Jewish World Review Nov. 18, 2004 / 5 Kislev, 5765

Edward I. Koch

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Consumer Reports

Shocked by Bill Moyers' 'coup' comment and radical media | On election night, I, like millions of others, was watching television and listening to the observations of political commentators. Most pundits were saying that exit polls across the nation were predicting a John Kerry win.

On New York's Channel 13 (PBS), I heard Bill Moyers say that there were Bush supporters on the right who would resort to a coup if Kerry won. I was shocked that Moyers would make such a statement. The next day I called Channel 13 to ask for a transcript or videotape of the program. Several hours later I was told that the language I recalled could not be found. I then sent the following letter to Moyers:

November 5, 2004
Dear Bill:

On November 2, election night, I watched you and others on Channel 13 commenting on the returns. At one point, you made a comment after hearing a report that Kerry had probably won to the effect that "the right-wing won't accept this and may use the militia" My recollection is a paraphrase.

I called PBS and asked if I could get the actual quote in writing or receive a videotape of the program. I was told by a young woman that she could not find the quote. I would appreciate it if you could secure the exact quote for me in writing or a copy of the video.

I write a weekly commentary and would like to discuss the comment. All the best.

George F. Will's November 9th column contained a reference to the incident. He wrote:

"On election night on public television - your tax dollars at work - Bill Moyers said: "I think if Kerry were to win this in a — in a tight race, I think there'd be an effort to mount a coup, quite frankly…I mean that the right wing is not going to accept it." Moyers, the emblematic face of public television, is an intellectual icon in the sort of deep blue precincts that think red America is paranoid."

Five days later, on November 10, 2004, I received a letter from Moyers. It is too long to set out in full. I've extracted the salient points. Those who want the entire letter can request it from me by e-mail.

Dear Mayor Koch:

That was a live broadcast from Bloomberg Studios moderated by Charlie Rose, and as I was a guest on what wasn't my own program, I don't have a record of it to offer you.

However, I do know that I never used the word "military" in regard to any response to the election because I don't think like that…I thought if Kerry were to win in a tight race there would be an effort to mount a coup - that the right-wing is not going to accept that kind of results. I had in mind what happened after the voting in 2000 when Republicans dispatched Congressional staffers to Miami to mount public protests…

In fact, nobody on the show suggested that there would have been an attempt at a military coup. I don't believe there would have been…


Nowhere else, so far as I know, was this incident the subject of media discussion. I believe it is a good example of the hate-mongering engaged in throughout the election, particularly on television, by the radical left. During the election, many in the media were unable to conceal their bias against Bush. On election night, the talking heads were delighted to report the exit polls showing the election to be won by John Kerry. The actions of CBS and Dan Rather are now well known. Many of those supporting Bush were literally afraid to make their preference known to family and friends, because emotions - particularly hate - were running so high. At a public dinner I attended a week after the election, five people separately came over to me as I was eating my lamb chops and whispered, "Don't tell anyone, but I voted for Bush."

Moyers protests, "In fact, nobody on the show suggested that there would have been an attempt at a military coup. I don't believe there would have been. No one else in the panel did, either." Really?

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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Sunday from 9-10 am . Comment by clicking here.

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© 2004, Edward I. Koch