Bill Moyers’ Show Ends This Week

Photo Credit: PBS

On Friday, April 30, PBS will air the last episode of Bill Moyers’ Journal. Moyers will be stepping down as the host of the popular news program. The show was launched in 1971.

Moyers announced his retirement last November, disappointing faithful viewers that had come to regard the program as one of the most progressives on television. Another public affairs show being canceled is NOW, which Moyers also created. FAIR — Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting — was one of the first organizations outraged by Moyers’ departure.

In a January article FAIR said that:

“PBS has offered very little explanation of what will replace these shows, saying only that they will announce changes sometime this month. But one line-up change many PBS viewers will see this February is the addition of Ideas in Action–a show produced by the George W. Bush Institute, part of the new presidential library in Dallas.

Graphic: FAIR

FAIR has argued that Bill Moyers’ Journal had done a great job covering “poverty, war and media consolidation–not to mention serious discussions of subjects taboo elsewhere, like the case for impeaching George W. Bush.”

Rumors that Moyers was being pushed off the air due to his hard-hitting news angles which often criticized the politicos and the White House, have been dismissed by Moyers himself. Last week a post on his program’s blog sought to appease his viewers:

“I want to disabuse those of you who fear that we are being pushed off the air by higher-ups at PBS pointing to the door and demanding that we go. Not so. PBS doesn’t fund the JOURNAL; our support comes from foundations and our sole corporate funder, Mutual of America. Together they’ve given me an independence rare for broadcast journalists. Our reporting and analysis trigger controversy from many quarters, as any strong journalism will, but not one – not one! – of my funders has ever mentioned to me the complaints directed their way. They would continue their support if I were to stick around.”

Why He Is Leaving

Moyers has referred to his age as a reason for why is leaving the show; at age 76, he is ready for retirement. The hectic world of television production made Moyers tired and he had decided to leave last December, according to his blog post.

Agreeing to have his show air for four more months, Moyers told PBS that he wouldn’t stay a “week longer” after April 30, 2010. He lamented that his growing audience online and on PBS would miss him, saying that he would miss them and his staff too.

Replacing His Show With A Center-Right Host

PBS will replace The Journal with another public affairs show that will be hosted by “Center-Right Nation,” Jon Meacham. Meacham is an editor for Newsweek and a Pulitzer Prize bestselling author.

FAIR has written about Meacham’s politics, citing an article he wrote in 2008 where he declared that the US was a “conservative country.”

How does Bill Moyers feel about the new show Meacham will host? We don’t know. One thing is for certain though, PBS doesn’t seem to want to create a show that would be equal to Moyers’ — a show that is not afraid to call out the hypocrisy of both political parties; highlights the consequences of poverty; and enlightens us to why we should work together to fight and protect the few rights we have left.

Bill, we’ll miss you terribly. You have been an inspiration to your viewers and to independent journalists across this country. No one will be able to fill your shoes on PBS, no one.

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