Taibbi on Bill Moyers vs. Bill O'Reilly

Matt Taibbi

Yesterday, I sat down with author Chrystia Freeland (whom I knew from Russia, where we both worked as reporters in the 90s) to talk about her excellent new book, Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else, with Bill Moyers. The show will begin airing on public TV stations this weekend, and will be available online tomorrow. The subject was income inequality and the rise of a new oligarch class; you can see a preview here.

When I went into Bill's studio yesterday, I heard about a crazy dustup he had recently with Bill O'Reilly, the details of which are extremely aggravating in a way that, as anyone who has followed this political season knows – this is a story about someone getting facts wrong – is becoming increasingly and unpleasantly familiar. What happened was that in his much-publicized debate with Jon Stewart, O'Reilly bashed PBS for funding lefty agitators like Bill Moyers. "Here's what we get – a $16 trillion debt, and we've gotta pay for Bill Moyers," O'Reilly boomed. He also at one point held up a flash card with a picture of Moyers, along with the headline, "Why is NPR getting our money?"

There were only two problems with O'Reilly's argument:

1) Bill Moyers doesn't work for NPR, and never has.

2) Bill Moyers doesn't receive any money from PBS. His show is entirely self-supported by donors. If anything, Moyers supports public television.

Moyers did a righteous and elegant takedown of O'Reilly, which you can watch here, chiding O'Reilly for residing "in an alternate reality, where the truth is as elusive as a moonbeam and facts as alien as little green men with bug eyes."

Anyway, check out the show this weekend, it was a fun discussion.


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