Stephen Colbert Interviews Bill Moyers

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Last night, Bill dropped by The Colbert Report to talk about the July 9 Frontline documentary, “Two American Families,” featuring two hard-working Milwaukee families whose stories of economic hardship and perseverance Bill has been chronicling since 1992. Colbert peppered Bill with questions about personal responsibility and the need for a middle class in the first place.

Given this was also the week the Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, Colbert couldn’t let Bill go without a few pointed questions about it, especially since Bill was “in the room” during the Act’s development and passage in 1965.

Promotional photo courtesy of Comedy Central

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  • J. A. Lockett

    Have Mr. Hightower on y
    w, Mr. Colbert, please.

  • Anonymous

    If you’re still in the middle class, you don’t qualify for food stamps. While it’s true that anyone who works should be fairly compensated, I personally believe it’s wrong that America turns its back on those who can’t work, due to health or circumstances, and those for whom there are no jobs. As for the complaints of the middle class, please keep in mind that it is the middle class that chose the politics and policies we “enjoy” today. Every step of the way, the middle class has, by their votes, determined the course this country is on, so excuse me if I don’t join the pity-party for the bourgeoisie.

  • Brian Glenn Truex

    Bill Moyers is a National Treasure and a Speaker of the Plain Truth – we are so lucky to have him!

  • Kurt

    Two of my favorite people at the same table. Nice!

  • Bill123

    You mean petite bourgeoisie?

    “The middle class” is a broad brush which also encompasses those who vote and invest time for causes which slim majorities nullify.

    There is no “throwing the rascals out.” Ride them like Burmese tigers into the sunset, with spurs a-jangling, cattle prods a-whipping.

    Eat them alive, if no other food can be found.

  • Anonymous

    Or were so busy enjoying the middle class that they didn’t bother to vote at all, thus leaving the broad opening for extremists, funded by corporatocracy, to refashion society to benefit themselves. Which is why, when I hear people say, “Oh, I’m just not ‘into’ politics–like it’s a game show, I reply, “That’s REALLY too bad, ’cause politics is way, WAY into you!”

  • 20 Sumthin’

    Criminy, Bill, but you’re so freakin’ cool.

  • Robertico

    I agree.

  • https://twitter.com/NPR_Not_Neutral National Progressive Radio

    Imagine the outrage by lefties if Cal Thomas, who, unlike Moyers is not a Reverend, had a taxpayer-subsidized program that aired on PBS affiliates! Then, if Thomas went on a show hosted by someone who mocks liberals for a living–like Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, or Ann Couter and posted an item on his taxpayer-subsidized website about it!

  • SandyB

    Bill, you said we are all equal the voting booth. It may be true specifically there, but on the way there, all voices are not equal due to another Supreme Court ruling–Citizens United. I think this needs to be said over and over until that ruling is overturned via whatever means is open to REAL Citizens United in the fight for equality.

  • Davideros

    The Moyers program receives no funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or any other government agency, federal, state or local. Look at its list of funders — all private foundations, individuals and one corporate sponsor. You don’t see the “Viewers Like Me” logo that appears on other public TV programs. You don’t have to imagine — those are the facts.

  • https://twitter.com/NPR_Not_Neutral National Progressive Radio

    At a minimum, the show benefits from tax money by being broadcast on PBS stations that receive CPB, state, and local tax money. Does the show receive any payments from PBS stations, state public broadcasting networks, etc?

  • Rainadustbowlstory

    As a writer with a tendency to feel blue, one of the main things I love about Bill Moyers is that he simultaneously feels sharply all the evils going on–and yet he seems brimming with hope and energy.

    May we all learn how to do that.

  • moderator

    Bill Moyers has never been employed by PBS. When he left CBS News in 1986 he established his own independent production company and raises the funds for his own programs which he then offers to public television stations at no cost. There were no public funds in Bill Moyers Journal and there will be none in Moyers & Company. When he participates in pledge drives all the money goes to the local stations, not to Moyers. Over the years his programs have raised millions of dollars shared by the stations. So many of his series — Healing and the Mind, Becoming American, Close to Home (on addiction and recovery), On Our Own Terms (death and dying), America’s First River (the Hudson), Faith and Reason, World of Ideas, and others — cost you and other taxpayers not a penny. In a great American tradition, Bill Moyers is an entrepreneur who raises the funds necessary to maintain his independence as a journalist.

    Thank You,

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    Like so much that goes on in conservative circles this (your comment) too has the hallmark of hypocrisy to it. Here’s a guy who formed his own company, went out and produced it, funded it and made it hum. Just like conservative say they want others to do, but when he gets up and speaks truth to power he gets called on as being too progressive because he appears on public broadcasting. The point you make is nearly too simple-minded and biased to bother with.

  • Paul

    Is it really important who funds some honest insightful discussion about what has happened and continues to happen to people who only want work and dignity in this country? I suspect that the writer who objects (incorrectly) to Mr. Moyer’s funding sources, really objects to the truth he speaks, as opposed to who funds his work and where it is broadcast. No matter what passes before many people’s eyes, they cling to the mythology fed to them by corporate America, as opposed to the tragic reality visited upon many decent, hard working people.

  • Scott TheTechguy

    Why do people like you have to lie and smear people to make your point. You don’t even know what RESEARCH and TRUTH mean. I bet you didn’t even listen to what Bill had to say in this piece, MUCH LESS speak to the MERITS of what he said. Just shut your mouth already.

  • Scott TheTechguy

    In case you haven’t noticed, loser, nobody on this page agrees with you.

  • Lawler Kirk

    Me too!

  • Anonymous

    I’m talking about those who fit the official definition of “middle class,” as based on income. Class is defined by income. (You can do a quick web search for the actual figures based on family size.) I know the term has been used quite loosely lately to mean most non-rich people, or too often, used as a term for “working class.” In fact, many of the post-middle class stubbornly insist that they’re still in the middle class, even though their earnings are too low. In reality, the middle class has been shrinking for years, and will soon enough be obsolete.

  • Anonymous

    That’s a good point. I understand the dilemma faced by today’s poor when it comes to voting: There are two viable candidates, and neither one will stand with the poor. But the middle class still does have the power to determine our politics and policies. What we get is what the middle class voted for. If they actually object to something, they do, indeed, have the power to force govt to comply with their demands. If they do nothing, they deserve nothing.

  • Anonymous

    I love listening to right-wingnuts! Fortunately, our media presents us with many, many, many, many, many opportunities to hear the right-wing point of view. Every day, day or night, year after year…

  • Anonymous

    The hard part is getting into the voting booth! An issue that has been ignored is the ongoing struggle against various forms of voter suppression in low-income rural communities (mostly white and Native American) throughout the US.

  • Anonymous

    Bill Moyers would be the perfect person to host a discussion that tries to openly answer a question I’ve been asking for years: Not everyone can work, due to health or circumstances, and there aren’t jobs for all who need one. What should we do about those who can’t provide for themselves? The closest I’ve come to getting anyone to answer that was the routine response of calling for job creation (as we’ve been doing to 30+ years). But here’s the point: You can’t buy a loaf of bread with promises of eventual jobs. How should they survive until those jobs come along? Middle classers have a hard time comprehending that masses of people today are paid too little to be able to save any money — and that there simply are NO jobs for many. Low-wage workers are a single job loss from losing absolutely everything. How do you then get a job without a home address, phone, clean clothes, bus fare? So, what should we, this country, do about these people?

  • Bill123

    What, in God’s name, do you think the McLaughlin Group is, if not a right-wing chatter mill? It is syndicated and, unlike Moyers, receives funding from PBS in the markets where it airs, which seem to be everywhere. McLaughlin has been a mainstay of public television for more than three decades.

    Ronald Reagan called McLaughlin “a political version of Animal House.” Like Hannity and Colmes, calmer liberals are set up to shoot down—”mock,” in your terminology, with loud, derisive kiss-offs.

    Imagine Moyers making a living by giving out a bellicose shout of “Wrong!” every few minutes. Imagine you having a clue.

  • Bill123

    I understand that. What I am saying is the middle class does not vote in lockstep. The middle class does include the petite bourgeoisie, but it also includes people who oppose current campaign funding laws and outright conflicts of interest at all levels of our government, people who are focused on changing the status quo.

    My own belief is, if we can convince the majority to demand finance reform, we will return to a government substantially “for the people,” and we will see trust-busting and butt-kicking and a return to tax fairness, as well as a return of the fairness doctrine.

    It is the money that is killing the nation. Campaign finance reform first, and the rest will follow. I believe that is possible.

  • Wesley W. Rose

    With the combination of Computers, the Internet, and Automation I don’t understand why a 20 hour work week isn’t the norm by now. More and more jobs demand high levels of education and training. On top of that employers today need to be very flexible and versatile as well. To me it makes perfect sense that people should spend just as much time developing new skills and preparing for the next evolutionary jump in economics. We allow only a few to make a majority of the wealth and at the same time we run people and families into the ground either physically or through the constant stress of worrying you are going to get fired.
    We have an advanced economy when it comes to gambling on money (Stock Market) but we still have a 100 year old economic system for a majority of workers out there. It just doesn’t make sense…

  • Kim Jasperson

    I realize that Colbert is just a clown putting on a show but in such serious times for so many people who are struggling to survive and his assenine comments are almost as offensive as the Paula Deen crap thats going on! I wish Bill Moyer would just get up and walk out of such nonsense interviews!!!

  • Anonymous

    Maybe this is where those of us who are better iff can help. Do a Rep. Charley Wilson. He picked up people from the wrong side of the tracks to drive them to polling place. He was running against an intrenched politician who had poisoned his dog. Each load of voters was informed that his opponent had poisoned his dog.

    Charley won the local election and went on to an interesting career. This is the Charley Wilson of “Charley Wilson’s War”.

  • Denis

    I too feel optimistic about our future, as Bill does. Throughout history revolution has erupted whenever wealth gets so concentrated in a small part of the population and I am hopeful that enough people pay attention and become aware of what is going to organize into some form of revolution. I only hope it will be a non-violent one. We could all refuse to purchase from sources that pay subsistence wages, or who reap huge profits by abusing the environment, our commons from where we get everything for survival. Any company who earns huge profits is doing so by not paying their employees commensurately to the value each one adds to the produce. Business won’t do this on their own. They operate in a manner that will force the hands of ninety nine percent of us to act. I hope it happens soon. A person of great wisdom once said to me, “it is important to keep aware of what is going on so you will know which side to be on WHEN there is a revolution”. Let’s hope it is non-violent.

  • Anonymous

    All anyone one needs to do is seriously consider living on 1000.00/mo with food stamps & extra at community or church food banks. No money for a medicare supplement or prescribed meds. It is especially challenging for people with no car, no public transit to get to a good market or farmers’ market.

    I think many in the middle class know exactly how vulnerable they are & it scares them into complete denial. There they obsess on irrelevant matters – gay marriage, welfare fraud instead of financial fraud, or gun ownership issues. Not related to what really scares them to death. It is called displacement behavior. If the outcome of their paralysis were less pernicious in its impact.

  • Linda Vazquez

    But after SCOTUS Voting Rights blowout, and within 2 hrs after their ruling, TX and other states renewed their previous initiatives to put into state law politically inspired blocks to minorities voting. Their previous attempts were blocked from implementation by the federal justice depts legal oversight rulings. But now poof, gone, over. Yes, SCOTUS said states can update, change or renew voting rights sections with new lawsuits. That’s alot of time and money and legislative action, that must be initiated; start from scratch. Even if ALL want reimplementation, delays or republican leaders not even bringing them up for a vote, are possibilities. In the meantime minority vote blocks are real and actual working law. Shame on SCOTUS!

  • Joelil

    I don’t think you understand how capitalism works. It maximizes profits at the expense of labor (workers). The ideal for capitalism is free labor and that is the opposite of the expensive labor would be created by labor working only 20 hours per week. Capitalism will never increase benefits or salary or reduce working hours for labor without coercion from outside the system. The coercion can only come from labor withholding effort or government forcing companies to act against their own best interest – namely increased profits. Labor can only withhold effort if it is organized and it has been de-organizing for the last 60 years. Governments can force companies to act against their own self interest, but not if the government is overly influenced by those companies as is the case in the U.S. today. And remember, our economic system is hundreds of years old, not just 100 years old.

  • Anonymous

    Luv this, just mad me crack up. I really needed to laugh right now too. Soo Cool Thanks guys for fighting for all of US. Peace.

  • Kaitlyn Fredricks

    what Donald explained I am surprised that a mom can profit $4671 in one month on the computer. did you see this website w­w­w.K­E­P­2.c­o­m

  • Pete Joachim

    Exactly!

  • Pete Joachim

    Exactly! Unregulated capitalism will result in the failure of our democracy to perform as intended, just as unregulated capitalism in the early industrial revolution (robber barons) was ultimately the birth of democracy, the birth of regulated capitalism. The cycle of greed and power by those few lucky enough to reach the top continues. it is human nature – to conserve what you got, be it money or power.

  • Pete Joachim

    Hope – once lost, why continue.