Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Re: The Real Bill Moyers

As Peter Wehner noted earlier, a story in today’s Washington Post on the FBI’s interest in the sexuality of LBJ aide Jack Valenti contained an illuminating tidbit about Bill Moyers, the LBJ special assistant who went on to a brief career as publisher of Newsday before inflicting himself on the nation for decades as a Pecksniffian media liberal.

Moyers, according to previously confidential FBI files, trolled for information about the private lives of his colleagues in the Johnson administration. And while this news will no doubt disillusion those who have bought into Moyers’s carefully constructed image as a paragon of politically correct virtue, it comes as something considerably less than a bolt out of the blue.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal in July 2005, Laurence Silberman recalled testifying some thirty years earlier, as U.S. deputy attorney general, to the House Judiciary Committee about recently discovered confidential files of J. Edgar Hoover that contained salacious stories about a large number of public figures.

Silberman, who described himself as deeply offended by Hoover’s dirt-collecting activities, tried to avoid offering up specifics in his testimony, but, as he put it, eventually “reporters dug out more facts” concerning some skulduggery emanating from the LBJ White House during the Johnson-Goldwater presidential campaign:

Only a few weeks before the 1964 election, a powerful presidential assistant, Walter Jenkins, was arrested in a men’s room in Washington. Evidently, the president was concerned that Barry Goldwater would use that against him in the election. Another assistant, Bill Moyers, was tasked to direct Hoover to do an investigation of Goldwater’s staff to find similar evidence of homosexual activity. Mr. Moyers’ memo to the FBI was in one of the files.

When the press reported this, I received a call in my office from Mr. Moyers. Several of my assistants were with me. He was outraged; he claimed that this was another example of the Bureau salting its files with phony CIA memos. I was taken aback. I offered to conduct an investigation, which if his contention was correct, would lead me to publicly exonerate him. There was a pause on the line and then he said, “I was very young. How will I explain this to my children?”

How indeed. As Peter noted, Moyers approved the notorious nuclear countdown ad which implied that Barry Goldwater was just itching to annihilate cute little girls as they busied themselves picking petals off flowers. No wonder Goldwater remarked years later, after Moyers had become a ubiquitous presence on the nation’s television screens, “Every time I see him, I get sick to my stomach and want to throw up.”



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.