Bill Moyers Asks for Money 'To Do Battle' With Conservatives

Mike Ciandella
By Mike Ciandella | December 11, 2012 | 11:35 AM EST

Flush as he is with tax dollars, veteran journalist and PBS icon Bill Moyers has begun helping the unhinged left-wing blog Alternet raise cash, in a pop-up ad on that site entitled "A special message from Bill Moyers and friends of Alternet."

In the ad, the very well-off Moyers encourages Alternet readers to make a contribution in order to support Alternet's "efforts to fight the huge wealth disparity in America."

"For the past 14 years, Alternet has been a powerful and positive progressive media force," reads the ad. "Day after day, it provides millions of people with the sharp, independent analysis and information that we all need to do battle with the conservative propaganda machine, and to help make positive social change."

The ad prominently features a picture of Moyers, and it's cosigned by the directors and presidents of six lefty organizations, as well as a writer for Salon, another lefty site. Two of those organizations are funded by George Soros. Another, the Women's Media Center, was cofounded by ultra-lefty activist Jane Fonda, who currently sits on the board of the organization.

Bill Moyers fundraising ad on Alternet

Moyers has long had a close relationship with Alternet. On Aug. 30, 2012, Moyers co-wrote a piece for the site entitled "Where Is the Outrage over Money in Politics," which spoke out against the "happy billionaires." According to this opinion piece, "the corporate owners of television stations which reap handsome profits for selling the public's airwaves to undisclosed buyers ... who pollute the political atmosphere with millions of dollars spent on toxic ads designed to keep voters angry, dumb, or both." In that piece, Moyers also complained about "crony capitalism of businessmen and politicians" and then cited reporting by the George Soros-funded ProPublica.

The article failed to note Moyers' own complicated relationship with money and politics. The Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, which Moyers heads, gave $285,000 to Alternet, in 2005 and 2006. During much of his time funding lefty organizations, Moyers himself was receiving taxpayer funding, courtesy of his job at PBS.

Alternet is the news outlet of the Independent Media Institute. It has been known to publish extreme lefty pieces, including a piece comparing the Founding Fathers to Nazis by University of Texas at Austin Journalism Professor Robert Jensen. "How does a country deal with the fact that some of its most revered historical figures had certain moral values and political views virtually identical to Nazis?" Jensen asked. Another far-left Alternet propaganda piece spoke out against the Special Forces.

Moyers' status as journalist - and one paid by the public - has not kept him out of liberal politics. With the Schumann Center, he has funded more than a dozen other prominent lefty organizations and has given more than $10 million to liberal groups since 2000. Often, Moyers has had guests on his shows from groups which he himself funds.

Moyers has also used his status as a trusted media veteran to push the agenda of groups that he himself funds despite the Society of Professional Journalists warning against "conflicts of interest, real or perceived." Meanwhile, he has accused news outlets on the right of being funded by wealthy donors, while he has been working at taxpayer funded PBS.

Since he became its president in 1990, the Schumann Center has funded at least seven members of the Media Consortium. The Consortium is an echo chamber, where left-wing media outlets can network and share ideas. Since 2000, the Schumann Center has given a total of $1,625,000 to the following organizations that belong to the consortium:

  • The American Prospect ($905,000)
  • Alternet ($285,000)
  • Grist Magazine ($200,000)
  • Democracy Now! ($175,000)
  • Truthout ($30,000)
  • Link Media ($15,000),
  • The Nation Institute ($15,000)

Two of the organizations cosigning the ad, the Women's Media Center and Brave New Films, are also part of the consortium.

Moyers' Schumann Center has funded several liberal organizations including the Proteus Fund ($1,035,000) and the Tides Foundation ($5,407,500). He's also an outspoken supporter of lefty billionaire Soros, whom he has described as "a victim of Glenn Beck and the right wing, the Fox News assassins."

Soros, however, has been the poster child for everything that Moyers claims to stand against, heavily funding dozens of media outlets through his Open Society Foundation. But, since those outlets are liberal, the big money is all right. Moyers formerly sat on the board of the Open Society Foundation, and he donated $100,000 to Open Society's Center for Responsive Politics.

On his PBS show "Moyers and Company," the host has repeatedly spoken in favor of liberal causes, including Occupy Wall Street, He even went so far as to compare Occupiers to abolitionists and suffragettes. He has also called the gun-rights group the National Rifle Association "the enabler of death - paranoid, delusional and as venomous as a scorpion. With the weak-kneed acquiescence of our politicians, the National Rifle Association has turned the Second Amendment of the Constitution into a cruel and deadly hoax."

Before he was a renowned journalist, Bill Moyers, now 78, was a Democratic flack. He served in the Kennedy administration as the associate director for public affairs for the Peace Corps, and then later in the Johnson administration as Johnson's press secretary. Moyers spoke highly of LBJ, and has pointed to him as an example of how a president should handle Medicare. Moyers hosted Bill Moyers Journal on PBS from 1971 through 1981 with a brief hiatus from 1976-1977. He also worked as an analyst and commentator on both CBS and NBC.

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