Bernie’s Q&A: Woodward & Bernstein, Roddy Piper, and more! (8/13) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Judging by the comments and questions you get, it seems like your readers are mostly Republicans? No problem with that but if that is true, I wonder why you don’t attract more Democrats being that I find you to be a balanced reporter? — Tony P.
It’s because in these hyper-partisan times most people don’t want balance — they want the views they already hold simply validated. That’s how cable news operates. Give the audience what it wants to hear. I’m not saying this to pander to my readers but I firmly believe they’re more than a cut above your typical subscriber to website that carries political comment. Even when they disagree with me (regarding Donald Trump, for instance) they’re civil and their comments are both reasonable and smart. But that’s the exception not the rule.
A lot can, and will, happen between now and November 2022. And in the end does it really matter whether Biden or a moderate (swamp) republican gets elected? Both sides continue down the same road of ever bigger and more intrusive and controlling government, albeit the republicans about 20-30 years behind the democrats. Just giving the people what they want! Also, is there a major media outlet that does not regularly, even without realizing it, shill for a particular political party, personality, or ideology? — Scott K.
Yes, Scott, it does really matter if a Democrat or what you call a “swamp” Republican gets elected. I get your point but if you care about limited government you’ve got a better chance with a Republican, even a moderate Republican. As for the media: I like the Wall Street Journal. I think the paper is fair. But generally speaking, news outlets cater to their paying customers — and that includes the New York Times, not only the obvious: cable news.
As a long-time observer of American news, sports and politics, is there anything that has surprised you lately? Or we are now entirely too predictable? — John R.
Very little surprises me anymore, John. If I see a conservative on cable TV praise a liberal or a liberal praise a conservative, I’ll be surprised. But generally speaking, I understand the business model: Give the audience what it wants to read and hear and hope they come back for more.
In the 1940s, the New York Times lost their credibility when exposed for the WWII Nazi extermination crime coverup. The power they wielded at the time was forgotten, and life went on. For many years, the liberal/conservative pendulum seemed to swing both ways. The “conspiracy theories” of nearly 30 years ago were either laughed at or shrugged away. It could never happen in America, the leader of the free world! We were too self-assured and confident that being liberal was normal societal progress. But changes crept in while we slept. Will what we see happening in today’s America wake up the sleeping giant within us enough to make a difference? — Sandy S.
We seem to be accepting more and more of what, not that long ago, would have been unacceptable. Not that long ago while we realized there were still some bigots among us — in a very big nation, there are bound to be — we didn’t accept the idea that America was fundamentally racist, that racism is embedded in just about every American institution. But now it’s widely accepted — even by corporate leaders who a decade or so ago would never have bought into this kind of thinking. Things will get back on track when enough of us have had enough. Radicals often go too far. They probably will again.
Excellent [piece on revisiting “Bias”]! I’m retired right now. (Thank God.) And, I am able to live off my retirement savings very well. I feel sorry for the people who have to work in this environment. I think that you probably don’t like Mark Levin, but I am reading his book, American Marxism, right now. And, a lot of what he says is on target also. I’m also going to use his game plan and that is to fight back (mainly through the WSJ blog), and start boycotting – no more movies, watching TV news or much TV at all. (I wish that I could get rid of it.) No more going to see woke prima donna sports stars who are making multi-millions, while trashing the country that provided them that opportunity, No more going to major cities except to go and quickly come back. No more traveling to states run by Democrats, e.g. California, Hawaii, NJ, NY, Connecticut, etc. (Sadly, I live in one, Illinois, and I’ve tried to get my wife to move to Wyoming or South Carolina or Tennessee but she likes it here, so I live in a town called “Libertyville”.) — Jerry G.
I’m with you about not supporting movies or TV shows or athletes whose views you don’t agree with. That’s up to you. But we differ on no more traveling to Blue States. I know somebody on the left who won’t visit Red States. How do you feel about that, my friend? Does that make sense to you? It doesn’t to me.
Bernie: “Repeat a lie often enough, and it becomes the truth” is never more evident than today in the language of the left. In that spirit, please power rank the following popular leftist lies: “The rich don’t pay their fair share of taxes.” “The greatest threat to our democracy is white supremacy.” “Women earn 72 cents on the dollar for performing the same jobs as men.” “Proposed voting laws are the new Jim Crow.” “Men can get pregnant and have babies.” — Steve R.
They’re all tied for first place as far as I’m concerned Steve. But a friend points out that many of the same people who are hammering the left for their BS remained silent during 4 years of Donald Trump’s BS. I’m not saying you’re one of those people — just passing along a respected friend’s thinking on the subject.
Sir Bernie, I’ve heard that back during the campaign of 2020 that a Biden/Harris campaign bus was passing through Texas when a caravan of Trump supporters surrounded the bus and tried to run it off the road. There seemed to be some facetious remarks made on the internet about the Trump caravan welcoming and “escorting” the bus through Texas, prompting Trump to say “I love Texas!” There are several videos on You Tube showing the caravan and one of the vehicles driving a bit erratically near the bus. It’s obvious that the Trump supporters were NOT welcoming and escorting the bus through Texas, that’s for certain. However I didn’t see any deliberate attempts to run it off the road either. Supposedly the San Antonio police were investigating the incident, but I never heard of any final decision on the matter. In the clips that I’ve seen, at worst it appears to be Trump supporters following the advice of Maxine Waters by being confrontational and letting the “other side know that they are not welcome here.” (I wonder how Auntie Maxine felt about Republicans taking her advice to fruition, but I digress). I just want to know if you know whether or not incident was ever proven to be inappropriate intimidation or harassment, OR an attempted criminal assault. What can you tell us about this incident? — “My Way Or The Highway” Regards from The Emperor
Like Sgt. Schultz … I know nothing. And just between us, a bit surprised that this matters to you — now.
I am the same age as you, Bernie. Growing up I heard the following over and over: there is no such thing as a free lunch; money doesn’t grow on trees; and finally, when I protested one of my parents dictates, the standard reply. Life’s not fair, get used to it. Today our government is doing it’s damnedest to prove these adages obsolete, much to our detriment I am afraid. When as a country, did we stray so far from our upbringing? — Douglas C.
It happened over time. The more society tolerated the more of what we tolerated we got. Like the frog in boiling water: By the time Froggie realizes what’s happening, it’s too late. But … when they go too far the pendulum might swing back. But no guarantees on that.
Care to predict for us how -BIAS- journalism will be 20 years from now? Is there any chance we will see a shift back towards center? Hmmm, How close to center was it ever in your mind? — ScottyG
Twenty years is a long, long time — and my crystal ball doesn’t work that far out. So I have no way of knowing what bias will look like in 2041. Yes, there’s a chance reporting will shift to the center, presenting credible points of view from all sides. But there’s also a chance we’ll get even more opinion masquerading as fact. Get back to me in 20 years for an update.
I read with interest your look back at Bias and Slobbering Affair…. as one who’s been in the game for awhile does any of this resonate with you: Woodward & Bernstein became cult heroes when they broke Watergate. Arguably one of the “poster child” moments in investigative journalism. Underdog journalists brought down corrupt leaders, or so the story went. It seems to me something good went way wrong when investigative journalism transitioned into advocacy journalism (oxymoronic in my view) and all those who grew up wanting to emulate Woodward & Bernstein got swept up into a storm unleashed by the always present liberal bias of the media (under the cover of society “needs” us to deal with abuse of power). At the same time, Roger Ailes and friends saw not just a need to tell the other side of the story but to make a ton of dough in the process. Thus, the road to polarization was open for business and journalism as we once knew it is now essentially extinct, laying in repose right next to common sense, which died a painful death a few years ago. Your thoughts? — Paul M.
I like your analysis. Advocacy journalism brought a response from Ailes and his brand of advocacy journalism. And so the two sides went at it … and everyone soon realized that there’s a lot of money in dividing Americans — or as you correctly say: “the road to polarization was open for business.” Things can get better but only if the audience demands it and I don’t see that in the near future. The audience likes the polarized news they’re getting.
Bernie, have you ever had the chance to interview anyone in the WWE? I believe John Daly wrote an article on your site a while back about the “Roddy Piper Presidency” and I recall him mentioning that he was a fan of Roddy. I recently saw a biography on A&E about Roddy and several other pro wrestlers. The documentary about Roddy was interesting but also extremely sad. He apparently had a falling out with WWE over an interview he gave to Real Sports in which he correctly predicted that he would not live to the age of 65 because of the toll wrestling took on his body. The lifestyle for many pro wrestlers appears to follow an often tragic path that involves tremendous success followed by a tremendous downfall that in one way or another leads to a shortened life. I was curious to know if you’ve ever interviewed anyone at WWE and what your thoughts are about that industry. — Joe M.
At CBS I reported a story about how popular with the chic set professional wrestling had become. It wasn’t only for the blue collar crowd anymore. It had become hip. It was a fun piece. Later as you correctly say, Real Sports did a serious piece on the subject. In my story, I remember interviewing a giant, nasty-looking hulk who supposedly was from Russia. His Engish was (supposedly) limited … and I asked him, “What part of Cleveland are you from.” He simply replied, looking unamused … “Moscow.” I looked up at him, laughed, and walked away.
Rudy Giuliani has reportedly been struggling to pay his legal fees going back to the work he did for former President Donald Trump. He hasn’t received payment from Trump for the election lawsuits he filed on his behalf (Trump says it’s because the lawsuits failed), he’s been the target of multiple lawsuits himself (including over false claims he made about voting-system companies), and he’s also having to deal with a federal investigation into his dealings with Ukraine.
So, with times tough and money tight, Giuliani has started to do what any reasonable person in his position would do: sell personalized video messages from himself to anyone willing to pay $200.
My question: Since I have a couple hundred burning a hole in my pocket from that child tax credit check, what would you like Giuliani to say in the video message I’ll be ordering for you? — John D.
Here’s what I want Rudy to say for the $200: “Bernie, you were right. Anyone who gets too close to Donald Trump will regret it. I wish I had listened to you. You are such a wonderful, humble, decent, fair and modest human being. And make the check out to ‘Cash.’ I don’t want to report it to the government.”
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