Bill Moyers, Gay-Baiter

Before he became the self-righteous scold of the liberal television commentariat, Moyers served as a special assistant to Lyndon Johnson, during which time he ordered investigations to expose gays.

BY James Kirchick

February 25 2009 12:00 AM ET


Given his own history
of snooping into the private lives of American citizens with
the intent to publicly humiliate them, Moyers's latter-day
sermonizing on the evils of the Bush administration and
conservatives in general rings more than a little hollow. And
the fact that he has been getting rich off the public trough
for decades -- earning millions of dollars in production deals
from his documentaries and television programs aired on Public
Broadcasting -- makes a full explanation of his activities in
government service all the more necessary.

Moyers didn't just seek
dirt on his own colleagues but his political enemies as well.
In 1975, then-deputy attorney general Laurence Silberman was
tasked with the job of reviewing a raft of secret files once
belonging to J. Edgar Hoover. Amid "nasty bits of information
on various political figures," Silberman found a letter
drafted by Moyers requesting an FBI investigation of suspected
gays on Goldwater's campaign staff. When the press reported on
this document, Silberman received an angry phone call from
Moyers, who alleged that the report was a CIA forgery. When
Silberman offered to conduct an investigation so as to
exonerate Moyers, the former presidential aide demurred. "I
was very young," Moyers confessed to Silberman. "How will I
explain this to my children?"

It's a good question.
And one that we're still waiting for Bill Moyers to answer.

Tags: Politics