Moyers vs. O'Reilly, Round II

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Hi, I'm Bill O'Reilly. Thanks for watching us tonight.

Moyers versus O'Reilly, round two. That's the subject of this evening's Talking Points Memo. As you may know, we have asked Bill Moyers to come on The Factor gazillions of times, but he will not. I finally got to talk to him today on the phone, and he told me no way will he appear to tell you how I am full of beans.

Instead, Mr. Moyers spent big money on this advertisement in the New York Daily News saying that my assertions about him are untrue. Basically I contend Bill Moyers is using your tax money to run a highly lucrative business. Moyers does documentaries for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which receives $300 million taxpayer dollars each year.

But in the past, Moyers has sold videos of those documentaries and kept some of the profit. So, in effect, we are subsidizing the Bill Moyers capitalistic empire. Not fair, not good.

In his ad Moyers states, quote, "Public television rarely funds my work. I raise the money myself from independent sources. But when it does, PBS owns the distribution rights. The proceeds remain with public television, and my share is minuscule."

But according the Corporation for Public Broadcasting spokeswoman, Carol Florman, Moyers received $769,000 to produce documentaries called "Listening to America" and "What We Can Do About Violence." PBS spokesman George Abar declined to comment when asked what portion of the video sales Moyers got.

So Bill, what say you? There is no question that Moyers is making serious money at the public water fountain. His weekly program "Now" pays him handsomely, and, of course, is broadcast by PBS, which could not exist without taxpayer money.

So this looks bad, Bill. But like the ghostbusters, we are ready to believe you. But you have to show up and put your tax returns on the table.

Moyers is also mad at me because I questioned his cozy relationship with the journalism people at Columbia University. He has given the Columbia Journalism Review some nice money and has received a slew of awards from the DuPont-Columbia folks.

Moyers claims there was no quid pro quo, and maybe he is right. But all I said is that his association with Columbia might make for an interesting documentary. I'll produce it with you, Bill. No public funding. Let's take a meeting.

Look, all I want from Moyers is some accountability. I have nothing against him personally or journalistically. I respect any commentator with an honest point of view. But Moyers has a corporation and is in bed with PBS, which is spending our money. There's stuff going on here that needs to be explained.

Moyers can take out all the expensive advertising he wants, but until he answers specific questions, he is just hosing the taxpayers, in my opinion.

And that's The Memo.

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No "Ridiculous" because we just did it. [In our segment on the HBO documentary Cathouse]

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