Get a tape of this program and show it to your students, college, high school--all of them. It exposes the miserable failure of this country's most prestigious news organizations and personalities during the run up to the Iraq invasion--their failure to investigate Bush administration claims about WMD in Iraq and links to Al Queda.
Been there, done that, you say? Yes, not with such class, not with such disinterested (in the old fashioned sense of the word) moral authenticity.
The reason this show is so devastating, the reason students benumbed by shouting matches and spin-fests will respond as to a breath of mountain air is the attitude Moyers brings to his inquiry. His demeanor is more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger. The anger is there, but it is restrained and given form by a profound sadness, a grief you can see behind his eyes.
Trust me, I've been a teacher for 30 years, kids will get this. They will see immediately that Moyers is the real deal, serving the cause of truth rather than flogging a set of talking points. They will see that truth immediately the same way they see right through mendacious adults in their personal lives.
The show is structured around a comparison. On the one hand, passive acceptance of administration information by The Washington Post, The New York Times and the major network and cable networks. On the other hand, a couple of diligent reporters working for the more provincial Knight Ridder organization who dug up endless reasons for skepticism.
You can see the shame on Dan Rather's face and Tim Russert's face as Moyers presents them with the comparison. Kids will see it too. It's palpable.
The most exquisite moment? Tim Russert replies to Moyers, who is pushing him for why didn't he know that there were holes in the administration case--and Russert says something like "Well, there were no phones ringing..." he was going to say "off the hook", but stops himself and ends lamely with something like "we just didn't know."
And Moyers cuts to the Knight Ridder reporters toiling away at their desks and the voice-over says something like "but John Walcott and Warren Strobel weren't waiting for the phone to ring..."
For any big shot beltway media type with even a pretense to journalistic values--it's a moment of utter and deserved humiliation. Kids need to see it.