Off the Cuff: Turning Off Cable News in the New Year

Note: Today’s “Off the Cuff” audio commentary is open to all. This weekly feature is normally only available to Premium Members.

This week, I explain why I plan to watch a lot less cable news in 2021.

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Hunter, Joe and Their Pals in the Media

It’s not exactly a bulletin that the role of the press in a free country like ours is to cover the news – not to cover up the news.

But that’s precisely what many journalists did in the final few weeks before the presidential election. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

Almost all major mainstream news organizations flat out refused to pursue a blockbuster story published in the New York Post about Hunter Biden’s business dealings with foreign entities – and whether or not they were above board.

That Hunter was cashing in on his family’s name was fairly obvious. Why else would a gas company in Ukraine pay him at least $50,000 a month for his expertise — when he had none?  But while making money by reminding people that your last name is Biden may not be illegal, it does raise questions. Was Hunter telling his Ukrainian and the Chinese business associates that he would put in a good word for them with his father who one day might become President of the United States?  Were they investing big money not in Hunter, but in Joe?

You’d think that would be something curious journalists might want to pursue — unless, of course, they wanted to put a lid on any news that might hurt Joe Biden. Liberals in and out of the media might say that’s crazy, except it isn’t.

CNN, which used to be a news organization, was especially dismissive of the Post story.

Jeff Zucker, who runs the network, said, “I don’t think we should be repeating unsubstantiated smears just because the right wing media suggests that we should.”

Brian Stelter, who hosts a media show on CNN, said the story was a “manufactured scandal,” that it was “a classic example of the right-wing media machine” — an obvious shot at Fox News, one of the few TV outlets that gave the story airtime. “They want you to stay mad and stay tuned,” Stelter said.

Jake Tapper said, “the right wing was going crazy” over the story.

Other liberal journalists were just as incurious, blowing off the Hunter Biden story as Russian disinformation, a Russian hoax, part of a Trump smear campaign, a non-scandal story, in essence, they said it was fake news.

Anne Applebaum, who writes for The Atlantic dismissed the story with a snarky, “There’s no ‘there’ there.”

And NPR’s Managing Editor for News, Terence Samuels, without a hint of embarrassment or shame, summed up much of the media’s contempt for the story when he tweeted, “Why haven’t you seen any stories from NPR about the NY Post’s Hunter Biden story? … We don’t waste our time on stories that are not really stories, and we don’t want waste the listeners’ and readers’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”

And it wasn’t only Big Media that had no interest in whether Hunter Biden was peddling his father’s name in exchange for a big payday; Big Tech also suppressed the news.

Facebook and Twitter — where tens of millions of Americans get their news — censored the Post story on grounds that the information about Hunter might not be true or might have been hacked – something that never bothered them when the information was about how President Trump supposedly paid almost no federal income tax or was working for the Russians.

So anyone who got his or her news from those social media platforms in the final days of the campaign might not even know who Hunter Biden was.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Joe Biden’s inauguration. Now that his father has been elected president, Hunter Biden tells us that he just learned that the federal government has been investigating his “tax affairs” — an investigation that began in 2018 and reportedly includes inquiries involving potential criminal violations of tax and money laundering laws.

You might think that those award-winning journalists at the New York Times, who published all sorts of leaked information that made Donald Trump look bad, might have been able to find out about the FBI and IRS investigation of Hunter Biden. I’m making no accusations against the Times. Just wondering if they had the information and didn’t publish it – or didn’t even try to get it.

So what should we make of all those pious comments from so many journalists who had so little interest in the story – before the election?

Could it be that liberal journalists who made no secret of their disdain for Donald Trump, who thought he was a threat to democracy, were actually covering for Joe Biden in the weeks leading up to November 3?

More than a few conservatives think so.

“The news media helped silence a story and alter the results of an election. They are probably laughing in newsrooms all around the country,” Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor told Fox News.

And Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson told Fox that liberals in the mainstream media appear to have “snuffed out the Hunter Biden scandal” in order to give a boost to Biden’s election chances.

“It would have seriously hurt Joe Biden’s campaign enough to make a difference in key swing states,” Jacobson said. “Rather than regretting this journalistic malfeasance, the perpetrators likely are quite proud of themselves.”

So don’t expect introspection from lazy journalists who told us “there’s no ‘there’ there” – and no apologies from those who said, without evidence, it was all a “Russian hoax.”

Journalists aren’t big on admitting their mistakes. Media culpas aren’t their thing.

Bernie’s Q&A: Emanuel, Biden, Jorgensen, 24, and more! (11/20) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel said this week that those over 75 years of age should be put at the end of the line for vaccine. He believes there is a moral problem living beyond 75. He is Jewish. Does he not remember another political leaders in 1932 , Hitler, had the same beliefs? Ambulances in the night ? Unfettered infanticide ! What the hell has happened to the Democratic Party? They show themselves to be just as totalitarians fascist as their Nazi adversaries! — Joseph V.

In 2014 Dr. Emanuel wrote an article in the Atlantic entitled “Why I hope to die at 75.” He pretty much didn’t think life was worth living after that.  Let’s just say I can’t wait until he reaches 75 in 12 years. And if Zeke punched out tomorrow, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. But please show me where Emanuel said that those over 75 should be put at the end of the line for the vaccine? He may have implied it but I’m wondering if he actually said it.

I find it interesting that liberals are lecturing us about accepting election results. Just look back to 2016. After Hillary lost they tried to bully the electors, including death threats, into overturning the result. Then roughly 60 democrats boycotted Trump’s inauguration. Then they gave us a multi-year witch hunt that was the Mueller investigations. Do they really have grounds to say anything? — Kenny L.

The short answer is no. But this hypocrisy runs on a two way street. In 2016, right wingers didn’t complain when news organizations called Donald Trump the president-elect. Now they don’t want anyone to attach that same title to Joe Biden. And how would Trump supporters have reacted if Hillary had said there was widespread, massive fraud in the election? You think they’d say she has a point? No, they wouldn’t. But now, many hard core backers of Donald Trump seem to believe any crazy conspiracy theory. Both sides are borderline nuts and it’s one more reason I’m on the verge of dropping out. I can’t take much more of this BS.

Now that Biden has “won” the election; Why are the Governors and Mayors in the trouble spots still allowing unruly protesting? Won’t they have to step up and squelch the potential violence if things get dicey in the next few weeks? Haven’t they achieved what they were looking for? — ScottyG

First, Scotty, why the quotation marks around “won”? Biden won. Trump is allowed to go to court but it’s not going to change anything. It’s not officially over yet but realistically … it’s over. As for local officials allowing unruly protests, it’s what weak politicians do. Maybe Joe will send in the troops to put down demonstrations if they continue after he’s sworn in. That’s a joke. But you knew that, right?

Joe Biden has called for “unity and healing” in speeches and interviews since being deemed President-Elect, yet leaders in his own party are stepping up the vitriol towards Republican candidates and voters. James Clyburn, Robert Reich and AOC among others have either referred to Trump as Hitler (for the millionth time), called for blacklisting Trump admin staffers in future employment and called for shaming Trump voters. Doesn’t Biden carry an obligation to call out and denounce these comments that openly advocate for vengeance? I would like to take Biden at his word, but unless he is willing to be a bulwark for unity among American, his wish for healing is just empty. — Steve R.

He definitely has a responsibility — to tell the Stalinists in his party to knock off the blacklist talk. If he doesn’t, then his words about unity are indeed empty. I’m with you completely on this, Steve.

Bernie, did you see this story making the rounds? It turns out that it is not enough for liberals to silence conservatives through their friends in the main stream media and online platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, etc.) Now it appears the left wants to deprive Trump, and the Republican Party, of their attorneys. I am willing to bet all of the money on earth that these firms have represented people who have committed acts so heinous it is too disgusting to print. I am also sure no one on the left ever told them to deprive those individuals of their right to counsel. However, if these firms represent Trump or Republicans, than it is a bridge too far for the Democrats. How come no one is seeing the utter insanity of these tactics? How can 74 million people in this nation think the game the left plays is ok? — Joe M.

There’s a recurring theme in this week’s Q & A. And it involves authoritarian liberalism and hypocrisy. The same people who would support providing lawyers to represent Al Qaeda terrorists pro bono (for free) are against lawyers representing Donald Trump and the GOP. You can’t make this crap up.

“People know that politicians don’t always tell the truth. They put the best light on their polices — and themselves. So news people should let them have their say and then — as you correctly suggest — set the record straight. What they’re doing now doesn’t give them more credibility — it gives them less.”

That was what you said last week regarding Neil Cavuto of Fox News cutting away from President Trump’s WH Press Secretary when she was issuing bald allegations of widespread voter fraud in the recent presidential election. While at first I tended to agree that Mr. Cavuto shouldn’t have cut away from Kayleigh M. on that occasion, I do see good reason to do so – there’s usually good reason on both (or all) sides of most (genuine) controversial issues, ideologues notwithstanding.

As an advocate of journalistic ethics and one who is a patriotic American – usually these two traits do not compete – can you articulate where to draw the line on covering highly inflammatory statements devoid of credible evidence by a WH Press Secretary or anyone else issuing normally newsworthy statements? Or do we take it case-by-case? Or should there any line drawn? Are there any statements that a WH Press Secretary must provide credible evidence for if her statements are going to be carried on a major (or any) news network? What if the WH Press Secretary announced, without a shred of credible evidence, that Joe Biden has advanced Alzheimer’s and when he speaks publicly he’s on drugs (as President Trump once hinted)? What if the WH Secretary announced, without a shred of credible evidence that the Biden campaign bribed vote counters in PA, AZ, and GA to disqualify every fourth ballet for Trump? I could give more ‘what ifs,’ but you certainly get my gist.” Why would major news networks give her valuable airtime if what she said wasn’t worthy of at least serious consideration? — Bob H.

Good question, Bob. At first, I would let the press secretary say just about anything — including that Joe Biden is a Martian — and then in the Q & A say something like, “What are you talking about? How can anyone believe anything you say?” But if the inanities continue day in and day out, I might stop attending the news conference. It would be clear that all we’re getting is nonsense. I would do a story about all the lies the press secretary told. But at the outset, I’d let him or her say anything within reason — even if it’s not literally 100 percent accurate. By within reason I refer back to the quotation at the top of your question — about how politicians often exaggerate and put the best light on themselves. Voters understand that. When the statements are way beyond reasonable, the harm will attach to the press secretary sooner or later. There’s a price to pay for lying. One of the reasons Donald Trump lost, I believe, is because voters understood how dishonest he is.

Now let me ask you a question, Bob: What should reporters have said to Barack Obama, let’s say, after the 30th time he looked right into the camera and said, “If you like you doctor you can keep your doctor” and “Your premiums will go down under my plan”? Should reporters have interrupted him? Should they have turned their cameras off? Should the anchor back in the studio then have said, “The president is a liar — or he simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about? Or …  should reporters have allowed him to continue to mislead the American people — uninterrupted — and set the record straight later?

My point is that journalists need to treat both sides the same way. But I don’t expect that to happen with a corrupt bunch of “journalists” who act as PR agents for pols whose views they agree with.

Returning to a topic I have raised before. I will rephrase to make sure my point is clear. The First Amendment provides in pertinent part : “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” If Congress seeks to limit or abridge speech rights (as now being discussed and advocated by many), doesn’t intellectual consistency allow or even require press freedom to also possibly be abridged/limited (using the standard articulated to justify abridgment of speech rights )? To be clear, I am talking about abridgement by Congress not private parties (although I would imagine 1A rights should not be subject to abridgement by executive order either). If the answer is that speech and press rights are different then what constitutes “the press” in this day and age? Under a living breathing Constitution should the definition of “the press” be substantially expanded, in which case maybe we can all become journalists? Certainly the possession of integrity is not a prerequisite to being a member of the press (at least not in this century). — Michael F.

I understand your question, Michael, and it’s a very good one. First, speech rights and press rights are essentially the same. So protections of speech also go for the press. But you’re hitting on a very important point: If (or when) the hard left takes over Congress and the White House they may very well try to abridge BOTH speech and press rights. Authoritarianism is in their nature. Of course, they’ll have “high-minded” reasons for their actions, but I wouldn’t put it past them to label anything they don’t like “hate speech.”

And, individuals who put out blogs or newsletters or anything like that, have the same Constitutional rights as the people who publish the New York Times. Finally, if integrity were a prerequisite to be a member of the press there would be far fewer members of the press.

It appears that the current ACLU has openly declared that they are strictly pushing a leftist agenda, and they are now actively working to CENSOR opposing (read: conservative) views—-imagine that! I recall once many years ago reading how one ACLU attorney who was asked about defending right wing causes, responded by saying “Show me a white conservative Christian Republican whose civil rights have been violated, and I’ll defend him.” (My view: I don’t believe racism was the cause of right wingers not getting their civil rights violated but rather religious right wingers weren’t generally known for putting themselves in positions to get their civil rights violated; however times have changed since then). Who would’ve thunk it, right? I’m wondering, was this perhaps always the agenda, but now they actually feel free and safe to actually declare it? Or was the ACLU of the 20th century actually honorable? How could an organization that claims to defend civil liberties actually promote censorship in America? What changed? Your thoughts are always welcome. “I may disagree with what you say, so I won’t defend your right to say it, and I’ll do everything in my power to silence you, especially if it makes my tribe look like a bunch of hypocritical losers!”—- Regards From The Emperor

I wrote about the ACLU in one of my books, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. And I make essentially the point you’re making, Emperor. That the ACLU was once a noble organization that protected civil rights. I was on the ACLU side when they defended the right of the KKK to march through Skokie, Illinois, a community with a large population of Holocaust survivors. That was then. Now the ACLU is a left wing outfit — and one of its lawyers actually favors banning a book by Abigail Shrier called “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” Here’s a passage from the Wall Street Journal (an op-ed by the author of the book) quoting that ACLU lawyer:

“Abigail Shrier’s book is a dangerous polemic with a goal of making people not trans,” Chase Strangio, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for transgender justice, tweeted Friday. “I think of all the times & ways I was told my transness wasn’t real & the daily toll it takes. We have to fight these ideas which are leading to the criminalization of trans life again.” Then: “Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas is 100% a hill I will die on.”

Get it? Stopping the circulation of this book and these ideas … he thinks … is a worthy goal, a hill he would die on. Case closed!

Thanks for another Off the Cuff segment. Isn’t it too easy to keep using the term “the media”. Do you believe that there are no actual balanced news organizations left in the country? Are all partisan? — Daniel M.

I use the term “the media” as a general description to describe news that isn’t down the middle. Most major news organizations — ABC, NBC and CBS, for example — have a liberal sensibility. Big city newspapers — the New York Times, LA Times, Washington Post — also lean left. But I do like Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox. And there’s a news show on WGN, a superstation out of Chicago, that I just started watching. It’s old school. Just the facts. No opinion.

Well that didn’t take long. Biden got right to work on returning Washington, specifically his WH staff, to the status quo by appointing two long time lobbyists to his staff. Ronald Klain will be his Chief of Staff, and Steve Richetti will be his Chief Counsel. I suppose we really shouldn’t be surprised. I doubt Biden, as long as he’s been in Washington, ever met a lobbyist he didn’t like. — John M.

Maybe we should consider ourselves lucky. After all, he could have picked lawyers from the ACLU.

Hi Bernie, Saw you on Bill O’Reilly this past Monday. Always appreciate your clarity and common sense. Agree that the “elites” in the media, the SWAMP and some in the sports world absolutely totally dismiss folks in “flyover country”. WE actually are self-reliant, happy, hardworking Americans. The “elites” have no relevance whatsoever in our lives. That is the reason MY cable has been cancelled; I no longer watch sports (which I love!) and there is not one Hollywood star I miss… As a “deplorable,” I believe the self righteous elites are incapable of fathoming our “alternate world.” Also work in healthcare as an RN near the frontlines…Does it sound as though I am bored with the name calling? Thanks Bernie! — Mary A.

I mean this sincerely: GOOD FOR YOU.  It takes a certain amount of courage to abandon the prevailing (liberal) culture. The elites (not all, of course) think “ordinary Americans” are hayseeds. Flying the flag on certain holidays, eating at a chain restaurant, going bowling  … are things the flyover population does — not them. Fine with me.  They can think ordinary folks are not up to their cultural standards. Ask me if I care. Again, good for you, Mary.

The case can be made that the constitution authorized the current government and the ones preceding it, or it was powerless to prevent it/them. Given that the national debt has doubled every decade since the late ’80s regardless of the party in charge, and that the Boston tea party played a pivotal role in the creation of the USA – does anyone care at all about the constitution anymore? Personally, I don’t think so given the low turnout for Dr. Jorgensen. What do you think? — Carl-Simon P.

People care about the Constitution — in theory. And they care about dying from a virus and paying their bills — in reality. Reality usually trumps theory. Besides, almost no one ever heard of Jo Jorgensen. True, she doesn’t get the airtime that Dems and the GOP get. But if more people were curious and wanted to find out more about the Libertarian party, they would. When the national debt explodes in our face, maybe they will.

Watching how Trump is handling his election defeat (endless conspiracy theories, declaring election victory, refusing to grant Biden national intelligence or even a smooth transition, etc.), are you heartened in your decision to take a pass on voting for him? — Ben G.

I’m still glad I didn’t vote for him — or Biden. So, yes, I guess I am heartened. On Thursday, I was watching Rudy and his team talking about a massively fraudulent election — and their allegations were beyond serious. If half of what they were saying is true, it’s the biggest scandal in U.S. history. If not true, they’re crazy. Literally, crazy. Here’s the problem, Ben: I don’t know what to believe anymore. I strongly suspect the allegations are nuts; that they’re just a bunch of wild conspiracy theories. But what if they’re true? Interestingly, only Fox and Newsmax covered the event.  CNN and MSNBC did not.

Bernie, you said in a previous Q&A that one of your favorite television shows is “24.” If it were President Charles Logan who had run for re-election on the this year’s Republican ticket, would you have bitten the bullet and voted for him to help defeat Joe Biden? What if Kim Bauer were the nominee? Also, were you sad when Edgar Stiles died, and were you happy to see William Devane get acting work outside of Fox News-aired commercials for gold? — John D.

Yes to all of it. But …

Instead of “24” I’d rather vote for the lead character on another important television program that mirrors reality — SpongeBob SquarePants. Though I’m not sure SpongeBob is over 35, which is a requirement to be president. I’m not even sure he’s human.  Fortunately that is NOT a requirement to be president.


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.

Off the Cuff: Trump and the Media Deserve Each Other

You can detest Trump and also detest the way the media treated him. Partisans don’t see it that way.

That’s the topic of my Off the Cuff audio commentary this week. You can listen to it by clicking on the play (arrow) button below.


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Bernie’s Q&A: Biden, Wallace, AOC, Priebus, and more! (11/13) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

Bernie, if I gave you 500 million dollars, could you create a news station or program that would be unbiased and attract an audience? My idea would be to have a [neutral] host/moderator with 2 guests on opposite sides of an issue. Plus, a few unbiased fact-checkers using computers in real-time. Not sure how you add pizzazz to this mix, but I assume you’ll need some. Is it possible to create this kind of station, or program? How would you create the unbiased program of your dreams? The country is starving for something like this, I think. At least I am. — Howard N.

Excellent question, Howard.  But first … If you gave me $500 million there’s a good chance you’d never see me again — unless you searched every island in the South Pacific.

That said … while your idea is a good one there’s a good chance it wouldn’t do well. Cable news has instilled in its viewers a need for controversy … for bias … for hosts who kiss the rear end of their favorite politician and bash the other side’s guy (or gal). As I’ve said many times before, cable is a business model,  — one that works by throwing red meat at the crowd, by validating their biases, and encouraging them to come back for more. Audiences no longer want to hear 2 guys on one side and 2 on the other. On Fox, you may have noticed, they’ll have 4 conservatives and Juan Williams.  They don’t have 2 and 2 or 3 and 3.  Reasonable people would like your idea but I don’t believe it would garner sufficient ratings — and the money good ratings bring.

Do you see Donald Trump making another run at the presidency in 2024? — Sven

Absolutely not. And I hope I’m right.

Bernie, is it me or is Fox News committing ratings suicide right before our eyes? Is the network so dumb that it fails to realize that 95% of its audience is Trump supporting Republicans and that letting Chris Wallace be its mouth piece ensures it will be completely irrelevant in a year? If it stays the current course it will be well behind MSNBC and CNN within the next 6 months. — Joe M.

I disagree. Chris Wallace is on the news side and while he offers up analysis, he’s not Sean Hannity. Hard core Trump supporters don’t like him because he’s fair. And that, Joe, is the dirty little secret. Partisans don’t want honest news no matter how much they say they do. Do Trump supporters really want the news on Fox to be biased on the conservative side — like CNN’s news is biased on the liberal side?  I think many Fox viewers want just that — slanted, biased, news that supports their own biases.  As for your last point, Fox won’t be behind MSNBC or CNN in 6 months or, if I had to make a long distance guess, in 6 years.

My scenario about the Democrats running Biden with the understanding he would stand down sooner rather than later was not a conspiracy theory. It’s the only way Biden heading the ticket makes sense. There is no way the party planners would expect Biden to function in office four years. It would be a disaster for the Democrats and the nation. Harris fills the prime slot and Sanders is brought in to help advance the country to the left. — John D. P.

Biden will be there for 4 years unless his mental condition deteriorates to the point where he can’t stay in office. But I adamantly reject the idea that there was a conspiracy to nominate him “with the understanding” that he would resign. No way!

It’s Monday (following the Friday Biden wins) and Pfizer delivers the big news. Watching the market and wondering if the DOW will hit the big 30 mark. If I was a Biden advisor I would advise him not to change one Trump policy when he takes office. What would you recommend to the president elect? — Tim H.

If Biden really wants unity, I’d advise him to give Donald Trump credit for pushing hard for a vaccine to be approved in record time. I’d advise him to be generous and gracious. If the hard left doesn’t like it, tough noogies. That is, if he really means what he says about uniting the country — or at least trying.

As Ballotgate continues, a few queries for the former sage of south beach (still a sage but no longer a Beach boy):

  1. In this day and age which of our fearless elected politicians and members of the MSM should we look to for honest answers (this is not intended to be a left vs. right issue but rather one that gets to the heart of whose word should be trusted or is the “final” word these days)?
  2. If the answer to #1 above is there ain’t too many, then should Ballotgate be dismissed quickly or resolved more deliberately?
  3. Can you help point me to the provisions in The Constitution that define the term ” president-elect” or authorize the media (see #1 above) to declare when an election is in fact over. I realize that two wrongs never make a right but I must ask your view on whether there is more to Ballotgate than there was to Russia Russia Russia keeping in mind that Collusiongate lasted more than a few weeks.

Thanks. — Michael F.

  1. One of the results of our hyper-polarization is that we don’t know who to trust … and very often we wind up trusting no one. That’s not good, of course, but it’s understandable. So I’ll offer no name in media or politics as the “final” word — but I do like FNC’s hard news journalists who I think are fair. Which leads us to …
  2. The Trump campaign has every right to pursue it’s contentions of fraud in the courts. But the president will need evidence. Hard evidence and not simply unconfirmed stories. And he will need enough evidence to actually make a difference. Meaning … if his team finds 3 thousand fraudulent ballots in one state or another, but he lost that state by 10 thousand votes, it won’t be enough to make a difference. And so, if that happens, a judge likely would not undo the election. The dispute doesn’t have to be resolved in the next 10 minutes, but sooner is better than later. I trust the courts will move quickly. And finally …
  3. The media has NO official power to declare a winner. It’s a tradition, but that’s all it is. Allegations that Donald Trump was involved with the Russians went nowhere. We’ll know soon enough if the ballot controversy is substantive or not. But absent real evidence, the election will officially be over, whether Mr. Trump or his acolytes like it or not. As for your question about the term “president-elect” — No, it’s nowhere to be found in the Constitution. So what? And while we’re on the subject, I don’t recall Trump supporters concerned about the use of that term when he was called president- elect in 2016.

What do you think about this new TV News practice about cutting off Trump and or Administration spokespeople who are verbally charging the Dems with election fraud? Even FNC (Cavuto) is doing it now. Shouldn’t the News show the content then either refute or confirm it all later? Who do they they think they are, Twitter? — ScottyG

I’m with you, Scotty. People know that politicians don’t always tell the truth. They put the best light on their polices — and themselves. So news people should let them have their say and then — as you correctly suggest — set the record straight. What they’re doing now doesn’t give them more credibility — it gives them less.

Now that it’s inevitable that Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next President, prominent Democrats and media figures are saying the quiet part out loud. Michelle Obama tells us it’s not enough that they won, there are still millions of people out there who supported the status quo (and infers that they need to be ‘dealt with’). AOC is actually saying that they want to be sure that all quotes, tweets and articles supporting Trump need to be preserved so that their authors can be removed from society, and Jennifer Rubin is telling us that those evil Trump supporters need to be shunned from society and “the Republican Party needs to be burned down”. These, sadly, aren’t outliers. This has just started and there are many more examples. How do we possibly “heal” when one side isn’t satisfied with winning but insists that every individual who opposed them is personally and professionally destroyed? After accusing him of being one for the past four years, don’t Democrats realize this is what actual fascists look like? — Keith M.

These are liberals who long ago forgot how to be liberal. They are authoritarians. Stalinists. And if Biden thinks he can heal the wounds that divide us, he’s dreaming. As long as there are the likes of AOC and Jennifer Rubin out there mouthing off, he won’t find the unity he says he’s hoping for. They will sabotage any attempt at reconciliation, which is a very long shot even without people like that.

Like most of us in the country, I have a thousand thoughts on this last election, but I’ll narrow my question to just a couple of topics. One thing that makes me proud and optimistic as an American in this democratic experiment is the fact that VOTERS still decide elections. In 2020, we found out who and what doesn’t: Money, social media (especially the screeching Twitterati), traditional media, mobs, protesters, pollsters, pundits, academics, woke athletes, the Hollywood left, etc. And speaking of traditional and social media, it’s obvious they will continue to double down on their resistance and vilification of conservatives. Waiting for media members to see the light is a fruitless exercise, and it appears the only way to truth and enlightenment is a robust replacement media. Do you see this happening as well? If so, what form and funding will this take? — Steve R.

I think the media we have will continue to be the media we’re stuck with for the foreseeable future, and probably beyond. But let’s not let the viewers and readers of the news off the hook. The media are only giving them what they demand. The NY Times makes money on subscriptions. That’s why there are so many borderline insane anti-Trump op-eds. The Times can’t risk offending its progressive customers. Same with cable TV. If some moneybag type came along and funded a down the middle news operation, it likely would fail.  Blame it on the audience that wants to hear its own biases validated in print and on TV.

Biden gave this speech on Saturday that the MSM slobbered all over, focusing on healing the nation, bringing us together, reaching across the aisle to get things done, blah, blah, blah. The far left radicals in his party apparently don’t agree. Robert Reich has stated “we need a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to erase Trumps lies, comfort those who have been harmed by his hatefulness, and name every official, politician, executive, and media mogul whose greed and cowardice enabled this.” Some clown named Hari Sevugen, a former Obama admin spokesman, said that anyone considering a former Trump staffer for employment should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values [attack American values, ain’t that rich]. Find out how at the Trump Accountability Project. So basically he’s saying anyone who worked for Trump should be blacklisted, never work again. Comrade Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to have a list of Trumpers to witch hunt and paint with a scarlet “T”. Sounds so healing to me. More like Soviet Russia, Castro’s Cuba, Communist China. So here’s my question, the MSM was all over Trump to denounce white supremacy, over, and over, and over. So when will the MSM call on “Joe the healer” to denounce this crap? — John M.

When will the MSM call on Joe to denounce this crap, you ask. Echoing Chatsworth Osborne Jr. of Dobie Gillis fame: Surely you jest! But here’s a suggesting for Joe the Healer: Tell the Stalinists who want black lists to shut the hell up. To back off! If he doesn’t, he won’t get the America he says he wants. The polarization will continue and likely get worse. And it will also tell us something about Biden: that he’s too weak to stand up to the hard left fringe in his party no matter how authoritarian they are.

Media election desks have been ‘calling’ elections for decades and decades (based on incoming vote totals, regional trends, etc.) including Trump’s win four years ago. I get that a lot of Trump supporters are upset that their guy lost (as it’s turning out, by a lot more than we thought last week), but watching these people now insist that the media is overstepping its bounds, or displaying its “elitism,” by having the gall to call the race before states certify their votes is ridiculous. This seems to be an ongoing thing, where MAGA people act like long established institutional norms are suddenly bizarre and invalid. Do you think this type of stuff will continue after Trump’s out of office, or worsen going forward? — Ben G.

If you’re asking me, Ben, if hypocrisy is going away … we both know the answer to that. Trump supporters suddenly don’t like the term “president-elect.” Where is it in the Constitution, they ask. Funny but they didn’t ask that when Donald J. Trump was the “president-elect.”  Whether it worsens or not after Trump, it’s bad enough as it is now.

One of the first thing the “victors” do, in this case the Democrats who may have won the Presidency but lost everywhere else, is to compile an “accountability” list to “punish” those people who had the temerity to serve their government in the Trump administration. Nixon had a list, McCarthy had a list. And weren’t they so admired for that?? Where is your list, Trump, you Hitler in sheep’s clothing?? How can these folks (Reich, Rubin) justify such reprehensible behavior? — John F.

They justify their behavior because they’re sanctimonious jerks. They think they know better than everyone else, that they’re smarter and that their (progressive) blacklist is a good one while Nixon’s and McCarthy’s (conservative) blacklists were bad. This is why Donald Trump, even in defeat, got more than 70 million votes. A lot of his supporters were giving a great big middle finger to these elite idiots.

With the democrats winning the popular vote 7 of the last 8 presidential elections do you think it will be a while before we see another republican president? — Kenny

Al Gore won the popular vote. W won the election. Hillary won the popular vote. Donald won the election. So Republicans can lose the popular vote and still win.

Regarding your Off The Cuff commentary this week. As much as I would like to believe that the progressive leftists of the Democrat party have been snubbed and rejected by voters, I don’t know if that is necessarily true. I am hearing progressive commentary stating that the elections where the democratic candidates were successful were actually both blue and purple districts where the democratic candidates actually ARE progressive left wingers, and the districts where the democratic candidates who lost to Republicans were actually centrist candidates NOT progressives. If this is true, then how can you claim that the Bernie Sanders/AOC Wing of the Democrat party was truly rejected, when even purple districts voted progressive leftists in? It sounds to me like more Americans are supporting progressive leftists than many of us would care to admit. Your thoughts are appreciated. — “Forgive Them, Father; They Know Not What They Do” Regards from The Emperor

Without going into detail in every congressional district you reference, let me simply say this: If voters wanted the progressive agenda to become reality, they would have voted in a lot more Democrats to the Senate … they would have voted in a lot more Democrat state legislatures (that will draw up redistricting plans in 2021) … and they would have given Nancy Pelosi a bigger, not smaller, majority in the House. All that said, you may be right about the specifics of any particular race. And this from a Wall Street Journal editorial which ran under the headline: California’s Progressive Thumping

“Democrats and unions in California are shell-shocked. Voters last Tuesday rejected a referendum that would have allowed racial preferences in state hiring and college admissions, defeated a massive business property tax hike, and rescued tens of thousands of gig economy jobs. What is this, Texas?”

In John Daly’s column this week, he wrote in part about Reince Priebus’s declaration that, even after Trump is gone from office, Republican leaders in Washington will need to be personally approved of by Trump in order to have a future in the party.

This is consistent with Trump’s actions over the past four years: his heavy attacks on fellow Republicans who aren’t “loyal” to him, that have resulted in some of them now gone from politics all together. What does it say about how weak the GOP is that even after Trump is no longer in office, the political futures of others in the party may still lie in his hands. — Philip R.

It says that even after Donald is gone and playing golf in Palm Beach, his loyal supporters will still be around. They won’t tolerate a moderate in the mold of  McCain or Romney. In fact, several million supposed conservatives sat out those elections because they refused to support either of those candidates. So whoever the GOP candidate is, he or she will have to bend a knee to The Donald — or risk losing this fan base — and the election.

I think the real scandal surrounding Joe Biden (that no one is talking about) is the fact that he had much thinner hair in the 1980s than he does now. The photo evidence is overwhelming! America has never received an honest accounting or explanation of this. Are they plugs? Has he been using Rogaine with Minoxidil? Is he in the pocket of Hair Club for Men? And do you think the ridiculousness of Donald Trump’s own hair took this issue off the table for Republicans? — John D.

Let’s start with Donald. After he loses in court he’ll be hair today and gone tomorrow. Sorry, but I couldn’t resist. Now, as to the serious part of your question, the one about Hair-gate: Did it ever occur to you, John D, that maybe the Joe Biden we see in pictures from the 1980s isn’t the same Joe Biden who we see today? Could it be that that’s why he looks so different? Because THEY’RE TWO DIFFERENT PEOPLE! Has that crossed you mind, John D? It’s obvious to me that we have a Manchurian candidate thing going on here. The old Joe Biden — the one we called Middle Class Joe — is being held hostage in a basement somewhere in Delaware. Same as the new Joe Biden, the one we call President-elect. Confused? Me too.


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