Monday, May 3, 2010

Bill Moyers last journal

Bill Moyers Journal

Photo of Bill MoyersBILL MOYERS: Welcome to the Journal. Once upon a time, a whole lot of just plain Americans woke up to realize the economic system was working against them. They had believed in it; they worked hard to make it work for them. They knew its shortcomings but saw in it the way to a decent return for their labor and a better future for their families.

Then, one day, calamity struck: The system turned on them. And they discovered that they had been betrayed, bamboozled, by the people at the top.

But they didn't hang their heads and turn tail, like a dog whipped by its master. They organized and fought back — millions of them in a grass roots movement for democracy. What they did became known as the Populist Moment, an extraordinary time in our country's history.

But, the flimflam gang returned with a vengeance in our time — the monied interests and political mercenaries who connived to bring on a calamity that lost eleven million Americans their jobs, robbed people of their homes and pensions, and brought the world's economy crashing down.

But once again, people are organizing and fighting back; as they did in that early Populist Moment that took on the monopolies and financial trusts. The stirrings of a popular insurgency could be seen late this week as thousands marched on Wall Street. These people are angry at the banks that have cost them so dearly and they want reforms to prevent similar disasters in the future. They want to break up the Wall Street oligarchy and require the banks to use their capital to build and revitalize and innovate, to create jobs and security.

Similar protests occurred this week in San Francisco, North Carolina and Kansas City, where people rallied to demand an accounting from the giant Bank of America.

Among their ranks was a contingent from Iowa, proud and vocal inheritors of America's populist spirit. We first met them at a rally last fall.

BILL MOYERS: In October, some five thousand people came to Chicago to rally outside the convention of the American Bankers Association.

CROWD: ABA, you're the worst! Time to put the people first!

BILL MOYERS: This is not the Tea Party crowd, chanting against "government takeovers" and "creeping socialism."

CROWD: We're fired up! Can't take it no more!

BILL MOYERS: They are populists of the old school. They want the government on their side battling against predatory monopolies, trusts, and corporations.

MIKE MCCARTHY: We're losing jobs. We're losing state employees. We're losing industry and businesses. We're losing farms and homes. And meanwhile, these people across the street are trying to divvy up their record profits, in tens of millions of dollars worth of bonuses. And that's not fair, it's not fair.

CROWD: Bust up! Big banks! Bust up! Big banks...

BILL MOYERS: Mike McCarthy and a busload of his Iowa neighbors rode almost six hours to get here.

CROWD: Bust up! Big banks...

BILL MOYERS: They belong to an organization called Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Or CCI. They take their fighting spirit, everywhere they go.

LARRY GINTER: If you've seen your pensions or retirement take a hit, stand up. Dissent is apple pie and ice cream. If you think it's time to put people first and hold banks accountable, stand up. Our founding fathers spoke out against the injustice. I mean, they were great populist, great radicals.

CROWD: We're fired up, can't take it no more...

LARRY GINTER: You just can't sit back and let the big boys walk all over you. You have to stand up and fight. Give yourselves a hand!
BILL MOYERS: Finally — and that's for real this time, the Journal comes to an end with this broadcast. Thanks to those of you who have been with us all the way. I am grateful for your loyalty, and for all your letters and postings. I've tried to read every one of them.

To our critics, I'm glad you paid attention; the second most important thing to journalists is to know we're not being ignored. The most important thing is the independence that enables us to do our job without fear or favor. In this I have been unbelievably blessed. When, for the last time, you read the credits at the conclusion of this broadcast, consider that every funder, or underwriter as we say, came to our support asking only that we enrich the public conversation by adding more and different voices to it.

I could not have had more generous or brave partners. Not one of them has ever tried to influence the content; none has asked for a favor; or made a single demand.

Likewise, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company, my sole corporate sponsor for 23 years. Bill Flynn, the CEO when our relationship began, and his successor, Tom Moran are among the best; they've never once mentioned the complaints I know came their way over the controversies ignited here. In my experience, no corporation has been a better friend of democracy.

Time now to let you in on the big secret of broadcast journalism. There's more to it than meets the eye, and in a just world, the credit would not accrue to those of us on camera but to the team you never see.

Pull back the camera and you see the shoulders upon which I stand. Producers and associate producers. Production coordinators and production assistants. Video editors, sound engineers, make up artist, and control room team. Camera operators and floor crew. Directors, art directors, our world class communications and web team. This is an amazingly complex and creative process. And our senior writer, Michael Winship, a longtime colleague who came to PBS about the time I did, almost 40 years ago. Karen Kimball, my personal majordomo.

Our Executive Producer, Sally Roy, master of myriad details who leads us through each week with a sure hand from beginning to end. And three kindred spirits who have been my companions and compatriots ever since we launched our independent production company in 1986:

Diana Warner, our Comptroller, the still, calm center of the storm.

Judy Doctoroff, who began on the bottom rung soon out of college, became our President and COO, our Executive Producer, the conductor of this journalistic symphony and our friend.

And Judith Davidson Moyers, our CEO and Executive Editor, my long-time Executive Producer and creative partner, our maximum leader and my wife of 56 years.

It's been a productive partnership professionally and personally. To quote, once again, what Charlotte Bronte wrote of her Alfred, "We intended to be married in this way almost from the first. We never meant to be spliced in the humdrum way of other people." And that's the Journal.

Thank you for watching. I'm Bill Moyers. See you around.

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