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Rather, Moyers address 'crisis of journalism'
Andrew McLemore
Published: Sunday June 8, 2008

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The day the National Conference for Media Reform began, the Associated Press reported that the event's top issue would be corporate reform.

Moyers and Rather did not disappoint.

Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather and journalist Bill Moyers addressed the perils of corporate media and the shared burden the media bears for the disaster of the Iraq war and the conglomeration of news organizations.

Dan Rather, pictured above, spoke Saturday evening and criticized the media's responsibility for the lead-up to the Iraq war. A full transcript of Rather's speech is available on the Free Press Web site.

"America's biggest, most important news organizations have, over the past 25 years, fallen prey to merger after merger, acquisition after acquisition... to the point where they are, now, tiny parts of immeasurably larger corporate entities — entities whose primary business often has nothing to do with news," Rather said.

Rather also stressed the importance of the current political climate regarding Iran and Scott McClellan's recent book criticizing the Bush administration.

"The stakes could not possibly be higher. Scott McClellan's book serves as a reminder, and the current election season, not to mention the gathering clouds of conflict with Iran, will both serve as tests of whether lessons have truly been learned from past experience. Ensuring that a free press remains free will require vigilance, and it will require work," Rather said.

Moyers spoke to a crowd of 3,500 in Minneapolis Saturday and called the media reform movement "the most significant citizens' movement to emerge in this new century." The following is an excerpt from Moyer's speech, the entire video of which is available below.

"You couldn't find a more revealing measure of the state of the dominant media today than the continuing ubiquitous presence -- on the air and in print -- of the very pundits and experts, self-selected 'message multipliers' of a disastrous foreign policy, who got it all wrong in the first place," he said.

Moyers cited the recent exposés about government propaganda in mainstream media as a symptom of "journalism in profound crisis."

A full list of the conference's speakers can be found at Free Press.