Bill Moyers is headlining the National Conference on Media Reform in Minneapolis, and just gave a powerful pitch for network neutrality and why journalism’s future is key to the future of democracy. There’s a live stream, worth watching.
The conference is a gathering of mostly left-of-center media activists. That’s too bad in a way, because there are plenty of people on the political right who want media reform, too. They may want a different kind, and for different purposes. But there’s enough common ground that it would be valuable to have a more diverse community here.
Back to Moyers: “The press remains in denial of their role,” he accurately says. The big problem is not allowing competing narratives to emerge.
On Iraq, he again approvingly cites my former Knight Ridder (now McClatchy) colleagues who were the singular journalistic heroes in the Iraq war run-up. For the most part, “the Fourth Estate has become a Fifth Column” for the government, he says — a bit over the top but not enormously so, given what we saw during the media’s shabby recent performance.
He speaks powerfully of democracy’s reliance taming the grossest extremes of poverty and wealth, of not allowing the wealthy to control the law and the lawmakers. In this room he’s preaching — and he’s a former preacher, which is evident in his cadences — to a like-minded choir.
“It’s up to you to tell the truth about this country that we love,” he says.