Bill Moyers is the telejournalist who did the much-sung PBS piece on “Amazing Grace.” I don’t know, but I think he’s in the league with Ken Burns, of Civil War and Jazz and Baseball documentary fame. Moyers is thoughtful, thorough, and non-incendiary. Yesterday evening, I caught 5 minutes of his being interviewed by, of all people, Jon Stewart of the Comedy Central channel.
[The punchy Stewart, incidentally, is probing in a different way from Moyers. If Stewart’s language weren’t so often foul, I think I’d watch him more often, because he pokes at the right only 200% more than at the left, instead of 900% more, like the more legitimate, non-comedic remainder of the news media.]
In contrast with the recent interview with Bill O’Reilly (who lost face and was off his game with Stewart, who hit the target with his jabs at Mike Huckabee’s ill-begotten jam session with Ted Nugent), Moyers almost left a respectful Stewart speechless. Part of the reason for Moyers’s success and status appears to be that he hasn’t gone for cheap, hyped, cutting-edge news-generation. Rather, he’s moved in and around those who want to be thoughtful, reflective, and honest with news and other subjects.
One Moyers comment struck me for reasons that will be obvious. It went something like this:
My process has always been this: I shoot extended interviews, and then I spend a lot of time editing to get to the gist of the message. In forty years of journalism, I’ve never once been called by an interviewee for taking him out of context.
Wow. Forty years. I don’t think I often go a week without hearing scripture taken out of context.
If only all Christians (preachers, speakers, teachers, and everyone else, too) would aspire to–and attain to–such a contextually sensitive record with scripture.