one segment of the political spectrum.

How long could biased presentations, such as those put forth from Bill Moyers’ pre-packaged lesson plans, persist in schools if parents had the right to take the money that is being spent on their child in a public school and transfer it to private schools that (1) perform the teaching function well in terms of teaching kids how to read, write and perform mathematical computations and analysis and (2) provide balanced presentations and discussions, while challenging students to explore all sides, not simply one side, of the political spectrum? Not long. That has to be a major reason why the vast majority of liberals are so opposed to school vouchers and in favor of maintaining a public school monopoly.

It perhaps seems impolite to ask of our friends at PBS and WTTW, but we will do so anyway: is there a television program on PBS or WTTW that skews as heavily to the right as NOW does to the left, making PBS and WTTW what one might call “fair and balanced.” Alternatively, is there a program, airing weekly on PBS or WTTW that has a host who might be characterized as having and expressing opinions as far to the right as Moyers does to the left?

If so, gentle readers and viewers, please advise me. Because, I surely have not been able to identify such a program or such a host on PBS or WTTW.
Jeff Berkowitz, host and producer of “Public Affairs,” can be reached at