As a special assistant to President Johnson, Bill Moyers–who is celebrated by our friends on the other side of the partisan divide as an exemplary journalist and voice of the forgotten–did the following:
- He sought to ferret out gay staff members in the Johnson Administration and tried to get J. Edgar Hoover to investigate whether there were gay staff members in Barry Goldwater’s campaign.
- He played a part in eavesdropping on Martin Luther King, Jr.
- He shamelessly sought to plant questions at White House press conferences–so many, that members of the press objected loudly and vociferously.
As a “journalist,” Moyers decries “scripted” Presidential press conferences, even though he once one of the most zealous scripters of Presidential press conferences in history. His accusations of “scripting” against the Bush Administration rest on a joke made by the former President that Moyers conveniently chooses to take oh-so-seriously, while never revealing to his audience that there was never anything facetious about his efforts to script press conferences. And of course, Moyers has nothing to say about the fact that Barack Obama also “scripts” his press conferences.
Jack Shafer’s piece is titled “The Intolerable Smugness of Bill Moyers.” Well put.