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tv   A Conversation With Bill Moyers  PBS  October 25, 2018 9:30pm-11:00pm PDT

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explore new worlds and new ideas ik through programse this, made available for everyone on through contributis to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. hello i'm don shelby. what you're about to see is one of the most exciting and humbling assignments of my career. w i was asked to intervll moyers. it's something like playing the piano for mozart. because to my mind bill moyers is the greatest broadcast journalist of our age. he's won ms,e than 30 national em a lifetime achievement award for the national academy of television arts and sciences, rg nine gfoster peabody awards, the broadcast equivalent of the pulitzer prize, three george polk awards, and the dupont-columbia golden baton. most remarkable people ino his one-on-one interviews woand shared with us d of ideas. and he once took us inside hisily
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in a very personal way. he's authored 12 books. m competent to properly introduce bill moyers before a studio audience a man known for his modesty time. lkd his reluctance to bout himself, agreed to sit down with me for a conversation i shall never forget. ladies and gentlemen, mr. bill moyers. (upbeat music) (audiee applause) - it started in marshall, texas but it started before you were a journalist.
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something unusual occurred in marshall that taught you about this america. you were the son of one of the poorest people in town anywhere else, in any other time, av you wouldn't had much of a shot. how did it happen that a poor boy got the shot you got? - i was the beneficiary of affirmative action for poor, white southern boys. if you studied hard, worked hard, moved around town, met people, there were men partic warly men in the town wld say, "he's a comer let's help him. "he's a poor boy let's help him." so the rodeo club gave me a scholarship, the city commission let me come in and sit-in on their meetings. i was just constantly touched by people a older thanwho saw something in me
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so they just kept moving me. but you know in those days the gap of income frinequality was not so great.r. one of my best friends was anne blalock, who was the daughter of the richest man in town. but we went to the same school, e we went to the srties, we went to the same dances. and i never felt uncomfortable in the presence of the kids in town whose parents ture really the more fte ones. and that's changed in this country today to a very disturbing extent. there's very little conversation, there's very little intercourse, there's very little communication, very little participation between the poorest people, poorest kids in our country, in our cities, and those who are ll off. but i, it never occurred to me, that i wasn't as good as anne, dn or it occur to her that i was not her equal in our relationship, and sohat little town said to me, you signify, you matter.
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it doesn't matter that your dad is poor. so those benefits in this small town were available to an ambitious young man who wawhite. - you are 14 years old, you're in marshall, texas, and there's a political rally, th and fofirst time in your life you see in person lyndon baines johnson, the senator of the state of texas. what did you think when you first saw him? - i was bowled over by the helicopter. (audience laughs) i was on the town squared.and tn he traveled the state, this is the 1948 election, which he was beaten by 87 very contested and i have no doubt illegal votes down in the valley of texas. but he was campaigning hard in a helicopter, a who didn't want to selicopter in '48 the first year that helicopters were used in campaigns? so i went down to the town square f and when he got e helicopter took his big
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stetson and tossed it into the crowd. now i later learned that he did that at every stop and he had somebody on his staff who went and got the stetson and returned it to the helicopter at the next stop so he could toss it again. i mean i learned a lot about politics in that very moment. that realization that this was part of the game. this was just not that he had an endless supply of stetsons in the helicopter, but i remember that he spoke to the crowd without a microphone. must have been 1,000, 2,000 people, at courthouse square. big man, boisterous, stentorian in his tall, commanding presence, and i remember being stunned by the power of his persona. something you didn't see again, really, until the campaign of '64 when he was running for president for the fi.t time in his own rig - so you, north texas, university of texas austin, southwest theological seminary,
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would stop in edinburgh and spend some time to study. committed to becoming a preacher, eaching in two churches upon graduation. but in there somewhere is a letter that you sent to lbj e suggesting that ung voice wasn't being heard as much, and maybe you knew something. and he was struck by that apparently, because he called you. - i had been at north texas state college in upstate tatas and i would go stohe student union some of you don't remember the mccarthy hearingsaring. but the extremisjoseph mccay a senator from wisconsin on anti-communist crusade had gone beyond the limits of reasonable italogue and reasonable ps animthe senate had calledo question was about to censor him. and sitting in the student union tching those hearings i became very engaged.
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don't ask me exactly why it was, as i say, i was 20 i'm 82 now that was a long time ago. tobut i felt maybe i wante be . i planned to be a journalist i was working my way ll through the es on the publicity staff he the college coveringports from the college and writing newsletters. i went to my office on a saturday afternoon wrote except to see himd never from the helicopter. and i wrote a letter saying, i'd like to learn about politics and you'ren a campaign down he where you're trying i'd lto reach young peoplelitics and i think i've got something for yo and you've got something for me. the letter got to his desk, he always wanted to have bright, young men around him. were young men on his staff at one time in his career. and i went to washington and spent the summer in fact when i got off the trolley that brought me over to the capitol where his senate majity office was he was getting onto the trolle and he took my hand and said, "come on," he didn't even have a warm greeting a he just took me doong corridor
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in the basement of the capitol opened the door an and took me down taddresso, an addressograph machine was like aewing machine, you would hit the pedal and a metal plate would come through, the stamp would come down, s and print the addron the e. so in-between eight o'clock at night, and seven the next morning, i addressed by foot 275,000 envelopes. to the room where i wasked staying, and that impressed him. so then he moved me over to his own office to answer his own correspondence and there i was at 20 totally inexperienced in this, writing his letters to eisenhower, er writing his leto the secretary of state, writing his letters to his contributors in texas, and we bonded. i was going back to this small college at the end of the summer, and lyndon johnson at his desk said, "you know, i think you ought to transfer to the university of texas." that's where he lived and that's where he had a television station and i said, "mr. leader i don't have any money,
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"i'm going to get married, and i've got a job "in north texas in denton," he said, "i'll give you a job-- [don] ktbc? - [bill] ktbc the radio station which somehow mysteriously was the only station in the country that could broadcast all three networks. (audience laughs) - i wonder how that happened. - they had a monopoly, (the favorable gods were looking down, and i got a job with him. he had promised me that he would pay me a hundred dollars a week that was astonishing in '54. it was more than my father had ever made in his life as i said earlierand i wentn and he worked me 40 hours a week and i used to toolfirst around town study,. covering accidents and murders and the state senate the state legislature and that was probably the biggest crimscene in au. (audience laughs)
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but i still have a hardhad a detime describing it.ence and i decided that politics wasn't, and journalism wasn't going to satisfy my instincts and my intuitions, or ven be a healthy place to work. so i decided to go and teach at a religious institution, i'd get my phd first, so i went to the seminary four years. and i was graduating in late december of '59, judith and i, my wife, were packing ouroxes to move back to austin where i had been accepted to do my phd in american civilization and had a teaching assistantship at baylor university which is a baptist school in waco halfway between dall and austin. and the phone rang, it was two days after christmas, and it was lyndon johnson, i hadn't talked to him in two and a half year he said, "bill how are you doing?" "i'm fine, mr. leader." " "what are you doin said. "i'm packing to go back to austin." and he said, "no, no, i'm going to make a run for it,
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"i don't think i'll get it but i need you back." i hung up and i said, "judith pack for washington, "not for austin." and we went up, on the way she said, "what did he offer to pay you?" and i said, "i have no idea he dn't mention it." (audience laughs) and so i spent that year back in his office traveling with him, spending every night in some hotel, aralnd the country, seeing of the politicians, meeting them, watching what happened. er theyheavy drinkers in those days, and after all day of campaigning they'd come to the hotel and they would drink until 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 in the morning and i had to stay up until it was or. of course i learned a lot, but gradually, that led me in the direction r.of washington for my car when he didn't get theminatiod to be the vice presidential running mate. i started to go back to texas then, and he se d, "no stay through ection "then you can go." and so i did and during the campaign i was the liaison on the vice president's plane the swoose named after the plane he had been
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on in the pacific, briefly during world war ii, and the caroline which was john kennedy's plane. and i got to know the irish mafia, to be frank and others have written this, i was the only person on johnson's team o uld talk boston and interpret boston to austin. and i became in their eyes somewhat valuable. so when the election came and we won, barene, as you know, john k came down to the lbj ranch and i'm sure that lbj set him up for this, but john kennedy was leaving and he turned on the porch of the lbj ranch saw me leaning in the corner, came over and said, i said, "no, i'm going to teach at a baptist school "and i'll get my phd." and he said, "don't you know harvard was founded "by a baptist preacher?" he said, "we need you in washington," so i went. and just a few months into working in the vice president's office, boring job,
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he and i had writtenhis mind, it a speech for lbj,at time, he said, "i don't have a speech, i'm going to speak ve "at this uity give me a speech." so i sat down on my little portable typewriter ot and a speech proposing a youth corps, where did i get the idea? from hubert humphrey in tinnesota he had been advo a youth corps a peace corps, kennedy of course picked it up but so did we. and after the election i realized as kennedy announced that hpewas going to start the corps, that's what i wanted to do so i began to rest myself free of thesand t vice president's office. and i was one of the founding organizers of the peace corps, becato its first deputy dir and i had the three best years of my life. you know it was a new effort to send young people who were not in military uniform out to help shape the identity of america in the world and to give them a sense of the world .that they would bring ba and i can't tell you every time
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i come to minnesota, every time i go to the it hubert humphrey ine, i gave the keynote speech at the humphrey institute when they opened it. people come up to me, my age and younger, and they sayor"we were in the peace, "it was a defining moment of my life." it was mine, i couldn't have been happier. and one day in early october of '63 i got a call from kenny o'donnell who was then john kennedy's most powerful assistant, "bill we want you to go to austin, "the president is going to go down there." "we sent an italian, advance man from boston, "whom i knew, jerr tbruno, we sent him dore, "and he just can't, they can't understand each other. "our efforts, we've t to raise money. "we've got to speak in houston, "andso i did, i went downn ere and i was holding hands e th the governor and bor people, and the liberals and the conservatives until the presidentgot ou. sitting at the forty acres club at the university of texas having lunch with the chairman of the state democratic committee
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and the most promising young member of the state senate, ben barnestohe maitre d' came ovee and said, "mr. moyers you've got a call," so i went and took it. it was bill paine the secret service agent assigned to me in dallas and he said, "bill, the president's been shot."ice agent i immediately went back and told my colleagues and went right out to the airport, on the way, es ben barranged for a little aircraft to carry me to dallas, halfway between austin and dallas, robert trout on cbs said, in a haunting voic "the president is dead." i landed at love field, started to town, to the hospital, parkland hospital and got a dispatcher's call saying, "the president, lyndon johnson now, was on air force one at love field," right where we had landed. "thwent back, went upn johnson nowto air force one,e one cr the service stopped me, he didn't know me, and i wrote a note--
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- what did it y? - it's in the library. mr. president, don't ask me why intuitively i arted calling him mr. president. i'd always called him senator, or leader. mr. president i'm here if you need me, bill moyers. a few minutes later the secret service agent came back and called me up the steps and there i was on air forcene. - [don] what was going through your mind? - no awesome, my god, lo at this, it was very practical, how do i help him? what's he going to do now? 'cause he had never expected to be president, i mean in the campaign of '60, organizing the peace corps, those were administrs.ive and managerial j and i had never even been in the white house and i was standing at the back of that plane, saying, "how can be helpful?" and when he went back into the bedroom of air force one
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security had closed all the portholes, but he had opened the one in that inner office, inner bedroom, inner sanctum and he was looking out. tl qu very calmly, and i said, "mr. president what are you thinking?" and he said, "are the missiles flying?" here we're in the midst of a cold war, the cuban missile crisis was not long behind us, and i realized then that he had things on his mind he had never had on his mind before. d just started filling in with the small details. calling the speaker of the house, just functional things, and i was good at that, and one reason he came to trust me was because i had that sense of doing the details and not being conspicuous about it. bu there were no great and noble, or fearful thoughts in mind on that plane coming back. >> hi, everybody. my name is don shelby. i'm the person who's sitting next to bill moyers in the
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program that you're watching. and it has been the highlight of my life. sten i was first asked to the program and to ask the questions of bill moyers, i knew that he was not going to be as forthcoming because he's a very modest person, he doesn't like to talk aboutms f. in fact, in the first break that we took, he leaned over and apologized to me and said,"i 'm sorry i'm talking so much." no, that's cool, you can talk as much as you want to.w this sat you're watching was for me a labor of love, the opportunity to interviewanim spend some time with him and be able to ask him aboutim those incredible during the johnson administration when he was present for the creationc of what we nl history. which is perfectly fitting for journalists because it's alwaysn been said that jists write the first draft of seen and covered and reportedas
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has become itself history and the way he has written it, and the way he has spoken it to us will stand as a landmark of the great journalism that is produced. g i'm d that you're watching this program, andng supporhis television station. >> what an absolute privilege it is to be watching this superb program with you this evening. it is truly remaable to hear bill moyers tell us about his life experiences. imagine, he is the only one still living from that plane on the day that kennedy died. hi, i'aret prestrud and i'm a member of publicte vision, and i'm asking you to give your support this evening, as well, around thi wonderful program. when you do do it with a gift of $84 or $7 a month, we will be happto gift you the wonderfu program that we're enjoying. as don mentioned, it's not just
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the program that we're seeing, that there's almost an extra hour, as well, because we just were not able to fit it all into this program. it is truly a special recollection from bill moyers. with a gift $1 or $1 a month as a sustaining member, our gift to you will be the program we've been enjoying as well as a companion book to bill moyers' journa this is 524 pages, it is 43in rviews, every interview has a personal introduction by billoyers setting the stage, telling you how it was that day in the studio. it's just a fascinating read. with a gift of $252 or $21 a month as a sustaining w member, l send you the power of myth, where bill moyers and joseph campbell talked about mythology and how it impacts our lives. it is ju fabulous series. not only is it the d.v.d. but it also includ a viewer's
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guide and extra footage that was not in the oginal that you can enjoy. these are all our way of sayingo thanwhen you call and make that pledge of support. why don't you do it right now? call the number on the bottom of your screen or go online to show your support for this very icecial program on your pu television station.oy >> when bills left the l.b.j. white house, he spent some time working on other projects and then he ended upat net in new york city.s rst touch with public broadcasting, and then, from there, he started to work with nbc and then with cbs, he jumped into eric sevareid's oes as a commentator on the cbs evening news and then he went back to wnet, because he was so constrained in commercial television, didn't have the ability to expand thought. just talking to other people,
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letting them expound, letting them talk, can we keep up with the kind of standard that he set? the only way we can do tt is if we somehow pull ourselves together and make money available for your local public television station. that is the only way we're going to continue to get that kind of journalism coverage. it means here you can trust what you get. >> you keep great conversationsw comih your financial contribution to this station make a monthly sustagift of $7 or a one-time donation of $84 and we'll thank you with a d.v.d. of this program, which includes nearly an hour of additional conversation, plus questions and answers with bill moyers. with a monthly sustaining gift of $13, or a donation of $156 right now, you'll enjoy the program d.v.d., plus the book
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"bill moyersjournal, the conversation continues." with 43 in-depth interviewsis enjoy the 25th anniver edition of the seminal series, "the power of myth" with josephp ll with your gift of $252 or a sustainingri cotion of $21 per month. the three-d.v.d. set includes new footage not seen in the original release, and an interview with film maker george lucas.iv you'll also rethe d.v.d. of today's program. please call and give to this station right k you for your support. >> you know, it is the job ofs d your local station to t inspire, to entertai illuminate, to uplift everyone in your family, everyone in your community to do a little, bit mo do a little bit better because the great issues of the day are put right in
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front of you. and you have the opportunity to make decisions, and then itde makecracy work and it's one of the tenets of bill moyers that it is a mocracy in peril, unless we do act, unless we do make these decisions on our own. you want the inspirati. you want those things in your life and they're n available elsewhere. you can watch all the cable, all the co ercial channels youwant to and t you get on your station. so i hope you will join us in supporting this station. mestican the white house, lbj pledged to carry out john f. kennedy's missn. and time magazine called you the young man in charge of everything. (audience laughs) but the vietnam war interfered, and got in the way of these great hopes and dreams.
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ddid you resent the war was a man othe cloth? yo diresent the war as a public policy? - in those first two years when i was in charge of the domestic program w i didn't think about t. as we look back and as documents are revealed it turns out that many decisions were made in '64 and early '65 by the president, mcnamara and bundy. and as the war began to escalate it was very troubling. i wish that i had been a moral prophet, and had said, "this is gonna end in disaster." it was tragic, it was one of those tragedies of history which lyndon johnson is responsible for that changed the course of our society. frustrated the great society programs,r snuffed them out in thcradle. i mean every constituency that we had practically
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for the great society program for remaking a,e institutions of amerchools, roads and all of that was a victim of the vietnam war. i many timeft in january of '67 fe because what i cared about was no longer being nurtured, no longer being funded, d ere was no longer a priority of lyndon johnson. he had tr,be, when you're in a you have to fight it, and so i left. my influence was limited then, humbled, because the president, i was an advocate of stopping the bombing of the north. us and to go to meetings in the cabinet room and i'd come in and the president said, "here comes ban the bomb bill." and they began to see me that way and therefore believed that i was skewed. - no less light than doris kearns goodwin said that, s "moyould write the book, because all of those blanks
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k even in caro's wn be filled in by bill moyers." and when i read why you won't write a book about lbj i was toucrsd professionally and ally for why you said you won't do it. would you tell people why you won't? - there were so many reasons i can't be sure i'm remembering the one that you are referring to. there were many reasons, many reasons. first of all, i didn't want to be the thief of his confidence. i spent hours, hours with the man alone, on the campaign trail, in those first 12 months of our time in the white house, and he never belied that anything he said to me, whether he was dru p or sober would becolic. and secondly i lived the experience but i don't remember it that well. because there were so many things coming at me.
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s i lling my really good friends here this morning that when i left the white use i put all my files i lling my really good in 100 boxes we moved them to ki the brs institute and then on up to new york when i was publisher of the newspaper. i never opened them after 25 years took them to our new home in new jersey put 'em in the attic, never opened them. i hadn't opened them for 50 years, so ast year when we decided to sell our house, i had to get all of tse boxes out including the carcasses of mice and the shells of creatures of all kind and i opened them. d the first box i opened was the first three weeks in the white house, and all we could do, i didn't even have an assistant that i had known that's how we were thrust into the hurricane. five of us, six of us, the president, mrs. johnson, jack valenti, me, hore busby and a couple of othe. and there were all the kennedy people but they were so grief stricken and so shattered
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th we felt as if we were alone on the island, and the island was in the midst of this grt tsunami. and so i just put my files and all my correspondenc ancafies and allas in the mithat in ths,grt tsunami. here i was 29 years old and there were cables coming in from the uprising in nigeria, yp and the civil war inss, and the turmoil of the british governnt which was in trouble, and the information about the movement of chinese troops towards the borderowf korea, and right onthe line there was one issue after another. and what did we know about them? em what did i know about i had been at the peace corps. even lyndon johnson who had been in many of those meetings with president kennedy, what did he kn about them? and suddenly decisions were being made about issues for which there was very little time
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to collect the evidence. you know lyndon johnson kept saying to me, in all those years, "a man is no betr, a man's judgement is no better than his information." and i really believed that, and that has guided me ar in my journalismr the last 44 years. my opinion isn't worth a pig's ass if you don't mind my saying so, unless i can back it up with evidence. - you said in a couple of places, in some of the books that you have written more than a dozen books. and the thousands of houu of television that oduced. i found three references to the word atonement. where you talked about a person need to atone. when you said to william sloane coffin in one of the very last conversations you had with reverend coffin. you were saying you were glad that you had grown old enough
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to begin to account for in essence the sins of the past. and he said to you, "bill we have a lot to atone for." has your journalism career, and i will make it easier for you if you wanto answe, because it has with me, been an atonement in a sense a redemption? - i don't look at it that way, and i never have. but let me say in the crucible of power you make a lot of mistakes. some of them come from character, some of them come from a paucity of information, and some of them come from haste, but you make a lot of mistakes. you don't see there are consequences until you are out of the battle, till the war is over. and you can read what the other side said the other troops on the other side of the trenches or the files in north vietnamese records or in the kremlin library you don't really know
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that you misjudged it or made a mistake, presidents or staff assistants to the president you make a lot of mistakes. and if you let the mistakes eat away at you they will destroy you. but you learn certain things, thatthan if you arpier if you are trying to conceal it truth you have more fun, you feel better at night. if ou're trying to find the truth instead of trying to cover it up. when i became press secretary ,against my will by the w the president went through two or three press secretaries. he said, "i want you to be press secretary," dosaid, "mr. president t want to do it, "thank you anyway." the second time didn do it. the third time i said, "yes," because i'd still have my shoulder out of joint here. and that afternoon i theflew home to see my wife," who was in dallas visiting her parents. and as we went to bed that evening, she had on her red and white silk pajamas. i said, "you know this is the beginning of the end
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and she said, "why?" and i said, "because no man can serve two masters." you're trying to help the president get his ideas across, you're serving his interests rightly. but if you're trying to help the press understand why he's mr ing those decisions,at they mean, yore trying to help the press. and there were moments that grew in intensity and paranoia, in which he thought i was serving the press more thai was serving him. - but at some point you came to the conclusion standing at the lectern in the white house that you wanted to be on that side. - yes i remember it clearly. it was in the briefing room, my office was the briefing room. by the way there were only about 40 or 50 accredited reporters in the white house then. there are now 1,100, so i had a small office, ri and we'd the press there (laughs).
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i knew we had carefully arranged for the president to go to bethesda hospital and have a surgery, gallbladder surgery. but i couldn't let that out until after the o'clock. ne because the first that woult from the press corps they would have rusheout and said, "johnson to go for surgery." and we agreed we called the fed, we called the secretary of the treasury, "oh no it could bring the market down "if you do it before three o'clock. "it could bring a govement down." and johnson said, "it could bring my government down." so we calculated a carefully, thght out strategy, and i would not answer a questions at subject until 3:01 so we calculated a carefully, well merriman smith who was the dean of the white house correspondents wi hi had a really close friend who was a nurse at bethesda hospital. and merriman came in and said, "bill i know the president's going to bethesda
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"but i have to have it confirmed." in those days pierre salinger who sed been kennedy's presetary, had urged me to learn to smoke cigars, i never smoked. he said because you're going to be asked very tough questions and you're going to need 30 seconds think of the answer. and if you're smoking agoing cigar you can light it upestions and cu've got 30 seconds pose your answer. (audience laughs) so i was hooked i smoked a cigar on my son's front otrch this afternoon, ised to them. d yway, so i ease up lighting my cigar ht and he said, "let me lt." he smoke cigarettes, so i walked around him m and lockdoor from the inside, took toc key and put it in myt. from my office to the lobby where the press phones were and he said, "damnit i know it "i'm gonna go out and write it." op so hed the door, he couldn't get it open. we were seven minutes till three and he couldn't, rt and he s chasing me around the room. no, i'm serious, behind the desk. he started coming at me, "you son of a bitch," he said, "i know you got,
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"just nod, just confirm it some way. "otherwise i'mbitch," he swer as a confirmation.", so finally he calmed down a little bit and at three o'clock sh i the button to the outside the press came back in and i made the announcement. then they started asking all these questions and then and there i said to myself, as i lighted a cigar, again, "i want to be on their side asking the question "than on my side not answering them." - let's leave the white house and lbj and now you're a journalist. 1970 you go to channel 13 wnet, and begin doing a weekly show and get television in your blood, but when you decided to have a conversation os withh campbell can you imagine what it wod have been like to walk into some place like cbs and say, "i got an idea two guys sitting down facing
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"each other talking for a series "of six long shows about mythology." they would have told you, you we crazy. - they would have called bellevue hospital. (audienclaughs) i wish i could claim exclusive rights to the idea, but i had colleagues who talked about joseph campbell and i had read the hero with a thousand faces when i was at the university of texas and didn't understand it, but i had read it d remembered it. and then i read that he had been advising george lucas on the star wars film. so i called him up and he said, "of course i'd love to sit and talk with you." cbs wouldn't aonsider it, my frienpbs, they saw the value of it and they put up y a good bit of the moat i had to raise to do it. and we did 20 some-odd hours over two summers '85 and '86 at george lucas's skywalker ranch. - so myths are stories of the search
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by men and women through the ages for meaning, for significance, to make life signify, to touch trnal, to understand the mysterious, to find out who we are. - people say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. t i doink that's what we're really seeking. i think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive so that the life experiences that we have on the purely physical plane will have residences within that are those of our own inner-most being and reality. a and so that ually feel the rapture of being alive. t that's w's all finally about, and that's what these ue help us to find within ourselves. - the reaction initially from t station was, "what?" two guys sitting there, two white guys, sitting there
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ing about mythology? and we had no promotion and went out and within the next seven days after it first aired, after the first episode aired, ge stations wering calls from people, what is this? put it back on, and they began to run it and it grew and it grew, it's the most, it's what i will be remembered for introducing this great teacher to a mass audience. because it was repeated over and again it became for years the best fundraiser for public broadcasting. i believe there's no better production value than the power of the human face. when you let people lo at your face, and your emotions, and your eyes, and the intensity in there's i couldpati create that with technology. whene ou tell somebody, "i lu," if you're fortunate you tell them t when you're this clothem. if you ask them to marry you, you're looking right into their eyes. there is no power greater an the human face
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for the purpose of television, and television makes us intimate strangers. and so being able to sit like ts and talk is probably the most personal experience we have outside of sex. and since that's limid for many people, conversation is absolutely the way we entertain ourselves. (audience laughs) let me tell you a story. a year after that series aired, i was walking out of a restaurant, la cavelle restaurant, on 8th avenue, between 55th and 56th. i was walking down the street and a young, african americany.oman was coming this and as you know, television makes us intimate strangers and you think you know everybody you see on television. and i think some intuitive reason that i know the people who are watching, i've never lt that sense of the people on the other de of the camera. so our eyes connected and we walked on, strangers.
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but i turned and she turned and she said, "mr. moyers?" and i said, "yes," she said, "do you have a minute?" i said, "sure," she said, "i came to new yk "to be an actress and i've had a really difficult time. e "i had sod auditions "but none of them were satisfactory. "my boyfriend and i living together for a year "i mean life just sort le of come to an end for me. "so one night i came home, and i went to my apartment," she pointed right across the street to a small apartment buildingnd she said, "i went up and i turned on the burner, "i pulled down the window, i went over and poured "a big glass of bourbon," and i know you like bourbon. and she said, "i laid down on the couch "and i was really ready to go," she said, in"when i had left that mo "i had left my television set on,
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tw "and i heard these guys talking about "myths, and the meaning of life, ll "andf this and i heard one of them say, 'do you think people are looking for the meaning of life?' 'nnd the other one said no, no, 'i think they're looking 'for the experience of being alive,'" and she said, "you mnow something snapped "and then i heard a voice of the announcer say, 'come back next week, (audience laughs) or the second edition of 'bill moyers and joseph campbell on the power of myth.'" - and that postponed her suicide. - she got up and said, "i poured the bourbon out, "i turned the burner off, i opened the window, "and i watched every one of those episodes. "and what i decided," standing on the street, "what i decided is i don need to be an actres "but i need to experience the possibility "of life every day."
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now those stories are common for people who watched that series, and i can't explain it adequately, even today, but this medium has the power to touch, and move, inform, and connect people, and that's what i discovered in doing it, and why i've done it for 44 years. and why i've done a thousand or more hours of television because public affairs is more than the news of the day, it's the truth of poetry, which is a greater truth william carlos williams said, "people are dying "for a lack of the news they don't get on the evening news." it can take people far away, it can connect people who don't know each other, intimate strangers. i mean the marriage ofe image d the most powerful combination of truth telling s and experienring we've ever had.
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it's not the cuneiform tablet, it's not the printed word which is wonderful, but it's a marriage of the two and from that coupling comes something creative. and when it's done this way, it is the most important and valuable contribution to our understanding each other that man has ever invented. k >> i want you to think b a moment in time when he mentioned that woman that he just bumped into on the streets, who had in her mind the id that she was going to end her life and he heard her sa "once i saw this show, "the power of the myth" with joseph campbell, i changed my mind". and i hope that you're thinking about ing the $21 a month donation because if you do, you get the "power of myth," and do you know that this is still, after all of these years, 25
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years, that this is still the most requested of the d.v.d.s published by pbs and made available to the public. more people still seek that. you can have that in your home. we have only pbs to thank for that. your local station. [music] >> you keep great conversations comi with your financial contribution to this station today. make a monthly sustaining gift of $7 or a one-time donation of $84 and we'll thank you with a d.v.d. of this program, whichcl es nearly an hour of additional conversation, plus questions and swers with bill moyers. with a monthly sustaining gift of $13, or a donation of $156 right now, will a enjoy the program d.v.d. plus the book "bill moyers' journal, the conversation continues." with 43 in-depth interviews t from his populseries. enjoy the 25th anniversary
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edition of the seminal series, "the power of myth" with joseph campbell. with your gift of $252, or a sustaining contribution of $21 per month. the three-d.v.d. set includes new footage not seen in the interview with filmmaker george lucas. you'll also receive the d.v.d. of today'srogram. please call and give to this station right now. thank you for your support. >> if you listen to what joseph acampbell said, that peop searching for an experience of living, an experience for living. it changed the lives of so many people when theyirst heard that, and then when bill talked about that a person's judgment is only as gooas his or her information, that is anpo ant thing to remember in this day and age. so i hope that youill support this local television station. i hope that you will supportt pbs so t continue to
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bring you the kind of in-depth reporting analysis andop mind-changinion-changing and altering information that it has always given you. >> sustaining membership is an easy, convenient and affordable way to support the programs you love. sustaining members make an ongoing monthly contribution from either thr credit card or checking account. just choose the monthly amount you would like to give, then go online or callnd we'll get it set up for you. your donation will happenau matically each month so your support will always be current. you want to change your sustaining membership, just contact us.hl mocontributions begin as low as $5 per month. go online or call to start you sustaining membership right now. >> and the time to do that is right now, by making your phone contribution to help keep this
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station strong. when you make that phone call,mo with a gift of $7 h as a sustaining member, you canave this wonderful d.v.d. to enjoy in your home, to share with others, perhaps, to listen toan more in dept remember, there's d.v.d. extras included with that, an additional 49 minutes that we're not going to be seeing. with a gift of $49 a month, you'll get the d.v.d. but we'll send you bill moye' journal, "the conversation continues." this is a companion book to that iconic program that he did here on pbs and it includes so many incredible interviews. you have robert bly talking about poetry, shelby steele on race, there are so many in-depth interviews in here, in fact, it's 43 interviews, what a wonderful way to really enjoy bill moyers withhis book and this d.v.d. or, with a gift of $21 a month, "the power of myth." now enjoyable would it be for
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you to havthis in your home to listen to this conversation that has had such an impact for so many years. the important thing, though, is for you to figure out what works for you and your family to support this station and call the number on your screen right no a i hope you remember that is moment in time when the conversation with bill moyers s t of series and we're talking about serious issues but i want you to know that all you have to do is look back on your own experlince in your and the importance of pbs and the shows it has broughtu, nd the joy that it has brought you, the information that it has brought to you, and the way at it has helped your children, the shows that have been so important to them from "sesame street" all the way to this program today. so, remember that this local station is your lifeline to incredibly important information, and so it is worth your time and your dollars.
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>> you keep great conversations coming with your financialti contri to this station today. make a monthly sustaining gift-t of $7 or a oe donation ofth $84 and we'lk you with a d.v.d. of this program which includes nearly an hour additional conversation, plus questions and answers with bill moyers.ta with a monthly sing gift of $13, or a donation of $156 right now, you'll enjoy the program d.v.d. ps the book "bill moyers' journal, the convertion continues." with 43 in-depth interviews from his popular tv series. enjoy the 25th anniversary edition of the seminalyt series "the power of with joseph campbell. with your gift of $252 or a sustaining contribution of $21mo peh. the three-d.v.d. set includes new footage not seen in the
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original release, and an interview with filmmaker george lucas. you'll also receive the d.v.d. of today's program. please call and give to this station right now. thank you for your support. >> your contribution in any amount would be appreciated. we know what the economy is like, we know that some people are doing better, some pple not so well. those people who are doingtt , maybe it's time to look deep into your hearts and souls d say, should i bear the o weigthe time i spent in front of the television with this television station pbs show that i'm watching or should iet someone else pay for it? well, i think the real awer to that is, no, i probably should pay my fair share. that's all that's being ked. and to pay to the degree that you can afford. i heard one time someone say that you shoulgive until it hurts. i think better way to say that is to give until it makeyou
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feel great. and if you believe that this station and pbs has been important to you and will bein importanhe future, the only way that it can be important in the future is if there is fundi n. with all ts out there today, it is very difficult to f separate fact frtion. but here you can tru what you get from your station. please give and give genersly. ! want to read you a quote which you know and many people in our audience will probably know ha the firs, this is a quote from thomas jefferson. "whenever the people are well informed "they can be trust with their government. now that's what people is usually quoted.d but actually that quotation goes on, and jefferson continues, "that whenever things get so far wrong "as to attayct their notice, theye relied upon
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"to see them to rights." is america well informed? and can americans be relied upon to set the wrongs to right? - at times, at times, generalizations are generally wrong, and i would not say the american people are not informed, many are not, they don't want to be informed. so they move through life with a limite pp of what it takes to think critically, but many others are, it's like journalism. i don't speak of the media anymore because o'reilly's in the media and bill moyers is in the media and different journali but no, i think today, with the complexity of the issues, although in those days they were complex issues of forming a government and there was no rapid communication. i don't think peopleare ad
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as we need for democracy to function be for government to eld accountable for huge economic institutions to be checked with balance. the whise secret of democracot that people are virtuous or not, it's that some are virtuous sometimes and they're not virtuousther times, and some are not virtuous and then they are. it's the balance of power, when both parties tr arng to do the right thing, or one's trying to do the wrong thing s and the otheholding it ac. so i don't think the american people are as whole, are as informed we y fi work and it's very dlt today given most people spend all day making a living, holdfag two jobs, raising ly, trying to help in their church, trying to work as volunteers at the public television station they're busy. that's why the accountability of politicians is so important because they're a professional people
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designed to solve the problems but democracy should be able to solve the problems it creates for itself and we're not doing that right now. you're house is on fire, don, our home here on earth is on fire. our economy is not performing for millions of americans our highway system is coming apart. we should be able to solve those problems, po by dependingthe politicians and bureaucrats ct who we ere employed to take those problems that none of us alone can solve and we're not, this country isunraveling, and we need not only more information we need more time to be active citizens. change does come but it never comes swiftly, and it usually comes from the bottom up. and there are people out there on the front line trying to fight climate change, trying to take on the climate deniers, yi to solve the problems of our inner cities, thank god for them all of that.
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but they're up against al st insurmountable odds and if we had a truly independent, non-partisan,that. truth telling media we'd be in a lot better shape. you know there's a great line in the play night and day by tom stoppard, where the photographer in that play says, "people do terrible things to each other, rs "but it's when they do it in the dark." and we're settling into a dark period in american life, during whichverybody's happy because we're amusing ourselves to death. we watch how many hours, i go on the subway or in newcity and every week they put new posters up there are new cable television shows, and new plays on broadway and all of that. and there's so much to do and the web in is constantly cons obsessively consuming people. there's so much to entertain us that as my friend po the late neil stman who taught communications
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at new york university said in his famous book, amusing ourselves to death, gh we will probably die lg because of the little we know. - it comes down to this issue it seems to me, bill, thee it's the difference beproviding people what they need to know versus what they want to know. nt and the inn of, the survey, where we have asked the public what would you like see o? as opposed to, damnit, this g because this is whatsee o? you needo know in order to be a citizen and cast a reasonable informed opinion vote. we don't, or they, don't do it anymore. because ratings, circulation, are more important. - there's a prophet in treating viewers as consumers
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instead of citizens in the great gift of public television and public rio ll is that we ssomehow with tp of people like this it's been able to hold to the idea of the american people as a community of citizens, not consumers. (audience applause) years ago, don, i met a professor of engli a great cumaural critic at yale, named cleanth brooks. and he talked about the bastard muses and there were three bastard muses. propaganda, which pleads for a particular point of view sometimes unscrupulously at the expense of the total truth.
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sentimentality, which works to create an emotional response in excess of and unwarranted by the occasion. and pornography, which focuses on one powerful drive at the expense of the whole personality. in that little interview i did with cleanth brooks, i don't know a long time ago, comes to my mind almost every time i try to watch the news on corporate news, because it is propaganda, largely, sentimentality, largely, and pornography, in the terms of its twisted view of the human being and they have also twisted the heart out of what it means to be a citizen. lland journalism is a profession, almost like the first pression it is said, but it is still our only hope when both parties when i was in politics i believe it was
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th responsibility of one party to tell the truth about the other party, neither party does that today. - i would call joseph heseer a curmudgeon i sup and in your interview with him he says these sort of frightening in the interview with yoaid "democracy we celebrate is full of illusions "such as participatory democracy," he called voting, "a ritual and a delusion that comforts us, "indispensable to our contentment but "absolutely useless in application." do you agree? - not with you absolutely, but i do believe deat voting is easy ancracy's hard. democracy, so it happens, between elections in our local communities in our state house and elsewhere and it requires participation people who go to school board meetings, and struggle, and argue for what they want.
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ly so i don't agree whith him. i don't believe in pure democracy, i don't believe you can put an iue out there and enough people will be able to be well informed and act on it you have to read the sentiment of the public and this is the terrible consequence of too much money in politics. representative government is a flawed but necessary form of democracy. we send our representatives to the state house here or to washington to make the best informed judgments they can for their constituents. they're never going to satisfy all the constituents but maybe sometimes theythey don't even satisfyents. most of the constituents but we hire them to make good judgments. today most politicians, there are exceptions fortunately, but most politicians are more responsive to the donors than they are to the voters. so that a representative democracy is skewed,
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corrupted, by the fact that money is the determinant of the outcomes of politics. and that's why what's happened to representative government we need a democracy in which people feel a sense as with puic television that they're well considered in the programs we've put op and the policies we in politics and we don't have that at the moment, rarely. i mean we have a dysfunional government in washington today. by the way, i do have aturevern because they attempted to try to create a government of, by, and for the people, even though they discovered that was a very difficult ing. but they had this built-in conflict, id that it realize when i was growing up, i mean thean who wrote, "all men are created equal," with his hand on that pen that was the same hand that caressed the breasts and thighs of his slave, sally hemings.
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different time, different morality, but how could he reconcile writing these noble words, "all men are created eql," when he bedded aand she had to do whathe hn he wanted her to do? they had these children together, how do you reconcile r those opposites in ynd? i don't know but it is that conflict in the intelligence and decision making of the people in power that we have to conantly question. and so i have a different view of the constitution i mean i didn't even know when i was growing up that it protected slavery, and that many of the founders we slave owners. slavery is woven like a dark thread through our history and our founding fathers were lpable.
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that change has to come from people like us who don't wke for granted or tah finality po what those ir tell us and who fight for the justice and the liberty and the equality that is mentioned in the declaration. at to me the decln is the much greater, more powerful, of the instruments of our government. so when you keep revising, the older you get, you keep revising what you know. that's why living to an old age if you're lucky to have your health is a wonderful, interna and perpetual university. - final question, to you mr. moyers and that is would you repeat for them a story that joseph campbell o saidu at the conclusion of all of the interviews when it was finally done. when he asked whether you intended
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to stay in this line owork? - yeah we had been together those two summers and i was leaving to come back, it wasn't the last time i saw him because when i got back to new york re and started editing imberedd at all the footage and i hadn't asked him about god. so i called him at his home in hawaii and i said, yo "joe i didn't asabout god. "would you come to new york let's do one more show?" so he did, but when i was leaving, when i was leaving skywalker ranch for the last time he walked with me out to our car. go and he said, "are youg to s" i had not been certain about journalism not been fixed in my trajectory. "are you going to stay in this work?" and i said, "yes, i think so," and he said, "well, good he said, "if you want to change the world ng "cthe metaphor. "change the story." - as joseph campbell would say meta-pher,
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asscribes it as,hor, the "the person man or woman "who goes out to an unknown place, "faces dangers and terrors and drama, h "returns we prize after the fight "and tells the story and from the story "we then the heroes of it can begin our own heroes journey." ll moyers i speak for a lot of people, but this is very personal, you are thmetaphor. u are the heroes journeyand i th for being a rt - well thank (audience applause) >> important information that you receive on thitelevision
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station can be entertaining. it has been enrtaining. it's entertaining to your children, it's entertaining to you. some of the grea dramas, masterpiece theater, all of that is entertainment. but when it comes to public affairs journalism, this is the place you turn when nt to create for yourself an informed partnership. now, as a person who's worked almost a half of a century in commercial television, i can tell you this, that it is a popularity contest. they're seeking people who will watch them and in order to do that, commercial television gives people what they want to know as opposed to what they need to know. that was part of the w conversatih bill moyers. but at the same time, i need tot tell yt that is not a question that your station is asking. it is not asking the question whether it is popular, it is requesting whether you need the
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information it is about to provide. you see what's on your screen right now. for $7, that's $84 a year, this d.v.d., which is the d.v.d. of the program that you're watching right now, but i need to hasten to add for you that there is almost an hour additional information. we talked so much that we simply couldn't get it all into on the d.v.d. so you'ltoput it hear bill moyers continue to talk about things you're notis seeing on rogram. plus, we had a studio audience and they asked questions of bill moyers which he answers in his in imitay. so please think about this $7 a month and make sure this is in your house. >> you know how you ma sure that is in your house, how you make sure public television is in your house, you give a contribution. is is what it's about, y come together with others in our community that keep this station strong. when you give a gift of $7 as a sustaining member with an ongoing pledge, we will be happy to share with you this wonderful program with all that
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extra material that we are not able to enjoy. now, with a gift of $13 a month, this is very special because not only will you get that d.v.d. of this fascinating conversation but you will so get his companion book to his program, "bill moyers journal." every interview has a personal introduction from bill moyers, setting the scene for u, as it is. you will enjoy having it in your home. w, with a gift of $21 a month, our gift to you is a wonderful iconic series, "the power of myth."th is a six-hour seminal series that we've talked so much about with joseph campbell. not only is it that but there's extras, too. iethere's a 28-minute inte with george lucas and there is also a 12-page viewer guide that goes along with that. what's up to you right now, though, is to decide you want to support this wonderful station by calling the number at the bottom of the screen and saying you want to be pa of wonderful television. >> i hope you're thinking righte
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now about the importf this station to you and yourfa ly, what it means, what it has meant over the period of time of your family's growth, what it's meant to youly personnd whether you want to be personally involved in supporting the kind of programming that you have come to expect from this station.'r i hope ythinking about that and i want you to know that there inot a great deal left in this program, and we would like to ask you support this station so that we i hope that you would support with money this station in order to make sure that kind of programming continues on pbs. i hope you will think very, very hard right now about getting up, picking up the phone or going to the website and making your donation right now. b ome a member of something that is already a part of your community. >> sustaining membership is an easy, convenient and affordable way to support the programs you
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love. sustaining members make an ongoing monthly contribution from either their credit card or checking account. just choose the monthly amount you would like to give. then go online or call and we'll get it set up for you. your donation will happen automatically each month so yo support will always be current. current. if you want to change your sustaining membership, just contact us. monthly contributions begin as low as $5 per month. sustaining membership tart your now. ♪ music >> you keep great conversations coming with your financial contribution to this station today.on make aly sustaining gift of $7 or a one-time donation of $84 and we'll thank you with a d.v.d. of this program, which includes nearly an hr of additional conversation, plus questions and answers with bill moyers. with a monthly sustaining gift of $13, or a donation of $156
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right now, you'll enjoy the program d.v.d. plus the book "bill moyers' journal, the conversation continues." with 43 in-depth interviews from his popular tv series. enjoy the 25th anniversary editn of the seminal series, "the power of myth" with joseph campbell with you are gift of $252, or a sustaining contribution of $21 per month. the three-d.v.d. set includes new footage not seen in the original release, and an interview with filmmaker george lucas. you'll also receive the d.v.d. of today's program. please call and give to this station right now. station right now. thank yofor your support. if you think about the fuel of your automobile, whether you're using some kind of petroleum or using the energy of the sun or using battery power, or aio combinthereof, it is how much power you can put into a
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vehicle that tells you how good that performance is going to be. that's kind of a long way ofit saying thas your contribution that powers your station, that powers pbs. the more per you put into it, the greater the performanceou you're going to geof it. so if then that pbs is doing -- doing a pretty good jots is now, just think what it would do if it had the resources, fit had the participation of every member in the community who o relies on what goes pbs and on your about how much it has meant to you over the years, how much it ans now. support your public television >> you know you can support your local station right now for programs like ograms that you enjoy, how you do it is call the number on the bottom of your screen or you online, whatever works for you and your family's budget. perhs you would like to
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support with a gift of $7 a and get the d.v.d. of member wonderful program that we're enjoying. or the gift of $13 a month a not only get that d.v.d. but also get the bill moyers' journal, the companion book to that with 43 interviews. or maybe $21 a month would wor for you and your family's budget and you would like to have "the power of myth" to enjoy along with the proam that we're watching," co"ersation with bill moyer what's really importanoulevels. choose an amount that works for you and your family and call the number on the bottom of your screen or go online rightho now toyour support. >> whether your favorite programs are the costume dramas, that you love so mou like downton abbey, victoria, you like mr. selfridge, you like these programs or you like the science programs, you like nova, or maybe you like frontlin the question is, are in the category at the end orit
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the beginning of each program that says, this program is made possible by the foowing foundations and viewers like you. when you watch these programs, are you one of the viewers they are talking about? did you make a contribution? are you shirttailing on someone? else's contribut are you confusing pbs and thisom station withrcial television, that all you have to do is sit through some commercials? you don't see commercials one thations. you will not see that on pbs. what you will see is content like no other content you'll receive. nowhere, not on ble television, not on commercial television. it's te, as we end the end of this program, it is time to make the decisioto donate now so that at the end of the program when you see "this program has been made availae by people like you" you are one of those people.
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>> he want to thank everyone who's called tonight. appreciate that phone call so very much.if buou haven't called, there's still time for you, but now is the time to makthe decision to go from being a viewer to being a contributor, to being somebody who makes programs like this possible.ab thint all the programs that you and your family enjoy in your home. name them off to yourself. i bet this is a lot, isn't there?e think about the vaat that brings to you, think how much you enjoy turning on this station and being enlightened, lening something you didn' know before or maybe watching a child's face as they area introduced tncept they have never heard before, thees delightful gigs they learn something brand-new. that's all here and it's all possible because of you. you are the power in public television so won't you make that donation right now? won't you make that phone call?
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become a supporting member today. >> make a donation to this station and to pbs, it counts. it does make a the level that wsupply formation, great publict public policy information, great drama episodes, all of the great science and wildlife shows, that makes a difference based on your donation. $7 a month, you can get this conversation with bill moyers, which you' been watching she but i want to remind you that it contains almost an hour of additional programming, additial conversation with bill moyers. we're in an interesting, interesting period in our history and it is time to develop an informed opinion. he's had 83 years to develop that opinion and we've been thei bearies of that, in his search for truth, objective trut not faith and belief but truth.
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to find something that is undeniable.s if two po is four, that's a it wouldn'ive or seven, based on what the political whims or what someone believes. it would be for. that's the kind of reporting that you get here. ,and you will hear him he you'll hear him here before you hear him anywhere else feel so y we're aski to think and think seriously about supporng this station. make sure that this kind of programming continues throughout, for your children and for your grandchildren. (audience applause) (upbeat music)
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explore new worlds and new ideas ra through progms like this, made available for everyone through contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. you're watching pbs
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steves: sorrento is the ideal home base
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for exploring the stunning amalfi coast. tourists line up each morning, packing the buses which make the memorable day trip. but this is a case when i hire a cabbie, like rafmyele monetti, to briver and guide. time for a trip on the amalfi? -yes. -okay. but, especially for a sml group, when you factor in the lue of your time and the frustration of trying to explore a congested an expensive bit of italian co, a day with your own driver can be aine value. the amalfi coast is chaotic, scenic, in-love-with-life italy at its best. its breathtaking scenery, dramatically perched port towns, and historic ruins, the amalfi is italy's coast with the most. whether you ride the bus or a taxi, the trip south from sorrento is one of the world's great road trips. you'll gain respect for the italian engineers who first built the road
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and even more respect for the bus drivers who drive it. [ horn honks ] cantilevered hotels and villas cling to the vertical terrain, and beautifue sandy coves teasom far below. as you hyperventilate, notice how the mediterranean really twinkles. traffic is so heavy that private tour buses are only allowed to go southbound. even so, because of the narrow roads and tight corners, expect some delays... -[ speaking italian ] steves: and enjoy the show.
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hello. i'm greg sherwood. and here in northern california we're used to emergencies or every kind. vere drought and massive firesth and we've learned the painfular but necelessons about how to prepare. but we all know another emergency is coming because major earthquakes that can strike at any time are central to our history. we all know another one will hit, and over the next half hour we're going to look at the latest science and explain how you can be proactive a protect yourself and your loved ones. we're going toe talking with our first guest in a few moments, but first we'd like tor invite you to sukqed and take a big step in yourth emergency planning asame time. now, we've got two levels for you to consider. so take a look and then make a pledge at or


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