NEW YORK (AP) – During his sign-off from public television, veteran journalist Bill Moyers thanked his viewers, who he said keep reminding him that “the quality of journalism and the quality of democracy go hand in hand.”

Moyers, 70, is retiring after more than three decades in television journalism. His final episode of “Now,” the weekly public affairs show he has hosted since 2002, aired Friday evening. “Now” will continue with Moyer’s co-host, David Brancaccio.

Friday’s show included a piece about conservative media, which Moyers recently said “has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee.”

“One would have thought after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, that the need for credible news and opinion, reliable and verifiable, would have found an answer from those who could supply it,” he said.

The show also included an interview with Anthony Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

In his final remarks, Moyers expressed his appreciation to his staff and thanked PBS executives for their defense of the show “against fierce attacks from partisan ideologues who can’t bear to have their version of reality measured against evidence to the contrary.”

Moyers lauded his wife, Judith Davidson Moyers, who is the president of Public Affairs Television, the independent production company the couple formed in 1986.

He then addressed his audience.

“Finally, my thanks to you, for being there time and again – for coming back even after we’ve let you down,” he said, adding that he treasured the letters and e-mail he received “as I would a family album – even the angry harangues usually come from kissin’ cousins.”

“I’ve learned from you not to claim too much for my craft, but not to claim too little, either,” he said. “You keep reminding me that the quality of journalism and the quality of democracy go hand in hand.”

He ended his remarks by saying, “So this is it for me – but, fortunately, not for ‘Now.’ David returns in three weeks. I’m Bill Moyers. Thanks, and farewell.”

Moyers began his career at PBS as host of “This Week” and “Bill Moyers’ Journal” in 1971. He has won more than 30 Emmys and 10 Peabody awards.

A Texas native and ordained Baptist minister, he served in the administration of former President Lyndon Johnson, was publisher of the Long Island newspaper Newsday for several years and worked for CBS News.

AP-ES-12-17-04 2155EST



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