Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bill Moyers, homo-hunter

Unlike my fellow residents of the Upper West Side of Manhattan (and other citizens of the People's Archipelago of Politica Correctissima), I have long found Bill Moyers' sanctimoniousness on PBS to be insufferable. It is not just his continuing air of self-righteousness and smugness, but the way he always seems to have his finger on the scales. To be sure. he does not achieve Mary McCarthy's ultimate in which everything the person says, including "a" and "the," is a lie, but the material is so insidiously filtered as to make him an unreliable narrator.

Now, according to Jack Shafer in Slate, Moyers has been revealed as doing some filtering regarding his own career.

"Bill Moyers took it in the shins this week after the Washington Post's Joe Stephens, drawing on FBI files liberated by a FOIA request, reported the liberal lion's role in hunting suspected homosexuals inside the Lyndon Johnson White House.

"The Post story's primary focus is on the FBI investigation of presidential aide Jack Valenti's sexual orientation, an investigation OK'd by President Johnson. It also reports that Moyers, then a special assistant to the president, asked the FBI to investigate two additional administration figures thought to have homosexual tendencies.

"These weren't the only Moyers White House homo-hunts. On Commentary's blog, Jason Maoz quotes former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Laurence Silberman, who wrote in the Wall Street Journal in 2005 that weeks before the 1964 Johnson-Goldwater election, Moyers "was tasked to direct [FBI Director J. Edgar] Hoover to do an investigation of Goldwater's staff to find similar evidence of homosexual activity. Mr. Moyers' memo to the FBI was in one of the files."

"The Wizbang blog continues the Moyers bashing by quoting from CBS News correspondent Morley Safer's 1990 autobiography, Flashbacks: On Returning to Vietnam. Safer writes:
[Moyers'] part in Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover's bugging of Martin Luther King's private life, the leaks to the press and diplomatic corps, the surveillance of civil rights groups at the 1964 Democratic Convention, and his request for damaging information from Hoover on members of the Goldwater campaign suggest he was not only a good soldier but a gleeful retainer feeding the appetites of Lyndon Johnson."



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