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Moyers Calls His Lawyers:

Bill Moyers took extreme exception to Dr. E. Calvin Beisner's suggestion that Moyers sought to use his television programs to help Democrats retake Congress -- and threatened a defamation suit. Dr. Beisner, through counsel, rejects Moyers' demand for a retraction and "desires to attempt to restore that relationship outside of the civil courts as Christians are admonished to do." Beisner adds, "While I understood from the conversation that he was a Democrat, I accept his representation that he is an independent." More on Instapundit here and Southern Appeal here.

Lev:

I said that once I left the Kennedy and Johnson administrations almost 40 years ago for journalism, I had put partisanship behind me.


Moyers has taken up life as a standup comedian? What a load of crap.
10.27.2006 12:32am
therut:
He also apparently lies. Does he expect anyone to believe him. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!
10.27.2006 1:20am
Nate F (mail):
[INSERT SNARKY PARTISAN COMMENT HERE]

Give the man a break. He's an excellent journalist, and is no more POV than any number of other anchors on both sides of the aisle.
10.27.2006 1:31am
Shahid Alam (mail):
Of course, he is entirely non-partisan. Why I remember watching a Charlie Rose round table before the 2004 election, where he, in all seriousness, claimed that he fully expected the Bushies to declare martial law if the election didn't go their way.

Nothing necessarily partisan about that, of course. Perhaps just very imaginitive. Parallel-world-imaginitive.
10.27.2006 3:14am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
I love the question on the first link about whether lawyer's signatures are some kind of virilit contest.
10.27.2006 3:27am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
virility
10.27.2006 3:28am
logicnazi (mail) (www):
In what way is he partisan?

Sure he happens to believe that one party will cause more harm than another party, but so does everyone who doesn't vote by flipping a coin.

I mean are you willing to call any lawyer who adopts an originalist interpretation of the constitution as partisan? What about someone deeply concerned about global warming and the environment?

The best definition I can think of for 'partisan' that isn't entirely subjective is that someone is partisan if they play politics, i.e., sculpt what they say to heap blame/praise on one party out of proportion to what they believe is deserved.

For instance if I think that Foley was an isolated bad apple yet play up the situation to cause the republican difficulty I'm being partisan. If I think it genuinely indicates a moral lapse on the part of republicans in general I may not be.

I'm not totally satisfied with this definition but I can't think of a better one.
10.27.2006 3:34am
therut:
If you think Moyers is a journalist ( I use that term while laughing) and non partisian then so is Ann Coulter. What a ridiculous thought.
10.27.2006 3:43am
Steve:
An awful lot of people seem to have no clue what "partisan" means.
10.27.2006 4:19am
5b6 (mail):

In what way is he partisan?


According to dictionary.com, definition #1 of partisan is:

"[A]n adherent or supporter of a person, group, party, or cause, esp. a person who shows a biased, emotional allegiance."

The only thing missing is a photo of Moyers in the lefthand margin.
10.27.2006 4:52am
zooba:
Yes he's partisan, but he's not a partisan hack. A partisan hack is one who accuses someone who has Parkinson's of acting it up.
10.27.2006 6:06am
Huh:
I'll note this quickly: disliking Bush and his policies doesn't make one a partisan or a democrat. If you take the definition above to heart, I think that's obvious.

I think this distinction gets missed a lot. Now, I'm not saying Moyers isn't a partisan democrat, he might be. But expressing displeasure with one party's policies, even vehemently doing so, doesn't automatically put you on the other side.

For most of us, it just means we've not got a lot of options.
10.27.2006 10:19am
guest (mail):
how abusrd and self-delusional when hard-core leftists like Moyers claim to be "independents." one thing i can guarantee is that Moyers has never voted for a Republican in his life, and would never (to himself, at least)consider it, despite what he might say on TV in order to sound "non-partisan."
10.27.2006 10:34am
SP:
I disagree with Bush's policies, but I don't think fascism is just moments away, which Moyers apparently thinks. So maybe the distinction isn't whether Moyers is partisan - maybe he's just a blithering idiot.
10.27.2006 11:00am
htom (mail):
Moyers isn't a partisan? ROTFLMAO. Claiming to be a non-partisan doesn't make you one, your speech and actions do, and his don't.
10.27.2006 11:18am
Houston Lawyer:
Conservatives regularly claim that CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS et al are working in a partisan manner. Liberals claim the same about Fox. This is hardly grounds for a defamation suit. Moyers apparently feels that he is so above it all that he is beyond criticism.
10.27.2006 11:19am
OK Lawyer:
I think the partisan distinction for a "journalist" is more important. Non-journalists are expected to be partisans. Anyone who listens to Limbaugh and the like know exactly what they are getting. I doubt that the Limbaugh's of the world would proclaim themselves to be non-partisan. (Certain Fox news folks are excluded b/c they do view themselves as non-partisans.) The problem is that when a journalist proclaims himself/herself non-partisan and clearly reports his/her stories in a partisan manner.
10.27.2006 11:21am
doesn't watch moyers (mail):
Of course he's partisan and of course he doesn't think of himself as one. Like so many of us.


BTW, he's gone overboard more than once (that is, he can slip into being a hack surprisingly quickly). Perhaps the most famous was when he was caught circulating urban myths about James Watt declaring to Congress that Jesus won't return until the last tree is cut down. Needless to say, Moyers was insanely wrong. You have to read him with a great deal of skepticism.
10.27.2006 12:33pm
lucia (mail) (www):
doesn't watch moyers wrote

>Perhaps the most famous was when he was caught circulating urban myths about James Watt declaring to Congress that Jesus won't return until the last tree is cut down. Needless to say, Moyers was insanely wrong.


Hhmm... trees haven't all been cut down; Jesus hasn't returned yet. Looks like Watt's prediction is holding up.

As to the theological issue: Doesn't the world end when Jesus returns? And isn't that a bad thing for all the sinners who are unprepared? Aren't all, or nearly all, men are sinners, yada, yada, yada?
10.27.2006 12:39pm
logicnazi (mail) (www):
guest,

'Independent' doesn't obviously mean that one votes for both republicans and democrats. He may very well mean by this that he votes both democrat and green for all I know. As was stated earlier one might really hate the republicans but not feel any partisan loyalty for the democrats. So it would be wrong to call you a democrat, especially if you are actively looking to dump them for something better, so are you not an independent?

Regardless the issue in the case is of course what Moyer's said not whether he is really independent.
10.27.2006 12:50pm
Pantapon Rose (mail):
lucia:
it's not that Watt's prediction was right or wrong, it's that Watt never actually made the statement Moyers attributed to him. (This was part of Moyer's argument that the right (and Bush in particular) were deliberately trying to destroy the environment to bring about the return of Jesus.)
10.27.2006 1:10pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
It's not just that Watts didn't say what Moyers falsely accused him of saying, it's that Watts said exactly the opposite during his Congressional testimony:

Mr. Weaver: I am very pleased to hear that. Then I will make one final statement... I believe very strongly that we should not, for example, use up all the oil that took nature a billion years to make in one century.

We ought to leave a few drops of it for our children, their children. They are going to need it... I wonder if you agree, also, in the general statement that we should leave some of our resources--I am now talking about scenic areas or preservation, but scenic resources for our children? Not just gobble them up all at once?

Secretary Watt: Absolutely. That is the delicate balance the Secretary of the Interior must have, to be steward for the natural resources for this generation as well as future generations.

I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns, whatever it is we have to manage with a skill to leave the resources needed for future generations.


Unfortunately for a lying partisan hack like Bill Moyers but fortunately for those of us who actually care about things like truth, Watts was still alive to correct the Moyers' smear.
10.27.2006 2:02pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Pantapon Rose:
I know it's not whether Watt was right or wrong. Clearly, I failed in my attempt to be funny. {{ sigh }}
10.27.2006 2:57pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I would describe Moyers as anti-Bush. But, that doesn't make him pro-Democrat, or even anti-other Republicans, just anti-Bush.

So, to answer the question as to whether Moyers is "partisan" it depends on whether you think he is showing a strong allegiance to a particular group (the Democrats), because he is critical of the current leader (Bush) of another group (the Republicans). Assuming, for the sake of argument, that Moyers hates Bush and it influences his journalism regarding the current administration, such bias does NOT meet the definition of partisan quoted above (emotional allegiance to a group).
10.27.2006 3:21pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
One other note: Dr. Cal claimed that Moyers told him that he, Moyers, was a Democrat and that he was making the documentary to influence the voters to defeat Bush in 2004. I think those statements are defamatory about Moyers' ethics as a journalist.

By the way, I noticed that Dr. Cal didn't bother to produce a copy of the tape recording of his conversation with Moyers to see whose recollection was correct, even though Moyers challenged him to do so in his letter. Nor does Dr. Cal explain why he would willingly sit through an interview with Moyers if, as he claims, Moyers told him the purpose of the documentary was to influence the electorate to defeat Bush in 2004.

So, while Moyers' reaction may have been extreme, who do you think was telling the truth? (Silence from the Moyers bashers?)
10.27.2006 3:36pm
lucia (mail) (www):
Christopher Cooke> So, while Moyers' reaction may have been extreme, who do you think was telling the truth? (Silence from the Moyers bashers?)


I'm not a Moyers basher, but my answer is, "Beats me!"

After all, it appears Dr. Cal knows what's on his tape and is doing nothing to avert the possible lawsuit. Perhaps some statements on the tape are ambiguous, Dr. Cal understands them one way, Bill Moyers understands the another and both feel confident they would win a suit. If assorted tapes become public, no doubt, we will all have an opportunity to watch them on Utube and decide for ourselves. Possibly a judge and/ or jury will too.
10.27.2006 4:06pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
By the way, I noticed that Dr. Cal didn't bother to produce a copy of the tape recording of his conversation with Moyers to see whose recollection was correct, even though Moyers challenged him to do so in his letter.

Um, maybe because Dr. Cal said pretty clearly in his article that the conversation with Moyers occurred before the taping of the interview?
10.27.2006 6:13pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
actually, Dr. Cal's lawyer said that the remarks could have occurred during the car ride to the airport, whereas Dr. Cal said maybe the defamatory stuff was said before the interview. Interesting how it keeps shifting to some time when the tape recorder was off, isn't it.

But, the main point remains: why would Dr. Cal sit through an interview, correspond via friendly emails with Moyers for months thereafter, if Dr. Cal thought Moyers was so biased and was planning to use his documentary as a hatch job on Bush. Obviously, if Moyers said anything close to what Dr. Cal now claims he did, Dr. Cal would have immediately known of this bias, yet, we are to believe he still cooperated in making the documentary with Moyers and engaged in a friendly email correspondence with him and exchange Cds, etc., thereafter? If you believe that, I have some "rock solid" intelligence on Saddam's WMDs that I can share with you.
10.27.2006 7:35pm
lucia (mail) (www):

Christopher Cooke> But, the main point remains: why would Dr. Cal sit through an interview, correspond via friendly emails with Moyers for months thereafter, if Dr. Cal thought Moyers was so biased and was planning to use his documentary as a hatch job on Bush.

You know, the problem with using rhetorical questions to advance an argument is that the questions often have a variety of possible answers.

There is actually more than one question in there and I can suggest reasons Dr. Cal might have had-- and these reasons might, hypothetically be accepted by some. They are not "but you'd have to be insane" answers:

As to why Dr. Cal would sit through the interview is that, regardless of Moyers intentions, Dr. Cal thought being interviewed would serve to better advance his view. If nothing else, it would give Dr. Cal name recognition and bring readers to his blog, read any books or columns etc. That would mean Dr. Cal could better air his views.

As to why Dr.Cal might continue to be congenial, possibly the idea that Bill Moyers is partisan doesn't actually enrage Dr. Cal or make him think they can't be on friendly terms. (Ultimatel, this seems to turn out to be wrong, but I know who can be friends despite different partisan motives or goals.)

Or, maybe Dr. Cal is a conniving manipulative man who was willing to hold back this tidbit until it would create the most possible publicity for Dr. Cal.

It's entirely possible for Dr. Cal to act the way he did and to also be truthful. He may also be lying. Who knows?)
10.28.2006 12:20pm
whit:
"Yes he's partisan, but he's not a partisan hack. A partisan hack is one who accuses someone who has Parkinson's of acting it up"

If u are referring to limbaugh, this misrepresents what he said.

he said (wait for it) EITHER fox was acting, OR he was off his meds.

In this case, it is most likely the latter is the case.

There is a hyoooge difference between the statement I repeated and what you are referencing.
10.28.2006 7:51pm
CLS (www):
The comments here are pretty lame on this topic. They seem to focus on running down Moyers more than anything else. Is he to the Left? Yes. But is that the question? No. Did he or didn't he tell Beisner he was a Democrat planning to use the show to help the Democrats win. I don't believe he did. I read all the correspondence and Beisner doesn't come across well in this. Moyers seems genuinely hurt that someone he liked made claims which he says are not true and Beisner acted very badly in not replying to several emails from Moyers asking about this claim.

I'm an atheist so I don't side with either of them theologically. My economics are closer to Beisner. My social views closer to Moyers. So I'm trying to judge this based on the evidence and logical. And I think Beisner lied.

Let us assume that Moyers was planning to do precisely what Beisner claims. Why would he tell someone this especially when the someone is part of the Right-wing movement in America? It doesn't make sense that Moyers would make this bizarre confession to someone he would know could spread the words around conservative circles.

Clearly people here have not read the posts before commenting since the issue seems cleared up regarding Beisner producing the tape. He won't produce the tape because he is now claiming the comments came at some other time and weren't taped. In other words he has no evidence this was said at all. He doesn't even seem to know when Moyers supposedly said this. He said it might be in a private conversation before anything was taped but he could have been influenced by a conversation he had with Moyers when they both took a cab to the airport. So maybe it happened before and maybe it happened afterwards but Beisner can't be precise. Surely if someone like Moyers tells you he is manipulating the facts to push for a Democratic victory in the election you would remember a little more precisely. And Beisner now says he accepts that Moyers is not a Democrat but an independent.

The correspondence I've read seems to indicate that Moyers emailed Beisner immediately upon hearing this claim was made asking for an explanation. Beisner did not respond. Moyers sent a second email and Beisner merely said he'd get back to him. Then when Moyers finally asked his attorneys to write Beisner replies with a letter from his attorneys where he says they should handle the matter privately like good Christians. But Moyers was trying to handle it privately and it was Beisner who was ignoring these requests.

I don't think it likely that Moyers would make such a damning admission to someone who was clearly in the "enemies camp" politically. It makes no sense. That Beisner is claiming the "admission" was made when there were no witnesses sounds too convenient. That Beisner ignored emails from Moyers doesn't look good for Beisner. That Beisner is imprecise about exactly when this was said also doesn't help his claims. And that he concedes that he was wrong about the remark about Moyers being a registered Democrat also doesn't speak well for his veracity. Sure more material may come out. But based on the evidence to date I think Beisner was lying.

Whether you like Moyers or not is not the point. Who is telling the truth here is the point. And I don't think it is Beisner.
10.28.2006 8:30pm