Bernie’s Q&A: Limbaugh, Netanyahu, Trump, McDougal and more! (6/4) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium Interactive members. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me. Thank you.

Editor’s note: If you enjoy these sessions (along with the weekly columns and audio commentaries), please use the Facebook and Twitter buttons to share this page with your friends and family. Thank you! 

Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):

I’d like to hear your thoughts on Clay Travis and Buck Sexton moving into the 12-3 radio time slot once occupied by Rush Limbaugh. Clay Travis carved out a niche a few years ago when he became one of the more high profile moderate / conservative voices in sports talk radio. When everyone at ESPN was going ga ga over Kapernick, Obama, and everything anti-Trump, Travis went the other direction. I am not sure if he is totally sincere in his beliefs or if he is just an opportunist, but I have to give him credit for realizing that being another liberal voice in the sea of liberal media voices won’t help you stand out. — Joe M.

It takes a certain amount of courage to challenge the prevailing “wisdom” in the world of sports journalism (or journalism generally). But I have a theory when it comes to replacing iconic figures like Rush Limbaugh: You’re better off waiting and replacing the person who replaced Limbaugh. Now Travis and Sexton will inevitably be compared to Rush — and it’s a comparison that can’t turn out well. But hey, it’s a job and a paycheck, so good luck to them.

Bernie, I believe that most of your readers accept that the media has become more bias as compared to when you first started. Many commentators point to educational indoctrination and fiduciary motives as the root cause of Media bias. I’ve wondered if this transformation is more deeply rooted in this country’s detachment from our country’s original Judeo-Christian values? Americas Judeo-Christian beliefs accept the inherent corrupt nature of humans and it is these Judeo-Christian values that in the past, had kept our worst nature in check. As communication via media increased so did the influence and power of politicians and “The Media”. Could it be this new power and lack of our original value constraints, that provided the impetus for Politicians and Media to feel that they can act without consequence. Might this also be the reason why the media is so frightened of Judeo-Christian values? — George A.

Good question, George, but honestly … it’s too deep for me. I think bias in the news is a problem for more secular reasons: too many liberals in the world of journalism who think their values are reasonable and even moderate. So to some extent they don’t see their bias as bias at all, but as the “correct” way to report a story. If it’s more than that, if it has something to do with the breakdown of Judeo-Christian values, I’m not the guy with an answer. Sorry.

Sir Bernie—apparently President Biden (our legitimate president) made a rather… ahem… discomforting remark …about a young girl and how he loved the barrettes in her hair, and how she looks like she’s 19 years old sitting there with her legs crossed. Is this something that conservative media websites blew out of proportion? I didn’t see who was being addressed so I don’t know if it was taken out of context or not. Even if it is what the right wingers are insinuating, I (as a right winger) see it as inappropriate and weird but not necessarily sinister—-just a doddering old man saying something that’s F—ING DUMB!

Here’s what I want to know—-in your opinion was this simply a dumb remark blown out of proportion, or was it something creepier? Also—-dumb or creepy, what do you think the mainstream media’s take would have been had President Trump made the same observations in the same context? — “Cross Legged 19-Year-Old” Regards From The Emperor

I watched the video. What’s the big deal. I’m so sick and tired of partisans on the right picking at everything Biden does … just as partisans on the left picked at everything Trump said or did. Okay, if Trump made the same comment, it might have been big news. I’m shocked! But one of the reasons I watch almost no cable in prime time anymore is because I’ve had enough of the stupid, partisan shots at whoever the enemy is. But let’s me clear: That’s what many viewers want and the cable channels and the dopey websites are more than happy to give the customer what he wants. Count me out!

Bernie, [regarding Monday’s column], I love you like a brother and think your heart is in the right place but I do not believe we can dismiss the election malfeasance narrative. We have already seen that there is very little that the Left won’t attempt in their Machiavellian world / mindset. It is VERY important that we find out what happened and probably has been happening for years. Brained washed youth and illegal immigrants form a fairly solid and growing base, throw in the possibility (needs to be proven) of perpetual cooking of the voting books and we have no chance going forward. If I were Trump I wouldn’t let it go either. Put yourself in his shoes and I think you might understand the frustration. — Thomas C.

Take it up with Donald Trump’s legal team — the same team that brought more than 60 cases alleging fraud … in front of all sort of judges … some appointed by Trump himself … and they lost every time out. If there was fraud that was so widespread that it turned the election for Biden, Trump’s team failed to prove it. As far as Trump not letting go: He’s a narcissist of monumental proportions. He can’t accept defeat. And, sorry, Thomas, but he’s bamboozled a lot of his fans into believing his nonsense. I know you won’t like my answer, but unlike the idiots on cable TV, I won’t pander.

Hi. Answering your question to me from last week: there are MANY things that the Democrats do that concern me. Policy wise I think they’re wrong on most things (foreign, fiscal, domestic, etc.). On the culture, the wokeness stuff drives me crazy and I think a lot of it is bad for society. But being a Republican myself (for a very long time), today’s GOP especially embarrasses and disappoints me because they no longer stand for any of the things that made me a Republican in the first place. They scrapped conservatism for Trump populism. Character no longer matters. The truth no longer matters. Accountability no longer matters. Not even the constitution matters – look at all the Republicans in congress voted against certifying the last election. I have no real expectations for the Democrats. They have been getting it wrong for a LONG time. I expect the GOP the be better than them but they no longer are. Both parties are jokes. — Jen R.

I couldn’t have said it better! Thanks, Jen.

It looks like Benjamin Netanyahu will be ousted as prime minister of Israel. Do you have any thoughts on him as a leader, and do you think Israel will miss his leadership? — Ralph P.

I don’t keep up with Israel’s domestic politics. That said, Netanyahu is a tough pol who often gets criticized for his toughness. But he lives in a tough neighborhood and that needs to be taken into account. Generally speaking, I like him. But again, if I were more savvy about Israel’s internal politics I might have another opinion. Israelis may miss his leadership in the long run but it looks like he’s on his way out, so in the short run they won’t miss him. They’re the ones kicking him out.

Naomi Osaka made a lot of news recently when she revealed mental health issues that make post-match interviews virtually impossible. Ricky Williams also had social anxiety issues, and a number of other notable stars admit to similar limitations. From the fan’s perspective, revealing sports star interviews are few and far between. I can’t think of the last one I found interesting. We hear a lot of coach-speak and bland statements from players. With the rise of 24/7 sports media, social media and commentary, do we really need these anymore? I’m all for “shut up and dribble 2.0”, where players play and commentators comment. — Steve R.

I just did an interview with sports journalist Jason Whitlock for a new online men’s magazine. I’ll share at least some of it with you when it goes live. Whitlock is the exception to the rule: He’s black, he’s conservative, and he says interesting things. Players have the right to speak up on issues they find important. And fans have the right to say I didn’t tune in to a basketball game to get a lecture on critical race theory.

A lot was talked about Stormy Daniels and the Trump payoff a few years ago. This week we’re hearing more about actress Karen McDougal who also (allegedly) had a sexual affair with Donald Trump. AMI, the company that publishes The National Enquirer and has close ties to Trump, just paid an almost $200k fine to the Federal Election Commission over their efforts to suppress her account of the affair, during the 2016 election cycle, by buying the exclusive rights to McDouglal’s story, and then sealing them shut. The FEC said the action was an illegal contribution to Trump’s presidential campaign. Also in that election, the National Enquirer relentlessly went after Hillary Clinton on their front pages –and before that Trump’s primary opponents including Ben Carson and Ted Cruz– while promoting and endorsing Trump to the moon.

I  haven’t seen this talked about much, but it does make me wonder. We all make fun of the tabloid, but much of the country still reads its cover in checkout lines. With the pub also helping Trump behind the scenes, is it possible that the National Enquirer may have actually been the tipping point of the 2016 election (which was in the end decided by only about 80k votes in a few close states)? — Ben G

Interesting question, Ben. I guess it’s possible given, as you say, a lot of people read that crap. But I’m not sure they also vote.

Hello. Are there any companies that you have personally boycotted over a political stance they or their CEOs have taken? — Robert M.

I don’t drink Coca Cola anymore. That’s about it. For now.

Bernie, Trump is reportedly telling people that he’ll be reinstated as President of the United States in August. Sidney Powell recently told a panel audience the same thing, as did My Pillow guy, Mike Lindell. I have some questions:

  • Why wait until August? If America is going to be made great again, it feels like a shame to take the summer off.
  • Will Trump get 7 months added onto his second term for time lost (therefore permanently changing the presidential inauguration date), or will the term be creatively prorated somehow to reflect a proportionate amount of MAGA awesomeness?
  • Will Mike Pence be required to resume his job as Vice President? This could be awkward being that Trump still blames him, and his adherence to democracy, for Biden taking power in the first place.
  • Will Lou Dobbs be re-hired by Fox?

Thanks. — John D.

I have one more question, John D. When will you start taking your meds again?


Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.

Bernie’s Q&A: Chris Cuomo, John Cena, George Floyd, and more! (5/28) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium Interactive members. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me. Thank you.

Editor’s note: If you enjoy these sessions (along with the weekly columns and audio commentaries), please use the Facebook and Twitter buttons to share this page with your friends and family. Thank you! 

Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):

Bernie. I enjoy your Off the Cuff’s. Have you thought about doing longer, podcast type commentaries where you talk about weekly media bias and other things? Podcasts have become very popular. — Benny H.

I’ve thought about it Benny, but so far that’s as far as it’s gone. I like what I’m currently doing.

Hello. In last week’s answer to me on the January 6 commission, you wrote: “Republicans who voted against the commission say it’s because they want more than Jan 6 to be investigated: they also want the commission to look at left wing rioting. Democrats don’t want any part of that. So who’s the villain here?”

In this situation, the Republicans opposing the commissions are the villains. Right after the Capitol attack, there was a congressional consensus for this type of targeted commission. John Katko (R) at McCarthy’s direction spent a lot of time negotiating with the Dems to make the committee structure as fair and independent as possible. But Trump surprised many in the GOP by remaining a political force, and is now back as the party’s leader. He doesn’t want a commission (we know why) so Republican excuses are now coming out of the woodwork.

If the GOP wanted commissions into other riots, and the Dems said ‘no’ out of fear it would hurt their party, then they would be the villains. The point: lumping ALL riots together into one investigation isn’t serious. At the U.S. Capitol, we had an insurrection. The rioters were trying to overturn a constitutional process and stop the peaceful transfer of power inside our legislative branch. They were doing it based on Trump’s lie, and we still don’t know among other things what Trump and other key reps were doing during the attack. This incident should be investigated differently than what has mostly been indiscriminate mob-violence from BLM and Antifa people. You thoughts? — Jen R.

I was conveying the GOP position regarding their opposition to a commission, which they see as partisan and not needed because there are other investigations already underway. Personally, I have no problem with a commission investigating what happened on January 6. But politicians have all sorts of concerns that you and I don’t — like how Democrats might use the commission to release its findings right before the 2022 midterm elections. How they might play up only findings that make Republicans look bad. Granted, Republican opposition isn’t free of politics. We know that. But Democrats are political animals too and they figure the commission findings will hurt not only Donald Trump but the GOP in general. And that’s also a consideration for them.

Now I have a question for you, Jen: Is there anything Democrats have done, are doing, or likely will do that concerns you in a negative way? I look forward to your questions; they’re always smart. But it hit me some time ago that your concerns go only in one direction — the anti-Republican direction. You’re obviously under no obligation to reply. I’m just wondering.

Just curious when you are confronted on the street to take a knee to some young and typically “white woke” person what apology you will make? I’m thinking I’ll apologize for the western imperialistic “capitalist” vaccine that save millions of people. Oh, I’m not taking a knee doing so! I’m too old to bend that far. — Tim H.

If  I’m ever “asked” to take a knee and apologize for something or other, I’ll look the guy asking in the face and tell him to F off. I might add, “And have a nice day.”

I need a reality check here. Is the controversy surrounding Chris Cuomo actively advising his brother’s gubernatorial staff regarding media response a horrible breach of journalist ethics? Or is this self-righteous pearl clutching on our part of an activity that goes on regularly, and Chris Cuomo was just guilty of getting caught? — Steve R.

A journalist can’t advise the governor on how to react to a crisis, even if the governor is his brother. But I wouldn’t call Chris Cuomo a journalist. He’s a partisan like everyone else on prime time cable news shows. And it’s a safe bet that in their many conversations Hannity (and others on the right) gave advice to President Trump, which would be another breach. But on cable news, the only crime is not sticking to the assigned party line and maximizing ratings.

[Regarding Monday’s column]: Yeah but what about the people in the media and society that do not see racism hardly anywhere? The ones that say because we elected a black President proves there is no more racism. Many of these police shootings of black people get coverage only because we speak up about it. In the Chicago case of Laquan McDonald. The officer finally was tried and went to jail. But the police sat on the case for over a year. Police do bad things and largely get the benefit of the doubt. It was also months before the case of Trayvon Martin got some attention and movement. How is that justice I ask you? And when we do raise the issue, here comes the Black on Black crime “Straw man argument”. I say straw man because white people kill white people but no one ever talks about that. It is a fact that people harm people in their own communities. I do not mind telling stories of black people doing bad. But when will there be stories of white people doing bad things. I am talking about stories that slant the in a way. To show that white people have and still do bad things. But no one wants to talk about that. Let me stop or I will be here all day. All I am really asking for is balance. There are unique problems in the white community too. — Douglas S.

The reason I bring up black on black crime, my friend, is because the conversation these days in the media and in the civil rights community is about rogue white cops killing unarmed black people. That, as I wrote, is a legitimate and important news story. But if we’re concerned about the relatively few white cops who use excessive force against black people, then we should also be concerned — and cover in the news — the far bigger problem of black men killing other black men. You’re right that crime usually stays within racial boundaries, meaning whites generally kill whites and blacks generally kill blacks. But as I’m sure you know black violent crime is disproportionate to the black population in this country. I wish it were not so, but it is.

I certainly agree the media is providing much more heat than light on racial matters here in America. It’s interesting to me that although Hispanics are now the largest ethnic minority in the U.S., you just don’t get these kind of police brutality stories involving them. While I’m a big police supporter, I doubt bad acts are all against just one minority or even majority population. It seems to me Hispanics are kind of invisible to the media unless they’re doing a story on illegal immigration. Do you agree? Why would that be anyway? — John R.

Maybe, John, it’s because of our racial history that we focus more on police brutality — real or otherwise — when blacks are involved. Any use of excessive force against blacks conjures up the bad old days of flat out racism in America — and therefore makes for more “interesting” news.

With protests (some of them turning into riots) being a big topic in recent years, I found myself wondering something: Have you, Bernie Goldberg, ever participated in a protest/march for a certain cause? Or has your life-long career as journalist compelled you to never even consider it? — Ben G.

Never, Ben. Never demonstrated … never even considered it. A journalist can’t be an activist. I’m glad you asked.

So on Tuesday, the White House for the first time in history honored a career criminal. It was George Floyd day at the White House to mark the anniversary of his death at the hands of police. That ambulance chasing attorney, Benjamin Crump was front and center. I’m so sick and tired of hearing about George Floyd and his now $27 million richer family. This was a freaking criminal who was in and out of prison seven times, took part in the home invasion of a pregnant woman. As far as I’m concerned his death was, as Ebeneeze Scrooge would say, “eliminating the surplus population.” I would add the good for nothing surplus population. Adding to my outrage was seeing that the U.S. Embassy’s around the world flying the flag of the Marxist BLM Organization. Never thought there would come a day that I would see a U.S. Embassy flying a Marxist Organizations flag. GRRRRRRR 3 1/2 more years of this disgusting administration. — John M.

First let me say, John, that I wish you had something to say about the despicable cop who murdered George Floyd. That you didn’t say anything about that, honestly, makes me uncomfortable. What makes me even more uncomfortable is your comment about how his death simply is eliminating the surplus population. You don’t have to like George Floyd to detest the cop who murdered him. Yet you don’t seem to.

Let’s move on.

I wish we were at a point in America where we could say George Floyd was killed by a bad cop … but that said … George Floyd wasn’t a hero. He was a man, as you say, with a criminal record who had done some very bad things in his life. And for many black people and white liberals to turn him into some kind of saint, leaves me more sad than angry. It’s possible to hate the cop and not turn George Floyd into a hero.

Which host’s show have you most enjoyed being a guest on over the years (this can be a TV, radio or podcast host, and I won’t tell Bill O if it’s not him. haha)? — Albert B.

If I answer your question, Albert, I just might offend all the other hosts who I didn’t pick. So I’ll have to answer your question this way: Yes, I like being on with O’Reilly. And I liked being on with Tim Russert. And I liked being on with a few others. That’s the best you’re going to get out of me, Albert.

Earlier this week, wrestler/actor John Cena apologized to China for accurately referring to Taiwan as a country. He obviously did so in hopes of keeping the upset Chinese government from banning his new “Fast and Furious” movie, which is about to be released internationally.

From what I understand, you are an absolutely huge fan of both the “Fast and Furious” franchise and John Cena  (I’ve heard about the extensive Cena action-figure collection you keep in multiple display cabinets in your basement). Has Cena’s demonstration of cowardliness compelled you to re-evaluate your fandom, and perhaps throw in with Liam Neeson’s “old guy kicking ass” action films instead? — John D.

Let me tell you a Bernie/John Cena true story: He came over to the house for lunch during the height of COVID last year. I told him he had to wear a mask inside my house — at all times … even when eating. He refused.  So — as I say, true story — I kicked his ass and asked him, “Who’s your daddy, girly boy,” and he said — again, true story — “You are Bernie Goldberg, YOU ARE.” And then he started crying like a baby. It was embarrassing. So should it surprise you, John D or anyone else, that Cena wouldn’t stand up to China? Come on, man! That (Come on, man) was MY line and Biden plagiarized it. True story.


Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.

New Year’s Predictions — What to Look for in 2021

Hi everyone, and Happy New Year!

I typically write my annual New Year’s Predictions piece just as the old year’s winding to an end, but frankly my creative efforts have been directed elsewhere over the past several weeks. I’ve been working hard on finishing up my next Sean Coleman Thriller, and was aiming for a first-draft completion date of January 1st.

Well, I didn’t quite make it (which I realize doesn’t bode well for my predicative talents), instead choosing to spend more quality time with my family over the Christmas break. Still, I’m pretty darned close, I’m very happy with how it’s shaping up, and I’m confident that fans of the series will enjoy it.

But you’re not here to listen to me carry on about literary stuff. Let’s get to this brand spankin’ new year we’ve just entered, and some predictions of things to watch for.

The Power of the Private Sector

On February 1st, less than two weeks after leaving the White House under protest and continued refusals to concede the election, Donald J. Trump will appear live on Hannity to announce the release of a new TRUMP brand COVID-19 vaccine.

TrumpVac™, according to the former president, will be at least five times more effective than the vaccines produced by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca… combined! And unlike the others, TrumpVac will have received personal approval by Dr. Scott Atlas, Dr. Seb Gorka, and Mike Lindell (founder and CEO of My Pillow).

Trump will change his tone sharply on the other vaccines, which he had boldly taken credit for over the remaining weeks of his presidency, suddenly describing them as “very weak Fauci garbage.” TrumpVac™, according to Trump, will not require multiple injections or even one. It will instead be sold in the form of a carbonated beverage (in multiple tropical flavors), allowing consumers to self-administer and even serve the vaccine at MAGA parties.

A six-pack of TrumpVac, marketed as having a pinch of Vitamin D and a dash of hydroxychloroquine, will retail online for a special, non-refundable price of $45.47 (commemorating Trump’s tenure as the 45th and presumptive 47th President of the United States).

Ads for TrumpVac will begin airing during Fox News prime-time, with product placement incorporated into FNC’s weekend shows, including Watters’ World, The Greg Gutfeld Show, and Life, Liberty & Levin.

Worth a Thousand Words

Shortly after being sworn in as president, Joe Biden will draw even deeper contrasts between himself and his predecessor by staying off of social media entirely. He also won’t do any public appearances, including network interviews, press conferences, and meetings with members of congress.

In fact, the only visual sightings of Biden at all will be through a window at the White House, where he’ll be spending hours at a time gazing sadly and silently at the outside world, effectively reproducing one of 2014’s most popular political meme images:

By late April, media outlets will have grown increasingly frustrated over having no access to the president beyond video and photographs of him at the window.

“What is he even doing there?” will be a frequent question asked by members of the White House press corps.

“Thinking, dammit,” will remain Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s default answer, with the explanation being generally accepted by CNN and MSNBC prime-time hosts.

In early May, however, undercover journalist James O’Keefe will air hidden-camera video of a candid conversation he had, while inexplicably dressed like a Ronald McDonald, with an unnamed janitor working at the Washington D.C. branch of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum.

In the video, the janitor will reveal that the museum’s Joe Biden waxwork (sculpted during the Obama administration) had gone missing during a COVID-19 lockdown back in December, and was presumed stolen.

Days later, amidst growing controversy, President Biden will unexpectedly appear at a White House daily briefing. Confidentially taking the podium, Biden will announce his intent to “run for president in 2008.”

Staffers will quickly usher him off stage, and Vice President Harris will take over presidential speaking engagements for the remainder of the year.

Stream the Leg

With the continued success of Cobra Kai” on Netflix, Hollywood production companies will recognize a growing viewer demand for self-parodying television adaptations of popular 80’s films. In mid-May, streaming platforms will begin to announce multiple new series from the genre.

CBS All Access will revisit the 1985 crime drama, “Witness” with a ten-episode series titled “Be Careful Among Them English.” Lukas Haas will reprise the role of Samuel Lapp.

Synopsis: Having left the Amish community following traumatic events from his childhood, the now middle-aged Samuel works as a DC lobbyist. After witnessing the cartel murder of a U.S. senator, he fears for his life and seeks the help of the only person he can trust: retired police detective and late-80’s Amish convert, John Book (played by a CGI version of Harrison Ford, since the real Ford’s asking price will be too high).

“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” from Amazon Prime Video will feature the return pairing of Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall for a four-episode follow-up miniseries to the 1987 film, “Mannequin.” Though the series will receive mostly negative reviews, and not find much of an online audience, the production company will take comfort in minimal special-effects costs keeping the film significantly under budget, thanks to Cattrall already being mostly comprised of plastic.

Not to be outdone, Apple TV+ will run eight episodes of “Screw Science,” a follow-up to the 1985 comedy, “Weird Science.” The series will catch up with Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith), now in their 50s and having long since lost their boyish charm.

Synopsis: Having discovered in their teens that it was significantly harder to pursue meaningful relationships with women than simply creating super-model virtual girlfriends using a Barbie doll, 80s-era computer software, and an acoustic coupler modem, the two are both still single. Kelly LeBrock will return as Lisa, their first technological creation, to maternally nag Gary and Wyatt into finally settling down.

O Captain! My Captain!

With John McCain having passed away in 2018, and Donald Trump leaving the White House in January, Senator Lindsey Graham will begin a tireless search for a new Republican alpha-dog in DC for whom to play the weird, obligatory role of sycophantic second-fiddle. After hearing from Mitch McConnell, John Thune, and other prominent GOP leaders that they’re not interested, Graham will ultimately center in on freshman Missouri Senator, Josh Hawley.

Graham will firmly adopt Hawley’s big-government, populous positions including increased economic stimuli, heavier Internet regulation, and a refusal to recognize free and fair election results. He’ll also appear (nodding in agreement) at all of Hawley’s public addresses. On cable news, Graham will never miss an opportunity to sing Hawley’s praises, while emphasizing the importance of reining in Instabook, Snapgram, and Facechat.

Graham will eventually re-style and color his hair to more closely resemble Hawley’s, and also do that weird thing with his lips.

I’m going to go ahead and leave it that, since I’m predicting my wife will soon grow pretty annoyed with me if I spend any more of our holiday break on this silly column. Again, I hope you all have a happy and healthy new year.

Take care!


Note from John: I’ve been writing a weekly non-political newsletter since October, covering topics like art, music, humor, travel, society and culture. I’ve been surprised by, and thankful for, how many people have been signing up for it. If it sounds interesting to you, I’d love for you to subscribe (it’s free).

Order John A. Daly’s novel “Safeguard” today!

Does Either Side Know What “Defund” Means?

Last month, when calls to “defund the police” were popularized by the “Black Lives Matter” movement, politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle quickly understood just how controversial and consequential of an idea it was.

After all, the common understanding of “defund” can be echoed by simply Googling the word: “prevent from continuing to receive funds.”

Even in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, and the identification (and public condemnation) of serious race-related problems within a number of police forces, it’s difficult to think of a more societally irresponsible and politically suicidal measure than removing all police funding. Such a move would effectively end law enforcement as we know it, and just about everyone understands that to be a colossally bad idea.

So, people on the political right understandably (and fairly) jumped on the slogan and exploited it (along with some empathy expressed for the sentiment by liberal leaders) as a testament to just how radical the left has become. In turn, people on the political left worked diligently (and comically) to redefine the very meaning of the word “defund.”

The clean-up effort was pretty exhaustive. In fact, if you go back on over to Google (I swear I’m not a company stockholder) and search on the phrase “defund the police,” you’ll find a seemingly endless list of columns by left-leaning writers explaining what those calling for the action “really” mean.

The liberal-commentary consensus: “defund the police” represents a less crazy directive: redirecting a portion of police budgets to social programs not directly tied to law enforcement, but rather poverty, mental illness, homelessness, etc.

Of course, that’s not the proper usage of “defund,” as righties continued to point out while mocking the left’s tap-dancing on the issue.

More prominent Democratic leaders have steered clear of the rhetorical contortionism on this matter. Presidential candidate Joe Biden has stated outright that he doesn’t want to “defund” the police, but work toward reform. Bernie Sanders has surprisingly taken a similar stance.

Yet, on Fox News last Sunday, President Trump insisted to Chris Wallace that Biden does indeed support defunding and even abolishing the police. When Wallace pushed back against the assertion, Trump cited a “charter” Biden had put together with Bernie Sanders. The president was referring to a document on Biden’s campaign website titled “Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations.” In dramatic fashion, he even called for an aide to hand him a copy of it, which he then thumbed through.

There was just one problem: nothing in the 100+ page document supported Trump’s assertion. It was an embarrassing moment for the president, who couldn’t uphold the words that had just left his mouth. Perhaps more damaging was that his team had been running campaign ads promoting the narrative.

Trump and Wallace moved on, but quite a few pro-Trump folks in the media didn’t, electing instead to try and save their guy some face by suddenly adopting the left’s alternate, previously ridiculed definition of “defund.”

Here’s Charlie Kirk from Turning Point USA, citing a recent Biden interview:

And here’s Byron York from the Washington Examiner:

“In interviews with liberal activists, Biden has presented a much more nuanced position on defunding the police, suggesting he supports redirecting police funding toward other purposes, like mental health counseling and affordable housing. Such redirection would be, in fact, defunding police.

They (and many others) are mostly right about what Biden has been saying in recent interviews. The presumptive Democratic nominee has indeed entertained the idea of redirecting some police funding to social programs. I emphasize the word “some” because York forgot to include it in his framing of the argument.

So now, the right-wing media and left-wing media seem to have found bipartisan agreement that “defund” actually means the redirection of a portion of funds. In other words, they’ve finally discovered an issue on which they agree.

Celebrate good times, come on!

But now I’m even more confused. Because if that’s what “defund” means, didn’t President Trump defund the U.S. military when he directed some of their funding to the construction of the border wall?

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I find it kind of horrifying (in these linguistically challenging times) that the 2020 presidential election is now a “binary choice” between defunding the police and defunding the military.

And by horrifying, I mean, “causing horror; extremely shocking,” not whatever dopey, intellectually flexible definition the political class decides to come up with.

Order John A. Daly’s novel “Safeguard” today!

Bernie’s Q&A: NYT vs. Tom Cotton, Joe Biden, Chris Cuomo, and more! (6/12) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium Interactive members. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me. Thank you.

Editor’s Note: If you enjoy these sessions (along with the weekly columns and audio commentaries), please use the Facebook and Twitter buttons to share this page with your friends and family. Thank you! 

Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):

I am stunned by Joe Biden saying between 10 and 15 percent of the people in America are not very good. That equates to about 35M to 52M people. Will a statement like that help in bringing people together? Or would it contribute to the opposite? — Ray K.

Biden’s comment may bring back memories of Hillary’s basket of deplorables, which didn’t do her a lot of good. But let me ask you a question Ray: What percentage of Americans do you think are bad people? My problem with Biden’s comment wasn’t that he was totally wrong — there is some percentage that are bad. My problem is that I suspect the entire group he targeted were Americans who support Donald Trump. Are they really the only bad ones in this country? What about the looters? Do they count in Joe’s calculation? What about young men who shoot and kill other young men in places like Chicago and Baltimore. Are they bad people in Joe’s world?

If there are so many false narratives out there, and misreported and misinterpreted facts, such as the statistics behind unarmed black deaths vs all other police related deaths and then silence when there is black on black death & cop killings; who then is failing the country by not providing the truth required to quell these false narratives and subsequent consequences?

Both the current rioting and the Covid situation have significantly damaged this country and innocent lives based on a lot of misinformation. Who is really failing us? — ScottyG

Good question, Scotty. The media are failing us. Their agenda doesn’t included real statistics about rogue cops killing unarmed black men. That percentage is very small. But you’d never


know that by watching CNN or MSNBC. Journalists also fail us when they interview activists who say things that are provably wrong, but the reporter just sits there like a potted plant and doesn’t challenge the false information. Politicians are also failing us. They just say what will help them win re-election. Not many are speaking truth to power. Activists want to defund or flat out eliminate police departments. Cowardly politicians say good idea. I’ve had enough! All of this has me searching for mindless television at night. I can’t take the BS anymore.

Seems to me that if Trump wins in November we will have more violence and riots in the big cities (possibly even before the election too as a warning to scare people). If Biden wins, do you see the Dems being magnanimous or viewing the results as a mandate to go further left. If police forces in blue areas are emasculated what happens to enclaves like Beverly Hills etc ? — Michael F.

If Biden wins he will cave to the hard left. He doesn’t strike me as a strong guy with real convictions. If Trump wins you may very well be right about more violence and riots. The left is on a new kick to defund the police. But as you rightly ask, what happens when the thugs go after homes in Beverly Hills? What happens, Michael, is that the same lefties who don’t like cops, will demand police protection.

From one day to the next, you have to ask yourself, “what the ****.” We have had over a week of rioting and looting,with perhaps more to come, and what do we hear out of the Progressive Left: defund the police, some calling for doing away with police all together, leave policing to community groups. Yeah that’ll work! And how about those who have said the burning and looting might be just what was needed?!! The AG of Massachusetts actually said a good burn might be the purge this country needed. When leading law enforcement officials are saying things like that, I mean, are you kidding me? And finally, all that said, you have to wonder who would want to be a cop these days? Mediocre pay, treated like dirt. Can you imagine how the NYPD felt knowing that all the people they arrested for looting and vandalism would be right back out on the streets within 24 hours thanks to NY’s “bail reform laws”….book em and release em, no bail involved. Every time I think Trump is doomed and can’t win in November [much of it of his own doing ] when I hear things like this it gives me hope that the average Joe&Jane would not at all be happy with the the way the Dem’s have moved further to the left with their policies. Less police, no police, seriously.???? — John M.

Let me address your last point, John — about the average Joe and Jane out there. I’ve wondered if there is a new Silent Majority out there. I honestly don’t know. If there is, it will help Trump. But if we’ve moved left as a country, if more and more Americans think the country is fundamentally racist and so excuse rioting, say hello to President Biden. To me, this is the big political question of the moment: Does the Silent Majority exist in America today?

The police are always in the news. There are lots of good cops and a few bad cops. I’m a white guy – sort of – Italian, and I’ve been all over the world, many times, for work and pleasure … to the EU, all over Asia, Mexico, and the rest of the third world … and stopped by the police numerous times for numerous reasons. I smile. I ask questions in a respectful way. I have nothing to hide. I live through it. My advice to anyone of any color … if the police ask you to do something … do it, respectfully. If they say, “Stop!”, then stop. If you don’t, then all bets are off (serious implications). If the “request” is not appropriate, there are scores of ways to complain, however, “Just do it”. My two cents. — Mike S.

My feelings precisely, Mike.

A few quick points/queries: how long before God Bless America and The Pledge of Allegiance will effectively be banned? If The Democrats could rewrite the Constitution, what would they add or eliminate? Or does it not matter so long as you have the “right” judges? Will Keith Ellison try the Minn. cops just before the Nov elections? Finally, have the past 10 days proven that violence works and the threat of violence (or the occasional “boisterous protest” ( gotta be PC) ) can be used from time to time to keep issues alive and keep certain groups more engaged? — Michael

Regarding your first question … if the left takes control of this country, there’s a good chance they will impose speech codes. They are the biggest single threat to freedom of speech. Will they ban God Bless America or the Pledge of Allegiance. Let’s just say they sure as hell won’t encourage either.

Violence, I’m afraid, does work … in that it gets the attention of the media and politicians. But not in a good way. They give lip service to saying rioting is bad, but their emphasis is on the conditions that supposedly led to rioting and looting. You’ll never hear any liberal journalist state what to me is obvious: Some people just plain like breaking windows and stealing stuff. They’re not doing it because they’re oppressed. They’re doing it because they like sneakers and Rolex watches — especially when they’re “free.”

Quick question on journalistic ethics (since I honestly don’t know the answer): Let’s say you’re asking someone questions for a story, and the person is giving you all kinds of newsworthy information. Then, the person suddenly says, “That’s all off the record, by the way.” From a journalist’s perspective, is it really off the record, or does that person need to tell you beforehand that it’s off the record? Thanks! — Tom R.

The person must tell you beforehand that what he or she said is off the record. Otherwise it’s not. That said, I’m sure it doesn’t always work that way. If the source has given the journalist good information in the past, it’s not likely the journalist will risk losing the source over a failure to say, “This conversation is off the record.” Also if the source says something that might hurt a cause the journalist agrees with — that too might lead to keeping the conversation off the record. But as a general practice: The ground rules have to be established before the interview starts.

I find the article you wrote on Monday, at this time, a distraction. To me it is just like when white people throw the Black on black crime card up. Yes there are problems in the back community. But why does no one ever talk about white on white crime? People kill and harm people in their own communities. Let see the numbers across the board. I am sure you will see they are all within a few percentage points. My other problem is that your article and many people ignore the steps that are taken locally in Chicago to curb this trend. It may not be perfect. But to imply that nothing is being done, or that the communities don’t care, is wrong. But if you are not in the community, how would you know? And don’t get me started on systematic policies that have broken up the black family. Why cant we give the current movement time to breathe. Pun intended. — Douglas S.

Hey Douglas … my point is that elite white liberals — in order to show their good racial manners — will lament white on black crime but virtually ignore black on black crime. And it makes me wonder: Don’t those lives matter … or is homicide only an issue when the victim is black and the perpetrator is white?

Isn’t the sad fact that the leading cause of death among young black men is homicide a legitimate topic to write about — at this time or any time?

I defer on these matters to Shelby Steele who has written extensively and eloquently about white liberal guilt. He’s far more blunt than I’ve been. He’s black.

I wasn’t saying that nothing is being done. My complaint is with elite white liberals — not people in the community trying to do good. I never said those communities don’t care. So your point that I’m not in the community isn’t relevant.

I hate what that white cop did to George Floyd. But I also hate the mayhem that has become all too routine in parts of Chicago. And as a journalist, I lament the fact that 85 shootings in one weekend and more than 20 deaths isn’t big news. Re-read what Lee Habeeb says about that. Thanks, Douglas — and feel free to let me know what you think of my Off the Cuff this week on the subject of “systemic racism”.

What are the facts and your opinion on what just happened at the New York Times? I’m referring to James Bennett’s resignation as its editorial page editor. And what about the publisher, Sulzberger – does he have blood on his hands as the woke are eating their own? — Steve R.

What happened at the NY Times is this: The children at the newspaper of record threw a temper tantrum because the read an op-ed they didn’t agree with … and the so-called grownups, instead of telling these snowflakes to grow up, caved … and agreed that the Times had made a terrible mistake. And Bennett resigned or was forced out. This is what’s been happening on college campuses for a while now. The liberal authoritarians are on a roll. Kind of like the French Reign of Terror without the guillotines — yet.

Dear Bernie, CNN’s Chris Cuomo was “unknowingly” caught in the background of his wife’s online Yoga video… naked. Him, not her. Given Cuomo’s high opinion of himself and the shape he’s in, along with his flare for Reality TV-style broadcasting (like that staged “emerging from the basement after covid” silliness), what do you think the chances are that this incident was not “accidental” at all, and that it was a publicity stunt for his show? — Bruce A.

I have absolutely no idea. But that’s not to say you’re not onto something, Bruce.

“Time Magazine Person of the Year?” … Wait for it … The Hypocrite. Potus and family, many members of Congress, lots of evangelicals, priests, pastors, reporters, political commentators, CEO’s, Hollywood persona … and I, are all hypocrites. I feel I am an environmentalist. I’m a vegetarian. I live part-time in a spectacularly beautiful part of the world, off the grid – in East Maui, near Hana. On my property, I watch over at least 2000 mature trees in this lush rainforest. I used to feel slightly superior to most of you. I’m not. Far from it. My wife works for a major airline. We fly for free. I fly all over the place, burning up the atmosphere that my trees help produce, as we go. I have more than one home, and more than one car, and not a Tesla to be found. I am in a serious dilemma. You, Bernie, might be one of the few true non-hypocrites out there … or is it, I dare say, unanimous? — Aloha, Mike

You may be a hypocrite, Mike, but life seems pretty damn good. But if you’re troubled by your supposed hypocrisy … here’s a suggestion: Go off to a monastery for a few months; take your wife with you … and leave the house keys under the doormat for my wife and me. Your place sounds pretty nice. Deal?

Your Wednesday Off the Cuff was your best to date. I would like for your thoughts to make it to the minds of most of the people in the USA. How can we help make that happen? — Ival S.

Thanks very much Ival.  But be assured, as a friend of mine put it, there’s a better chance that they’ll join the KKK then go along with my idea.  Put the word out anyplace you can about this website.  The more people who listen and read my commentary, the greater the chance that some of these ideas will catch on. Word of mouth is a powerful force.

I’m hearing that much of the violence and rioting and looting had the hooligans picking up devices that were planted alongside the roads so that rioters could easily use these devices to break into stores and cause damage. I’m also hearing that “white supremacists” have infiltrated the peaceful protesters and deliberately caused mayhem and destruction to denigrate the cause. Is there any evidence that white supremacist groups have been doing this? Or is this a left-wing talking point being used to deflect focus away from anarchist groups such as ANTIFA, whom I believe that left wingers support? Thankfully I can say this (and what I wrote last week) here because the woke crowd has apparently taken over TWITTER. Your thoughts? — “It was our ENEMIES who did it, NOT our ALLIES” Regards From The Emperor

Hello Your Emperorness.  Let me start with your question about weapons planted alongside the road.  Every time I hear that on TV, I become suspicious.  If the reporter knows this, and others presumably know this, where’s the video?  Why aren’t you showing it to your audience?  I’m guessing it’s because it’s a phony story.  Someone heard it and it soon took on a life of its own.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

As for white supremacists infiltrating peaceful demonstrations:  I’m not buying that either.  I think left wing pols and activists planted the story to put blame supposed Trump supporters for the mayhem.

Once upon a time we had editors/producers who checked scripts to make sure the reporter got his or her facts right before putting stories on the air.  Those were the good old days.


Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.