WOUB-HD to Air ‘A Conversation With Bill Moyers’ June 9

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On the last episode of PBS’ Bill Moyers Journal, in which Bill Moyers interviews American populist Jim Hightower, Moyers said one of the lessons he learned from American television journalist Ed Murrow that “bias is okay, as long as you don’t try to hide it.”

That sentiment is one that could be traced throughout Moyers lengthy career – which he kicked off as the press secretary for Lyndon B. Johnson in the mid- ‘60s. He’s worked extensively for CBS, NBC, and for quite some time, PBS. He spent time as a print journalist, as well, notably as the publisher for Newsweek magazine following his departure from the Johnson administration after a fallout with the former president concerning the legitimacy of the continued Vietnam War.

“I’ve seen many broadcasts on PBS where Bill Moyers has been presenting a controversial story as the voice of reason. He always has this calm center, regardless of what he is looking at,” said Michael Sweeney, Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism Associate Director for Graduate Studies, as well as the editor of Journalism History, the most long-standing journal of mass-media history in the country. “Throughout all of his long career in journalism, (Moyers) has brought this progressive, fight for the little guy attitude, which I really respect.”

On Friday, June 9 at 8:30 p.m., WOUB-HD will broadcast A Conversation with Bill Moyers, an hour-long chat between Moyers and Minnesota television broadcast journalist Don Shelby. In the special, Moyers looks back on his storied career and fascinating life as a journalist in America.

Moyers’ 1988 Power of Myth series might be one of his most influential works, as it led to the popularization of mythologist Joseph Campbell’s hero’s tale monomyth.

“Campbell was the world’s premiere mythologist – he had studied myths regarding religions and cultures all around the world, and he had discovered that there was one myth that was reoccurring independently all over the world, the hero’s tale,” said Sweeney.

The hero’s tale is one that has been repeated throughout time – from Homer’s Odyssey to George Lucas’ Star Wars. In it, an ordinary person discovers that they are a hero through extraordinary circumstances. At first, they fight their destiny, go through a period of darkness, and eventually confront their fears. In the end, they triumph.

“The first episode of The Power of Myth was about the first Star Wars movie, which is taken right from the hero’s tale monomyth,” said Sweeney. “The series made Campbell famous, even though it was released posthumously. He had been famous as an academic before that, but how famous is that, really? This series itself is typical Moyers; it’s conversational, engaging and it’s in-depth. Moyers doesn’t do anything halfway, he doesn’t do anything that is just a soundbite.”