PBS Ombud: Moyers Too Soft on Wright [Tim Graham]
In his typically tentative tones, PBS ombudsman Michael Getler agrees with the majority of the mail he received that the Bill Moyers interview with Jeremiah Wright was too gentle, more "a conversation of theologians" than a probing interview. (That's high praise for two bitter leftists with a knowledge of Scripture.) He was pleased that Moyers went beyond the soundbites and provided more of that context the Obama fans always complain is missing, but he had to admit Moyers was so reserved it grew embarrassing:
While I don't endorse the language or the broader criticisms below, I do feel that there were not enough questions asked and some that were asked came across as too reserved and too soft, considering the volatility of the charges. For example, after replaying at length a Wright sermon delivered the first Sunday after 9/11— in which Wright invoked America's role in slavery, taking the country from the Indians, bombing Grenada, Panama, Libyan leader Gaddafi's house, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Iraq, plus state terrorism against Palestinians and black South Africans to conclude that the 9/11 attacks were "America's chickens are coming home to roost" — Moyers asked: "When people saw the sound bites from it this year, they were upset because you seemed to be blaming America. Did you somehow fail to communicate?" As Howard Kurtz wrote in The Washington Post afterwards: "Thought he was blaming America? Where did anyone get that idea?" It would be hard to formulate a more delicate way to put a question to Wright about that sermon without challenging any of its content.
Moyers did seek to draw Wright out about his "God damn America" statement, and he called Wright to task, still rather gently, about Louis Farrakhan. But others of those inflammatory, and inaccurate, statements that Moyers himself laid out at the top of the program went largely unchallenged and those that did come up didn't really get addressed until well into the hour-long program. Some comments, such as the HIV accusation, didn't get addressed at all, nor were other questions asked about whether, for example, the U.S. should have invaded mainland Japan at the cost of countless lives, American and Japanese, rather than dropping two atomic weapons.
Getler didn't want to endorse the letter-writers below since some were very anti-Wright. But I loved this letter writer: "This episode was so obviously a forum for Wright even the unconscious would notice."
05/02 03:31 PMShare