'here is bill moyers spinning his own fantasy'

J$P Instant Transcript! Scott Johnson of Power Line discusses Bill Moyers with Bill O'Reilly.

From The O'Reilly Factor, February 8 2005:

BILL O'REILLY [FOX NEWS]: Personal story segment tonight, we've been somewhat critical of liberal pundit Bill Moyers for misleading people with his rhetoric. Now Moyers may be in some trouble. Writing in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Moyers states:

Remember James Watt, President Reagan's first Secretary of the Interior?...James Watt told the US Congress that protecting natural resources was unimportant in light of the imminent return of Jesus Christ. In public testimony he said, "After the last tree is felled, Christ will come back."

The problem is that Watt didn't say it. Joining us now from Minneapolis is Scott Johnson, the founder of Power Line, a conservative weblog which was involved with the CBS Dan Rather controversy. What's up with this Moyers? I've had my problems with this guy for the last couple of years. He just seems to run around saying whatever he wants to say and facts don't mean anything. Am I wrong?

SCOTT JOHNSON [POWER LINE]: It's very strange. He gave a speech at Harvard apparently last December at which he was given an award. The whole speech is premised on the assertion that the Bush administration and Christians are delusional, that Christians want to hasten the destruction of the environment because it will the Second Coming nearer. And his Exhibit A to support that proposition is this alleged statement by Secretary Watt that he never made to Congress in 1981. In fact, the testimony that Secretary Watt gave to Congress in 1981, that's the only occasion on which he ever mentioned the Second Coming in a public forum like that, said exactly the opposite of what Moyers said he said. And in that column--

O'REILLY: So, I mean--

JOHNSON: In that column Bill--

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

JOHNSON: He goes on though. He accuses the Bush administration and Christians of being delusional.

O'REILLY: Yeah but I don't care about--look, Moyers is a propagandist. He has been for years. Everybody knows it. He can get as many Peabody awards as he can carry home. Doesn't mean he's not a propagandist--he is; we know that. But what can happen is Moyers actually saying something that isn't true and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune printing it. See, this is what bothers me. Now Moyers, according to Watt--we talked to Watt this afternoon--Moyers apologized to Watt, admitted he was wrong. But the Minneapolis Star-Tribune hasn't apologized to anybody, have they?

JOHNSON: No they have not. And not only did the Minneapolis Star-Tribune feature this in its editorial section on a Sunday, January 30th, 9 days ago, in their Sunday edition that has a circulation of more than 500,000 in the state of Minnesota, but then it was picked up in the Washington Post--


JOHNSON: --and the following Sunday, this past Sunday, Blaine Harden of the Washington Post ran a story with this same fraudulent quotation in it.

O'REILLY: But the Post apologized.

JOHNSON: The Post has corrected it; you've got it right. The Post this morning ran a correction, apologizing, and--

O'REILLY: But no Minneapolis deal. And you've asked the Minneapolis Star-Tribune to do something, and what did they say?

JOHNSON: My colleague John Hinderaker forwarded the piece that we wrote, posted on our site, to the Star-Tribune over the weekend. They have been silent; they have not responded.

O'REILLY: Unbelievable. See this is happening more and more, where's the websites print anything they want, it gets into the paper, then another paper picks it up and it becomes folklore. You're an interesting group. I mean, you're the one that was involved with the RatherGate deal and you're keeping an eye on these people. Do you just do it from the right point of view, or do you keep an eye on everybody?

JOHNSON: Well I think we've been critical of folks on both sides, but there's no question that three of us write for Power Line are attorneys. I think the thing that are readers come to us for is that we try to be fair to all folks. But there's no question we write from a conservative perspective.

O'REILLY: OK, good, good. Now where did Moyers get this nonsense about Watt to begin with?

JOHNSON: This is unbelievable. He cited an online publication that he as President of a foundation supports, called Grist. And Grist in turn picked it up from a book, an obscure book, that was published in 1990. Grist added a false detail that this was testimony that Watt had given in 1990. But wait Bill, it doesn't stop there. Then Moyers, with respect to this alleged testimony that never occurred, and in his accusation of the Bush administration being delusional, Moyers adds, "Beltway elites snickered" when Jim Watt gave this nonexistent testimony. "The press corps didn't know what he was talking about, but James Watt was serious." Well the whole thing is a fraud and a farce and here--

O'REILLY: Yeah, he made it up. Moyers just made it up.

JOHNSON: He made it up, in the context of his accusation that the Bush administration is delusional, here is Bill Moyers spinning his own fantasy.

O'REILLY: Right. All right, well I'm glad you're out there doing this because, Mr Johnson, somebody's got to keep an eye on these websites. Because they're just putting out, day in and day out, defamation, lies, libel--and guys like Moyers pick it up. But the irony is, Moyers himself was paying for this Grist thing, right? He pays for it, doesn't he?

JOHNSON: Well, Bill, I think you're too tough on the websites. Power Line here was the remedy. We're a website.

O'REILLY: No, I understand that. You know what I'm talking--

JOHNSON: The Star-Tribune was the problem. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune is the problem. They've libeled us; they've libeled Secretary Watt. They owe him an apology.

O'REILLY: All right, no doubt. And the Minneapolis paper is a far-left paper, we know that. I don't mean to impugn all the websites Mr Johnson. It's just that there are hundreds of them doing this stuff, and I'm a victim of it every single day. But you're right, and we appreciate you coming on.

posted: Tue - February 8, 2005 at 02:20 PM       j$p  send