Ithaca College Quarterly 2005/1

 

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South Hill Today

Campus Visitors

Bill Moyers on Democracy
Moyers at a breakfast with Park and MLK scholars
 

Bill Moyers didn't have to say a word to earn the applause of the capacity crowd that filled the Ben Light Gymnasium during his fall visit to campus. The 2005-6 Park Distinguished Visitor was greeted with a standing ovation from an audience familiar with his 30-year career in journalism.

Moyers, who has received numerous honors including more than 30 Emmy Awards, started his career at age 16 as a cub reporter for a small Texas newspaper. During the John F. Kennedy administration he left journalism for a stint as deputy director of the Peace Corps, which led to an appointment as special assistant to President Lyndon B. Johnson and then press secretary from 1965 to 1967. Moyers later served as senior news analyst for the CBS Evening News. He and his wife, Judith Davidson Moyers, founded Pubic Affairs Television, through which they have produced groundbreaking documentaries as Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth. Moyers retired in December 2004 from his award-winning PBS show Now with Bill Moyers, and he has been lecturing almost nonstop ever since.

Moyers' visit to Ithaca included a breakfast with students in the Park and Martin Luther King Jr. Scholars Programs and a "town hall" session as well as the public lecture. At the lecture Moyers told the crowd he wasn't going to speak as a journalist, but rather as a citizen "whose concerns go beyond the state of journalism to the state of our democracy today."

His commentary dealt with the injustices that exist within the American democracy. "There is a difference between a society whose arrangements roughly serve all its citizens and one whose institutions have been converted into a stupendous fraud," he said. Moyers criticized the Bush administration for the corruption that emerged after the September 11 attacks, as well as more recently after Hurricane Katrina.

But Moyers also pointed out that citizens have the power to hold government officials accountable to the ideals of our society. "We need to see and feel, and then act as if the future depended on us," he said. "Because it does."

-- Christine Szudzik '06

Photos by Miles B. Norman

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