Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Personal Aside: Bill Moyers PBS’s Secular Saint Was LBJ’s Dirty Little Sneak Who Probed Valenti’s Sexual Preference. But Who Knows As Media Keep His Secret.


During the 1964 presidential campaign, LBJ’s top assistant Walter Jenkins was found misbehaving with a male consort in the Men’s Room of the Mayflower. In those days, homosexuality for a political person was regarded as deviant…unlike today when it is publicly announced to great fanfare ala House Financial Institutions chairman Barney Frank whose current boyfriend is ensconced—conflict of interest and all-- with a big job in…no homophobic allusions, please…Fanny Mae.

I well remember the furor that ensued. Johnson, pathologically worried that he would lose to Barry Goldwater, ordered that all top staffers be examined by J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover even sent his inspectors…believe it or not…to key congressional offices including two contestants for the Democratic vice presidential nomination, Hubert Humphrey and Eugene McCarthy. Humphrey passed muster as a certifiable heterosexual as did his staff. McCarthy was also judged okay—but when the FBI guy approached one of McCarthy’s legislative aides…a guy I went to Saint John’s with, incidentally…he no sooner sat down, pulled out his yellow legal pad and uncapped his fountain pen…when the guy yelled excitedly: “You got me! I’m one!”

Had he shut up he would have submitted to the basic questions and the FBI guy would have left. I must say I always had my suspicions when on a very snowy day…rare for Washington…the guy showed up with a fractured wrist. He had parked his car on a hill near his apartment and when he approached it, somehow the thing started to roll down the hill toward him. He stood there and stuck out his wrist, of all things, and the car collided with it and snapped it! Which started us chortling that now it was certain that he had the limpest wrist in town. He grimaced wryly. Little did we suspect…oh well. But his blurted confession mandated that he leave his job…incredible because the FBI agent told us later he was bored with his assignment and he was giving everybody a pass anyhow.

LBJ was so consumed with fear that he ordered a probe of one of his closest friends, Jack Valenti. He called his ultra-loyal little Billy Moyers into his office and ordered Moyers to skulk behind Valenti’s back and get J. Edgar (who may or may not have had some problems himself: I am not entirely sure he did, though) to launch a thorough study of Valenti. He wanted Valenti to get far more stringent treatment than anyone else because Valenti was closer to Johnson than almost anyone else and the great God Jehovah Johnson certainly didn’t want a second close guy on his staff to be a ringer…else people would think Johnson HIMSELF was one God forbid.

So the obedient little rodent Moyers had J. Edgar investigate his and Johnson’s close friend. Actually it is extraordinarily problematic why Valenti would even come under perusal since he was an incorrigible ladies’ man but somehow Johnson had heard that he was too close to a male photographer.

Valenti proved to be okay but last week in a front-page story the Washington Post broke the story. Valenti who wound up as the very rich lobbyist for the motion picture industry is dead but believe it or not the guy who carried out his boss’ orders and got J. Edgar to probe Valenti unbeknownst to Valenti, Bill Moyers, happens to be highly regarded as the liberal conscience of the media…the man who has been all over the tube on taxpayer-paid and foundation-funded PBS. Moyers has been concerned for many years over intrusions of privacy. He just hates the idea of the U. S. defending itself by violating the rights of terrorists. He has growled over the machinations of Richard M. Nixon who had phones of his staff bugged.

This is the very same Bill Moyers who managed in concert with the Justice Department the intrusive bugging of Martin Luther King’s hotel rooms, receiving the transcripts of King’s scatological conversations with his white girl friend, having them duplicated and sent around the White House for the prurient pleasure of all.

The media, predictably, has gone very light on the story. I don’t remember it being in either Chicago daily newspaper. Certainly not used on PBS or public radio. And of course Moyers whose name has been on the records as signatory for these probes told the Post he cannot recall…cannot recall…his memory is unclear after so many years that he may have been simply re-checking the details Hoover gave LBJ.

Do you remember how the media howled with delight when a certain conservative Republican senator from Idaho got involved via a wide stance in the Men’s Room at the Twin City international airport? And now they hardly give this one a mention. Where is Brian Wilson of NBC…the ex-Carter intern…who used the Idaho senator yarn? Where is perky Katie Couric? See what I mean when I say liberal journalism is not just slurring those with whom it disagrees but remaining mum…see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil… when your side is embarrassed?

A cardinal sin as pronounced by one of our Illinois pundits is homophobia. Another is hypocrisy.

Not a peep out of this whitened sepulcher about Moyers. Off limits, you know. And now you know all the news, America.

1 comment:

  1. You're right about Moyers. It is incredible how he has recreated his public image given his background and history. I still recall how he deliberately excluded fundamentalists from a PBS series on Genesis. He justified that by saying how they were not open to discussion - which I thought was a bit ironic on his part.