The Washington Post reported Jan. 2 important conflicts of interest involving the career of liberal commentator Bill Moyers. The newspaper omitted an even bigger conflict regarding Moyers’ role in the JFK murder investigation.
To commemorate Moyers’ last scheduled “Moyers & Co.” show this week on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), the Post’s Paul Farhi reported financial relationships regarding the 1967 creation of PBS and some of its operations since then.
Omitted from the Post profile A Crusader’s Quiet Farewell was Moyers’ key role helping his mentor Lyndon Johnson coordinate news coverage of President Kennedy’s 1963 assassination. That killing enabled the Johnson presidency, of course, and also propelled Moyers’ career. Three recent books have alleged that Johnson helped coordinate the murder. Many others have argued that he orchestrated a cover-up of the murder, at the minimum, via the Warren Commission and its assertion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone to kill JFK with three shots from behind.
In a 1963 photo, Moyers is shown as an aide to President Johnson in the weeks after the assassination when Moyers was coordinating media coverage. The portrait at lower right shows him in 2005 via a photo made available via Creative Commons.
The establishment liberal media have been less than aggressive in probing the JFK assassination, thereby illustrating the overlap of journalism and politics.
For such reasons, we at the Justice Integrity Project draw what we can from the mainstream media and augment that information with alternative sources. The Moyers story provides an apt kick-off for our 2015 efforts. This is our first column of the year.
Kennedy’s murder remains at the heart of recent American history. Among the many impacts: Kennedy had tried to stop the Vietnam War but Johnson promptly countermanded Kennedy’s order and greatly increased U.S. involvement. The record is inevitably mixed, of course. Johnson, a Texan and longtime segregationist, pushed civil rights legislation through the Southern Democrat-dominated Congress in ways that would have been difficult for Kennedy, a Massachusetts native.
Whatever the case, the public deserves full disclosure especially on matters involving the media itself.
Some commentators, including Moyers on occasion, have argued that the United States has endured a long-term destruction of democratic institutions and Constitutional freedoms. But few in the traditional media, including its liberal outlets that Moyers has helped fund, dare try to connect the JFK murder to subsequent events in direct fashion.
Retired professor and diplomat Peter Dale Scott, for example, argued last fall at a conference on the Warren Commission that the commission’s cover-up of the JFK murder led oligarchs to use similar methods to oust Richard Nixon from the presidency, sabotage the re-election of Jimmy Carter, undertake heinous arms and drug smuggling in the Iran-Contra scandal, and obscure (at the minimum) important facts about 9/11, such as funding of the hijackers.
Scott’s new book The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack on U.S. Democracy, parallels arguments by others that gain relatively little traction in the media.
We now know about the once-secret 1960s Operation Mockingbird program and a 1967 CIA directive to smear government critics as “conspiracy theorists.” CIA Dispatch 1035-960 instructed agents to contact their media contacts and disparage those criticized the Warren Commission findings. The 150-page CIA document is here in the original, and here in reformatted text of its summary.
Even in media circles or popular discussions today about civic affairs, many people respond to new information by stating they are not interested in criticism of government on sensitive matters because it might be considered “conspiracy theory.” Few repeating such adages seem to know that a secret government plan in 1967 popularized those words to immunize government in effect from any suspicions of gross misconduct in major events.
We have described that process in Washington Post Still Selling Warren Report 50 Years Later. That column was a segment of our recent 22-part “Readers Guide” to the JFK assassination. Today’s column is part 23 in our series, and breaks additional ground below: