Bill Moyers, Guest Disparage America For Being Infected with 'Demented Logic' of Conservatism

On Friday night’s Bill Moyers Journal on PBS, Moyers ran anti-Obama clips from conservative talk show hosts and marveled that anyone would believe them, when they were responsible for what he called the "Decade of Conservative Failure." Moyers’ guest, leftist Wall Street Journal columnist Thomas Frank, cracked wise: "That is America for you. That is the demented logic of our politics."Frank suggested (and not in a good way) that America is "pretty much unique" in having such a strong belief in free markets, or as Frank put it, half a political system "dedicated to the destruction of the government." Frank bizarrely claimed Democrats never stick up for the government, and need to explain that the present health-care bills are "a way of growing our freedom."Moyers ran a montage of talk show hosts he can’t stand at the beginning, which was the closest the one-sided PBS showcase came to an opposing viewpoint:

MOYERS: How is it that the people who are responsible for the mess Obama inherited are getting away with demonizing him when he’s only had less than a year to clean it up? Let me show you just a sample of right-wing commentators railing against the president.RUSH LIMBAUGH: President Obama and the Democrats are destroying the U.S. economy. They are purposely doing it, I believe.GLENN BECK: This is a well-thought-out plan to collapse the economy as we know it....SEAN HANNITY: It’s his stimulus. His deficit spending. He quadrupled the deficit in a year. How many more times are Dmoecrats going to say ‘this is George Bush’s fault’? This is Obama’s economy now. MOYERS: What goes through your mind as a historian when you watch that?FRANK: Well, that’s, that is America for you. That is sort of the demented logic of our politics, is now that Obama’s been president for a year, and he will come before the public in the fall and have to defend these terrible things.

In between Beck and Hannity in that montage was "capitalist pig" Jonathan Hoenig on Fox, insisting Obama hates capitalism. The PBS host wasn’t done denouncing conservative talkers:

MOYERS: What’s amazing to me, and you write this, that the very people who brought us this Decade of Conservative Failure – the party of Palin, Beck, Hannity, Abramoff, Rove, DeLay, Kristol, O’Reilly – just might make a comeback ...FRANK: America is pretty much unique among the nations in that our political system, half our political system, is dedicated to the destruction of the government. I don’t know any other government where that’s the case.

An objective observer might disparage conservatives who suggest that Obama is collapsing the economy on purpose. But it’s strange for Frank to call that "demented logic" and then apply the mirror image to conservatives, that their conscious strategy is to collapse government on purpose:

FRANK: What conservatism is about in this country is government failure. Conservatives talk about government failure all the time, constantly, and when conservatives are in power, they deliver government failure. MOYERS: Not merely from incompetence, you say, but from ideology.FRANK: And sometimes from design.

Frank told Moyers that conservatives can gain traction with the argument that health care "reform" is a violation of freedom, and what’s missing from Democrats is the sense that "No, this is a way of growing our freedom. This will actually expand human freedom, not limit it. They never say that." The conversation continued:

MOYERS: Why? Part of the problem with America is the Democratic Party.FRANK: A huge part of the problem, because, look , conservatives have for decades now made – the whole point of their party is to attack government, attack the state, encourage cynicism, and wreck it when they’re in charge. Democrats never defend the state. They never say "No no, it’s important to have government."

This is simply, verifiably untrue. Liberals never insist that it’s "important to have government"? PBS would like the public to think that it’s a showcase for calm, rational discussion. What Moyers and Frank offered Friday night was hot talk and leftist misinformation, withno chance for conservatives to challenge them – and conservatives involuntarily helped pay the PBS bill.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis