Bill Moyers has posted a transcript of the remarks he gave this week during the Helen Bernstein Book Awards for Excellence in Journalism. The ceremony took place Tuesday night at the New York Public Library.
Moyers explained to attendees that he came close to declining the offer to speak, thinking no one needed to hear digital journalism thoughts from a reporter who belongs to the “Jurassic era.” Luckily for them, and us, Moyers went ahead with his usual perspicacity. Here’s an excerpt:
“But remember: I had an independent stream of income – from a handful of foundations that believe democracy needs journalism, and from my sole corporate sponsor of almost 30 years, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company.”
“Before Mutual, I had lost three corporate funders because of broadcasts that offended their CEOs, directors, customers or their cronies in high office. Now, I can tell you that losing your underwriter can send an independent producer to the showers, end your career and — more deadly — unconsciously distort your intuition about what is permissible the next time you think about producing another documentary. Self-censorship is all the more insidious when you don’t recognize that you have been infected. But Mutual of America had my back.”
“Not once in almost three decades of reporting from the intersection where corporate influence touches political power did I have a single complaint from anyone at the company, even when I knew they were getting an earful from others. Consider yourself blessed if you are backed by capitalists with courage.”
It would have been interesting to hear Moyers’ thoughts on the devolution of one recent on-paper similar scenario, pairing Matt Taibbi with Pierre Omidyar. Read the full text here.
And, per the image above, the winner of the 2015 Helen Bernstein Book Award was New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas for his reconstruction of some horrific 9/11-era events in Dallas.
[Jacket cover courtesy: W.W. Norton & Company]