What a foot-stompin’ reunion there must be at this very moment in that great Purgatory of Journalists in the Sky. I can see them now—Ida Tarbell, Lincoln Steffens, Ray Stannard Baker, Upton Sinclair, Henry Demarest Lloyd, Ida B. Wells, David Graham Phillips, George Seldes, I. F. Stone, Walter Karp, Willie Morris—welcoming our darlin’ to their bosoms. Oh, my, how she comes trailing clouds of truth-telling glory! Look at her—big-hearted as ever, leaning over the balustrade and reaching down to the tormented of Hades, moistening Tom DeLay’s lips, patting down Rick Perry’s hair, erasing George W’s sandstone scribblings. In the celestial light she glows as irrepressibly and vividly as she did here on Earth, where she made the mighty humble, the wicked ashamed, and the good ol’ boys reach for the barrel to hide their forlorn nakedness. And, oh, the stories she must be telling as we speak.
At a PBS meeting a few years ago, she ended her talk with a joke that would have gotten anyone else arrested or excommunicated. But she was carried out on the crowd’s shoulders, as right now she is being ushered into the Council of Ink-Stained Immortals, where the only religion is truth. Save some room up there, Molly: You have inspired us earthbound wretches to keep trying to live up to your legacy in the hope of joining you there one day.
Bill Moyers began his journalism career at the age of l6 as a cub reporter for the Marshall News Messenger and over six decades has become one of the most influential journalists in America. Today, he is president of The Schumann Center for Media and Democracy.