Bill Moyers: The news should set us free to fight for the future

From a speech by the US journalist in acceptance of the Global Environment Citizen Award, at Harvard University
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The Independent Online

We journalists are simply beachcombers on the shores of other people's knowledge, other people's experience, and other people's wisdom. We tell their stories. One challenge we face is how to tell such a story without coming across as Cassandras, without turning off the people we most want to understand what's happening, who must act on what they read and hear.

We journalists are simply beachcombers on the shores of other people's knowledge, other people's experience, and other people's wisdom. We tell their stories. One challenge we face is how to tell such a story without coming across as Cassandras, without turning off the people we most want to understand what's happening, who must act on what they read and hear.

As difficult as it is, however, for journalists to fashion a readable narrative for complex issues without depressing our readers and viewers, there is an even harder challenge - to pierce the ideology that governs official policy today. One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress. For the first time in our history, ideology and theology hold a monopoly of power in Washington.

Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a world view despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind.

On the heath, Lear asks Gloucester: "How do you see the world?" And Gloucester, who is blind, answers: "I see it feelingly." I see it feelingly. The news is not good these days. I can tell you, though, that as a journalist, I know the news is never the end of the story. The news can be the truth that sets us free - not only to feel but to fight for the future we want. And the will to fight is the antidote to despair, the cure for cynicism. What we need is what the ancient Israelites called "hocma" - the science of the heart, the capacity to see, to feel, and then to act as if the future depended on you.

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