Drawing comparisons between media democracy and his own family's struggle with addiction, PBS journalist Bill Moyers pointedly told attendees at the National Conference for Media Reform that, "what you don't know can kill you."
Unaware of his own son's drug addiction, Moyers had to face the harsh and horrible reality that addiction can bring to a family and worked with his son to help overcome his illness. Likewise, Moyers said the corporate media's addiction to repeating the spin of the government is a devastating illness that impacts an entire nation.
While there have been a lot of focus at the NCMR about how to reclaim the media, Moyers gave a passionate speech on Saturday morning reiterating why it is so important for independent journalists to break this cycle of addiction.
There is still no greater example of how the corporate media's out-of-control addiction cost lives than during its coverage of the lead-up to the Iraq War. Once the media got in bed with the Bush administration, they couldn't get out and ask the tough questions about what was really going on. Since the war started, up to a million Iraqis have died and the foundation for the Iraq invasion has been proven to be a lie.
Moyers' documentary about the media's role in Iraq gives a disturbing look at just how complicit the media was during that time.
At the end of his speech Moyers pushed the responsibility to break this cycle of abuse onto the independent media – no small task, he admitted, but a necessary one if we are going to save lives.
You can follow the updates from the conference at twitter.com/adbuster