More response to My Fellow Texan
Rick Byrne, Director of Communications, BILL MOYERS JOURNAL:
The PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler posted another column this week regarding "My Fellow Texan.” In that column, he includes the letter below from a viewer. For the record, Bill Moyers did ask Karl Rove to come on BILL MOYERS JOURNAL, by fax and by mail. These requests were made before Chris Wallace responded on-air on Fox News Sunday to Bill Moyers' letter, and we still haven't heard from Karl Rove.
I saw and heard that commentary by Bill Moyers, and of course it was a commentary not intended to be news reporting. I was not aware of the so-called reports of Mr. Rove's comment on his alleged agnosticism, and would agree, after reading Mr. Getler's examination, that Moyers was loose in his characterization. Personally, I did not think that that point, true to whatever degree or not, was the key issue, but rather a sub point that was part of the larger commentary.
In any event, PBS executives are correct in saying that the program clearly is Bill Moyers and his views and his interviews with others. The press in general — including many commentators — was lax in reporting on and analyzing the White House, Congress and the war in the past half-dozen years, and Moyers' strongly worded commentaries are welcome by many. The fawning over Rove by other commentators — not by all, certainly — is hardly dented by Moyers' strong words. (Rove, in fact, was on three Sunday network or cable discussion shows. He more than holds his own all by himself.)
He slipped up, it seems, in not clarifying the agnosticism reference, and really did not need it. But on the whole, his role is clear: He comments on and analyzes events and the people behind them. If the argument is whether PBS needs to present someone with different views (which it has done, if I am not mistaken), fine. Add another voice.
But Moyers is a commentator and a thoughtful analyst who should be taken — and liked or disliked — for what and who he is. Here's an idea: Ask Moyers to ask Rove to be a guest on his program for a free-wheeling discussion. I bet Rove would not do it.
- Dan Hortsch, Portland, OR