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Bill Moyers: On the Record

Since the Wednesday broadcast of our documentary Buying the War there has been an overwhelmingly positive response from the press and the public, some of it right here on this blog. But some in the White House press corps have expressed dissatisfaction over the way we portrayed the Presidential press conference of March 6, 2003. Bill Plante, a friend and former colleague, and April Ryan of the Urban Radio Networks have contacted me directly, and CBS's Mark Knoller made comments that ran at

I invite you to watch what we ran in the documentary and read the transcript and judge for yourself. We posted the transcript on our site before the broadcast, by the way.

We began the documentary with that press conference because it crystallized how the Administration controlled the flow and content of information leading up to the war. Our particular focus was on how the press failed to challenge the President on the Administration’s assertion of links between Saddam and Al-Qaeda. If you read the transcript from the program, you will see that I pointed out that "at least a dozen times during this press conference he [the President] will invoke 9/11 and Al Qaeda to justify a preemptive attack on a country that has not attacked America. But the White House press corps will ask no hard questions tonight about those claims." There were questions about the war, but if you go to the actual record of the press conference, you will find the President wasn’t challenged on his assertion that Saddam was somehow in league with terrorists who brought us 9/11. I remember watching the press conference and the surreal way it played out.

It was also on this occasion that the President confessed publicly what the members of the press who were present already knew: the press conference was "scripted." Bill Plante wrote me to say that it "was no more 'scripted' than any other" press conference he’d attended in recent years. So? Isn’t it about time the public knew how the game is rigged? Especially on the eve of war? Wouldn’t it have been to the public's benefit if at least one reporter shot up his or her hand and insisted the President throw his list away? Helen Thomas, where are you now that we need you? But Helen was banished.

Looking back on the night, NEW YORK TIMES White House correspondent Elisabeth Bumiller told a group of journalism students: "I think we were very deferential because ... it's live, it's very intense, it's frightening to stand up there. Think about it, you' re standing up on prime-time live TV asking the president of the United States a question when the country's about to go to war…There was a very serious, somber tone that evening, and no one wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time."

Let me repeat, that confession by a member of the press corps: “I think we were very deferential.” Another member of the press corps had this to say in the NEW YORK OBSERVER: "'I don't think he was sufficiently challenged," said ABC News White House correspondent Terry Moran. He said Mr. Bush's hyper-management left the press corps ‘looking like zombies.’”

We used Ms. Ryan’s exchange with the President (watch here) to demonstrate that it was no secret that the President had acknowledged he was calling on selected journalists. We took the essence of her question and the President’s response, and did her a favor in doing so. If there’s any doubt just read the transcript:


THE PRESIDENT: April. Did you have a question, or did I call upon you cold?
Q Oh, I have a question. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: Okay. I'm sure you do have a question.

Q Mr. President, as the nation is at odds over war, with many organizations like the Congressional Black Caucus pushing for continued diplomacy through the U.N., how is your faith guiding you? And what should you tell America -- well, what should America do, collectively, as you instructed before 9/11? Should it be "pray?" Because you're saying, let's continue the war on terror.


Even though the president at first responds with something about diplomacy, notice how quickly he brings the conversation back to 9/11.


THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that question a lot. First, for those who urge more diplomacy, I would simply say that diplomacy hasn't worked. We've tried diplomacy for 12 years. Saddam Hussein hasn't disarmed, he's armed.

And we live in a dangerous world. We live in new circumstances in our country. And I hope people remember the -- I know they remember the tragedy of September the 11th, but I hope they understand the lesson of September the 11th. The lesson is, is that we're vulnerable to attack, wherever it may occur, and we must take threats which gather overseas very seriously. We don't have to deal with them all militarily. But we must deal with them. And in the case of Iraq, it is now time for him to disarm. For the sake of peace, if we have to use our troops, we will.


And then, he elaborates on his faith.


My faith sustains me because I pray daily. I pray for guidance and wisdom and strength. If we were to commit our troops -- if we were to commit our troops -- I would pray for their safety, and I would pray for the safety of innocent Iraqi lives, as well.

One thing that's really great about our country, April, is there are thousands of people who pray for me that I'll never see and be able to thank. But it's a humbling experience to think that people I will never have met have lifted me and my family up in prayer. And for that I'm grateful. That's -- it's been -- it's been a comforting feeling to know that is true. I pray for peace, April. I pray for peace.


Ms. Ryan may not like the way she looks, either, but we didn’t misrepresent her exchange with the President that night.


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Mr. Moyers, forgive me if this question moves from the public to the private realm: it is a question which--however brusk it may seem-- is of necessity in the public sphere IMO.

I have heard it said from an informed source in Austin, that you are not making yourself available for interview by Robert Carro who is at work on the pivotal volume of his biography of LBJ, the one that covers the violent beginnings of his presidency. Is there any truth to this rumor? I am sorry, if this seems brusk, but we have been more than patient about 1963, and it is a patience that could be terminal, I fear. Not so much in terms of JFK and LBJ themeselves but in terms of what it tells us about the permanent military and intelligence establishments of our government. The person who made this statement about you and Mr. Caro, claimed that the problem was that you are too honest to lie. Problem is, I believe him.

Funny how you didn't post my reply to Alfredo, even though I didn't curse or anything. I love these administrators. How do you know Clinton destroyed Saddam's WMD arsenal? How can you possibly know that? Blix didn't. Blix (who wasn't in Bush's pocket) said that Saddam was not being forthcoming at all about his WMD programs. Why? Blix absolutely hated the idea of war against Iraq so why would he say that? Saddam DID NOT KNOW we were going to invade. It's been reported that he thought right up until the day of the invasion that we wouldn't actually do it, so you're totally wrong about that. When Powell presented the audio tape, it was months before the invasion. Powell was trying to get the members of the UN to just state a use of force is possible if Saddam didn't comply, but they didn't. Why? Because they were bought off, weren't they? Benon Sevan was indicted. He was Kofi Annan's righthand man. Annan's own son Kojo was found to have profited. The UN wasn't going to threaten Saddam because they made money off of him. They were making money and getting cheap oil, and in turn kept Saddam in power and made him richer while Iraqis literally starved and died of easily curable diseases. I don't recall much of an uproar over that at all. Probably the biggest scandal ever. The reason why Saddam didn't use the weapons is because, as it was reported, he thought up until the last days of his life that if they found no WMD's that the UN would put Saddam back into power with a huge letter of apology. I'm exaggerating about the apology, I admit. Those chem/bio suits, masks, and cyringes were NOT supplied by Reagan. I saw them on tv. They were new. Us bombing an area near the river would not produce mustard and sarin gas. Don't know where you got that from. The weapons we found might not have been found to be weapons grade, but as I said I didn't recall anyone volunteering to have the contents poured onto their hands. Would you do it to prove it? How confident would you be if someone was about to pour that stuff onto you? I'm quite sure you'd back out as any sane person would do. Given Saddam's personality, can anyone seriously think that he could function as a ruthless dictator if he didn't have WMD's? Why was Dr. Germ and Batman's arch-enemy Mrs. Anthrax there? I don't think it was DC Comics who gave them those nicknames.

First of all when I said they were not in the media, I meant I had to SEARCH for these stories. They weren't heavily reported in the papers, networks, cable news channels, and certainly not PBS. Alfredo made the point that maybe Clinton destroyed the stockpiles and that audio tape was about defense abilities since they knew Bush was going to invade anyway. That's simply untrue. It's been readily reported that Saddam really believed we WOULDN'T invade. He believed he bought the UN off enough to keep us from doing anything. He was wrong. Also, all the way up to the last days of his life he believed that he was going to be put back into power because of the UN. That's why he never used those weapons. He thought if nothing was found, we'd send him an apology and a red carpet ceremony putting him back on his throne. The tape Powell presented was revealed months before the invasion. Not weeks or days. Those chem/bio suits, masks, and cyringes were NOT supplied by Reagan and Bush. I saw them on tv. They were new. Can anyone seriously think that Saddam could function as an insane man if he didn't have WMD's? Regular bombs aren't going to create mustard and sarin gas in the Tigris. If you're saying that we planted that stuff, well that says a lot about you and those on your side of the aisle. Was the war the right thing to do? I believe so. To me it wasn't anything to do with WMD's and fear of him using them. To me I felt we should have gone in for humanitarian purposes. The UN kept Saddam in power and wanted to keep him in power because they were making money off of him. There's no denying this. Kofi's own son was indicted as well as his right-hand man Benon Sevan. All of this while Iraqis starved and died from easily curable diseases, while making even more rich a ruthless dictator. Have any of you seen the videos of what he did? What he had done. The story after story and mass grave after mass grave during his reign. It's funny that most who believe we committed some atrocity in the world by going at it mostly alone against Saddam are begging Bush to act alone if he has to against Darfur. Explain that hypocritical thinking to me. I, too think Bush should go at it if alone against Darfur as a matter of humanitarian reasons. I bet... no I promise if he does, all of you would start more talks of impeachment at how Bush went after the sovereign government of Sudan. Watch.

Jesse Norman gave a list of stories he complained were not in the media. How did he find out about them?

Clinton knew and destroyed the remaining stockpiles of WMD's He destroyed defensive and offensive capabilities, leaving Iraq virtually disarmed by the time bush took office.

The audio tape could have been nothing more than hiding what defensive capabilities they may have retained. Remember, they knew bush was going to invade no matter what. There was no new weapons found. All were old and out of date.

The chem/bio suits found in the barracks were supplied by the US back during the Reagan/Bush years.

They did find a few chem bio weapons, but they were few, and degraded to the point where they were useless. All of them dated back to the Reagan/Bush years. If traces were found in the river, that could be from anywhere upstream, even in the US controlled Kurdish region. No telling what our bombing stirred up polluting water and land.

bush invaded a disarmed, surrounded, defeated nation.

When they say Saddam "had" WMD's they are right. He had them in the 80's and 90's. He didn't have any by the time bush invaded. If he possessed WMD's, he would have used them to defeat the invaders. He didn't use them because he didn't have them.

Why was Moyers recently complaining that Journalists don't make enough money when he has made millions throughout his career from PBS? He must be worried for others, not himself?

What I can't believe is how everyone fell for all of this to begin with. I mean we already fell for the Nazi "war machine" we helped create with the help of the jews. We armed Hitler just so we would have an excuse to create an atomic bomb, again with the help of jews. We fell for it during WWI, too. We killed the archduke Ferdinand by not getting involved in European affairs. We sank the Lusitania by standing still. But our history books lie to our kids and provide a great tool of ill-education. Just read at The evidence is all there man. Just because I smoke a lot of herb and take peyote like in a daily ritual it makes me more keen on these things than the sheep that is America. The real enemy is the right-wing christian fanatics who want to kill everyone and make their own fascist christian state called the United Christians of America. The jews are already helping them out. Just because they don't believe in the same exact religion, they are brothers in arms. I really hope us dopers along with Hollywood decides to stand up before it's too late. The jews are coming, just like how they told us the commies were coming (I do want communism by the way). Oh, the reason why we went into Vietnam isn't because we wanted to keep them from turning into a communistic state, but we wanted to turn in into the first christian fascist state with Pat Robertson as it's dictator. This stuff is all true, man. Freedom rock!
I am having a meeting in San Fran (where else) on the corner of Haight-Ashbury. Anyone interested in joining, plan a trip for Jan 1st, 2008. We will take this country which is rightfully ours and clean any remnant of judaism or christianity from this land. Who's with me?

I'm quite sure you won't post my writing in this "sychophant's display", since I had posted a few things in other areas that wound up not being posted, even though I broke no rule. You can get all your congrats and hoorahs amongst the left wing loons but I actually am not blinded by an ideology, therefore can see half-truths or bias.

Question #1: Why was there no reporting about how Clinton (had same EXACT intelligence), Chirac, Putin, and China all said that Saddam had WMD's? I mean none of these people are in Bush's pocket.

Question #2: Why was there no reporting of the audio surveillance tape Powell presented before the UN between an Iraqi general and colonel where it was clear that they were to get rid of something before UN inspectors arrived (especially indicating they were tipped off as to where the UN inspectors would be even though they were supposed to be surprise and unfettered inspections)?

#3: Why was there no reporting of entering an abandoned Iraqi army barracks where IMBEDDED reporters found chemical/biological suits, masks, and cyringes? Why were those things there?

#4: Why was there no reporting on the finding of sarin and mustard gas traces found in the Tigris River after the Battle of Baghdad? I mean does the Tigris River make these things on its own?

You can put this biased show on and get your pats on the back for "a job well done" but I know you only put up facts you like, but don't even hint at facts you don't like. That's called BIAS. You can think I'm some right-wing, white male, christian fundementalist if you want, but I voted for both Bayh and Visclosky in the last election, both democrats. You can point your stories toward conspiracy loving left-wingers, who need to believe in everything as a conspiracy to make themselves feel smarter, but someone who is fair-minded will catch you. As long as I've watched you, you've done this time and time again. I think it's actually quite comical that your point on your show was to show the press was Bush's right-hand man. Any person that believes that really forfeits themselves of having a real, constructive thought on anything. Bush and the media being pals... puleez!

What a slap in the face to Amy Goodman, to not interview a key leader in the field of alternative news -- yet to appear on her show to plug your own!

Although I appreciate the effort put into the show, the institutionalized sexism and racism inherent in the choice of all white male interviewees was, to be frank, shocking.

I hope Bill Moyers can expose the use of private mercenary troops in Iraq that each cost us more per month than our regular military personel make in a year, some 120,000 troops and paramilitary contractors. The for-profit corporation, "Blackwater", owned by an extreme right-wing Christian fundamentalist multimillionaire, is trying to establish a "Blackwater West" here in my hometown of San Diego, in the rural area southeast of the city, where I used to a enjoy country drive free of helicopter and gun practice, bombing and explosive attacks. A highly profitable killing industry has sprouted up unmonitored and unaccountable for what they do in Iraq and other countries, including our own. Please bring public awareness to this privatization of the military that may pollute our quiet landscape and pose a threat to our domestic and foreign policy -
once founded on democratic values, not killing by private contract.

I hate that Bill Moyers seems so alien and out of place in today's journalism. We are fortunate that someone with such ability and respected credential is able to see through the miasma and report back to us that the emperor has no clothes.

Keep up the good work.

Dear Mr. Moyers:

Thank you for the truth. As is now evident to most Americans, untruth has the power to breed so much evil, death, and distruction. If only there had been more courage prior to March of 2003. Still, thank you for an excellent look into the partnership between the White House and mainstream media.


Laurie Domangue

Dear Mr. Moyers: Buying the War was absolutely terrific. A hard-hitting, devastating indictment of the way most of the press, including my beloved NY Times and CBS News, failed in their obligation to deliver objective news on the vital subject of whether or note we were to go to war.

They bought the lies and were intimidated by the propaganda. The fourth estate was mostly AWOL during this crucial period.

I salute your courage and initiative. Keep up the good work.


Chris Gorman

I sincerely thank God that your voice is back. Those of us who have felt silenced by those in power have long craved your clarity and integrity. Please do not leave us again.

The sentiment that has helped me cope with the horrors my beloved country has perpetrated is as follows:

When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it – always.

- Mahatma Gandhi

To many of us, you are the voice of truth and credibility

Some fellow journalists ordered me to watch your "Buying the War" documentary. Thankfully, I found it online and I was not disappointed. I also was not surprised. The problem with journalism in this country is a serious pack mentality that obscures so much of the detail lost in the clouds from the thundering hooves, its amazing we rise above fray at all to see the information that will truly “inform.” As a network news producer, I am constantly strapped by what everyone else is saying and having barely enough time to figure that out, let alone develop a story. Our industry feeds off of the other outlets to protect it’s backside and is in a word: predictable; something news should never be. I had a news director in my younger day that told me "if you can read it in the paper it's no longer news." Your story shows how today's journalists break that golden rule ad infinitum. After over five years, 9/11 remains an act of war, of terror, in your report. In a rational world it would be seen for what it was; a criminal act of mass murder. Destruction carried out by insane, suicidal maniacs that for all intents and purpose, had an agenda of hate leading to harm. Really not that different than the ones that have existed before and since. What is unique is these guys suckered the largest army in the world into a war that has ravaged far more than lives and real estate in downtown NYC. The insanity bred enough insanity to engulf a stategic region and destabilize a planet. Thanks for the postscript, Mr Moyers, welcome back.

Bill, thank you so much for what you do. I have to ask: why are there so few journalists like yourself that seem to be able to cut through the garbage and give us the straight story?

I have a request. The possibility of my seeing Mr. Miller's program while living in south central OK is about 0. I am a devout Christian scared by the crazy emails I receive daily telling me my religious freedom is being threatened and how US was built on Christianity. Would you mind doing a series of program and trace how the finding fathers really viewed religion. I am afraid I see the fanatical right of my own religion as my biggest threat. Please use your influence.

Thank you for your new series Bill. I'm guessing there haven't been back to back episodes like your first two in the series since, what, Edward R. Murrow?

Because 'they' let you back on the air, I'll contribute again to public television.

best wishes,

Hi Bill, Could you get a press pass to go to the White House press conferences? I think they all need someone to show them how it's done. I'm sure Helen Thomas would love some backup. Perhaps two teachers might wake the brainwashed stenographers to the truth. Worth a try?
Thanks for the show, Bill.
Take care, Jan

Thanks Bill, for showing that the emperor has no clothes. In this case the emperor being the Washington press corps. Between your programme and last year's wonderful performance by Stephen Colbert at the famous/infamous White House and press corps dinner, one would think that the subjects in question, being supposedly of sound mind, would "get it" and stop pandering to Bush and the administration. But they haven't, or at least not much.

I wonder if the fact that I'm an expat, living abroad and with other sources of information and news helps to see things in a more objective light. From the get-go it was clear from here that the administration was selling a war that had no legitimacy. Often it seems that the administration treats the American public as if they are five year olds with the attention span and intellectual ability of small children. "Sound bites", and "talking points" spew forth and are echoed by a numb press corps - and one sees them repeated by citizens and tv pundits - but one rarely hears a rational, logical discussion among adults. Even some members of Congress talk in the same way. I'm struck by the difference with French tv talk shows and the recent debate between the two presidential candidates. They actually debated the issues seriously and treated the public as adults capable of understanding what they were saying. I've never seen similar during electoral campaigns in the US. What is it with Americans?

You're back and better than ever. How did we (or could we) live without you!
Eternal Thanks, JG

Thanks, Bill.

Although we disconnected our television at the beginning of the first Iraq war, and haven't watched it since, it is a renewed pleasure to have your podcasts and connection through the internet.

May we all be blessed with the skills and care to fulfill Franklin's challenge to us regarding our form of government: "A republic, if you can keep it."

The neocon coup d'etat in progress is one of the most facinating events in history, sort of like living in Rome as it fell. If they had television then, I think I know what it what have looked like.

Wonder what will happen next?

My thankful heart is joyful! Moyers, Stewart, Donahue, Marshall - voices of unwavering truth - together in one indisputably cogent journalistic presentation of the facts. I join those before me declaring my deepest appreciation for your commitment, Mr. Moyers, to exposing truth with integrity. I will always support your work because you have repeatedly proven that you can be counted on to present us with honest, thought-provoking programs that we NEED to see. It is truly analagous to finding (mental) water in a (mental) Death Valley.

Thank you, Bill Moyers, for continuing to provide journalism that helps us to be better citizens.

It's understandable, although no less deplorable, that the Washington press corps would rather attack Bill Moyers than address the concerns raised in "Buying the War." I am inclined to agree with the commenter who observed that Bill Plante's response that the 2003 press conference was no more scripted than any other of recent memory simply means that some form of scripting is routine. Plante's comment confirms and amplifies the point of the show that the press is blameworthy in going along with the strictures the government has imposed.

Of more concern to me is the silence regarding the estimable Walter Pincus's comment to the effect that the press, to please its public (or, more likely, its sponsors), voluntarily gave up pointing out President Reagan's extensive misstatements and demonstrable confusion during his press conferences, and has never assumed this function since then. Let us note that this kind of information is a)factual and b)relevant to understanding the president's policy. Leaving such criticism to the Democratic Party gives it an unwarranted partisan taint. And it vanishes completely if the Democrats are never quoted. In my opinion, it was that seemingly minor decision that helped change American politics and has contributed to the situation we are in now: two bankrupting, unwinnable wars and a third on the way.

My initial reaction to seeing your documentary program "Buying the War" on PBS yesterday evening was similar to that expressed here by many of the commenters. It's about time that somebody spoke the truth about what happened, about how the conservatives intimidated America into suppressing criticism of the Iraq War.
But nothing is ever what it seems, is it?
Now that I think about it, what in your documentary actually constituted investigative journalism on your part? Your documentary was sensationalistic programming summarizing information that has been available to everybody for years. The only thing that made your program possible was that America has finally arrived at the point in time when it is OK to say what you said.
What you did not say, however, is anything and everything that is still not OK for the American media to look at, to present to the American people. The propaganda war that you seem to be exposing continues unabated. The patriot police are still out there, still smearing anybody who dares to do investigative journalism.
You made it all look like something in the past. You did America a huge disservice by painting the problem that way.
If your PBS presence is to be what you seem to be trying to get your viewers to believe, then put your own reputation out there on a limb and start doing the investigative reporting yourself.
Show us the controversy about the events on 9/11. Show us how the neocons needed 9/11 to convince Americans to support their agenda. One respected media voice in one documentary presenting not the conspiracy theories, but the suppressed facts - all the facts - could turn this whole nation upside down.
Show us how the same techniques used to falsify evidence to support the Iraq War are still being used to advance the perception that we need to advance our so-called "War on Terror" into Iran.
Show us what is really going on now in Iraq. Dig deep and present us with the truth about the Iraq Oil Law that the US government is pressuring Iraq's parliament to pass. Show us why the people of Iraq are resisting this new law.
My guess is that you aren't willing to go out there on any of those limbs. You know that the patriot police would hang you if you did. So really, what has changed? Anything? Isn't the American media still in the exact same boat that it was in four years ago?

Thank you for putting my thesis, ideas, and beliefs about the Bush Administration and Iraq into eye-candy reality. Its strange to think that a normal, average, joe-shmo like myself, have already predicted the lies and untruths this tragic event in U.S. history has come to know, without the help from the main stream media. I simply asked myself some easy, logical, and simple questions. How could Saddam gain Nuclear weapons while U.N. Weapons inspectors were all over his country since 1991? How could Saddam access Nuclear Material since back in 1991, the U.S. had Iraq under the most powerful microscope with no fly zones, and satilites over every inch of Iraq, "we could see the markings of Tony the Tiger on a cereal box from 500,000 miles from Space"? How come Saddam was not linked to the first World Trade Center Attack? If Saddam had all these weapons as claimed by the Bush Administration, then why would the bad, the evil, the wicked Saddam Hussein NOT USE THESE WEAPONS when we invaded his country? Why would the ruthless mass murderer HIDE W.M.D. in the sand, or in Syria? Why would Saddam not USE these weapons to kill American soliders invading his land? HOW CAN A NUCLEAR WEAPON, SHOT FROM IRAQ, FLY HALF WAY AROUND THE WORLD TO HIT THE U.S. without some sort of military interception?
Thank you Bill for all you do, not just this excellent piece of journalism, but for all the past, present, and future material you have presented to the American people. John from New Jersey

Journalists are back on the job! Thorough by Moyers and his team.

A Dutch documentary was recently aired and attempted to discuss the "why?" behind the Iraq War. I am sure it will be quite controversial and viewed as anti-semitic but it attempts to address the very root of politics and media in this country. Quite powerful and definitely worth watching!

I do not entirely agree with it but there is validity to a large degree what it is attempting to address.

Here it is:

That the administration was a pack of lies was always evident if one could read, but it is refreshing to finally see it step by step. The Nation, the Village Voice before it's decimation into a Pennysaver, WBAI, it is quite sad that one must read fringe press to learn the facts these days.
Take the Mission Accomplished speech where the media was frothing that night about how exciting it was that Bush had padded his codpiece, how much wopmen loved him and the war. The Washington Press are power oovers, rubbing shoulders at cocktail parties, in love with prevaricators and liars. I am unsure if this sychpophantic press began in the Reagan years when invading Grenada was the answer to the marines in Lebanon being blown up, or whether it began with the Clarence Thomas hearings where corroberation to Anita Hill's story was attainable but since it wasn't testified to (thank Biden for this cover-up) all we read about were the absurd fantasies from Senator Simpson.

The press corp should practice journalism, they protest too much.

I would appreciate it if you were to take a look at the vast amount of information that implies that 9/11 was created for the purpose of going to war. George Bush sites 9/11 as the reason, but considering his enthusiasm for the war can we reject the idea that he was part of the World Trade Center disaster?

Thank you for that thoughtful conversation with Jon Stewart. These are the kinds of conversations America should be having if it is to regain it's world leadership role.

In the twenty first century, leadership cannot be achieved by force of arms, but by the power of ideas. And great ideas can only bloom and flourish when society allows space for thoughtful conversations like the one you had with Jon Stewart.

I want to thank you for your recent piece, "Buying the War." It is sad that so many of the 4th estate have been delinquent in their duty to provide the truth. The responsibility of the war is on their hands as much as it is on the hands of the politicians from both side of the aisle. Please continue to keep us informed; we need you now more than ever.

It's nice to see some journalists FINALLY doing their jobs.

However, now that we've established that Bush and Co. purposely lied to the American people to get into Iraq, the real question is WHY?

You've taken the first step, don't be afraid to continue wherever it may lead.

Mr Bill Moyers
I found your program April 27th 2007 interesting however as a 50ish fellow (Truman Democrat) from Georgia,
there are 20 or more issues since 2000 that are much more alaming.
a) Forget that all the law professors had to run home and revise their textbooks ($$.$$) in 2000 Bush / Gore
when the 5 Bush Supreme Court appointees from DC appelate court changed their ethics "an oxymoron" to proclaim that a recount of votes was unfair.
Every election return within 1000 votes for any Local/State seat from Dogcatcher to Senator is SOP.
b) Forget that Enron sabotaged the energy supply to California to squeeze untold millions from the citizens of that state.
Then hold a "Special" Election ushering the Enron approved candidate AKA now its spelled KaliFornia.
c) Forget that Bush has not accepted the advise and concent of the congress for appointments "United Nations" or "Supreme" Court
d) Forget when submitting a request for War powers friom the Congress seemed to lie, claim falsely, and misrepresent the truth as was known.
e) Forget that Americans seem to find War as popular as Hitlers Germany, he got the votes by spreading democracy "fighting Terrorism etc.
f) Forget that If the Generals tell you that the Terrorist Muslims havn't scored a major victory when they unite the entire world against the US, you keep telling yourself "Got Mit Uns."
g) Forget that the congress have just passed a bill insuring that Drug companies may charge unlimited fees for Medicare prescriptions, and only the Rich Medically Insured users will pay the actual cost.
h) Forget that the Vice president has admitted to a vendetta against to detractors "CIA analysts" "Out that guys wife, Get her killed " and when his deputy was convicted of the disclosure,
merely stated as Vice President he decided to de classify her position. No law broken.
I) Certainly the Supreme Court has proclaimed only the right of the rich to garner profit is ensured by the constitution.
j) The President is claiming to require Irag and other nations to submit to the politiocal requirements of his regime, I suppose that he has given up on fighting Communiism, in China and Argentina etc..
k) The Bush regime has spent over 1-7 Trillion in unbugetted Dollars, which 1) has devalued the Bush dollar now equals 60 cents.
2) Untold millions from Gas / Oil companies in Texas, and 3) has destroyed the value of Social Security.
l) Every company has layed off 10-20% of their workforce to save costs, cancel their Medical benefits, and merely reduced their own potential market.
j) Forget that the Attorney General (#2) has decided that the military may kidnap a Nun, torture her till she tells where the commies are, then if she dies accidentally thats OK.

All of these issues are demeaning my view of America, my fathers fight in WW2 is demeaned by this colonial abuse, and America is much better than all this.
I'm labeled as Liberal, in the 60s that meant that Blacks were people too, and was popular except here in the South.
In the 70s it meant that bombing villages in Viet Nam may have been an overreaction.
If popularity meant leadership the south would still have lynchings, and separate societies. War would be the standard remedy for all political strife.

Now its become clear that when Abe Lincoln stated in a speech that America was a Nation "Of the people, By the people, and For the people."
That was mere spin to ensure campain contributions, new voter base, for the Republicans, and an excuse to sell weapons manufactured in Illinois.
Merely the first of Republican misstatements to mislead the people of the US which has continued for 120 years.
Thank God that Hoover is no longer the worst Repuplican President.
Eric Martin

I'm not surprised that some in the WH press corps are dissatisfied with the airing of your special documentary. However, instead of being dissatisfied with your portrayal of them during the March 6 press conference, they should be dissatisfied with their own performances during that press conference. And the word "performances" may be applied in multiple ways in this instance.

I was especially struck by Ms. Ryan's question to Bush about his faith. It was so obviously tossed to him slowly and underhanded, so as to ensure a home run hit by him, that my sensibilities were offended by it. If someone were to have asked Bush to provide his own question to be directed to him during this press conference about his faith, this is the question he would have submitted.

I am mostly disgusted by the WH press corps. Most of them are nothing more than a cheerleading team for this administration. If Ms. Ryan and the rest of them are upset by "your portrayal" of them, then they all need to take a good, hard look at their enabling performances. They have no one to blame but themselves.

I will not my Flag until This administration is terminated.

I would like to thank you and your producers for such a cogent story. The Iraq war has been a shameful episode for the press, our government, and this country. We have been lied to, but so many of us were complicit in this "big lie". Unfortunately, I believe that we will pay the price for many years. I am grateful however that there are at least a few in the press who try to get the whole story.

You told me in "Buying the War" what I already believed about the Bush administration and the Neocons and yet....


The lies and manipulation were so overwhelming. Frame after frame just hit me like a shock wave.

Thank you for this forceful piece of journalism and for introducing me to the people who did good journalism and told the story.

I believe that part of the reason why the media and the citizens were misled by the Bush administration is that the reasons presented for going to and continuing the war were out-and-out lies. We are all used to fudging from public figures: e.g., the date when SS will run out of money, or how much a particular project will cost, etc. However, we do not anticipate total direct lies about crucial matters -- knowing misstatements of information. these are very hard to contemplate and to guards against.

What a relief to finally see some intelligent and critical discourse in the American media. Six years ago, I had a hard time understanding why Americans so eagerly embraced any dubious shred of evidence that would justify an attack on another country, and so rabidly refused to tolerate dissenting opinions. The manipulation orchestrated by the government, and the gullibility of the American public in accepting it, were the real "shock and awe" of this campaign.

Then I recalled these quotes:

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

or how about:

""If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State."

These were the words of Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels. How sobering that a citizenry as great as the United States could be vulnerable to the same tactics that the Nazis employed to manipulate German citizens into the incredible evils of World War II. And what an alarming lesson for the whole world.

Will I be insulting the folks at FOX NEWS (among others) for thinking that their branch of manipulative "journalism", if put into print, will result in an endless supply of toilet paper for the world to use and clean de deception to which we were subjected by their cheerleading of the administration's efforts to take us into this insane war? Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that such manipulation of information would be possible here, in a free democracy. That was something I tought I left behind in my native Mexico. But I guess an uninformed citizenry, thanks in part to the efforts of pseudo-journalists, as well as seemingly reputable ones, unwilling to ask the tough questions, will always be easy pray to the will of a government eager to keep power at all costs, regardless of country. One wishes for the abundance of more people like Mr. Moyers, whose journalistic honesty and integrity are just what those of us yearning for the truth need.
Thank you, PBS, Mr. Moyers for your beautiful display of real journalism!!!

911 is a joke.
Lies. Game.
History? Humans? Same.
Evil. Treason. Slack-jawed-prols.
Ever change?
Never change.
Only eternal vigilance,
the cost of liberty.

In his piece about David Halberstam, I'm disappointed that Bill Moyers rather phonily linked himself with Halberstam by describing both as being Southerners. Halberstam was hardly a Southerner. He was born, raised, and schooled in the Northeast. His 4 or 5 years as a journalist in the South hardly qualifies Halberstam as being a Southerner. His time in the South was probably mainly due to his desire to cover the civil rights movement in the South rather than being someone who is innately Southern. I wish we had a little bit less of this phoniness in the media.

Dear Mr. Moyers,

Thank you and thank reporters Walter Pinchas, Johnathen Landay, for restoring my belief in the press.

The way detractors of the war where treated reminds of McCarthyism - another dark period for American journalism.

We did not learn from history -

As someone who was on the streets protesting the impending violence, I would like to thank you Mr. Moyer for putting together a critical account of the media's betrayal for the public's confidence in the lead up to the war. This is the kind of journalism that the people should expect in a free democracy - it is not about balance but being honest about the facts. With some of the major media participants attempting to white wash their actions in the lead up to the war with scant apologies buttressed by claims of being deceived, I have felt that once again the media has been uncritical this time of itself. You have shown that the evidence was available to every journalist, the same evidence that spurred millions of people onto the streets. It is galling that to this day there are people in the media who have been unable to fully admit their complacency to the lies that was being presented for a specific set of political goals. As the mass protests across the US and around the world and the interviews in this documentary demonstrate, these lies were being openly criticised at the time. It was the lack of real journalism by many in the field who professed to be "journalists" that helped lead the United States to War, and I deeply feel that these individuals have yet to offer a greatly needed true apology for their actions.

Because of this lack of trust in today's media culture, it is not only the journalists who have to be skeptical but the general public as well.

Again, Mr Moyers, I deeply appreciate your honest investigation of your own profession. You have shown the true potential of journalism.

Thank you for all that you have and will give us to keep freedom of speech alive and to expose the bad as well as the good in all of us. Please look into the action of Corporate Farming and what it is doing to our environment. John Carlin, former Governor and Sec. of Ag. is heading up a special committee to look into the wrongful acts that occur in our country. Thank You.

you know it is interesting how others compare this excellent documentary to global warming documentaries. But it is like comparing apples and oranges. The media has it ALMOST right when it comes to global warming. It is backed up by the world community and by sound legitimate science. But just like any good journalism or documentary- global warming skeptics should be included too even if I think they are definitely way off!

I just finished watching the entire webcast of "Buying the War" (and by the way, the technology on PBS's site is nonpareil - none of the herky-jerky stuff like on Youtube, or major corporate news video sites, just high resolution streaming video and audio).

Without scouring back through it, however, I can't say I recall much analysis (either by way of contrast or comparison) of PBS's own record of journalism during the run-up to war. How did Jim Lehrer fare during that time, I wonder? I do seem to recall a poll a couple years back showing that Fox news viewers were the least well-informed of basic factual points, and that PBS viewers were the best. Why the omission (if intentional)?

Just a brief addition:

Look at the news headlines presented in "Buying the War"...there were two that caught my attention.

1) An Inconvenient Iraq
2) Another that dealt with "deniers".

Check it's in the documentary.

Sound familiar?

Is it too soon to begin asking what the real reason was for invading Iraq? I have heard several rationales put forth:

1. The neocons were convinced that, with Saddam removed, it would be a cakewalk for the Iraqis to install the first secular democracy in the Arab Middle East.

2. The energy companies wanted to lock in Iraq as a reliable oil supplier.

3. Bush's chance to show daddy how the first Gulf War should have been fought.

4. A diversion to keep public attention away from Bush's ineptitude and all of the scandals that were building.

5. A make-work project for Halliburton and other beneficiaries of Bush/Cheney's corporate welfare programs.

6. A rallying point for Republicans to wave the flag in the 2004 election.

7. All of the above.

Or is it none of the above?

Having seen "Buying the War", I was astonished by the parallel news coverage given to "Global Warming".

Substitute CO2 for Iraq, Global Warming for terrorist, the IPCC for the US Gov't, switch the rebublicans for the democrats and you have the same headlines and biases that exist today.

It's happening again!

Moyer's "Buying the War" broadcast had no sound for the first half an hour in our area though the video quality was good throughout. The sound was later restored during the second half of the broadcast. We wonder how many people persevered to hear the remainder of the broadcast in the Rocky Mountain region. The information in the video came of little surprise to us. We sought prior to advise as many people as possible to view the broadcasts. Welcome back Bill !!

I am so relieved to see you doing the type of fine journalist work that our country so urgently needs. There are many issues that need to be addressed, but I urge you to deal with the fundamental issues that have led this administration to it's many horrible adventures - 9/11. But it is NOT BECAUSE of 9/11. The "attacks" on 9/11 were covered differently by the media that day and the first week, but their stories were quickly changed until they fell in line with the story Cheney wanted us to here. This event was what the PNAC (Project for a New American Century) group wanted, and likely planned and orchestrated. It has so many unanswered questions, destroyed evidence and yet most Americans have bought into the boxcutter conspiracy theory designed by a man in a cave. Would you investigate the angle of how the media covered this story and how and why they changed their story in direct contradiction to the visual evidence we all saw with our own eyes?

I just watched your important documentary, and I thank you. Still, I'm a little disappointed that you didn't interview Scott Ritter, or spend any time on the Howard Dean phenomenon. Scott was slimed and destroyed by the White House, using the press. Howard Dean caught on fire because he was the only Democrat unafraid to speak truth to power.

I don't know, I guess my husband and I were highly unusual, but we knew the story was shaky from the beginning. It was like some sort of mass public hypnosis--I still don't understand it. What I understand even less is the election of 2004. . . surely by then folks were beginning to figure out that the folks in charge were incompetent?

Job well done Mr. Moyer!

Where were you in six years ago??

Our newspapers fell though the "cracks"!

Where was the Washington Post????

Thank you for streaming Bill Moyers Journal "Buying the War" on the internet. I felt despair for my country when media coverage became a litany reiterated by family members, friends and colleagues around dinner tables and water coolers; the media, unchecked, literally putting words in the mouths of those I care most about. I mourn for the loss of trust and integrity as well as for the irretrievable lives of men, women and children sacrificed to this Iraq war. Who can now look to the media with confidence?

The interview with John Stewart confirms what I've though for years. He and his show is the equivalent of the court jester; actually able to say the truth and get away with it because the king would look foolish attacking the jester.

I also saw you on cable access speaking about freedom and the media and speaking in favor of Amy Goodman and her show Democracy Now (, which she co-hosts with Juan Gonzalez. I've been listening as often as possible because it is usually well ahead of the curve on stories that only later come to light, such as the firing of the federal attorneys and the scams run by Randy "Duke" Cunningham, so name only two. During the beginning of the Iraq War I was depending on it and other sources such as Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to get some unsanitized news.

As a former journalist, it's disheartening to see what most of the mainstream media has turned into. And our government too. Shows like yours, Amy Goodman's, David Broncaccio's, and much on NPR are rays of sunshine for those of us who still think that real journalism and freedom of speech are two the greatest powers the people have.

Dave Woodburn


Dear Mr. Moyers,

Thank you very much for being back !

I enjoyed "buying the war".

As you have described, the Bush administration has forced the country into the Iraq war.

If the war on terrorism is a smoke screen, what are the real reasons for the war ?

Thanks !


You are the only reason I will ever contribute to PBS again. Please mention that to the management when you get a chance.

My local PBS (Atlanta) station didn't even show this program until today (Sunday) at 2:30 p.m.! I only found out about it by coming to this website. I even had to DVR it as I'm not usually watching TV at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday!

I needed to drink a glass of wine during the program, which we DVR'd and just watched late today. Thank you many thousand times for the deep analysis and proof, beyond any doubt, that the Bush administration manipulated a willing media to sell the Iraq war. I was very skeptical, extremely skeptical, but was regretfully swayed by Powell. If only....(insert all of the documentation from your program)....

I remember Scott Ritter being pilloried-the head of the UN nuclear inspectors getting the same treatment--in the press. There's a special place in Hell for Bush, Cheney et al, and for the irresponsible journalists and media business owners who allowed this war to proceed, in spite of overwhelming (but underpublished) evidence that it was a hoax. Again, thank-you Bill Moyers and team, and to the heroes at Knight Ridder and others who tried to warn us.

Have you considered doing a story on how people perceive the media? I watched "Buying the War" with my husband who was surprised that the story was covered in such a way by the liberal media. My observations have led me to believe that the concept of a liberal media is not a truth (if any thing, I'd call the media corporate and profit driven), but a way to cast discredit on findings. Still, a majority of Americans seem to have accepted the myth of a liberally biased media as fact.

Thank you for a terrfic story!

Absolutely the best two television programs I have seen in years. I am referring to Bill Moyers "Buying the War" and the followup Bill Moyers Journel interview with Jon Stewart.

I missed them both when they were originally broadcast. I got them from your WEB site. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

I have been watching the Daily Show since 9/11. It has been the only news analysis show on the air. It took Bill Moyers to put in words why I feel this way. It took the conversation between Bill Moyers and Jon Stewart to make me feel less isolated.

Other media have been telling me the events of the day. Jon Stewart has been providing analysis. The repeated clips of George Bush claiming "progress" in Iraq say what the network "pundants" have not been saying. It puts these events into context. That is analysis at its best.

I hope the ice has been broken.

Thank you and please send this note on to Bill Moyers and Jon Stewart.

Ken Jones

Dear Mr. Moyers,
I truly cannot thank you enough from the very bottom of my heart for your return. Your work is truly a sign of hope in all this miasma of deceit. D

Great job Mr. Moyers!!!

It just make one wonders who we elect to represent us & the ones that report them. I do hope that we hear the real truth as to why we really went to war. Yes, most of us can theorize that it was for the oil. But having it in writing & documented for all to see will hopefully prevent this great nation from making mistakes, such as what we are in, now.

Welcome back. I have missed you terribly. And, thank you for this profoundly important report on the Buying of the War in Iraq. I am looking forward to watching your program again. Here in Georgia, by the way, I have to wait until Sunday afternoon to see your program -- probably the time of lowest viewership. Please keep it up.

It is sad to see the Washington Press Corps turning on you instead of say "mea culpa" and we did not perform our role responsibly for the American people. They were Bush's lapdogs that night and not the public's watchdogs.

I guess the "Beware of Dogs" signs were posted around the beltway instead of in front of the President, where they should have been.


Thank you so much, Mr. Moyers. Your program “Buying the War” was one of the most important exposés yet on what has been perhaps the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on this country. I’m sure that many of your admirers like me realize that you too were caught up in the sort of ideological purge that knocked Phil Donohue off the air because he dared to question the Bush administration’s propaganda. The administration had managed to install numerous hacks, cronies and operatives throughout a wide range of public institutions, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. You were the target of one such hack, Bush administration toady Kenneth Tomlinson, who had you fired from your program “Now” during his chairmanship at CPB. Well, now Mr. Tomlinson is gone because of his dishonest and unethical actions at CPB, and, by golly, you’re back. Justice can be so sweet. It seems that the liars and the cheats can’t keep a good man like you down for long. I’m so glad to see you back, showing your spine-ally challenged colleagues what real integrity and fearless journalism looks like. Bravo Bill!

I would like to see more exploration of the Federalist Society. This organization, remember, was mentioned in the listing of U.S. attorneys, implying that membership was an asset. As I understand it, it now vets judicial appointments, something the American Bar Association used to do. What are the beliefs of this shadowy organization? What do its members pledge to do? What is the gender and ethnic breakdown of the membership?

I'm disappointed that the most important point about the Iraq war - the number of Iraqi deaths - is left to the very end and mentioned only as "hard to pin down".

I believe we as a whole are a racist society which mostly ignores death counts of persons of color.

This war is about murder. We as a nation all have blood on our hands.

Mr. Moyers,

Thank you for putting this show together. I was staunchly opposed to the war before it began, and remember being skeptical of reports that Iraq had or would soon obtain WMDs. For years now, members of the press have explained that they reported what they knew at the time, and that there was no credible dissenting voice to which to turn. Honestly, I'd heard this explanation so often that I had begun to question my memory of the time. Did I, in fact, question the WMD claims, or did I misremember my own thoughts at the time? Seeing this special reminded me that there was a dissenting voice, muffled though it may have been.

I'm a bit young to remember your previous work in journalism, but what I've seen and heard over the last year have convinced me to add your voice to my list of trusted news sources. Thank you, and keep up the good work.

Thank you, Bill Moyers.

Members of the White House press corps are upset about their portrayal at the March 6, 2003 press conference and they're complaining to you? Those cowards have been hanging around the Bush Jr. administration too long. They need to remember how to take responsibility for their actions, and how do their jobs. I know it's fantasy, but I like to think that one brave reporter could have changed history that night. Imagine, if just one reporter had stood up that night and asked a serious, probing question, and it started a 'feeding frenzy' of follow-up questions by other reporters. The war may have never occurred. And at that same moment, Bush's presidency may have begun to crumble, instead of our democracy.

And the truth shall set you free. Thank you Bill and from now on each Wednesday night my T.V. will be on PBS (Locally) KAKM in Anchorage Alaska.
P.S. have you read "Don't think of an Elephant" by George Lakoff.
Kudo's to you and you staff.
Maybe you could even highlight the

Excellent, and crucial, special. Thank you for it! I was, however, disappointed, that not a single woman or person of color was interviewed. While I understand our national media hardly has a representative staff, there still were plenty of important voices missing. Where was Helen Thomas, Amy Goodman, etc.?

Overall, though, my profound thanks. I watched the show raptly.

Finally some are speaking up. I don't know about Knight-Rider and am happy to learn. But my impression has been that until Howard Dean came along the only ones speaking up were one elderly Senator and six women columnists. We should all be ashamed. I know I am.

Thank you, Bill Moyers. I so greatly appreciate this in depth examination of how the mainstream press just bent over for the Bush administration and never seriously questioned the veracity of the BS it was being given. What I want to know is, if I was against Bush's desire to invade Iraq right from the start and had no facts at my command to support any notion that Iraq had WMDs, why did I get it right and so many of our country's public servants get it wrong?

Bill Moyers program showed the utter futility of the MSM with very, very few exceptions. I have only one bumpersticker on my car: "I Don't Trust the Corporate Media." That is only bumpersticker I've ever had on any car I've ever owned.

Thank you for your splendid examination of our very precarious and fragile hold on an open and free society. To find government officials misleading, distorting and lying straight out to facilitate a political agenda is nothing new. Being in my mid-fifties I do remember the Nixon administration very vividly. What is so troubling about your documentary is that Landay and Strobel should be held up as this generation's answer to Woodward and Bernstein, the celebrated heroes from the Watergate period, and yet these two great journalists and true patriots remain as obscure to the American public as the real reasons for the invasion of Iraq.

Thank you, again for delivering the real goods!

Mr. Moyers, I hesitate to add to the kudos you've been receiving only because I'm afraid that if it's realized how great you and your shows are you will shortly be removed! Regardless I venture onward to thank you for your in-depth, honest, no nonsense approach to any issue/question you explore. I'm still shocked by quality of your questions, the honesty of your approach, and your relentless quest for the truth...thank you.

Mr. Moyers I can not express how great it is to have you back on PBS.

I have been a fan of yours all the way back to your days in the Gov. The one thing that has always set you apart from almost everyone else in news to me was your sincere caring about our country and it's people instead of power and greed.

It was so good to see the buying the war show and I think that it only confirmed what a lot of us have felt and thought from the days when our current Administration was in fact selling us a war that we did not need to wage. Many of us on Dailykos were speaking out against the war even before it started. We also were saying it would lead to the exact situation more or less where we now find ourselves in that country.

I can only hope that enough people view it and really learn that we can not aford to sit idle or ignore what our goverment is doing while we watch American Idol or something. We must be ever vigilant if we want the America we had come to expect to survive in any form of a free nation.

Again many many thanks and as I also age, since I am now 68 years young, I pray for your continued health and hope that you continue to help us to find the real America.

bravo bill! thank you! now let's get our country back from these crazed, lying theocrats!

This is a response to Marla Crockett's post above. You are right, but too many of your colleagues have WILLINGLY allowed themselves to be sucked in, apparently in order to be part of the club. The new breed of cyber-journalists, such as Josh Marshall, are our best hope for getting to the bottom of the wholly criminal activity which many journalists, such as Tim Russert, Judy Miller, Matthew Cooper, and too many others to list have participated in directly and helped to cover up.

Good Golly it was GREAT to see Bill Moyers back on PBS!!

The John Stewart interview was completely spectacular. ...and the piece on Josh's TPM BLOG-alism was equally compelling.

Bill Moyers is a NATIONAL TREASURE! Hs may just be THE only commentator on TV who speaks across to me as an adult with a truly open mind.

Mr. Moyer's countenance clearly displays a considered appreciation for both the frailties and magnificence of the human condition.


This exploration of fact and fiction in propelling and sustaining the war on Iraq, should be obligatory viewing for every journalist in America. It sobers us all about the nature of the task in seeing through manipulation and spin, and in restoring the true virtues of journalistic endeavor which must courageously pursue what is real and what is true.Thank you Bill Moyers for your own reliably accurate moral compass. James O'Dea

Thank you for such a honest look at what led us into war and the part that journalists played in aiding the President to do exactly what he wanted which was to oust Saddam from power. What amazes me is that there is no reprecussion for the politicians to lie and deceive the American people. What kind of message are they sending to us and to future generations?


Please consider doing a Journal on the new tactics of voter suppression - particularly the fraudulent "fraudulent voting" argument, the new "poll tax" i.e. voter identification laws,and other ways of disenfranchisement of minority and low income voters.

Thanks for all you do. God bless you and bless you and bless you again!

As a person who tries to gather news from alternative sources as well as consuming the regular media I am so happy that the story of the war is being woven so that others see how we understand why we are in the mess we are in. Media truly betrayed us. Some reporters made their reputations on parroting the administration's message. I am so angry when I see William Kristol, Charles Krautheimer, etc. on the talk shows I turn them off. How can the media regain the faith of those of us who try to be intelligent and knowledgeable about what's going on our country? It is good to know that Moyers is still out there. But we are losing so many of the inquiring minds who question (Molly Ivins, David Halberstam, etc.)

Thanks so much for shining a full light on the press's behavior and for getting icons like Dan Rather to speak openly. I was a journalist in public broadcasting for many years and always felt fearless in challenging powerful officials when I remembered who I represented--the public. Sadly, that connection to a democratic purpose has been eroded by cynicism, commerce and cronyism. But before wholly jumping into the anti-press rave, I think we need to remember that the administration actively worked to discredit news organizations in the eyes of the public. So, wholesale distrust of reporters plays into that cynicism. We need to find ways to support the media in their watchdog function. The rise of citizen journalism and collaborations with professionals is an interesting development, one that could help more of us exercise the courage it takes to sustain a free and independent press.

Bravo Bill Moyers, the press conference you covered on your show speaks volumes without any commentary.

Things have not changed much, as I noticed when I saw David Gregory laughing and dancing right beside Karl Rove during his recent rap performance, on a day like many others where scores of people were dying in Iraq. Actions like this from reporters like David Gregory show where his loyalty lies.

Thank you, Bill for coming back! For those of us who read the blogs and foreign newspapers on line, we all know the White House press corps is hopelessly compromised and will never ask this president any hard questions. To do so gets them banned. Therefore, watching a press conference is a complete waste of time. Another waste of time is the Sunday morning talk shows such as Meet The Press, the nightly news and cable 24/7 babble. Folks need to dismiss these groups as propagandists for the White House and not take anything broadcast as other than a pack of lies.

I distinctly recall watching the President’s March 6, 2003 Press Conference, and the sickening feeling that the whole thing had been “scripted” and that the Washington Press corps had been totally co-opted. (Regrettably, that is still largely true.) Your characterization of this shameful episode was – IMHO – completely accurate.

From Cheney’s speech in August 2002 through the November election I watched with a mix of dismay and admiration as the Administration ginned up the case for war, in what I took to be a “bit of Rovian political manipulation” to push the Dem’s off message. Dismay because the case for war was so absurd – Saddam was an evil person, but so are many others – now, in the past, and no doubt in the future. Admiration, because – as much as I wished otherwise – the ploy so effective. I kept assuring my friends that “… after the Election, they’ll find a way to unwind this foolishness. They’re not nuts!”

Obviously, I was wrong. I will go to my grave unable to fathom the madness of our “leaders.” Clearly they have a wildly distorted “Schumpeterian” view of the relationship between the Government and the governed. The press, the 4th estate, is one of society’s most effective constraints on this view; at least in a perfect world.

Welcome back. Keep up the good work

Mr. Moyers ... I can't help but sense the presence of Joseph Campbell .. sitting on your shoulder .. blessing you and blessing each of us in our homes watching your return.

Thank you for representing the resilient human heart with such eloquence and compassion.

The press is only partly to blame for the debacle that is the Iraq War. Americans as the late Neal Postman once said 'are the least informed best entertained people on the planet' Witness 'shock and awe', Witness the press reaction to Bush's topgun moment! Even PBS failed us during this period with the NewsHour having lost most of its credibility and Washington Week being reduced to critiquing the performances of politicians.

Face it. You can't have mindless consumerism and an informed electorate. Get used to it.

Only if Bush/Chaney are impeached will the wound begin to heal. Don't count on it!

Bill Moyers - you are a national treasure! I thank God for you and keep you in my prayers to stay healthy and with us a long time because the world needs you. Your compassion, eloquence, integrity, honesty, forthrightness, intelligence and blatant humanity are a precious gift to us all and know that you are extremely loved and blessed for it by multitudes. I'm of your generation so I know how much you probably want in this time of life to be free of the weekly grind of a tv show and pursue your other interests - believe you mentioned writing books. But you're back because we need you in this perilous time when our democracy, freedoms, and precious way of life are under such severe attack - and because that's the mensch you are! Love you.......keep it coming!

Thank you Mr. Moyers.

unequivocally, "buying the war" was excellent... you has done our country a terrific service, perhaps the most outstanding effort of an already outstanding career... i have to confess there were a few times when i teared up... i've said it so often, i'm tired of listening to myself, but, as a country, we simply cannot afford to have bush and cheney continue in office until 20 january 2009...

i hearken back to many months ago when there was a quiet but powerful tremor that rippled through the blogosphere...

from the late, great molly ivins in july of last year...


Dear desperate Democrats, here's what we do. We run Bill Moyers for president. I am serious as a stroke about this. It's simple, cheap and effective, and it will move the entire spectrum of political discussion in this country. Moyers is the only public figure who can take the entire discussion and shove it toward moral clarity just by being there.


In case you missed it, Knoller defends the press against Bill Moyers devastating documentary. After a blogswarm, he put us critics up to a challenge: what would we have asked at the time? Well, check out this column by Eric Alterman on Oct. 7, 2002, entitled "Just Asking" ( ) in which he some questions he wished the cowed news media would ask, echoing the frustration many of us felt.

Welcome back. you should do a story about how you managed to get back on pbs.

Mr. Moyers, I've heard you several times over the past year or so on Democracy Now! and other radio programmes that videocast/podcast, and it has been a pleasure. I'm halfway through watching "Buying the War," taking a moment to write this. It's good to see you back at PBS and on tv, even if the "tv" is my computer screen. Keep on keeping on, Mr. Moyers.

Absolutely Amazing,
Thank You

It gladdens my heart to see you back in the saddle, Bill. From that special to tonight's first episode of your new Journal - featuring three faves of mine, Halberstam, Jon Stewart and Josh Marshall - you're back with a splash, as well.

It's like having the world back on its axis..... WELCOME BACK!

thank you for this insightful view on the america press. what are we to believe? i feel lost in the quamire of opionion and rhethoric

Thanks for the great work. You've got the year wrong on the date of Colin Powell's speech at the UN within the pre-war slideshow. It says 2005 not 2003, as is correct.

Thank-you, Thank-you Mr. Moyers for you integrity and courage.

The Bush Administration did not "mislead" the country into an illegal and immoral war, they LIED. Lets keep it real. No more euphemisms.

As you yourself once said "it is possible to live a lie without telling a lie".

Be well

Keep up the good work and truth telling, Mr. Moyers.

If the Washington Press lapdogs don't like being called out for their obsequiousness then they know what they should do: start acting like objective, independent, adults with critical thinking skills and integrity.

As Shakesepeare said "Me think the lady doth protest too much" and that applies to all the press corp men and women alike.

First, thanks to Bill and all who support and work with him.

Second, the scripting of what is reported to hide from the voting citizens is, I believe, treason!

Last, and maybe most important, what is being hidden or lied about now. Our democracy is bordering on something else and my intuition says we need more of this kind of serious reporting.

Again, thanks.

The press is only partly to blame for the debacle that is the Iraq War. Americans as the late Neal Postman once said 'are the least informed best entertained people on the planet' Witness 'shock and awe', Witness the press reaction to Bush's topgun moment! Even PBS failed us during this period with the NewsHour having lost most of its credibility and Washington Week being reduced to critiquing the performances of politicians.

Face it. You can't have mindless consumerism and an informed electorate. Get used to it.

Only if Bush/Chaney are impeached will the wound begin to heal. Don't count on it!

Consider the criticism you get for "Buying the War" as proof that what you're doing is important. It's pissing off all the Right people.

Dear Dr. Moyers:

Being on a short visit in California, I had the chance to see your new program “Buying the war”.
You are saying that “the press largely surrendered its independence and skepticism to join with our government in marching to war” on Iraq.
This war would not have been possible without the events of 9/11.
Isn’t it obvious that the same independence and scepticism of the press was also surrendered on September 11th, 2001 in the name of patriotism?
You interviewed Dan Rather. I recently watched a video on the web where the same Dan Rather is commenting on the collapse of WTC Building 7 in the afternoon of 9/11 “incredible…for the third time today… reminiscent of those pictures we have seen on television so many times before when a building was deliberately destroyed by well-placed dynamite to knock it down.” Also Aaron Brown and the late Peter Jennings made similar comments about the curiously rapid collapse of the WTC towers on that day. Firefighters were talking about “bombs going off” in the buildings before the collapse. But those words and pictures were never repeated on TV.
Physics Professor Steven Jones who was forced to resign from Brigham Young University recently identified the explosive ‘thermate’ used in controlled demolitions in debris samples preserved from the WTC.
A prominent physicist with 33 years of service for the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC, said that the official theory for why the Twin Towers and World Trade Center building 7 collapsed "does not match the available facts" and supports the theory that the buildings were brought down by controlled demolition.
But respected scientists, scholars like the theologian David Ray Griffin are labelled as ‘conspiracy theorists’ for questioning the government version of the events of 9/11.
It seems that in your country one can question everything except what your government and your press told the rest of the world about 9/11.
Anybody in the US media who even mentions the possibility of problems with the official 9/11 story is instantly silenced, ridiculed and removed from his position.

There is something very wrong with the American press around 9/11 and your country, your democracy and your country’s reputation won’t recover until someone with your stature, courage and integrity is willing to take on the 9/11 issue and refuses to be silenced.


Have I missed the opportunity to purchase this "Buying the War?" If not, how do I do so?

We naive Americans were lied to, but the fault is ours. We do not hold the truth to be of importance. We are busy living our lives and not paying attention to the losses of realized net income, of standard of living, of personal freedoms and our stature in the world. I make no secret of having support Ralph Nader in the last two elections. I knew he wouldn't win, but at least he was a candidate that actually did something on behalf of every American.

I fault us for not allowing our leaders to be human. The end result of which is we now have a "C" student running the country during the most complex set of issues facing our country. This man is guided by faith and not guided intellect and reason.

The "free" press in this country have a duty to all of us to cut through the BS and tell us truth, not provide us "infotainment."

Thomas Jefferson is spinning in his grave.

Bill Plante wrote me to say that it “was no more ‘scripted’ than any other” press conference he’d attended in recent years.

Bush himself said, at the press conference, that it was scripted. So, by Mr. Plante's statement, all press conferences are scripted. This being the case, do Mr. Plante and the other members of the television media have SAG cards? And are the print reporters members of Actors Equity?

Thankyou Bill Moyers..for being a real patriot and helping to educate more people as to what these criminals have been doing to our nation. Hopefully this can help bring a need for accountability of these heads of state we have had the misfortune of living with these past 6 years. I hope they are finally held to account for thir actions, their lies, their contempt for our democracy.

We naive Americans were lied to, used as pawns by powerful forces, and the press allowed the administration's strongarm policies to intimidate at every level. What's really behind all this? Are the Republicans so all-powerful, owning most of our media, that we'll never know the truth? The press was brutal to Clinton when he lied about sex. Bush/Cheney, et al, were so brazen in their lies that the entire world is now suffering. Exactly who is in charge?

Dear Mr. Moyers--

A brief comment on your superb documentary:

Amazing Truth, how sweet the sound
That soothed a wretch like me!

THANK YOU SO MUCH -- and to all who worked on this beautiful piece of journalism.

Bill...I'm so happy to see you back on public TV. It seems like decades since your wisdom, poise and honesty graced our living rooms. The subject matter, however depressing it may be, is crucial for us to confront. I hope that your new series will finally jolt us out of our collective coma. Thanks so much for all that you do, and please...keep doing it.

I appreciated the work that went into making this piece, however late it was. I have been familiar with this story for years now due to the excellent reporting of journalist like Amy Goodman. Her documentary, "Independent Media In A Time of War," was available two years ago and covered everything that went into "Buying the War." It saddens me that most journalist, including the ones working for PBS, failed us at a time when we needed them the most.
I was disappointed that Bill Moyers did not interview Amy Goodman. I would hope that he watches her show or reads her literature.

Peter Paton

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