The Left Coaster has a nice long piece on the resignation of Bill Moyers from television work. Moyers has produced an extensive body of work -- and hopefully will continue add to it.
In all the breathless coverage over cabinet resignations and the retirement of overrated network television news readers, it is more than a little disappointing that so few journalists are taking note of the upcoming retirement of one of the very best of their own. While the media whoops and hollers over knaves like Tom Ridge, discarded facades like Colin Powell, pusillanimous media moguls such as Tom Brokaw, mediocrities on the order of Ron Paige, and outright despots like John Ashcroft, the retirement of Bill Moyers from the Public Broadcasting Corporation stands out as the only resignation event of the season that will clearly diminish America and leave it poorer for his going.
During the recent Series of Unfortunate Events (of which the presidential election was only one) there were two TV journalists that I thought actually spoke truth, and also treated the people they interviewed with respect and courtesy: Bill Moyers and Jon Stewart. (I know it's weird that, given the overall timbre of the media, a satire show would be "courteous." But when Stewart called Tucker Carlson a dick, it was on Crossfire, not The Daily Show.)
I remember Huntley, Brinkley, Cronkite etc. when I was a young kid, but when I started really paying attention and wanting to understand the world -- sometime around the Watergate hearings -- I remember Moyers. Always with his mild southern drawl, his glasses, and authentic questions. More documentary than "news." And always delving into things that no other journalists seemed to be covering, but which people cared about -- the Left Coaster post describes his body of TV work. There is a lot of it.
Two things Moyers did recently really impressed me: first, he gave a speech that conveyed a real sense of outrage over the current state of the republic, as well as insights on analogous periods in our history; and second, he conducted interviews with people from all over the political spectrum at the height of the campaign that sounded remarkably like "civil discourse." People with radically different points of view gave thougtful answers to thoughtful questions. There were no "gotchas." Just good questions. (I can't really envision Moyers calling Tucker Carlson a dick, no matter how much Carlson needs to be told.)
Moyers will continue to write, make documentaries, and, I assume, speak truth to power. The "conversation of democracy" will be greatly diminished by his absence.