The Corner

Pot Condemns Kettle’s Legacy

Right now on Bill Moyers’ Journal on PBS, the venerable host is having a chat with Glenn Greenwald who’s denouncing George Bush for his “illegal” surveilance programs. Greenwald has a case to make about the rule of law, but it’s a bit much Moyers has the temerity to ask why the full weight of the law isn’t coming down on the Bush administration.

He should probably first ask that of himself. Bush’s surveillance programs — whatever you think of their legality — are at the very least targeted at terrorists. Back in the good old days when Moyers was part of the Johnson administration, he had no problem with wiretaps simply as matter of personal political gain. From Morley Safer’s memoir, Flashbacks:

“I find it hard to believe that Bill Moyers would engage in character assassination over one evening news broadcast — even given the political imperatives of the moment. But I confess, I find it harder not to believe it.

His part in Lyndon Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover’s bugging of Martin Luther King’s private life, the leaks to the press and diplomatic corps, the surveillance of civil rights groups at the 1964 Democratic Convention, and his request for damaging information from Hoover on members of the Goldwater campaign suggest he was not only a good soldier but a gleeful retainer feeding the appetites of Lyndon Johnson.

It’s all too confusing. Bill Moyers, the sometimes overly pious public defender of liberal virtue, the First Amendment, and the rights of miniorities playing the role of Iago.”

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