tv A Conversation With Bill Moyers PBS March 11, 2019 9:30pm-11:01pm PDT
explore new worlds and new ideas through programs like this, made available for everyone through contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thanyou. hello i'm don shelby. what you're about to see is one of the moas exciting and humbling gnments of my career. i was asked to interview bill moyers. it's something like playing the piano for mozart. because to my mind bill moyers is the greatest broadcast journalist of our age. he's won more than 30 national emmys, a lifetime achievement award for the o national academy television arts and sciences, nine george foster peabody awards, the broadcast equivalent of the pulitzer prize, three george polk awards, and the dupont-columbia golden baton. he's introduced us to some of the world's mostand shared with us in his a world of ideas.ws and he once took us inside hisily
he's authored 12 books. i'm incompetent to properly introduce ll moyers there's simply not enough time. a befotudio audience a man known for his modesty and his reluctance to talk about himself, agreed to sit down wh me for a conversation i shall never forget. ladies mnd gentlemen, mr. biers. (upbeat music) (audience applause) - it started in marshall, texas but it started before you were a journalist.
something unusual occurred in marshall that taught you about this america. you were the son of one of the poorest people in town anyou wouldn't have anhad much of a shot. how did it happen that a poor boy got the shot you got? - i was the beneficiary of affirmative action for poor, white southernoys. if you studied hard, worked hard, particularly men in met peon the town who would say, "he's a comer let's help him. "he's a poor b let's help him." so the rodeo club gave me a scholarship, the city commission let me come in and sit-in on their meetings. i was just constantly touched by people older than i am who saw something in me
that i didn't see in myself. ep so they justmoving me from one opportunity to another. but you know in those indays the gap of income uality was not so great. e of my best friends was anne blalock, who was the daughter of the richest man in town. but we went to the same school, we went to the same parties, we went to the same dances. mf and i never felt untable in the presence of the kids in town whose parents were really the more fortunate ones. and that's changed in this country today to a verdisturbing extent. there's very little conversation, there's very little intercrse, there's very little communication, very little participation between the poorest people, poorest kids in our country, in our cities, and those who are well off. but i, it never occurred to me, that i wasn't as good as anne, or it didn't occur to her that i was not h equal in our relationship, and so that little town said to me, you signify, you matter. it doesn't matte that your dad is poo
so those benefits in this small townter. were available to an ambitious young man who was white. - you are 14 years old, you're in marshall, texas, and there's a political rally, and for the first time in your life you see ai in person lyndons johnson, the senator of the state of texas. what did you think when you first saw him? - i was bowled over by the helicopter. (audience laughs) i was on the town square and the helicopter landed. he traveled the state, this is the 1948 election, which he was beaten by 87 very contested and i have no doubt illegal votes down in thvalley of texas. but he was campaigning hard in a helicopter, so who didn't want to see a helicopter in '48 the first year that helicopters were used in campaigns? so i went down to the town square and when he got off the helicopter took his big
stete n and tossed it into owd. now i later learned that he did that at every stos and he had somebody on aff who went and got the stetson and returned it to the helicopter at theext stop so he could toss it again. i mean i learned a lot about politics in that very moment. that realization that this was part of the game. this was just not that he had an endless supply of stetsons in the helicopter, but i remember that he spoke to the crowd without a microphone. must have been 1,000, 2,000 people, at courthouse square big man, boisterous, stentorian in his tall, commanding presence, and i remember being stunned by the power of his persona. something you didn't see again, really, until the campaign of '64 when he was running for president for the first time in his own right. - so you, north texas, university of texas austin, ryuthwest theological semi
would stop in edinburgh and spend some time to study. committed to becoming a preacher, preaching in two churches upon graduation. but in there somewhere is a letter that you sent to lbj suggesting that the young voice wasn't being heard as much,hia. and he was s,uck by that apparent because he called you. - i had been at north texas statcollege in upstate texas and i would go stop at the student union om ime to time and watch the mccarthy hearing. some of you don't remember the mccarthy hearings but the extremist joseph mccarthy a senator from wisconsin on anti-communist crusade had gone beyond the limits of reasonable dialogue and reasonable politics and the senate had called him to question was about to censor him. t and sitting student union watching those hearings i became very engaged. don't ask me exactly why20it waa
i'm 82 now that was a long time ago. but i felt maybe i wanted to be a political journalist. i planned to be a journalist i was working my way through the colleges on the publicity staff of the college covering the sports om he college and writing newsletters. i went to my office on a saturday afternoon wrotr a letter to, i had net senator johnson except to see him from the helicopter. and i wrote a letter saying, i'd like to learn about politics and you're in a campaign down here where you're trying to reach young people and i think i've got something for you s and you've gething for me. the letter got to his desk, he always wanted to have br ht, young men around him. john connally became governor and many others were young men on his staff at one time in his career. and i wente o washington and spent mmer in fact when i got off the trolley that brought me over ol to the caphere his senate majority office was as heetting onto the trolley, and he took my hand and said, "come on," he didn't even have a warm greeting he just took me down a long corridor
t basement of the capitol opened the door and took me down to an addressograph machine, an addressograph machine was like a sewing machine, you would hit the pedal and a metal plate would come through, the stamp would come down, and print the address on the envelope. so in-between eight o'clock at night, and seven the next morning, i addressed by foot 275,000 envelopes. i hadn't even unpacked my bag and i hadn't gone to the room where i was staying, and that impressed him. so then he moved me over to his own office to answer his own correspondence and there i was at 20 t totally inexperienced s, writing his letters to eisenhower, writing his letters to the secretary of state, writing his letters to his contributors in texas, on and wed. i was going back to this small college er at the end of the su and lyndon johnson at his desk said, "you know, i think you ought to transfer to the university texas." that's where he lived and that's where he had a television station and i said, "mr. leader i don't have any money,
"i'm going to get married, and i've got a job "in north texas in denton," he said, "i'll give you a job-- - [don] ktbc? o - [bill] ktbc the rastationw mysteriously w the only station in the country that could broadcast all three networks. (audience laughs) - i wonder how that happened. - they had a monopoly, the favorable gods were looking down, a i got a job with him -he had promised mely, tthat he would y me a hundred dollars a week that was astonishing in '54. e it was man my father had ever made in his life as i said earlier and i went down anhe worked me 40 hours a week but we bought the first mobile unit in texas. and i used to to covering accidents and murders and the state senate the state legislature and that was probably the biggest crime scene in austin. (audience laughs) but anyway that fall i had a deep, profound experience i still have a hard time describinit.
and i decided that politics wasn't, and journalism wasn't going to satisfy my instincts and my intuitions, or even be a healthy place to work. so i decided to go and teach at a religious institution, i'd get my phd first, so i went to the seminary four years. and i was graduating in late december of '59, judith and i, my wife, were packing our boxes to ove back to austin where i had been accepted to do my phd in american civilation and had a teaching assistantship at baylor university which is a baptist school in waco halfway between dallas and austin. and the phone ra c, it was two days aftistmas, jo and it was lyndoson, i hadn't talked to him in two and a half years. he said, "bill how are you doing?" "i'm fine, mr. leader." "what are you doing," he said. ba "i'm packing to go to austin." and he said, "no, no, i'm going to make a run for it, "i don't think i'll get it but i need you back."
i hung up and i said, "judith pack for washington, "not for austin." and we went up, on the way she said, "what did he offer to pay you?" and i said, "i have no idea he didn't mention it." ud nce laughs) and so i spent that year back in his office treling with him, spendingery, around the country, seeing all of the politicians, meeting them, watching what happened. and after all day of campaigning they'd come to the hotelys, and they would drink until 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 in the morning and i had to stay up until it was over. of cutrse i learned a lot,radually, that led me in the direction of washington for my career. when he didn't get the nomination he did get picked to be the vice presidential running mate. i started too back to texas then to beand he said, "no stay presithrough the election. "then you can go." and so i did aduring the n i was the liaison on the vice president's plane the swoose named after the plane he had been
on in nge pacific, briefly duorld war ii, and the caroline which was john kennedy's plane. and i got to know the irish mafia, to be ttank and others have w this, i was the only person on johnson's team who could talk boston and interpret boston to austin. (audience laughs) and i became in their eyes somewhat valuable. so when the election came and we won, barely, as you know, john kennedy came down to the lbj ranch and i'm sure that lbj set him up fas this, but john kennedyeaving and he turned on the porch of the lbj ranch saw me leaning in the corner, came over and said, "i hear you're not coming with us." i said, "no, i'm going to teach at a baptist school "and i'll gemy phd." and he said, "don't you know harvard was founded "by a baptist preacher?" wahe said, "we need you iningto. a and juew months into working in the vice president's office, boring job, o he was bor of his mind, it was a non-job at that time,
and i had written a speech for lbj, he said, "i don't have a speech, i'm going to speak "at this university give me a speech." so i sat down on my little portable typewriter and wrote a speech proposing a youth corps, where did i get the idea? from hubert humphrey in minnesota he had been advocating a youth corps a peace corps, kennedy of course picked it up but so did we. and after the election i realized as kennedy announced that he was going to start the peace corps, that's what i wanted to do so i began what became a strenuous and almost futile effort to resand i was one of the vi prefounding organizers of the peace corps, became its first deputy director and i had the three be years of my life. you know it was a new effort to send young people who were not in military uniform out to help shape the identity of america in the world and to give them a sense of the world that they would bring back. and i can't tell you every time i come to minnesota, every time i go to the
hubert humphrey institute, i gave the keynote speech at the humphrey institute when ty opened it. people come up to me, my age and younger, and they say, "we were in the peace corps, "it was a defining moment of my life." i it was minouldn't have been happier. and one day in early october of '63 i got a call from kenny o'donnell who was then john kennedy's most powerfuassistant, "bill we want you to go to austin, "the president is goin go d" "we sent an italian, advance man from boston, "whom i knew, jerry bruno, we sent him down there, "and he just can't, they can' understand each other. "whom "our efforts, we've, we sengot to raise money. "we've got to speak in houston, "and you've got to go down there and hold hands." so i did, i went down and i was holding hands with the governor and the labor people, and the liberals and the conservatives until the president got out of town. sitting at the forty acres club xaat the university of having lunch with the chairman of the state democratic committee
and the most promising young member of the state senate, ben barnes the maitre d' came over to me and said, "mr. moyers you've got a call," so i went and tooit. it was bill paine the secret service agent assigned to me in dallas and he said, "bill, the president's been sho" i immediately went back and told my colleagues and went right out to the airport, on the way, ben barnes arranged for a little aircraft to carry meeto dallas, halfway beaustin and dallas, robert trout on cbs said, in a haunting voice, "the president is dead." i landed at n,ve field, started to to the hospital, parkland hospita cand got a dispatcherl saying, "the president, lyndon johnson no was on air force one parat love field," righwhere . a dispatcherl saying, went back, went up to air force one, the secret service stopped me, he didn't know me, and i wrote a note-- - what did it say?
- it's in the library. mr. president, don't ask me why intuitively i started calling him mr. presiden i'd always called him senator, or leader. mr. prneident i'm here if yo me, bill moyers. a few minutes later the secret service age came back and called me up the steps er and i was on air force one. - [don] what was going through your mind? - no awesome, my god, look at this, it was very practica how do i help him?w?w 'cause he had never expected to be president, wasn'taleady for it, wasn't prepared for it. i was a practical guy. i mean in the campaign of '60, organizing the peace corps, those were administrative and managerial jobs. and i had never even been in the white use and i was standing at the back of that plane, saying, "how can i be helpful?" and when he went back into the bedroom of air force one security had closed all the portholes, but he had opened
the one in that inner office, inner bedroom, inner sanctum and he was lookingut. quietly, very calmly, and i said, "mr. president what are you inking?" and he said, "are the missiles flying?" here we're in the midst of a cold war, the cuban missild crisis was not long beh, and i realized then that he had things on his mind on he had never had is mind before. and i just started filling in with the small details. calling the speaker of the house, just functional things, and i was good at that, and one reason he ce e to trust me was becahad that sense of doing the dails and not being conspicuous about it. but there were no great and noble, or fearful thoughts in mind on that plane coming back. >> hi, everybody. my name is don shelby.i' the person who's sitting next to bill moyers in the
.ogram that you're watchi and it has been the highlight of my life. when i was first asked to host questions of bill moye the knew that he was not going to very modest person, heuse he's doesn't like to talk about himself. in fact, in the firsbreak that we took, he leaned over and apologized to me and said, "i'm sorry i'm talking so much." no, that's cool, you can talk as much as you want to. this show that you're watching was for me a labor of love, the opportunity to interview him and spend some time with him and be able to ask him about those incredible times duringra the johnson adminion when he was psent for the creation of what we now call history. which is perfectly fitting for journalists because it's always been said that journalistswr e the first draft of history but much of what he has seen and covered and reported
has become itself history and the way he hasritten it, and the way he has spoken it to us a will staa landmark of the great journalism that is produced. i'm so glad that you're watching this program, and supporting this television station. >> what an absolute privilege it is to be watching this superb program with you this evening. it is truly remarkable to hear bill moyers tell us about his life experiences. imagine, he is the only one still living from that plane on the day that kennedy died.w. hi, i'm margaret prestrud and i'm a member of public television, and i'm asking you to give your support thisev ing, as well, around this wonderful program. when you do do it with a gift of $84 or $7 a month, we will be happy to gift you the wonderful program that we're enjoying. as don mentioned, it's not just the program that we're seeing,
that there's almost an extra hour, as well, because we justbl were notto fit it all into this program. it is truly a special recollection from bill moyers. with a gift $156 or $1 a monthg as a sustainmber, our gift to you will be the program we've been eoying as well as a companion book to bill moyers' journal. this is 524 pages, it is 43 interviews, every interview has a personal introduction by bill moyers setting the stage, telling you how it was that days in tdio. it's just a fascinating read. with a gift of252 or $21 a month as a sustaining member, we will send you the power of myth, whe bill moyers and joseph campbell talked about mythology and how its. impacts our li it is just fabulous series. not only is it the d.v.d. but it also includes a viewer's
guide and extra foage that was not in the original that you can enjoy. these are all our way of saying thank you when you call and why don't you do it riw?ort. call the number on the bottom of your screen or go online to show your support for this very special program on your public television station. >> when bill moyers left the, l.b.j. white hou spent some time working on other pojects and then he ended at wnet in new york city. his first touch with publican broadcastingthen, from there, he started to work with nbc and en with cbs, he jumped into eric sevareid's shoes as a commentator n on the cbs evenis and then he went back to wnet, because he was so constrained in commercial television, he didn't he the ability to expand thought. just talking to other peop,
letting them expound, letting them tal can we keep up with the kind of standard that he set? the only way we can do that is if we somehow pull ourselves gether and make money available for your local public television station. that is the only way we're going to continue to get that kind of journalism coverage. it means here you can trust what you get. >> you keep great conversations coming with your financial contribution to this station today. make a monthly sustaining gift 4 and we'll thank you with a of d.v.d. of this program, which includes nearly an hour additional conversation, plus questions and answers th bill moyers. with a monthly sustaining gift of $13, or a donion of $156 right now, you'll enjoy the program d.v.d., plus the book
"bill moyers' journal, theon conversationnues." with 43 in-depth interviews from his popular tv series. enjoy the 25th anniversary edition of the seminal series, "the power of myth" with joseph campbell with your gift of $252 or a sustaing contribution of $21 per month. the three-d.v.d. set includes w footage not seen in th original release, and an interview with film maker george lucas. you'll also receive the d.v.d. today's program. please call and give to this station right now. thank you for your support. >> you know, it is the job of pbs and your local station to inspire, to entertain, to illuminate, to uplift everyone in youfamily, everyone in your community to do a little bit more, to do a little bit better because the great issues of the day are put right in front of you
and you have the opportunity to make decisions, and then it makes democracy work and it's moyers that it is a democracy in peril, unless we do act,ss une do make these decisions on our own. you want the education. you want the inspiration. you want those things in your life and they're not available elsewhere. you can watch all the cable, all the commercial channels you want to and you won't get what you get on your station. so i hope you will join us in supporting this station. mestican the white house, lbj pledged to carry ojohn f. k. and time magazine called you the young man in charge of everything. (audience laughs) but the vietnam war interferedand got in the way nd of these great hopesreams. did you resent the war in that way,
se did you the war as a man of the cloth? did you resent the war as a public policy? - in those first two years when i was in charge of the domestic program i didn't think about the war. as we look back and as documents are revealed it turns out that many cisions were made in '64 and early '65 by the president, mcnamara and bundy. and as the war began to escalate it was very troubling. and had said, "this isn a m, gonna end in disaster." gi it was t it was one of those tragedies of history which lyleon johnson is responsor that changed the course of our society. at frus the great society programs, snuffed them out in the cradle. i mean every constituency that we had practically for the great society program for remaking
the institutions of america, schools, roads and all of that was a victim of the vietnam war. many times i left in january of '67 because i felt what i cared about was no lonr being nurtured, no longer being funded, and there was no longer a priority of lyndon johnson. he had to be, when you're in a war, you have to fight it, and so i left. my influence was limited then, humbled, because the president, i was an advocate of topping the bombing of the north. and i used to go to meetings in the cabit room and i'd come in and the president said, "here comes ban the bomb bill." and they began to see me that way and therefore beeved that i was skewe an- no less light than doris kearns goodwin said that, "moyers should write the book, because alof those blanks even in caro's work can be filled in by bill moyers."
and when i read why you won't write a book about lbj i was touched professionally and personally for why you said you won't do it. would you tell people why you won't? - there were so many reasons i can't be sure i'm remembering the nge that you are refero. there were many reasons, many reasons. ll first ofi didn't want to be the thief of his confidence. i spent hours, hours with the man alone, on the campaign trail, in those first 12 months of our time in the white house, and he never believed that anything he said to me, whether he was drunk or sober would become public. and secondly i lived the experience but i don't rememb it that well. because there were so many things coming at me. i was telling my really good friends here this morning
at hen i left the white house i put all my files in 100 boxes we moved themo the brookings institute and then on up to new york when i was p.lisher of the newspap i never opened them after 25 years iok them to our new honew jersey put 'em in the attic, never opened them. i hadn't opened th for 50 years, so last year when we decided to sell our house, i had to get all of those boxes out including the carcasses of mice and the shells of creatures of all kind and i opened them. and the first box i opened was thhefirst three weeks inhite house, and all we could do, i didn't even have an assistant that had known that's how we were thrust into the hurricane. five of us, six of us, the president, on mrs. johjack valenti, me, horace busby and a couple of others. and there were all the kennedy people but they were so grief stricken and so shattered
that we felt as if we were alone on the island, i and the island wthe midst of this great tsunami. an so i just put my files and all my correspondence, cables and all that in the files, here i was 29 years old and there were cables coming in from the uprising in nigeria, and the civil war in cypress, oi and the tuof the british government which was in trouble, and the information about the movement of chinese troops towards the border of korea, and right on down the line su there was one after another. and what did we know about them? what did i know about them? i had been at the peace corps. even lyndon johnson who had been in ma of those meetings with president kennedy, what did he know about them? and suddenly decisions were being made about issues for which there was very little time to collect the evidence.
you know lyndon johnson kept saying to me, y in all thors, "a man is no better, aand i really believed that, band that has guided metion." in my journalism career the last 44 years. my opinion i't if you don't mind my saying so, unless i can back it up with evidence. - you said in a couple of places, in some of the books that you have written - you said in a more than a dozen books. and the thousands of hours of television that you produced. i found three references to the word atonement. where you talked about a personal need to atone. when you said to william sloane coffin in one of the very last conversations you had with reverend ffin. you were saying you were glad that you had grown old enough to begin to account for in essence the sins of the past.
and he said to you, "bill we have a lot to atone for." has your journalism careas, and i will make itr for you if you want to answer it this way, because it has with me, been an atonement in a sense a redemption? t - i dook at it that way, and i never have. t but say in the crucible of power you make a lot of mistak. some of them come from character, some of them come from a paucity of information, someand some of them fromcome from haste, but you make a lot of mistakes. you don't see there are consequences until you are out of the battle, till the war is over. and you can read what the other side said the other troops otrthe other side of thches or the files in north vietnamese records or in the kremlin library you don't really know r that you misjudged itde a mistake,
presidents or staff assistants to the president o you make a lmistakes. and if you let the mistakes eat away at you they will destroy you. but you learn certain things, that is you'yi happier if you are to report the truth than if you are trying to conceal it. you have more fun, you feel betteat night. if you're trying to find the truth instead of trying to cover it up. i whecame press secretary against my will by the way, the president went through tri or three press secre. he said, "i want you to be press secretary," i said, "mr. president i don't want to do it, "thank you anyway." the second time didn't do it. the third time i said, "yes," becaoue i'd still have my er out of joint here. and that afternoon i flew home to seey wife who was in dallas visiting her parents. and as we went to bed that evening, she had on her red and white silk pajamas. i said, "you know this ithe beg"
and she said"why?" and i said, "because no man can serve two masters." you're trying to help the president get his ideas across, you're serving his interests rightly. but if you're trying to help the press understand why he's making those decisions, or what they mean, you're trying to help the press. and there were moments that grew in intensity and paranoia, in which he thought i was serving the press more than i was serving him. - but at some point you came to the conclusion standi at the lectern in the white house that you wanted to be on that side. - yes i remember it clearly. it was in the briefing room, my office was the briefing room. by the way there were only ab t 40 or 50 accredited reporters in the my owhite house then.efing room. there are l w 1,100, so i had a smfice, and we'd brief the press there (laughs).
i knew we had carefully arranged for the presidt to go to bbut i couldn't let that out suntil after three o'clock. because the first line that would have gone out from the press corps they would have rushed out and said, "johnson to go for surgery." and we agreed we called the fed, we called the secretary of the treasury, ""if you do it before ithree o'clock.down "it could bring a government down." and johnson gid, "it could bring ernment down." so we calculated a carefully, thought out strategy, and i would not answer a questions that subject until 3:01. well merriman smith who was e dean of the white house correspondents his wife had a really close friend e who was a nu bethesda hospital. d,d merriman came in and s "bill i know the president's going to bethesda "but i h"e to have it confirme
in those days pierre salinger who had been kennedy's press secretary, le had urged me tn to smoke cigars, i never smoked. he said because you're goingstts and you're going to need 30 seconds to think of the answer. and if you're smoking a cigar you can light it up and you've got 30 seconds to compose your answer. (audience laugso) was hooked i smoked a cigar on my son's front porch this afternoon, i got used to them. and anyway, so i ease up lighting my car and he said, "let me light it." he smoke cigarettes, so i walked around him and locked my door from the inside, took the key and put it in my pocket. from my office to the lobby where the press phones were no and he said, "damnit iit "i'm gonna go out and write it." so he opened the door, he couldn't get it ope we were seven minutes till three and he couldn't, andno, i'm serious,ing me behind the desk. he started coming at m"y son of a bitch," he said, "i know you got, "just nod, just confirm it some way.
"otherwise i'm going to take your "no answer as a confirmation." so finally he calmed down a little bit and at three o'clock i pushed the button to the outside the press came back in and i made the announcement. then they started askil thes and then and there i said to myself, a as i lightigar, again, "i want to be on their side asking the questions, "than on my side not answering them." th - let's leav white house and lbj and now you're a journalist. 1970 you go to channel 13 wnet, and begin doing a weekly show and get television in your blood, but when you decided to have a conversation with joseph campbell can you imagine what it would have been like to walk into some place like cbs and say, "i got an idea two guys sitting down facing
lk "each other g for a series "of six long shows about mythology." they would have told you, you were crazy. - they would have called bellevue hospital. (audience laughs) i wish i could claim exclusive rights to the i wa, but i had colleagu talked abouhajoseph campbell and read the hero with a thousand faces when i was at the university of texas and didn't understand it, but i had read it and remembered it. and then i read that he had been advising george luca on the star wars fil so i called hiup and he said,een "of course i'd love to sit and talk with you." cbs wouldn't consider it, my friends at pbs, they saw the value oft and they put up a good bit of the money that i had to raise to do it. and weerid 20 some-odd hours wo summers '85 and '86 at george lucas's skywalker ranch. - so myths are stories of the search
by men and women through the ages for meaning, forfeignificance, to make ignify, to touch the eternal, to understand the mysterious, to find out who we are. - people say that is a meaning for life. i don't think that's what we're really seeking. isthink what we're seekinn experience of being alive so that the life experiences that we have on the purely physical plane will have residences within that are thos of our own inner-most being and reality. and so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. that's what it's all finally about, and that's what these clues help us to find within ourselves. re - thtion initially from the station was, "what?" two guys sitting there, twoewh ing about mythology?
d had no promotion and it went out and within the next seven days after it first aired, after the first episode aired, stations were getting calls from people, what is this? put it tack on, and they begrun it and it grew and it grew, it's the most, be it's what i will emembered for introducing this great teacher to a mass audience. because it was repeated over and again it became for years the icst fundraiser for puroadcasting. i lieve there's no better production value er than the pf the human face. when you let people look at your face, and your emotions, and your eyes, ns and the iny in your participation in this conversation there's no way i could create that with technology. when you tell somebody, "i love you," if you're fortunate you tell them when you're this close to them. if you ask them to marry you, you're looking right into their eyes. e th no power greater than the human face
for the puose of television, and television makes us intimate strangers. ei and so able to sit like this and talk is probably the most personal experience we have outside of sex. and since that's limited for many people, sa convon is absolutely the way we entertain ourselves. let me tell you a story. a year after that series aired, of i was walking out restaurant, la caravelle restaurant, i was walking down the street and a young,th. african american woman was coming this way. and as you know, television makes us intimate strangers and yoyothink you know everybodsee on television. and i think some intuitive reason that i know w the people who aching, i've never lost that sense he ofeople on the other side of the camera. so our eyes connected and we walked on, strangers.
tu but ed and she turned and she said, "mr. moyers?" and i said, "yes," she said, "do you have a minute?" i said, "sure," she said, "i came to new york "to be an actress and i've had a really difficult time. "i had some good auditions "but none of them were satisfactory. "my boyfriend and i living together for a year "he just suddenly left i haven't seen him. "i mean life just sort of come to an end for me. on "snight i came home, and i went to my apartment," she pointed right across the street to a small apartment building and she said, "i went up and i turned on the burner, "i pulled down the window, i went over and poured "a big glass of bourbon," and i know you like bourbon. and she said, "i laid down on the couch "and i was really ready to go," she said, "when i had left that morning, had left my television set on,
"and i heard these two guys talking about "myths, and the meaning of life, "and all of this and i heard one of them say, 'do you think people are looking for the meaning of life?' "and the other one said, 'no, no, no, 'ihink they're looking 'for the experience of being alive,'" and she said, "you know something snapped in me, "and then i heard a voice of the announcer say, 'come back next week, (audience laughs) 'for the second edition of 'bill moyers andweoseph campbell on the of myth.'" - and e.at postponed her suic - she got up and said, "i poured the bourbon out, "i turned the burner off, i opened the window, on "and i watched every of those episodes. "and what i decided," standing on the street, "what i decided is i don't need to be an actress, "but i need to experience the possibility "of life every day." now those stories are common for people
who watched that series, and i can't explain it adequately, even today, but this medium has the power to touch, and move,leinform, e and that's what i discovered in doing it, and why i've done it for 44 years. and why i've done ofthousand or more hourelevision because public affairs is more than the news of the day, it's the truth of poetry, which is a greater truth that you can get from any politician. william carlos williams said, "people are dying ey"for a lack of the news don't" le it can take pear away, it can connect people who don't know each other, intimate strangers. i mean the marriage of the image and the word the most powerful combination of truth telling and experience sharing we've ever had.
it's not the cuneiform tablet, it's not the printed word which is wonderful, but it's a marriage of the two and from that coupling comes something creative. and when it's done this way, it is the most important and valuable contribution to our understanding each other that man has ever invented. a moment in time when heack to mentioned that woman that hen just bumped intoe streets, who had in her mind the idea that she was going to h end her life aheard her say, "once i saw this show, "the per of the mythwith joseph campbell, i changed my mind". and i hope that you're thinking about doing the $21 a month donation because if you do, you get the "power of myth," and do you know that this is stil after all of these years, 25
years, that thiss still the most requested of the d.v.d.s published by pbs and made available to the public. more people still sen that. you ve that in your home. we have only pbs to thank for that. your local station. [music] >> you keep great conversations coming with your financial today.bution to this station make a monthly sustaining gift of $7 or a one-time donation of $84 and we'll thank you with a d.v.d. of this program, which includes nearly an hour of additional conversation, plus questions and answers with bill moyers. with a monthly sustaining gift of $13, or a donation of $156 right now, will a enjoy the program d.v.d. plus the book "bill moyersjournal, the conversation continues." with 43 in-depth interviews from his popular tv series. enjoy the 25th anniversary edition of the sinal series,
"the power of myth" with joseph campbell.wi your gift of $252, or a $sustaining contribution per month. the three-d.v.d. set includes new footage not seen in the original release, and an interview with filmmaker george lucas. you'll also receive the d.v.d. of today's program. please call and give to this station right now. thanyou for your support. >> if you listen to what joseph campbell said, that people are searing for an experience of living, an experience for living. it changed the lives of so many people when they first heard that, and then when bill talked about that a person's judgment formation, that is ans or her important thing to remember in this day and age. so i hope that you will support this local television station. i hope that you will sport pbs so that we continue toin
bring you the kind oepth reporting analysis and mind-changing opinion-changing and altering information thatit as always given you. >> sustaining membership is an easy, convenient and affordable wa support the programs youlo ve. sustning members make an ongoing monthly contribution from either their credit card or checking acunt. just choose the monthly amount you would like to give, then go online or call and we'll get it set up for you. youronation will happen automatically each month so your support will always be current. if you want to change your sustaining membership, just contact us. monthly contributions begin as low as $5 per month. go online or call to start your sustaining membership right now. >> and theime to do that is right now, by making your phonea call and giving a ial contribution to help keep this station strong.
when you make that phone cl, with a gift of $7 a month as asu aining member, you can have this wonderful d.v.d. to enjoy in your home, to share with others, perhaps, to listen to more in depth and, remember, there's d.v.d. extras included with that, an additional 49 minutes that we're not going to be seeing. with a gift of $49 aonth, you'll get the d.v.d. but we'll send you bill moyers' journal, "the conversation continues." this is a companion book to that iconic program that h did here on pbs and it includes so many incredible interviews. you have robert bly talking about poetry, shelby steele onso race, there arany in-depth interviews in here, in fact, it's 43 interviews, what a wonderful way to really enjoy bill moyers with this book and this d.v.d. or, with a gift of $21 a month, "the power of myth." now enjoyable would it be for you to have this in your home
to listen to this conversation that has had such an impact for so many years. the important thing, though, is for you toigure out what works for you and your family to support this station and call the number on your screen right now. >> and i hope you remember that this is a fundraiser. this moment in time when the conversation with bill moyers is sort of series and we're talking about serious issues but i want you to know that u l ve to do is look back on your own experience in your life and the importance of pbs and the shows it has brought you, and the joy that it has brought you, the information that it has brought to you, and the way that it has helped your children, the shows that have frbeen so important to the "sesame street" all the way to this program today. so, remember that this local station is your lifeline to incredibly important information, and so it is worthr your time and ollars.
>> you keep great conversations coming with yo financial contribution to this station today. make a monthly sustaining gift of $7 or a one-time donation of $84 and we'll thank you with aro d.v.d. of thisam which includes nearly an hour ofad tional conversation, plus questions and answers with bill moyers. with a monthly sustaining gift of $13, or a donation of $156 right now, you'll enjoy the program d.v.d. plus the book "bill moyers' journal, the conversation continues." with 43 in-depth ierviews from his popular tv series. enjoy the 25th anniversary s edition of tinal series "the power of myth" with joseph campbell.th our gift of $252 or a sustaining contribution of $21 per month. the three-d.v.d. set includes new footage not seen in the, original relead an
interview with filmmaker george lucas. you'll also receive the d.v.d. of today's program. plse call and give to this station right now. thank you for your support. >> your contribution in anye amount wouldpreciated. we know what the economy is e doing better, some peopleple not so well. those people who are doing better, maybe it's time to look deep into your hearts and souls and say, should i bear the weight of the time i spent int fr the television with this television station pbs show that i'm watching or should i let someone else pay for it? well, i think the real answer to that is, no, i obably should pay my fair share. that's all that's being asked. and to pay to the degree that you can afford. i heard one time someone say that you should give until it hurts. i think better way to say that is to give until it makes you feel great.ha
and if you believethis station and pbs has beenan impoto you and will be important in the future, the only way that it can beut important in thee is if there is funding. with all the news out there today, it is very difficulto separate fact from fiction. but here you can trust what you ease give and give generously. ! want to read you a quote whicyou know and many people in our audience will probably know the first half, this is a quote from thomas jefferson. "whenever the people are well informed "they can be trusted with their government." now that's what is usually quoted. but actually that quotation goes on, and jefferson continues, "that whenever things get so far wrong "as to attract their notice, they may be relied upon
"to see them to rights." is america wl informed? and can americans be relied upon to set the wrongs to right? at - at timesimes, generalizations are generally wrong, and i would not say the american people are not informed, ny are not, they don't want to be informed. ou so they move t life with a limited supply of what it takes to think critilly, but many others are, it's like urnalism. th i don't speak of media anymore because o'reilly's in the media and bill moyers is in the media and we are different journalists. but no, i think today, th the complexity of the issues, although in those days they were complex issues of forming a government and there was no rapid communication. i don't think people are as informed
as we need for democracy to function for government to be held accountable for huge economic institutions to be checked with balance. the whole secret of democracy is not that people are virtuous or not, it's that some are virtuous sotimes and they're not virtuous other times, and some are not virtuous and then they are. what we need ichecks and s it's the balance of power, when both parties are trying to do the right thing, or one's trying to do the wrong thi and the other's holding it account. so i don't think the american people are as a whole, are as informed as we need for democracy to work and it's very difficult today given most people spend all day making a living, holding two jobs, raising a family, trying to help in their church, trying to work as volunteers at the public television station they're busy. that's why the accountability of politicians is so important because th're a professional peopl thatdesigned to solve the accoproblems but democracians
should be able to solve the problems it creates for itself and we're not doing that right now. you're house is on fire, don, our home here on earth is on fire. our economy is not performing for millions of americans inr highway system is capart. we should be able to solve the problems, by depending upon the politicians and bureaucrats who we elect are employed to take those problems at one of us alone can solve and we're not, this country is unraveling, and we need not only more information we need more time to active citizens. change does come but it never com swiftly, and there are people out there on the front line trying to fight climate change, trying to take on the clate deniers, trying to solve the problems of our inner cities, ll thank god for themf that. but they're up against almost insurmountable odds
truth telling media we'd be in a lot better shape. you know there's a great line in the play night and day by tom stoppard, where the photographer in that play says, "people do terrible things to each other, "but it's worse when they do it in the dark." and we're settling into a dark period in american life, during which everybody's happy e because weusing ourselves to death. m we watch hy hours, i go on the subway in new york city and every week they put new sters up there are new cable television shows, and new plays on broadway and all of that. and there's so much to do and the web is constantly consuming obsessively consuming people. er s so much to entertainh us that as my friendb the late neil postman who taught communications
er s at new york university ussaid in his famous book, amusing ourselves to death, we will probably die laughing because of the little we know. - it comes down to this issue it seems to me, bill, that it's the difference between providing people what they need to know versus wh tand the invention of, rv the , blwhere we have asked the what would you like to see on the news? as pposed to, damnit, this is what you're getting. us bethis is what you need to know in order to be a citizen and cast d a reasonable inforopinion . we don't, or they, don't do it anymore. because ratings, circulation, are re important. there's a prophet in treating viewers as consumers
instead of citizens inhe great gift c of publevision and public radio is that we still somehow with the help of people like this it's been able to hold to the idea of the american people as a community of citizens, not consumers. (audience applause) years ago, don, i met a professor of english a great cultural critic at yale, a man named cleanth brooks. ansthe talked about the d muses and there were three bastard muses. propaganda, which pleads for a particular point of view sometimes unscrupulously at the expense of the total t
sentimentality, which works to create an emotional response in excess of andiounwarrantedc and pornography, which focuses onne powerful drive at the expense of the whole personality. in that little interview i did with cleanth brooks, i don't know a long time ago, comes to my mind almost every time i try to watch the news on corpote news, because it is propaganda, largely, sentimentality, largely, and pornography, in the terms of its twisted view of the human being and they have also twisted the heart out ciof what it means to be zen. and journalism is a fallen profession, al st like the first profession it is said, but it is still our ly hope when both parti al swhen i was in politics i believe it wis said,
the responsibility of one party to tell the truth about the other party, neither party does that toy. - i would call joseph heller a curmudgeon i suppose sort of frighteningrview things, here's what he said in the interview with you, "democracy we celebrate is full of illusions "such as participatory democracy," he called voting, "a ritual and a delusion that comforts us, co"indispensable to ouentment but "absolutely useless in applition." do you agree? - not with you absolutely, but i do believe that voting is easy and democracy's hard. democracy, so it happens, between elections in our local communities in our state house and elsewhere and it requires participation bpeople who go to schord meetings, and struggle, and argue for what they want.
so i don't agree wholly with him. i don't believe in pure democracy, t i dolieve you can put an issue out there and enough people will be able to be well informed and act on it you have to read the sentiment of the public and this is the rrible consequence oo ofuch money in politics. representative government is a flawed act necessary form of demo we send our representatives to the state house here or to washington to make the best informed judgments they can for their cstituents. they're never going to satisfy all the constituents me but maybe some they don't even satisfy most of the constituents but we hire them to make good judgments. today most politicians, there are exceptions fortunately, but most politicians are more responsive todto the donors thans, there arethey are to the voters., so that a representative democracy is skewed, corrupted, b tthe fact that money determinant
of the outcomes of politics. d at's why what's happened to representative government we need a democracy in which people feel a sense as with public television that they're well considered in the programs we've put on and the policies we adopt in politics and we don't have that the. i mean we have a dysfunctional government to in washingtoy. by the way, i do have a reverence for the constitution because they attempted to try to create a government of, by, and for the people, evth though they discovered was. but oney had this built-inict, that i didn't realize when i was growing up, i mean the man who wrote, m "a are created equal," with his hand on that pen that was the same hand that caressed the breasts and thighs of his slave, sally hemings.
different time, different morality, but how could he reconcile writing these noble words, "a men are created equal," when he bedded a young woman over whom he had total domination and she had to do what he wanted her to do? they had these children together, how do you reconcile those opposites in your mind? i don't knowut it is that conflic in the intelligence and decision making of the people in power that we have to constantly question. and so i have a different view of the constitution i meen i didn't even know was growing up that it protected slavery, and that many of the founders were slave owners. slavery is woven like a dark thread rthrough our history and foundi. an the point of it is
that change has to come do from people like us wht take for granted or take with finality what those in power tell us and who fight for the justice and the liberty and the equality that is mentioned in the declaration. to me the declaration is the much greater, more powerful, of the instruments of our government. so when you keep revising, the older you get, you keep revising what you know. that's why livinluto an old age if you'ry to have your health is a wonderful, internal, and perpetual university. - final question, to you mr. moyers and that is would you repe j for them a story theph campbell said to you at the conclusion of all of the interviews when it was finally done. e whenked whether you intended to stay in this line of work?
- yeah we wod been together thoseummers and i was leaving to come back, it wasn't the last ti i saw him because when i got back to new york and started editing i remembered i had looked at all the footage and i hadn't asked him about god. i called him at his home in hawaii and i said, "joe i didn't ask you about god. "wouso he did, but new york let's when i was leaving, when i was leaving skywalker ranch for the last time he walked with me out to our car. and he said, "are you going to stay in this?" i had not been certain about journalism "are you going to not bestay in thisork?"ectory. and i said, "yes, i think so," and he said, "well, good." t he said, "if you wto changd "change the metaphor. "change the story." - asy oseph campbell would ta-pher, instead of metaphor, the heroes journey is one
as he describes it as, "the person man or wan "who goes out to an unknown place, "faces dangers and terrors and drama, "returns with the prize after the fight "and tells the story and fr story "we then the heroes of it can begin our own heroes journey." bill moyers i speak for a lot of people, but this is very personal, you are the metaphor. you are the heroes journey, and i thank you so much for being a part of this evening. - well thank you. (audience applause) >> important information that you receive on this television
statiocan be entertaining. it has been entertaining. it's entertaining to your children, it's entertayoing to some of the great dramas, masterpiece theater, all of at is entertainment. but when it comes to public thfairs journalism, this i place you turn when you want toy create frself an informed partnership. now, as a person who's workedf almost a h a century in commercial television, i canit tell you this, thas a popularity contest. they're seeking people who will watch them and in order to do that, commercial television gives peoplehat they want to know as opposed to what they need to know. that was part of the conversation with bill moyers. but at the same time, i need to tell you that that is not a question that your station is asking. it is not asking the question whether it is popular, iis requesting whether you need the information it is about to
provide. you see what's on yourcreen right now. for $7, that's $84 a year, this d.v.d., which is the d.v.d. of the program that you're watching right now, but need to hasten to add for you that there is almost an hourdi onal information. we talked so much that we simply couldn't get it all into this one program but we put it on the d.v.d. so you'll get to hear bill moyers continue tolk bout things you're not seeing on this program. plus, we had a studio audiencens and they asked questf bill moyers which he answers in his in imitable way.t so please think abis $7 a month and make sure this is in your house.>> you know how you e that is in your house, how you make sure public television is in your house, you give a contribution. this is what it's about, you come together with others in our community th keep this station strong. when you give a gift of $7 as a sustaining member with an ongoing pledge, we will be happy to share with you thisra wonderful prwith all that
extra material that we are not now, with a gift of $13 a month, this is very specialil because not onlyyou get that d.v.d. of this fascinating conversation but you will alsomp get his ion book to his program, "bill moyers journal." every interview has a personal introduction from bill moyers, setting the scene for you, as you will enjoy having it in your home. now, with a gift of $21 a month, our gift to you is aic wonderfuic series, "the power of myth." this is a six-hour seminal series that we've talked so much about with joseph campbell. not only is it that but there's extras, too. there's a 28-minute interview with george lucas and there is also a 12-page viewer guide that goes along with that. wh's up to you right now, though, is to decide you want to support this wonderful c station ling the number at the bottom of the screen and saying you want to be part ofle wonderful tesion. >> i hope you're thinking right now about the importance of
this station to you and your family, what it means, what it has meant over the period ofil time of your fs growth, what it's meant to you personally and whether you want to be personally involved in supporting the kind ofin prograthat you have come to expect from this station. i hope you're thinking about that and i want you to know that there is not a great deal left in this program, and we would like to ask you to support this station so that we can continue with this. i hope that you would supportn with money this stat order to make sure that kind of programming continues on pbs. i hope you will think very, very hard right w about getting up, picking up the itphone or going to the we and making your donation right now. to become a member of something that is already a part of your community. >> sustaining membership is an easy, convenient and aordable way to support the programs you love.
sustaining members make an ongoing monthlcontribution from either their credit card or checking account. just choose the monthly amountyo would like to give. then go online or call and'l get it set up for you. your donation will happen tomatically each month s your support will always be current. current. if you want to change your sustaining membership, just contact us. monthly contributions begin as low as $5 per month. go online or call to start your sustaining membership right now. ♪ music >> you keep great conversations coming with your financi contribution to this station today. make a monthly sustaining gift $84 and we'll thank yo ation of includes nearly an hour ofich additional conversation, plus questions and answers with bill yers. with a monthly sustaining gift of $13, or a donation of $156
right now, you'll enjoy the program d.v.d. plus the book "bill moyers' journal, theti conver continues." with 43 in-depth interviews from his popular tv series. enjoy the 25th anniversary edition of the seminal series, "the power of myth" with joseph campbell. with you are gift of $252,r a sustaining contribution of $21 per month. the three-d.v.d. set includesno new footagseen in the original release, and an intervw with filmmaker george lucas. you'll also receive the d.v.d. of today's program. please call and give to this station right now. station right now. thank you for your support. if you think about the fuel of your automobile, whether you're using some kinetroleum or using the energy of the sun orr using battery power, combination thereof, it is how much power you can put into a
vehie that tells you how goo that performance is going to be. a that's kind ong way of saying that it is your contribution that powers yourst ion, that powers pbs. the more power you put into it, the greater the performance you're going to get out of it. so if then that pbs is doing -- so if you ink that pbs is doing a pretty good job right now, just think what it wouldes do if it had therces, fit had the participation of everyn membere community who relies on what goes on on pbs and on your station. think about how much it has meant to you over the years, how much it means now. support your public television station. >> you know what, you can l support yoal station right now for programs like this and all of the other programs that you enjoy, how you do it is call the number on the bottomf your screen or you go online, whatever works dget.ou and your family's perhaps you would like to support with a gift of $7 a
month as a sustaining member wonderful program that we're enjoying. or the gift of $13 a month andd. not only get that d.ut also get the bill moyers' journal, the companion book to that with 43 interviews.ay or $21 a month would work for you and your family's y budget a would like to have "the power of myth" to enjoy along with the program that we' watching," conversation with bill moyers." these are all suggested levels. what's really important is you a chooamount that works for you and your family and call the number on the bottom ofon your screen or gne right now to show your support. >> whether your favorite programs are the costume dmas that you love so much, you like downton abbey, victoria, y like mr. selfridge, you like these programs or you like the science programs, you like nova, or maybe you like frontline, the question is, are you one of those people who fit
in the category at the end or the beginning of each program that says, this program is made possible by the following foundations d viewers like you. wh you watch these program are you one of the viewers theyb are talkint? did you make a contribution?yo arshirttailing on someone else's contribution? are you confusing pbs and this station with commercial television, that all you have to do is sit tough some commercials? you don't see commercials on these stations. bsyou will not see that on what you will see is content like no other coent you'll receive. nowhere, not on cableme television, not on cial television. it's time, as we end the end of this program, it is time to make the decision to donate now so that at the end of oge m when you see "this program has been made available by people li you" you are onepl of those peo
>> he want to thank everyone who's called tonight. appreciate that phone call so very much. but if you haven't called, there's still time for you, but now is the time to make the decision to go from being a viewer to being a contributor, to being somebody who makes programs like this possible. think about all the programs that you and your family enjoy in your home. na them off to yourself. i bet this is a lot, isn't there? think about the value that that brings to you, think how much you enjoy rning on this station and being enlightened, learning something you didn't know before or maybe watching a child's faces they are introduced to a concept they have never heard before, the delightful giggles as they learn something brand-new. that's all here d it's all possible because of you. levision so won't you makec that donation right now? won't you make that phone call?e become a supportiner
today. >> make a donation to thisbs station and toit counts. it does make a dference. the level that we can supply great information, great public information, great public policy information, great drama episodes, all of the great science and wildlife shows, that makes aifference based on your donation.t $7 a month, you can is conversation with bill moyers, which you've been watching she but i want to remind you that it contains almost an ho of additional programming, additional conversation with bill moyers.st we're in an integ, interesting period in ourst y and it is time to develop an informed opinion. he's had 83 years to develop that opinion and we've been the beneficiaries of that, in his search for truth, objective truth. not faith and belief but truth.o
to finthing that isde able. if two plus two is four, that's a fact. it wouldn't be five or seven, based on what the politicalha whims orsomeone believes. it would be for. that's the kind of reporting that you get here. and you will hear him here, you'll hear him here before you hear h anywhere else feel so we're asking you to think and think seriously about supporting this station. make sure that this kind of programming continues throughout, for your children and for your grandchildren. (audience applause) (upbeat music)
chapelle,s. >> funding is made possible in part by the shorewood historical society, dedicated to preserving shorewood's rich history for the benefit of current and futures. generati additional funding provided by the milwaukee press club. [gunfire] >> when you say combat reporter, it usually brings to mind the