Bill Moyers returns to PBS to dissect the corporate media: “Buying the War”

April 27, 2007 | By | 3 Replies More

On Wednesday evening, Bill Moyers’ Journal presented “Buying the War,” a terrific special describing the failure of the U.S. media during the run-up to the Iraq invasion.   If you missed it, you can watch the entire show here.  

Here’s the official description of the special:

Four years ago on May 1, President Bush landed on the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln and delivered a speech in front of a giant “Mission Accomplished” banner. Despite profound questions and the increasing violence in Baghdad, many in the press confirmed the White House’s claim that the war was won. How did they get it so wrong? How did the evidence disputing the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11 continue to go largely unreported?  

Moyers devastatingly exposed the deeply rooted failures of the corporate media, point by point.  The alleged October 6, 2003 “White House press conference” has to be one of the lowest and most embarrassing moments in American media history.  You’ll have your chance to squirm through that event during the first five minutes of Moyers’ special.  

Did I say that “Buying the War” vividly exposed the failures of the corporate media?  Indeed.  For me, the most telling part of Moyers’ special was the announcement of the list of sponsors at the very beginning.  There were nine sponsors to “Buying the War” and all but one (Mutual of America) were private non-profit foundations. 

Moyers will be back every Friday night with another one-hour show.  Tonight, Moyers’ show will feature Jon Stewart, the topics being “Why do so many get their news and analysis from his fake news show?” Also, blogger Josh Marshall will give his perspective on role of politics in the recent firings of federal prosecutors.

It is wonderful to see the true center of American Political spectrum given some air time.  I write “center,” because Moyers has a long and established history of inviting guests representing points all along the spectrum of political opinion. 

Having the opportunity to view the terrific journalism of Bill Moyers’ Journal made me wonder whether Moyers could ever have had a chance to bring his show back to PBS had the Democrats not taken back Congress.


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Category: American Culture, Communication, Iraq, Media, Politics, Videos, War

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Check out Glen Greenwald's article on "Buying the War" at

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    Technically, the "Mission Accomplished" banner was correct: when Bush landed on that aircraft carrier, the war *was* over. As I pointed out in my post titled "Stop calling it war" (, the "war" ended when all of the Iraqi troops surrendered. Since that time, it has been a military occupation. The problem is that Bush and his neo-con pals get so much political power from continuing to call it "war" that they won't likely be changing their terminology anytime soon. The other problem is that the "war" has developed a chronic case of what is politely called "mission creep." That's when the boss can't decide what the mission is, so he keeps changing it. The first reason Bush gave for invading Iraq was to "disarm" Saddam of his WMDs. When that proved imaginary, the mission became "liberating the Iraqi people." Then it became, "fighting the terrorists over there, so we don't have to fight them over here;" then "spreading democracy in the Middle East;" then, "bringing peace and stability to the Middle East;" then, "winning the global war on terror;" the list goes on and on. Of course, the problem with mission creep is that each new mission requires different resources and a different strategy, but what do we hear from the Bushites? "Stay the course." It is an unmistakable sign of incompetent leadership.

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    Here's John Pilger writing that, just like the American media, the British media failed miserably to report the truth prior to the Iraq invasion:

    This is true not only in America. In Britain, where I live, the BBC – which promotes itself as a nirvana of objectivity and impartiality and truth – has blood on its corporate hands. There are two interesting studies of the BBC's reporting. One of them, in the build-up to the invasion, shows that the BBC gave just two per cent of its coverage of Iraq to anti-war dissent. That was less than the anti-war coverage of all the American networks. A second study by the respected journalism school at University College in Cardiff shows that 90 per cent of the BBC's references to weapons of mass destruction suggested that Saddam Hussein actually possessed them and that, by clear implication, Bush and Blair were right.

    We now know that the BBC and other British media were used by MI6, the secret intelligence service. In what they called Operation Mass Appeal, MI6 agents planted stories about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, such as weapons hidden in his palaces and in secret underground bunkers. All of these stories were fakes. However, that is not the point. The point is that the dark arts of MI6 were quite unnecessary, because a systematic media self-censorship produced the same result.

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