tv Bill Moyers Journal PBS July 24, 2009 9:00pm-10:00pm EDT
>> this week on "billoyers journa" >> moys: from the front lines the health care battle some expert reporting on winnerand lose. >> we have aystem that, through anthrough-- and both the payment syst and the devery system is oriented towards prits. >> we need to haveore clarity on how allhis is going to affect the ordinary rson on main street. and that has not beedone. >> mers: and, some straight lk about hate talk. >> a man came here who totally dehumazed us. where did heet that? ere did he get that sense th weere not human? >> moyers: stay tune captioning sponsored by
public affairs tevision >> moyers: welcome tthe journal. push finallyame to shove in washingtonhis week as the batt over health care reform escalated from scaered snipe re into all-out combat. >> soclized medicine produces raoning of care. >> one of the planthat we've talked about is a puic option. >> you'vbeen pushing congress
to pass health ce reform by augu. whthe rush? >> $239 biion to the deficit by 2019. >> we' talking about a nightmare for the american people. >> is not going to add to the deficit? >> it will n add to the defit. >>t is insane. >>oyers: if this all seems to be getting more anmore confusing, well joinhe club. it's hard to see what's happening througall the nsmoke. the publicans have more than healthare reform in their bomb sights, they want loss for ama so crushing it will brin the administration to its kns and restore republican contr of congrs after next year's elections. in the words of repuican senator jim demint"if we're able to stop oma on this, it will bhis waterloo. it will break hi" the waterloo of dent's metaphor, of course, was the battle i1815 that ended napoleon baparte's rule as emperor of france-- a humiliating defeat and a turng point in europn history. right-wingers like gnn beck see obama as noleon, an emper who must be stopped.
>> i mean, this guis practically an impial president now. whene starts to lose and people start to questionim and push him back agait the wall, he's not going to know how t reac >> mers: the republican strategy is almost idental to the wathey turned health care into watero for bill and hillary clinton in 199 >> find more you likin the president's plan? >> yeah. >> and? >>t just doesn't have th choi we want. look at this. >> moyer back then, one of their chief propagdists, william kristo urged his party tolock any health care plan for fear democrats would be en as, quote, "the generous protector of mdle-class intests." now he's telli the g.o.p. to "gfor the kill, throw the kitchen sink at , drive a stake through itheart. we need to start over. so in lockstep are the republicans that when stratest alex castellan issued a memo on the battlplan, party chaian michael steele echoed it word for rd in a speech at shington's national press club.
slow down,r. president. we can't afford get health care wrong. >> slow down, mr. esident. wean't afford to get health care wrong. >> moys: the old, top-down washington-centered syem the democrats propose ll empower shington to restrict the cur and treaents your doctor can prescre for you. >> moyers: "president obamis experinting with america, too much, too so, and too fast." >> your experiment promote- proposes toouch, too soon, too st. moyers: as the republicans fired away, big business steed up the attack,oo, their bbying and advertising guns blazing. in certain key states wher members of congress remain o the fence, t airwaves are vibrating withelevision commercials aimeat shifting hearts and mindsway from any change that ght threaten profits.
>> at will happen to your family's health care if washington runit? now waington wants to bring canadian-style heah care to the s. moyers: president obama rejected the republicans' waterloo metaphor, but mount a massive media coteroffensive of his own. >> anotherepublican senator, that defeating heah care reform is about breaki me. so l me be clear. this isn't about me. i ve great health insurance, and so does every meer of coress. this debe is about the letters i read when i t in the oval fice every day, and the sties i hear at town hall meetings. i'm e president. and think this has to get done. >> moyers: buthe president's already stepped on boobyraps his own making, and minefiel laid by his own party, especially en the congreional budget office reported that s reforms, instead of controlling cos, would se the national debt further into the stratospher meanwhil supporters who want tocrap the present system for ndamental change are staring umly through the fog of war a battlefield in total disary.
th fear that in the white house's desire to get a ll-- anbill-- passed by congress, it wl have been so compromised, so bent to vor the big interests, that it wl be less wateoo than water down, a steady dilutinof what they'doped for, or america needs. the big drug compani are already so pleas with what they've been promised that they've ought back harry and louise-- t make-believe t.v. uple who helped take down th clinton health care plan >> because everyday more a more people arfinding out that they can't affd healthcare. >> moyers: but this time there in favor of refo. >> coverage peoplean afford. coverage they can get. moyers: could it be that harry and louise are haper becae this time, they're in on e deal? what to make of all this? ve asked two expert analysts of health ca to help me out. trudy lieberman covers heah careeform for the "columbia journalism review" andirects the health and medine reporting program at the cit univsity of new york's graduate school of journalm. marcia angell, ahysician
herself, is nior lecturer in the depament of social medicine at harvd university medical school and w the first woman editor-ichief of the new england journal of micine. she, too, has wrten widely and often about heth care reform. welcome to bh of you. thank you. >> thankou. >> moyers: so, tru lieberman, is it waterloo or no watloo, is that e question? >> waterloo for who? whether it's waterloo for the american people, who an't going tor may not get a resolution othis, and they certainly do need some hp along the way th health care. or is it, say, a polital question for the president >> moyers: well, the replicans have made it thiweek, clearly and sharply, a political challee to him. >> think it's going to be interesting toee what happens. a lot of people have saithis is a do or die iss for the president. that's certainly... that rhetoric certainly hadn't be coming up really bore the last several eks. >> and i wld say, on the politics first, that it something of a werloo.
in the sense that ife doesn't get it right, he's going to president for three moreears. d the chickens wl come hom to roost. >> moys: how so? >>o... well, it can... the failurcan show up before he's outhe door. and then he's got a al problem. he w right in his press conference, when he taed about st as the central issue. and he said, if we don't ctrol cost, not only will e health system continue toisintegrate, but it'll drag t whole economy down with it. what he has essentially advocad is throwing more money into the current system. he's treating the sytom and he's not treating the underlng cause of our pblem. our oblem is that we spend two and a half times amuch per person on healthare as other advanced countries, the erage of other advanced cotries. anwe don't get our money's worth. so, now he ss, okay, this is a
terribly inefficient, steful system. let's throw some mey into it. moyers: into the same syste >> intthe same system. that's his problem. the other problem, in thpress conference, was thate was trying to mobilize pubc support for a bill, anwe don't know what that bill is. >> iant to get to that point, because he been vague right fr the very beginning on this point. we have not known exactlwhat the obama heal plan has been. even tugh the headline writers, and t press has been talking about his heth care overhaul for months. and so, i like to step bacand say, "well, whatxactly is he talking about? what exact does he mean?" and has not been clear on that. >> moyers:ou said he's been awol, a-w-o-l... >> yes. >> moyer ... on details. >> he has been out to luncon this. and i ink that's a deliberate rategy on the part of the white house. >> yes. >> wt they had done is learn from what theyall the clinton mistakes in '93-'94. and what hpened then is that hillary cameut with this big
1,000-page bill, althoh we haveow another 1,000-page bill. and let the spial interest grps sort of pick it apart. is time, they decided not to do that. that they woulbe deliberately vaguabout this. and stay as vague they could be until push me to shove. and so basical, it's my belief that this whole discuson about heal care reform is flying er the heads of the american peop. they know about reform, buthey don't ow... they know the words rerm, but they don't know whathey mean at all. >> moyers: i had the sam reaction you did to that pss conference and i wokep thursday morning after the prs conference, to the headline of "the n york times" that read, resident seeks publ support on health care." and in the margin of the tes i said, "does e public know what is ithis health care..." >> he doesn't ow. nobody knows. one thing we. >> moyers: well, someby has to kn. they keep talking about it >> well, he says, let ngress do i in their wisdom, thell come out th something, and i will
give y a few feel-good principles and then we'll wt and see what happens. beuse he doesn't want his fingerprints on it if fails. >> i feel the american peopl need to know what isn that bi. anwhat's in the bill is an individual mandate thais going to requirell americans with a few exceptions, to carry heah inrance. and that means if you doot get insurancfrom medicare or mediid or your employer. you're going thave to go out d buy health insurance. d that is a lot of money for most peoplbecause most of them uld buy it now if they could afford i about 85% of t uninsured require subsids, because they can't afford it. and i think is is going to comep as a big surprise to peopleo realize they're going to have to buy insurance fro private insurance companieor face a tax penalty. >> well, that es to the cause of the problem. we are t only advanced country in theorld that has chosen to leavhealth care to the tender
meies of a panoply of for- profit businesses, wse purpose is to maximize income annot to provide heth. and th's exactly what they do. >>oyers: the president, as you we saying a moment ago, is saying to everybody o's not covered, we're gng to mandate thatou exercise that right. we're going to mante that you buy some fm... >> we'reoing to deliver the private insurance compies a captive maet. that's right, and they lov that. >>oyers: say that again. >> they love tha moyers: the... his policy does wt? his program? >> delivers tohe private insurance instry a captive market. >> moyers: by the maate. >> by the mandate. moyers: it says "marcia angell, you've got to." >> for whaver price they want to charge. rit. and so, this will inease costs. and let me tell you what hs nning into, and he'd like to be able to pull a rabbitut of thhat, but he won't be able to. if you leave this profit- oriented system in pce, you can'both control costs and increase coverage. u inevitably, if you try to increase coverage, incase costs. the only answer,he only
answer, d he said it at the beginning of his press conferenceis a single payer system. in his fir sentence, he said, that is the only wayo cover eryone. moyers: but he's also said, if we were staing the system from scrch, we could have single payer. but we're not stting this system froscratch. >> you know, you don't pr more money into a faili system. you coert. >> moyer i saw back in the spng... the chief lobbyist for the big phar industry, billy tauzin, us to be a member of congress. he was on c.n.b.c. and he was isupport of this billwhatever this bill is. beuse it would broaden the industry's ctomer base by providing subsidies for pele to buy... >> ectly. >> moyers: ... more covera from the priva insurers. >> at whatever price they nt to crge. it will be aonanza for the health insurance industry. and a bonanza for the pharceutical industry. anfor the doctors, too. because the docts are going to get more paying patients, because people will w have this ticket, this inrance
card, at they can whip out when they need medical svices. >> moyers: so, doethis explain why harry and louise, o were around 15 years ago help defeat bilclinton's health plan, bill and hlary clinton's health pla are back now in support? seemingly toe in support? >> y bet it does, you bet it does. >> moyer let me show you the commerals that's been running now, watch cloly. >> well, it looks ke we may finally get alth care reform. it's about time. because everyday more and mo people are finng they can't afford health re. >> or they're sing coverage? >> we need good coverage pple can afford. coverage they n get. >>ven if they have a pre- exisng condition. >> and coverage they can keeif they chae jobs. >> or lose theirobs. sounds simple enough. >> aittle more coopetion, a little less potics. we can get the j done this time. >> moyers:ouldn't that make you think th big pharma is supporng health care reform? >> thas exactly... >> yes, s. >> that's what they'reupposed toe... >> moyers: but on eir terms, rit?
>> on their terms. actly, exactly. >> this ishat those ads are supposed to do. they're supposed to ma the ordinaryerson believe that ey're good guys this time around. >> moys: and on their terms means whator them? >> well, they can chge whatever they want. that there will be no bargning. that... medicare. >> that medicare pt "d" will not bargn for lower prices. there'll be no fmularies. you know, even this thing out the pharceutical industry is going to kick in $80 bilon over ten. >> moyers: have heard... >> ...years. that the president mention in the press conferce. >> only if hlth care passes. so. >> first, th is $8 billion a year for t pharmaceutical instry. this is chump chan. and second, it's oy for brand- name drugs. so, in a sen, it's a subsidy for the most expenve drugs. >> moyers: do you lieve the health care dustry when it tells prident obama that "we ll voluntarily cut costs"? >> no. i mean, thesare investor owned businesses if they have like charities, heads would roll in the executive suites.
they are there to maximize profits. and that's exaly what they do. >> what's happened now is th the industries he gotten pretty much what they wantut of the bills that are goin forward. and so, ey need to build public sport. they need toake everybody in the public reali that they actually are wearing wte hats this one. but behind t scenes, they are lobbying ferociously against the public plan, against cs in doctors fees, agait all kinds things that they don't want and for that they're using different sort of lobbying tactic. all of these a communications or lobbying strategies thathey know how to do and they e very excellent at doinghem. >> it'clear that they can turn it to eir advantage. >> right. that nobody is really tryin to break their-- except e ngle payer people-- their death grip on the system. anhere you have hundreds of for ofit insurance companies th maximize their income by
denying careo the people who ne it most. and that's the insance system. that's how we pay for health care. but you also havto look at how we diver health care. and we deliver tha primarily or largelyin for-profit faciliti-- businesses, hospals-- whose interest is in deliveri only profitableare. so, we have a systemhat's throh and through, in both the payment system a the delivery system, isriented toward profits. neither the nate nor the house is doing anything change that. >> moyers:he president says there ll be a public option in my bill that wilcompete with the privatinsurance. to bring the ct down. >> that's... >> moyers:hat's what he said. >> that's what he ys. again,e get back to the detail estion and the particulars, which are absent in this whole discsion. weon't know what a public plan willook like. and evenf there's going to be a public plan. the insurers d't want it.
's not clear that the doctor want it. and thpharmaceutical companies don't wantt. so my question is, are ty working hind the scenes to make sure th doesn't happen? my guess is... my answer i theyrobably are. >> lot is said about how the public wts to clinto what it has. what i'm finding isomething that conrms the polls that have been done. showg that something like two- thirds of thpublic would favor a canadian style oa medicare for all ste single payer system. the sa is true of physicians, now. about 60% of physicians vor medire for all, or a single payesystem. so, what is against it the pharmaceuticalnd the insurae industries are the biggest lobbies inashington. they snd millions and millions onnfluential members of congress. d the amount that they are spding now to the chairman of the relevant health commites has incrsed enormously in the
past few months. >> moyer just the other day the chamber of commerce bega running an aertising campaign. and thchamber says a new government run plan will undermine employer sponsed coverage and eventuay lead to a gornment takeover of the health care system. >> like medire. >> moyers: alright. that will limit. >> that's scary. >> moyer that will limit patients' choice i mean, isn't that prong to be a convincing argument th the public? at seems to be... >> well, it's phony, of cose. >> moyers: phony? >> it's ony, in the sense that medicare is a single per system, embedded whin our larger market-bad system. you have totally free chce of physician in medicare. you don't in mosemployer- sponsoreprivate plans. canada, totally free choicof doctors. so, th is simply not true. >> moyers: let me show you bh a couple of clips from theouse floor recently. and get ur comments on them. these are two ngressmen who
are opposeto any kind of tional insurance or general coverage. lo at this. >> they're going to save mey byationing care, getting you in long line, places like canada and the united kidom and europe peopleie when they're in line. >> onen five people have to die because they went to socializ medicine! now,'ve got three daughters and a wife. i would hate to think thatmong five women, e of them is going to d because we go to socialized care and we he to have these long lis to get a mammogra once youind it to get trtment. it's insane. >> we've heard these argents since 1948. and what amazes me... they posed a national health syst under president truman. so, that notion, that conventionalisdom in america is pretty ingrained and prty deep.
what they fail to say re is that peoe are waiting in line in america. we ratiocare in america. we do it by inme. ople who don't have money an the ticket thealth care, do not get the ca. sohat rationing is taking place. but even people o do have inrance are waiting months for mammrams. in florida, there's en a horriblehortage of places where won can go and get maograms. and most pple have to wait a long time toet an appointment with a doctor for an annual ysical. >> if we continuto spend what we do,ight now, on health care, but d a system that distributed it accordi to mecal need, there would be no ratiing. and if we ld it at that cost, there wod never be any rationing. so, it's simplnot right. the problem is not t money, it the system. the is more than enough in the system alrdy.
and that's why i don't thi it's a gd idea to pour more money into a dysnctional stem. obama id, in his press conference, the worst ing we can is nothing. the most costlthing we can do is nothing. now, disagree with that. you cathrow more money into this system and ma it even more costly. but in a sense, we a at a int now, where we have to ac and we have to conont the private inrance industry directly. >> moyers: do you see an evidence that the prident was to do that? >> no, no. but... >> moyers: is lling to do that? >> buthat i would say this time around, and now im going to be very pesmistic, bill. this time around, i n't think it's going to happen bause of the power the pharmaceical and insunce lobbies. i n't think it's going to happen. but i woulrather see obama go down fhting for something coherent and practical that e public could mobilize bend, than go down fighting fothis
amorphous pl that tries to keep these private iurance indust in place. >> moyers:t seems to me like they're more finessing tn fighting >> well, he ll have to fight. but i think he'll go dn. >> they' been finessing since the very beginning. they've been fessing since the campaign. during the campan, he was not even willing to be pinnedown. he had whole list of things that he would like to do. t so did hillary clinton and john mccn. and in some wa, they really weren'all that far apart, except on the issue ofong term care. that is another me bomb that iswaiting america and nobody has talked about it. but aside from that, iee an administration that is tryg to keep this playbook going as ng as possible. anto commit as little as ssible until the 11th hour. d by then, it's going to be too late for the american pele to know what's going tawait them. anas a journalist, whose job it is explain to the average person on the stre what all of
this means to them... that'sot happening. and as a journalist, tha troubles me. the ess has not dealt with the ise of howhis is going to affect the auto mechanic on in street. or the babysitr. or... >> we dot know what this is. >> but we know the olines enough. wenow about the individual mandate. we sort ofnow that if there's a puic plan, it might be this tiering rangement that has a bron, silver, and gold kind of arrangement. anyou can pay more if you have more, which stilperpetuates thproblem that we have. we know engh so that journalists n write the story. >> moyers: di hear you both saying, in eect, what bill krisl, the republican rategist said this week? "kill this bill. kill this proposal that obamis pressing and sta over?" >> well, n in fact. >> not exactly. >> moyers: you're hesitating. >> i'm hesitating,ecause i don't think he's graspedhe nett.
and i don't think thatven the best othe proposals th he is considering e going to be effective. ani worry about even the public oion, because... >> moyers: you've be skeptical of t public option. >> i'm skeptical of that, beuse the power of the surance industry is so great that i believe that th would use their clout in coness to hobble the public tion in some y. and ha it become a dumping ground for the sicke patients, anthen cream off the profitablenes for themselves. and then what peop would decide is that theublic option was no good. that the plic couldn't do any...he government couldn't do anything righ and that wou be the wrong lesson to dwl on. >> that's what some peopleear will hapn to medicare. that it wille privatized in some way, to deal wi... >> well, part "d." moyer part "d" is... >> ... and only the siest people will remainn the medicare pool of peopl who get
benefits. i want to go back kristol's argument. and what he we, we sort of know what the conservave plan mighlook like. it's basically aarket-based approachhat would rely on private insunce but also on what is a retively new kind of insunce arrangement called "consumer-driven health care and by tt we mean policies that have very high deductles. i've seen some being sd, by some othe blue cross plans, as being $20,000 ductibles, and $40,000 if you go out of network. so, is that ally insurance? and are peopleoing to be buying these, becausthey will be affordable, becausehe higher the ductible, the chear the policy. and so then what's goi to happ to them when a serious illness strikes,nd they have to cou up the money? they're not gog to have it. so, this whole issue of der- insuranc which is kind of tied in with the nservative approach, hasn't even been discusse >> moyers: givenhat you've said, why the rush?
why not slow this wn and give this vy big issue more due deliberation? it's really a political calculatn. and i think at they believe th they have to act quickly, because it might not happe because the soer you have the special interests gog back home, during the augusrecess and lding town hall meetings and talking to people in cofe shops, they' going to find that maybehis isn't something at people really want or hav doubts abo. >> well, i think we are in a hurry. i think that presint obama's worrie that what happened with the clinton plan can happewith him. and i do have a feelinof déjà all over again, that this i like993, that the opposition is having a chance to bilize, to march out these canadiansho say they had brain tums and had to die, or these ads tha say 20% europeans drop dead. >> and harry and louise e ck. >> a i think he does.
he is rit to worry about that. d he is right to want to do in a hry. the problem is he is notoing the right thing. >> moyers: becse? >> well, the plan is not f all the reasonwe've said. it leaves e bad guys in place. and it tries to ki of make concessions. anwhat the clintons found out is they too waed to keep the private insurance indury at the table, and maybe regule them a little. and what the private insurce industry decided was"why should we take half a loaf wn we can have the whe thing?" and that'shat i'm seeing happen... happening w. >> we are having the same debate, almo, that we had in '93-4. and 's something i've written about for the combia journalism review. it's actually the sa debate we've had decas before. and 's the unwillingness to lookt what we could learn from other systems. singleayer, multiple payers, as they have in geany and
japan. or even in the netrlands, where there are private paye. at's really happening there? so, i think there's unwillingness on theart of politicis... on the part of advocacyroups, some advocacy groups, to really ucate americans on what the possibilities are. anwe at c.j.r. have been sang we really have not had a vibrant discsion about other possibilities. >> i think we ve to start all over on this. i real do. i think we have to gfor a sile payer system. you could institute at adually. you cod do it state by state. you could dot decade by decade. you uld improve medicare. that is, make it nonprofit but tend it down to age 55 and age 45 and age 35. it would give the privat insurance instry a chance to gonto hurricanes, earthquakes oromething. to get out of the health busiss. it could be done gradual.
i think that has tbe done. and it's the only thing that can be done. >> moyers:he story goes on and we'll coinue to talk about it in the months come, alright? marcia angell, tru lieberman, thanks foreing with me on the journal. >> my pleasure thank you. >> claims department, nestine toin. nope, not covered. weonsider that an elective procedure. meaning, we elect not to p for it well, 's not our fault you've had two heart attacks,ou shou have stopped at one. of course, you have your choe of doctor! do you want the doctore give you or not? 's your choice! yomust think h.m.o. stands for "hp me out." remember, ur health is our business, not our concn. >> moyers: thereas another voicheard on health care this week-- the voice of ti- abortion crusader randalterry, thfounder of operation rescue. at a news conference i washington, terrwarned that violence could come if, the d, health care reform includ coverageor abortion services. >> do t expect us to betray
god, and tpay for the murder of our neighbor. if you do, you areeceived, you are deluded. we will t comply. d there will be unthinkable, horrifying rifications. people will act-- whether they act peacefully yet forcefull and with forethoug, or whether they react vcerally, with uptions of rage. >> moyers: as randall tey knowwell, that rage has erupd many times already. naral, the national ganization working for women's repructive righ, claims that over the past 30 years, actio against abortion provide included eight rders, 17 attempted murders, 41 boings, 175 arsons, re than 5,000 acts of vandalism and nearly 1000 harassing phe calls and hate- mail incents. randall terry himself has en arrested dozenof times for
leadinprotests at clinics, where women antheir doctors were sjected to harassment and intimidation. in 1991,housands of otestors, with terry in the le, were arrested outside the clinic of dr. geor tiller in wichita, kansas. operation scue dubbed it "the summer omercy." dr. tiller was one of the fe physicians in the country performi late-term abortions for women wi problem pregnancies ose health was at stake from lifthreatening complication or whose infants would be born dead or dyg. but abortion foes turn tiller inton object of hate and violent attacks. hiclinic was bombed in 1986. and in 1993, he washot in both armsy a woman with a semi- automatipistol. thentwo months ago, dr. tiller was murdered, gunned down the reformatn lutheran church where he was an her. after the shoong, randall terrsaid this about tiller. >> he waa mass murderer.
we havto say that over and over ain. he was one of the most evi people on the plan, every bit as evil as nazi wacriminals. and i know that offes some people who a watching this, but it is the trut he was a mass murderer, d he reaped what heowed. >> moyers: in monizing george tiller, randall tey had help from the star of fox new bill o'reilly. for years, o'reilly denounce the door as someone who would "kill a baby for nreason atsoever other than the moth has pain in her foot." that wasn't true, of cours but 24 times aogether, o'reilly denounced tiller as a "bab killer." >> in the state of kansas,here is a doctor, georgtiller, who will execute babiefor $5,000. dr. gege tiller, known as ller the baby killer. tillerborts thousands of babies, pretty much for an reason. i wanted george tillertiller the baby killer, gng, "hey! i can make more money kiing
babi now!" that aan like that could openly operate in e u.s.a. is trouing, to say the least. dr. ller has blood on his hands. i wodn't want to be these people if ere is a judgment day. >>oyers: judgment day did come the last sunday in ma when t suspected assassin was captured a few hrs later, police found single rose in the rear window of his car, common marker of t anti- abortion mement. soon after the soting, o'reillyimself came under tack as people started askin if demonizg rhetoric inspires olence. o'reil, while condemning tiller's murder, dismiss the accusations. >> when i heard abt tiller's murder, i kn pro-abortion zealots and fox newsaters uld attempt to blame us for the crime, and tt is exactly what has hapned. evy single thing we said about till was true, and my analysis s based on those facts. >> unless the accud killer scott roeder tells u we'll never knowhat was in his head
that day-- where he got the ea tourder, or how it grew in his mind. there's no evidence that hever listened to'reilly or randall terry-- just as the's no proof that hatul words lead to violence. buwords do have consequences. there's nooubt they poison the air all of us breae, and no doubt that terrible thingsan be done by the people who breathe thatame air. as news spad of dr. tiller's assassination, and more tails emerged, i thought bk to what haened in knoxville, tennessee, on july 27,008, one ar ago this coming monday. here a report we broadcast a few weeklater, produced by per meryash and reported by rickarr. those of y who saw it then will remembethat some of the language is grhic, provocative d downright raw. >> on a steamy sundamorning in july, a man armed wi a twelve- gauge shotgun bursinto this chch in knoxville, tennessee
and openedire. secondlater, one person lay ad, another mortally wounded d six injured. >>he man who walked into this sanctuary on jul27 was armed with a gun b he was also armed with hatred, he was armed th bitterness, was armed with resentment he was armed with indiriminate anger. he wasrmed in body and spirit. >> members of the ngregation wrestled a 5year-old, unemployed truck driver med jidavid adkisson to the floor and held him until police ca. at first it emed like just another inexplable outburst of violencentil a police news nference the next day. >> iappears that what brought him to this horrible event w his lack of being able to tain a job, his frustrationver that, and his stated hatred r the liberal movement.
>> why did adkisson hate "e libel movement?" police said that he to them "that all liberalshould be killed, because theyere ruining the couny, and that he felt that the democrats hatied his country's hands the war on terror and ruined every institution in arica." police said that adkson had targeted the unitari univsalist church "because of its liberal teachis." the church advocates socl justice and lerance, and it openlyelcomes gay, lesbian, antransgendered members. according toolice, adkisson id that, "because he could n get to the leaders of e liberal movement thahe would target those that had voted th in toffice." in the weeks folwing the tragedy, the congregation an its pastorreverend chris buice struggled with what th were learning aboutdkisson. >> some ve suggested that his spiritual attitudes, his hred of liberals and gays, wa reinrced by the right-wing media figures. and it is bend dispute that
there are plethora of books which ha labeled liberals as evilunpatriotic, godless and treasonous >>uring that recent sermon buice told his conegation-- some of who harisked their own lis to stop the shooting-- that he has been readi some of those books. >> one of the books has the titl "deliver us from evil: defeating terrorism, dpotism and liberalism." if that author wasere in this room right now i would iroduce him to some go liberals who actedecisively on that sunday, acd quickly and courageously to stop the terror thacame into our church buding. i uld introduce him to some good liberals who know h to fight terrorith more than just their mout. >> buice says evenith the outpouring of mpathy from
around knoxville and acrosthe country, aisson's lethal anger has left him angry and full questions. >> pple were killed in my sanctuary of my church whi ould be the holy place, a sa place. pele were injured. a man came ihere who totally dehumanized us. meers of our church were not humato him. where did he g that? ere did he get that sense th weere not human? >> buice admits that no e knows for su, and says that adkiss alone is responsible for the shootings. but he keeps thinking about me books that police found in adkisson'spartment, books by popular ght-wing talk-radio peonalities who berate and denigrate liberals. one of the books police fod in adkisson's apartme was michael savage's "beralism is a mental disorder." in it, save calls liberals "the enemy within oucountry;" "an enemy mo dangerous than hitler"; "traitors" who ar "dangerous to yoururvival" and
who "shod be placed in a straightjaet." like adkisso savage accuses liberals of "tying the han of r military." savage isn just a bestselling author: he also hosts a syndicated radio sho >> and now american most exciting radio talk show, e savage natio >> save reaches more than eight and a quartemillion lieners a week. and wh it comes to demonizing liberals, he'she same on thease. air as he is in print. >> liberalism is, inssence, the h.i.v. virus, and weakens e defense cells of a nation. what are the defense cellsf a nati? well, the church they've attacked particulay the catholic church r 30 straight years. e police, attacked for the last 50 straightears by the a.c.l.u. virus. and the military, attack for the last 50 yes by the barbara boxer viruses on o pprurt. >> political liberals en't the only targets of sage's wrath. back when had a cable t.v. showhe bashed gay men.
>>o, you're one of the sodomites. are you a sodomite? >> yes, i am. >> oh,ou're one of the sodomites. you ould only get aids and die, you p. how'that? why don'you see if you can sue me, you g. you got noing better than to put meown, you piece of garbage. you have got nothingo do today, go eat a saage and oke on it. get trichinosis. >> and on his radio show, targeted kids withutism. >> i'll tell you whaautism is. in 99% of the cas, it's a brat who hasn't been to to cut the act out. that's wt autism is. what do you mean they ream and they're silent? they d't have a father around to tell them, "don't actike a moron. you'll get nowhere in fe. stop actinlike a putz. straighten up. act li a man. don't t there crying and screamg, idiot." >> fire sage now! fi savage now! that outburst prompted protests by outraged parents and a festations dropped savage's show. so did an advertiser, t savage hasn't apologized d he's still on the air. >> america is ing overrun by an invion force from mexico that'll soon te over the
country. you pshotic liberals don't ev know you're digging your own grave and throwing limin there. l that's missing is the worm from t tequila bottle to go with it. >> mhael savage isn't the only right-wi talk radio host who launches blistering, eve violent, verl attacks on peoplend groups he doesn't like. glenn beck, for instance, fantasiz about murdering a liberafilmmaker. >> i'm thinking out killing miael moore and i'm wondering if i could kill him mylf, or if i would need to hirsomebody to do it no, i think i could. i think he could be lookg me in the eyeyou know, and i uld just be choking the life out of him. is ts wrong? >> michael reagan, son othe former presidentsuggested that people who cim that "9/11 was an inside job," a u.s. government conspiracy,eserve to die. >> take them out a shoot them. they a traitors to this couny, and shoot them. but anybody who wouldo that
doesn't deserve to live. you shoot em. you ca them traitors, that's whathey are, and you shoot them dead. i'll pay for the bult. >> neaboortz went after victs of hurricane katrina. >> that wasn't the cries of e downtrodden. that's the ces of the useless, the worthless. new leans was a welfare city, a city of parasites, city of people who couldot, and had no desireo fend for themselves. you have a hricane descending on them and theyit on their fat asses and wa for somebody else to come rese them. >> muslims are se of boortz's favorite tarts. it's ramadan and muslims in your workplace might be ofnded if thesee you eating at your desk.
why? i guess it's becau muslims n't eat during the day durin ramadan. they ft during the day and eat at night sort of like ckroaches. >>everend chris buice says he's hea that kind of language before >> if u look at the history of like situations like irwanda in 1994,he talk radio was a big part of leading to t nditions that created a genocide. the hutu rio disc jockeys would call the tutsi cockroaches. thers the sense that these aren'tuman beings. you kn, they're not human beingsith children or grandchildn. these are cockroaches. and when you hear in talk rao that liberals are il, that they are traitors, tt they are godless,hat they are on the side of e terrorist-- that's ha language. you don't negotiate with evi people. you n't live icommunity with
people you consider toe trairs. >> millions of americans tunin right-wing talk radio every day. rory o'connor is media critic and liberal himself who's written a book on shock-talks. he says not alof these broadcasters use violent language. but they do all share predilecon for outrage. and, hsays, they're all practically addicted t constant cranking up that outrage. >> here's the real pblem. whenou shock somebody, if you come back the nextime and you ply the same stimulus, it's not shocking any longer. it's already hpened. you have to ratchet it up a little bit. so how do yocut through? hodo you really shock? i think at in order to continue to outrage,ou have to constantly be jaing up the pressure. and ultimately, there'going to be some denged person out there in that audience who going to say, "you know at? that's a good idea. leme act on that." >> theusion of entertainment and enlightenment.
>>ntertainers-- that's what a lot the shock-talkers call themsees. o'coor says, maybe, but their wordcan motivate their listeners to act. >> now first andoremost, we have to regnize that many of them a employed across multiple plaorms. sohey may say something on their radio show, but theyay repeat it their television show. they may then repe it in their newspaper colu. they mayepackage the ideas into theirest-selling books. >> t debate over the immiation reform bill became a case study for rory o'conn. as arguments went ba and forth, some of theanguage turned venomous. hos amped up theirudiences' outrage with attks on the ll's supporters and verbal assaul on immigrants: >> i already havreceived at least onbrilliant email today abouthe immigration problem. this person sent me an eil, sa when we defeat this illegal alien amsty bill and when we yank out the welcome m and
they all srt going back to mexico, as a going-awagift let's all give tm a box of nuclr waste. tell 'em it ca.. it'll heat tortils. >> but do you understandhat the "new york mes" wants? and thfar left want? they wt to break down the whit christian male power structure-- whh you are a part and so am i-- and theyant to ing in millions of foreign nationalto basically break down t structure that we have. >> right-wing talk rad hosts usually reserve theiad hominem attacks for beral figures. jim quinn has his own na for the naonal organization for women. >> the national organition for whores, they're whor for liberal politics in neral, and they were whores f bill clinton in particula >>lenn beck tried to connect form vicpresident al gore's effortagainst global warming
with nism. >> what was the first thinthey did to get people to extminate the jews? now, i'm not saying that anybody'going to... you know, al ge's not going to be rounding up jews a exrminating them. it is the same tacc, however. you got to have an ene to fight. and en you have an enemy to fight, theyou can unite the tire world behind you, and y seize power. thatas hitler's plan. his enemy: the jew. al gors enemy, the u.n.'s emy: global warming. >> american litics has always be a rough game. but political ientist jeffrey feldman, who's written a bk on the effects of ary political rhetoricsays this is different. >> ourystem is a deliberative democracy. and that deliberative mocracy depends a certain kind of talk, a ceain conversation in order to fction well. what rht-wing rhetoric does, when it reaches thatiolent pih, is it undermines that
particular conveation, such th the focus of political debate, becomes increasingly hamstrg by fear, and t ability of citizens engage in the basic act of civics bemes gummed up. that conversion breaks down. >> knoxville pastor ris buice agrees. >> wheyou blame all your problems on some minoritgroup, then everye else is exerated. we exonerate ourselves. we don't have to look at ourselves see what sort of ways we contribu to the oblems of the world. we don't have to examine ourselve to see what we are doing that is helping to cree the probms that we're so concerned about. >> in other words,uice says, gry lk radio rhetoric simply sets uscapegoats for society's prlems. and ever since jimavid adkisson walked into his crch and opened fe he can't help but wonder wther that might lead to more vionce. >> i just think a loof people e hurling insults from the safety of levision studios, the safety of radio studio the safety of cybepace, which they
would not throw if thehad to stand rit next to a person and look in their face a say the same thing. and so that's a void in r communy, the chance to be in the same room d to have these exchanges and remember the humanity of thperson on the other side. >> mers: that report aired on the urnal on september 12, 2008. earlier this year, whejim david adkisson was stenced to life bind bars, he released what he called a manesto-- a four-page statemt he wrote before his shooting ree. it was a manifes, all right, spewing hateike fire and lava ploding from a volcano. his was a hate crime," he wrote. "i hate the damn lt-wing liberals. there is a vasleft-wing conspiracy in this coury and the liberals are working together to attack every dent and honorable institutioin the nation, trying tturn this country into a communi state." among the taets of his malice: the democratic national committee, for "running ch a
radical leftist caidate, osama hussein obam yo mama. no experiee. no brains, a joke. dangerous to ameca." "liberals," adkion went on, are "evil, le termites. millionsf them. each little bi contributes to the downfall of thisreat nation." he longed to externate the traitors oney one. "who i wanted toill," he wrote, "was every decrat in the senate and hse, the 100 people ibernard goldbergs book." full disclosure: i'm onef the hured. "but," adkisson lamented, "but," adkisson lamented"these people we inaccesible to me. i couldn'tet to the generals and high ranking offers of the marxist movement so went after e foot soldiers, the chicken ( no audio ) berals that vote in these traitorous people anthat's how adkisson decided on his victims-- he would go after the footoldiers, the ngregation in the church he describeas "a den of un- american vipers." he had a patotic imperative for anyone who read or hrd his
manifesto: "do somhing for your country befe you go. go kill liberals." do i think any conseative commentor wished for what happened iknoxville last year, or to doctor george tiller i wichita two monthsgo? not foa minute. the kill who pulled the trigger the guilty party. but do i wish the vendors venom, and tir sponsors, would thinharder about how angry rds become accomplices of fo deeds? ye i do. most ctainly. escially as the words and crazy eories of militias and other elements of the lutic fringere given even a shred of credibility by their retition the conspicuous conservativ media. god onlynows the price we pay when we tu political opponents to be deted, into mortal enemies to be eliminated. now, when some of ose who shout throh the megaphone of right wi radio hear a critique like this, they mediately throw a fit. they claim that people likme
arcalling for a return to the fairss doctrine. some of you remember the fairness doctrine, adopted0 years ago the federal mmunications commission. it said that opposing poin of view had to be psented on dio or tv in a way that wa honest, eqtable and balanced. if not, id the f.c.c., a statiocould lose its license. ronald reagaabolished the doctrine in 1987, t mention it today and the rush limbaugh'of the world still scre like martyrs being stretched the ck. these peop earn millions inciting riots in the publ mind. if they were required to be fair, they would soon be penniless, out othe street, cup in hand. so when we fir telecast our report on the killingsn knoxville lastear, some of them threw a tantrum, asour criticism of the malicious rhetoric w a call for government csorship. it'srue that in this current climate of mean-speak so members of congress and otrs
have cald for reinstating the fairness doctrine. but i'm not one of the the ctrine is a throwback to a time when there re a lot fewer ways to ar news and opinion than there are in day's universe of bsites, blogs, and tweets. ju last week, the two new commissions to the f.c.c. expressed their rong position to its restoration. the nef.c.c. chairman is oppod, too. consertives nonetheless wave the fallacious threat ofts return as a bloody fla lofted above the straw methey evoke to roil the faithfulnd keep the cash registers rging. so let msay it again: the first amendment protection oa free press extends tthe savage nation as surelys it does to the "nation magazine." anyway, you can't coer taste; fairness is not a dorine to be enforc, but a choice to be made, a responsibility to honore that's it for this week, b the journal continues at our
websit loonto pbs.org and click on "bill moyers journal," whereou can find out morabout the story of talk radio and free speechnd follow the debate on health care reform. i'm bill moyers. seyoe timxte. captioning sponsored by public affairs tevision captioned by media access groupt wgbh accessgbh.org