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Bill Moyers Discusses Independent Media and Fighting Back Against Unbridled Corporate Greed and Power

Legendary journalist Bill Moyers discusses the transformation of democracy from a citizens' to a consumer society and the importance of non-corporate media.

This is an excerpt of Democracy Now!'s interview with legendary journalist Bill Moyers. You can read the entire transcripton Democracy Now!'s website.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to return to a clip from your 2007 special. It’s when you came back to PBS, and it was a documentary called Buying the War. This part goes back to September 8th, 2002, the day the New York Times published a front-page article by Michael Gordon and Judith Miller entitled "U.S. Says Hussein Intensifies Quest for A-Bomb Parts." That same day, Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, hosted by, well, the late Tim Russert.

BILL MOYERS: Quoting anonymous administration officials, the Times reported that Saddam Hussein had launched a worldwide hunt for materials to make an atomic bomb, using specially designed aluminum tubes. And there, on Meet the Press, that same morning, was Vice President Cheney.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: There was a story in the New York Times this morning that says—and I want to attribute to the Times. I don’t want to talk about, obviously, specific intelligence sources, but...

JONATHAN LANDAY: Now, ordinarily, information, like the aluminum tubes, would—wouldn’t appear. It was top-secret intelligence. And the vice president and the national security adviser would not be allowed to talk about this on the Sunday talk shows. But it appeared that morning in the New York Times, and therefore, they were able to talk about it.

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: It’s now public that, in fact, he has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring, through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb.

BILL MOYERS: Using the identical language of the anonymous sources quoted in the Times, top officials were now invoking the ultimate specter of nuclear war: the smoking gun as mushroom cloud.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: There will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire a nuclear weapon, but we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.

ERIC BOEHLERT: Those sorts of stories, when they appear on the front page of the so-called liberal New York Times, it absolutely comes with a stamp of approval. I mean, if the New York Times thinks Saddam is on the precipice of some mushroom clouds, then there is really no debate.

BOB SCHIEFFER: We read in the New York Times today a story that says that Saddam Hussein is closer to acquiring nuclear weapons. Does he have nuclear weapons? Is there a smoking gun here?

DEFENSE SECRETARY DONALD RUMSFELD: "Smoking gun" is an interesting phrase.

COLIN POWELL: As we saw in reporting just this morning...

TIM RUSSERT: What specifically has he obtained that you believe would enhance his nuclear development program?

BILL MOYERS: Was it just a coincidence, in your mind, that Cheney came on your show, and others went on the other Sunday shows, the very morning that that story appeared?

TIM RUSSERT: I don’t know. The New York Times is a better judge of that than I am.

BILL MOYERS: No one tipped you that it was going to happen?

TIM RUSSERT: No, no. I mean—

BILL MOYERS: The Cheney office didn’t make any—didn’t leak to you that there’s going to be a big story?

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