As this is written, Bill Moyers has just signed off of PBS’ NOW, his last broadcast as host.
All the heavy anchors are going or gone: Brokaw gone, Rather going, Jennings not long for this world. With the continuing decline of network ratings supremacy, the bunched extinction probably marks the end of an era. There’ll be no more Walter Cronkites certainly, and Rather, the best of the pretenders, was for all his affected rural charm only a shadow approximation—and a petulant one at that—of Cronkite in the first place. We’ll get our news from Sean Hannity and Stone Phillips now. Or Jon Stewart. What a brave new world.
Journalists trade in ideas; smart ones are bound to develop some of their own. What made Moyers an exceptional journalist was his fundamental approach to interviewing: With the exception perhaps of Joseph Campbell, over whom Moyers fawned, he always challenged his sources to explain to him how his own educated ideas about the matter at hand might be wrong. He did informed journalism’s due diligence: trying to find holes in its own inevitable theories; and he expected the same diligence of those he interviewed.
To begin his farewell, Moyers aimed a probably pointless but symbolically gratifying parting shot across the bow of conglomerate corporate broadcast collusion with the Republican right—“when journalism marches in lockstep with a one-party state,” as he put it. To follow, he interviewed the ACLU’s Anthony Romero on the question of how many rights are too many rights to give away in support of a so-called war on terror.
At the end, Moyers spent most of his modest swan song graciously thanking other people.
Some of us around here—including at least one tucked into a valley where the antenna catches only PBS and FOX—will miss him.
But while PBS is ushering out the old, we’re interested in bringing in some new, and there’s probably not a better time to do it than now. We’re looking for someone to do us a weekly comic. Ergo, a contest: Draw (or otherwise produce) a comic and send it to us. A select number of cartoons, chosen by the editorial staff, will be published in the Independent, and some lucky inker may “win” a chance at a job as—drum roll please—an Indy cartoonist. (Runners up will get a nice letter.) Special preference will be paid to cartoonists who are local, currently informed in their work and funny. And, ultimately, reliable. And cheap. And funny. But don’t worry about all that now. Just send us your cartoon. (Funny being definitely a plus.) The deadline for submissions is Jan. 31, 2005. Send no fewer than one and no more than three current samples to “I WANT TO BE AN INDY CATOONIST,” c/o Missoula Independent, 115 S. 4th St. W., Msla, 59801. Electronic submissions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.