The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Bill Moyers - keeper of an LBJ secret

The running theme here is disconnect: Moyers now treated as a demi-god by lefties, but formerly Liemaster in Chief (aka press secretary) to warmonger extraordinaire Lyndon Johnson.

We've had a decade or more of the Robert McNamara Guilt Express: Moyers' mea culpas seem to have been rather more limited.

The Pierro thesis mentions (p68) a speech that 'Landslide Lyndon' gave in Austin (the Texan San Francisco) during his 1948 Senate campaign:
[The] Civil Rights Program is a farce and a sham – an effort to set up a police state on the guise of liberty...

Pierro comments sniffily
Such was the proud record of Lyndon Baines Johnson in the spring of 1948.

I loathe Johnson; but what does he expect for Texas in 1948?

The footnote to the quote refers to a book Harry Truman and Civil Rights: Moral Courage and Political Risks by Michael Gardner; it goes on:
Gardner writes that during the Johnson administration, the possible circulation of these statements was considered so politically damaging that White House staffers “were instructed by an official notice attached to the speech that read, ‘DO NOT RELEASE THIS SPEECH – NOT EVEN TO STAFF, WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION OF [Special Assistant to the President] BILL MOYERS. As background, both Walter Jenkins [Johnson’s top administrative assistant] and [White House Press Secretary] George Reedy have instructed this is not EVER TO BE RELEASED.”

Given the stuff that Johnson put in the Congressional Record as a freshman senator - his We of the South maiden speech, for instance - this seems unduly sensitive. Perhaps there was worse stuff in it - nigger jokes, say.

The piquant idea is that today's champion journalist Moyers should once have been partially responsible for keeping this noxious information from the public.

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