Bill Moyers

Broadcast Journalist, Public Servant, Baptist Minister: b. 1934

"The framers of our nation never imagined what could happen if big government, big publishing, and big broadcasters ever saw eye to eye in putting the public’s need for news second to their own interests — and to the ideology of market economics. The greatest moments in the history of the press came not when journalists made common cause with the state but when they stood fearlessly independent of it."

Biography

Bill Moyers, described as “insightful, erudite, impassioned, brilliant,” and as “a man who chooses his words carefully because he values and respects the power of language and the importance of his own integrity,” offers a considered alternative to the current, bombastic trend in talk TV.

Born in Oklahoma, Moyers grew up in Texas, where he received a journalism B.A. in 1956 from the University of Texas in Austin and then a divinity degree in 1959 from the Southwestern Theological Seminary. For most of the 1960s, Moyers worked as the director of public affairs and deputy director of the Peace Corps, and then for fellow Texan Lyndon Johnson, as a personal assistant to the vice-president and as a special assistant and press secretary to the president.

Since then, TV has been Moyers’s main focus. In 1971, following a few years as the publisher of Newsday, he began almost 35 years of producing hundreds of hours of television interviews for various series broadcast primarily on PBS. Over the years Moyers earned more than 30 Emmy awards and 10 Peabody awards for his work creating shows like A Walk Through the 20th Century, The Power of Myth (with Joseph Campbell), A World of Ideas, and Healing and the Mind. Some of these series, converted into print, also became best-selling books. He had become, a biographer wrote, “one of the few broadcast journalists who might be said to approach the stature of Edward R. Murrow.” Another called him “a gifted storyteller through words and images,” someone who “reveals to us the spiritual, emotional, and historical sides of our culture.”

In December 2004, Moyers announced his retirement from the national newsmagazine show, Now. Before retiring he said, “I believe democracy requires a ‘sacred contract’ between journalists and those who put their trust in us to tell them what we can about how the world really works.” And, “Free and responsible government by popular consent just can’t exist without an informed public.” In 2012, he launched a new, weekly TV show, Moyers & Company