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Bill Moyers : biography

05 June 1934 -

Bill D. Moyers (born June 5, 1934) is an American journalist and public commentator. He served as White House Press Secretary in the Johnson administration from 1965 to 1967. He also worked as a network TV news commentator for ten years. Moyers has been extensively involved with public broadcasting, producing documentaries and news journal programs. He has won numerous awards and honorary degrees for his investigative journalism and civic activities. He has become well-known as a trenchant critic of the U.S. media (particularly modern, corporately structured news media). Since 1990, Moyers has been President of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy.

Life and career

Early years and education

President Johnson (right) meets with special assistant Moyers in the [[White House Oval Office, 1963]] Moyers was born in Hugo, Oklahoma, to father John Henry Moyers, a laborer, and mother Ruby Moyers (née Johnson). He grew up in Texas.

He started his journalism career at sixteen as a cub reporter at the Marshall News Messenger in Marshall, Texas. In college, he studied journalism at the North Texas State College in Denton, Texas. In 1954, then-U.S. Senator Lyndon B. Johnson employed him as a summer intern and eventually promoted him to manage Johnson's personal mail. Soon after, Moyers transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, where he wrote for The Daily Texan newspaper. In 1956, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism. While in Austin, Moyers served as assistant news editor for KTBC radio and television stations – owned by Lady Bird Johnson, wife of then-Senator Johnson. During the academic year 1956–1957, he studied issues of church and state at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland as a Rotary International Fellow. In 1959, he completed a Master of Divinity degree at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Moyers served as Director of Information while attending SWBTS. He was also a Baptist pastor in Weir, Texas.

Kennedy and Johnson administrations

Moyers giving a press conference at the [[White House in 1965]] During the Kennedy Administration, Moyers was first appointed as associate director of public affairs for the newly created Peace Corps in 1961. He served as Deputy Director from 1962 to 1963. When Lyndon B. Johnson took office after the Kennedy assassination, Moyers became a special assistant to Johnson, serving from 1963 to 1967. He played a key role in organizing and supervising the 1964 Great Society legislative task forces and was a principal architect of Johnson's 1964 presidential campaign. Moyers acted as the President's informal chief of staff from October 1964 until 1966. From July 1965 to February 1967, he also served as White House press secretary.

After the resignation of White House Chief of Staff Walter Jenkins because of a sexual misdemeanor in the run up to the 1964 election, President Lyndon B. Johnson, alarmed that the opposition was framing the issue as a security breach, ordered Moyers to request FBI name checks on 15 members of Goldwater's staff to find "derogatory" material on their personal lives.Hoover's men ran name checks on 15 of them, producing derogatory information on two (a traffic violation on one and a love affair on another) "" Goldwater himself only referred to the Jenkins incident off the record. The Church Committee stated in 1975 that "Moyers has publicly recounted his role in the incident, and his account is confirmed by FBI documents." In 2005, Laurence Silberman claimed that Moyers denied writing the memo in a 1975 phone call.Silberman, Acting Deputy Attorney General in 1975, says Moyers called his office and said the document was a "phony CIA memo" but declined Silberman's offer to conduct an investigation to clear his name. "" Moyers responded that Silberman's account of the conversation was at odds with his. "" Moyers said he had a different recollection of the telephone conversation.

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