The Real Show–Bill Moyers shows the way

Bill Moyers, that inimitable crusader of free press throws some light on why facts are more interesting than fiction, and news are more entertaining than the movies.

Who needs a movie when you have the news?
First, a confession: I haven’t seen Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11. It’s not that
I haven’t wanted to; it’s just that I have not been able to tear myself away from the
real show – the political theatre playing out in full sight right before our eyes. Who
needs a movie when you have the news?

Michael Moore’s weird alright, but not as weird as Michael Powell, our cartel-loving
chairman of the Federal Communications Commission whose idea of the press seems
to be channeling William Randolph Hearst.

Michael Moore’s outrageous, but not as outrageous as George W. Bush and Tom DeLay
conspiring to let the ban on killer assault weapons expire. Bush says he doesn’t like all
that loaded hardware lying around, but it’s up to the House of Representatives to vote.
The aptly named Tom DeLay, the House Majority Leader, on the other hand, says –
wink, wink – he can’t let a vote happen because Bush hasn’t asked him to. After you,
Alphonse; after you, Gaston – and will the last man out please turn on the lights?

Michael Moore has a keen eye for the absurd; I know that from his earlier wickedly
funny films. But we don’t need a seeing-eye absurdist to understand how wacky it is
for Ralph Nader to get on the ballot in different states with the help of a conservative
outfit that’s a front group for all those corporate interests Nader has spent his life
trying to cut down to size. Imagine: 43,000 Michigan Republicans suddenly seized by
the vision of “Nader the Savior,” putting their names on a petition urging him to run
for President. “Save us, Ralph; save us!” Politics makes strange bedfellows, but this is
a menage a trois, as John Kerry might say, that would shame the Marquis de Sade.

No, I don’t need to shell out $9 for a movie when I can watch the Democrats in Boston
next week piously pretending to be taking seriously a homily on values from Al Sharpton,
or when I have C-SPAN to watch Congress in action (or not).

In fact, there was to be a Congressional hearing last week into the safety of
anti-depressant medicine. It seems some pharmaceutical companies are suspected of
keeping secret the bad news about their products. The hearing was abruptly cancelled
when word spread that the committee chairman is under consideration for a big-paying
job representing – are you ready for this? – the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.

You think I’m kidding. But believe me; I couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to.
Unfortunately, I don’t have to.

Bill Moyers is the host of the weekly public affairs series NOW with Bill Moyers, which
airs Friday nights on PBS.

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