Who Marches for the Black Men Killed in Chicago?

During the last weekend of May 2020, 85 people were shot in Chicago – 24 of them were killed.  According to the Chicago Tribune, “The majority of the victims of homicide in Chicago are young, black men.”

A week earlier, on May 25, about 400 miles to the northwest, as the whole world by now knows, a white police officer in Minneapolis put his knee on the neck of an unarmed black man and kept it there for nearly nine minutes.  George Floyd died and Americans, from New York to California took to the streets to protest his gruesome death.

No one has marched or demonstrated or held up signs for any of the  more than 1,000 people shot this year in Chicago — or the nearly 200 who were killed so far this year in the city – virtually all of them victims of black on black crime.

Let’s acknowledge that when someone is unjustly killed by a police officer it’s different than what we might call a routine homicide, if any homicide can be called routine.  Police not only have guns, but also wear badges and carry with them the authority and force of government.

So as bad as a Saturday night killing on a dimly lit street in Chicago might be, what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis, because it involved an officer of the law, is worse.

So we understand the outrage when a white cop kills an unarmed black man.  But why the silence when black men are killing other black men?  Surely 85 shootings during just one weekend in just one city is worthy of attention, beyond a mention on the local news.

But even before we knew the name George Floyd, even when the marches and the riots and looting hadn’t taken center stage, even before there was such a thing as a coronavirus, the national news media pretty much ignored what was going on in places like Chicago.

My friend Lee Habeeb, a radio executive who also writes for Newsweek, has said that, “In Chicago, it’s Parkland every week,” referring to the high school massacre in Florida where 17 kids were killed in February of 2018.

In Chicago it’s worse than Afghanistan a lot of the time.

“Americans know none of the thousands of innocent young black men and women killed by other black men in our nation’s third largest city — and across America,” Habeeb has written. “There’s a reason. A young black male’s life is not worth reporting when it is taken by another black male. That’s the real racism that prevails in America’s newsrooms. The marginalization of black urban life.”

He’s right.  And on May 16, 2018 I wrote this on my website:  “Liberal journalists don’t feel comfortable when it comes to reporting dysfunction in black neighborhoods in places like Chicago. If white kids in tony suburbs were being gunned down in such horrific numbers, you can be sure that the liberal media would more than simply take note. They’d run stories on Page 1 for days on end.”

A lot of this has to do with what the California scholar Shelby Steele calls “good racial manners.”

Liberal whites, Shelby Steele (who is black) says, “must always imagine blacks outside the framework of individual responsibility.” It’s how white liberals redeem themselves from “America’s racial shame,” as Steele explains it.

In other words, white liberals (along with just about everybody else) rightly condemn the killing of one black man at the hands of a white cop, but don’t feel comfortable even commenting on the slaughter of hundreds of black men when they are the victims of other black men.

There’s a name for this phenomenon.  It’s called white liberal guilt. By ignoring mass murder in Chicago, white liberals feel better – about themselves.

Because when it comes to the slaughter of black young men, liberals in general and liberal journalists in particular fear that playing up this kind of bad news could give ammunition to bigots, who might use the information to bolster their already nasty opinions of African Americans.

By looking the other way, they show their “good racial manners.”

It’s important that journalists hold powerful people accountable.  It’s important that they document police brutality. But it’s also important to document on a national platform the gun violence that plagues places like Chicago – and to delve into the reasons it happens.

And if they did they’d find an all too common thread running through these crime statistics: fatherlessness.  More than 70 percent of black kids are born to single mothers in America.  And it’s well documented that fatherlessness often leads to poverty and poverty too often leads to crime.

But that’s another story the media shies away from, fearing that too would give ammunition to white bigots.

It seems that white liberal guilt knows no limits, thought it should be noted that conservatives try to stay clear of issues like fatherlessness too.  But in their case it’s not so much good racial manners that keeps them quiet.  It’s the justifiable fear of being labeled a racist if they bring up thorny issues like the absence of men in so many black families.

As for George Floyd, he rightly deserves a nation’s attention.  But so do the nameless victims who are gunned down every day in places like Chicago.

Their black lives matter too.

Bernie’s Q&A: Jordan, Pelosi, Krauthammer, Cuomo, and more! (5/22) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

Like you, I aim to be both conservative and objective. I’ve tried to make sense of this nonsensical political divide during a pandemic that doesn’t discriminate by party affiliation. I’m trying to understand the situation from each side’s worldview, so here’s my take: Conservatives believe in the rights and efficacy of individuals and local officials to assess their own risks, govern their own behaviors, and make their own health decisions. They are distrustful of elitists in government and media who have their own agendas in harshly dictating the public and private actions of a free citizenry. Liberals, on the other hand, believe that experts in science and public policy are best able to coordinate a nationwide effort to control a deadly pandemic. They are distrustful of individuals making their own decisions that can have deadly effects on the public at large, as they are equally appalled at the thought of taking direction from an incompetent, corrupt President who ignores science and common sense at his whim. Fair assessment? — Steve R.

Totally and completely fair, Steve. I think you nailed it. And you might want to listen (again) to my Off the Cuff this week which deals with this subject. Apparently great minds really do think alike.

I noticed that the new Pelosi $3T sweepstakes would extend the unemployment insurance bonanza through the end of the year. I also read some comments in WSJ from a fellow in Va that when he and others went to get a haircut the barbers were staying home since they made more via unemployment than working. Query when Granny Nancy and AOC wake up and figure out there are consequences to giving people incentives not to work and if we will see the worm turn with the Democrats ( if in power) then forcing people to work ( doing whatever our overlords deem most “essential.”). As the expression goes in Texas, we may be “fixin” to find out if George Orwell is THE prophet of our era. — Michael F.

Nancy Pelosi doesn’t care if people make more by NOT working. She’s hoping they’ll thank her and her party in November for the extra pay. As for how all this will play out on November 3 … too early to tell. Orwell chronicled absurdity as well as anyone.  He’d have plenty to write about today.

Bernie, did you have a chance to watch any of the Michael Jordan “Last Dance” documentary on ESPN? If you have, I was wondering what your thoughts were on Obama’s interview during the show. The former President seemed to be upset that Michael Jordan was not (and still is not) more of an activist that took up some of the liberal causes Leftist promote. I think Obama’s position is short sighted and sad because it overlooks the fact that Michael Jordan was one of the great uniting forces in history. Jordan was so talented in his craft that everyone, of every race, and every nation, who stepped on to the court wanted, “to be like Mike.” Jordan’s greatness transcended race and it is disappointing to see Obama claim that Jordan could have done more when in reality, Jordan’s greatness was something we all marveled and rallied around (except maybe Pistons fans). — Joe M.

Let’s say that reasonable people may disagree. Sometimes athletes, because of their high profile and influence, need to take up important causes. Here’s a behind the scenes story: A friend of mine was making a movie based on a book about inner city kids and what basketball meant to them. It was about a culture of poverty and violence in the inner city and how basketball was a way out. It was a serious book and would be a serious movie. Michael Jordan was supposed to star in it. But he backed out and wound up making a cartoon movie. Your points are well taken but Ali stepped up, Billie Jean King stepped up, Arthur Ashe stepped up — they all spoke out about important American causes. Not Mike. That’s his choice, of course. And that’s why I say that reasonable people may disagree.

Brit Hume has been saying on Twitter today that it is an “unproven hypothesis” that kids can spread COVID-19 to adults, and that we shouldn’t have closed schools over these past few weeks for COVID-19, because we didn’t close them for chickenpox and rubella outbreaks in the past.

In reality, kids can absolutely spread COVID-19 to adults (any human can), and chickenpox and rubella mostly result in skin infections. Hundreds of thousands of Americans were never in danger of dying from these chickenpox and rubella, or even requiring hospitalization. Are you surprised by how many national news-media figures on both sides of the aisle seem to have completely lost their sense of perspective on serious issues? — Ben G.

I’m not surprised, Ben, because all sorts of “pundits” think they know more than they actually know. Full disclosure: I’m a big fan of Brit Hume. But here’s the dirty little secret about the very nature of journalism: People who report in print, on TV, and online aren’t Renaissance men and women. Are we supposed to really believe that they’re experts on matters of the the economy, religion, the military, farming — and a virus that nobody ever heard of just a few months ago? Journalists are supposed to talk to people who know what’s going on and then report what they’ve learned. But given today’s media landscape where opinion is far more provocative than mere facts, we’re going to get all sorts of journalistic opinion masquerading as expertise.

Mr. G, Let’s talk about our hometown. When will the New York press start turning on Cuomo and Deblasio over the horrific job they’ve done handling the virus? They were both late in the game, they both panicked and whined, they both miss managed and made deadly decisions, they both grossly under utilized federal assistance that they begged for. Now they both want non-New York taxpayers to pay for their misgivings and miss management of New York city and state. The New York press of the the 60’s & 70’s would have skewered both of these guys straight out of office. So what gives? — ScottyG from Queens

You just asked an excellent question, Scotty — one that’s also been bothering me. Let’s keep this discussion to the virus. Andrew Cuomo is being portrayed by much of the (liberal) media as a hero. But as you correctly point out, he and the mayor of New York were late to the game and many people died because of the decisions they made. If Donald Trump were governor of New York they’d be calling for his head. Here’s what I think: Because he’s a liberal Democrat — and Donald Trump isn’t — they’ve chosen sides: Attack the president for his bad calls — and ignore Cuomo’s. One more reason the media have lost so much credibility.

You recently wrote about how much journalism has changed since you wrote “Bias.” Your previous position was that Dan Rather and the New York Times staff and their ilk were simply living in a liberal bubble & so as far as they were concerned, THEIR opinions were reasonable, informed & central thinking (unlike those conservative rubes). You point out now that The current climate among journalists & news editors is that Now they don’t even make the slightest effort to hide their biases and agenda. So…what do you think caused them all to blatantly start admitting to it? What changed in the past two decades that gave them the gall to actively and shamelessly push their agenda openly. For that matter, why do they continue to do it despite constantly having egg on their faces after they are shown to have pushed false narratives in debunked stories like the Jussie Smollett hoax, the Covington Catholic School debacle, and of course Russiagate? These aren’t stupid people; don’t they feel any shame or humiliation or even the slightest bit of embarrassment after being shown up by those “evil conservatives” and their leaders? And If not then why do you think they don’t, even after being debunked more than once? — “Curses! Foiled Again!” Regards from The Emperor

Good one, Your Highness. I don’t think I said they admit their biases — just that they don’t try to hide them anymore. It’s a complicated question but here’s something to chew on: They hated W because they thought he was an idiot. They loved Obama because he was a lefty just like them and a person of color to boot. And now they detest Trump. So for the last three presidents they either hated or loved each of them which greased the skids for their move to the left. Also, cable — as I’ve said before — wasn’t about journalism, it was about business. So we got more blatant opinion than in pre-cable days. One more thing: As newsrooms became more diverse, they also became more liberal. Hiring more minorities and women was a good thing. But those groups, by and large, weren’t composed of conservatives. If I go on any further, I’d be writing Chapter 1 in a book — Bias 20 years later — and I’m not doing that, Sir Emperor.

Bernie, Do you think we’ll ever see another Charles Krauthammer as a regular fixture on cable news? By that I mean someone who has a passion for (and is incredibly well informed on) complex issues, calls out the nonsense on both sides, and puts forth thoughtful and serious commentary instead of just adding fuel to the partisan culture war? Or do you think we’ll just see more people in the mold of Brian Stelter and Jesse Watters, who just turn every story into an attack on the other side? — Arthur C.

No on another Krauthammer … yes on more jerks like Stelters and Watters.

I hope I’m wrong, Arthur, but cable thrives on conflict. It needs contributors to pour gasoline on the fire. CNN and MSNBC won’t tolerate a liberal who every now and then embraces a conservative position. And Fox is just as bad. It doesn’t want conservatives around who see the other guy’s point of view. Why? It’s bad for business. And they don’t call it the news business for nothing.

(Editor’s note: the below question was quite long, so it has been shortened):

The CDC tracks the total number of weekly deaths from all causes in this country (COVID-19, heart attacks, suicides, auto accidents, etc.). Here’s what they’ve reported from February 1st through May 9th. The cumulative reported deaths are 101% of what the CDC considers to be ‘normal’ (based on 2017-2019 data). In other words, COVID-19 has increased the overall mortality rate in the country by 1%.

A 1% change seems statistically insignificant to me. So despite 60,000+ COVID-19 deaths in their data (7% of all deaths), the overall death rate is ‘normal’. Also, deaths from auto accidents and suicides are actually up (fewer people are on the road, but more people are driving like maniacs). Suicides are up presumably up too.

So what gives? Deaths from other causes like heart attacks, cancer, etc. are apparently down and deaths attributed to COVID-19 don’t represent incrementally + deaths as is suggested by all of the media hype and the politicians. Does that mean COVID-19 has been a ‘cure’ for other ailments? And for a statistically insignificant 1% increase in overall deaths, we’ve put the economy into the biggest contraction on record?

I’m not saying that COVID-19 isn’t serious, but we’ve gone through other more serious pandemics (1918, 1957, and 1968) that, adjusted for population growth, were far more deadly than COVID-19 but we didn’t shut the country down. Thanks and best regards! — David B.

First, I understand why you think 1% is “statistically insignificant” but I think we can agree that it’s not insignificant to the people who make up that 1% and their loved ones.

That said, here’s a piece from National Review on this subject (with some important perspective) that you might find interesting. It includes the stat that COVID-19 killed more Americans in one month than the flu does in a year.

And because I can’t do your question justice — it’s just not something I know a lot about — I’m turning the rest of the answer over to the brilliant Mr. John Daly, who follows this stuff more closely:

Hi David. I see where you’re coming from, but here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Our country saw less than 100 total deaths from COVID-19 in the first 7 weeks of that 14 week date range you’re referring to, thus that cumulative 101% figure is a bit skewed in regard to the true impact of the coronavirus. It wasn’t until the third week of March that the death numbers began skyrocketing. That’s when we went from 51 deaths in one week, to over 500 new deaths the following week. The week after that, it was nearly 3,000 new deaths, then 9,000, then over 14,000. In mid April, we were up over 130% of expected deaths for that week.

2) A very large percentage of these deaths (the CDC page stated 60k, but we’re close to 100k now) came after we had begun shutting things down and practicing extreme social distancing. In other words, if we hadn’t done those things, our death numbers would assuredly be much higher than they are now.

3) Lastly, the CDC does revise its reported numbers as more data comes in from medical facilities across the country. So the most recently reported figures (roughly two weeks worth) do go up. And if you check back on that same date range now, you’ll see they indeed did.

None of this is to say that we shouldn’t now be (cautiously) re-opening the economy. I personally think we should (my state — Colorado — started it a couple weeks ago). As you stated, the economic impact is devastating. The spread of the coronavirus isn’t growing exponentially like it was a few weeks ago, and that’s a result of a lot of distancing. With serious (but pragmatic) guidelines, I think this can be done relatively safely. And if some areas start seeing spikes again, as a result, they’ll probably have to reconsider some things.


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: Todd, Fauci, Kelly, Scarborough, and more! (5/15) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

One of the explanations for bias in the media is that almost all reporters now come from upper middle class, Ivy League educated backgrounds. Their writing reflects this elite perspective, and lack of newsroom diversity creates groupthink. I recall famous columnists and reporters of the past who came from working class backgrounds and were not degreed. Jimmy Breslin (New York) and Mike Royko (Chicago) come to mind. These guys certainly weren’t conservative, but they had an independent streak that is sorely lacking in today’s media. Are you aware of any Breslins or Roykos of today? Charlie LeDuff in Detroit may be one. Do you agree that the country misses this brand of reporter and commentator? — Steve R.

I do agree that a smart blue-collar man or woman would be a welcome addition to the diversity of the newsroom. That said, it’s an exaggeration that journalists come from upper middle class Ivy League backgrounds. As a general rule, that’s not the case. But they do, again as a general rule, come from a liberal background. As I’ve said before, we might need an affirmative action program for the smallest minority in American newsrooms — conservative journalists.

Are you troubled by the termination of whistle blowers? Are you concerned about the message this may give this President that he’s had so little pushback, and for future presidents? — Joe B.

Whistle blowers are essential. They keep things from getting out of hand. I was a whistle blower of sorts at CBS when, after years of getting nowhere with my concerns about liberal bias, I wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal.  The problem of course is that the powers that be don’t like whistle blowers, for obvious reasons. But they are needed — if they’re sincere and not using whistle blower protection merely to hide a political agenda.

Chuck Todd is the latest to be caught editing the tape of an interview, and passing it off as “do you believe what was said?” NBC came out a while later with “we made an inadvertent mistake.” Yeah, sure. The tape was two days old, they knew exactly what they were doing. I’m referring to the interview Barr gave CBS two days earlier. Todd has yet to do a mea culpa. Maybe he’s saving it for next Sunday’s show. Couple years back, Katy Couric of all people did the same thing when she edited a focus group session involving Conservatives to make them look like they were clueless. My question, do these people not care about how doing things like this totally undermine their credibility? Or does credibility no longer matter, to them anyway? Meet the Press at one time was the gold standard when the late Tim Russert was hosting it. I can’t see him pulling a stunt like that. Your thoughts please Bernie — John M.

Editor’s Note: Premium Member, “Mozik,” asked a very similar question.

Let me take you behind the scenes, John. A producer made that edit. A producer who’s name we don’t know and whose face we don’t see. The producer may have been incompetent or may have been young and inexperienced or — had an agenda. And I too am waiting to see if Chuck Todd admits the “mistake” on Meet the Press this Sunday. He did issue an on air apology onMSNBC this week. Let’s see what, if anything, happens on Sunday.

Bernie, did you happen to see Megyn Kelly’s interview with Tara Reade? I’m curious what you thought about it. Did Kelly do a good job? Did Reade strike you as convincing? And it seems rather amazing that Kelly was able to secure that interview when major news outlets were not. Do you think she just tried harder, or do you suspect Reade trusted her more than the news networks and major news papers? Thanks. — Ben G.

I only saw clips, Ben. Tara Reade did strike me as convincing — but who knows?  She could be a good liar … or be a little nuts and not know what really happened. I’m not demeaning her just saying I have no idea who’s telling the truth. And yes, I assume Megyn made the stronger pitch, and Tara Reade thought she could trust her.

On Tuesday, Trump strongly suggested that Joe Scarborough is a murderer — a literal murderer! This is what the president tweeted: “When will they open a Cold Case on the Psycho Joe Scarborough matter in Florida. Did he get away with murder? Some people think so. Why did he leave Congress so quietly and quickly? Isn’t it obvious? What’s happening now? A total nut job!”

Trump was referring to Lori Klausutis who died in 2001. She was a staffer for Scarborough (who was a congressman at the time). The coroner ruled that she had a heart condition, and died after passing out and hitting her head on the way down.

Oddly, Trump’s tweet didn’t get a whole lot of attention, prompting, National Review’s Jay Nordlinger to ask this question on Twitter: “When the president basically accuses a prominent morning-show host of murder, the nation yawns. Is this a good thing? A sign of maturity? Or is it a bad thing, a sign that we are simply numb?

What would be your answer to that question, or do you think there’s a third possible explanation? — Jen R.

Hey Jen. First I find it “rich” that Donald Trump is calling Joe Scarborough a psycho. It takes one to know one, as we used to say in the schoolyard. Personally, I think they’re both psychos.

Maybe Trump’s tweet didn’t get attention because most normal people didn’t want to dignify it by repeating what he said. Let’s face it: Donald Trump has serious character problems — and this is just one more example. As for why the nation yawns: We’ve become used to the president’s carnival of crap. If we didn’t look the other way, we’d be in a constant state of mental chaos — thanks to our president. If he knows something about what happened in Florida … something that hasn’t come out publicly … turn the information over to the authorities — or shut the hell up! That’s the best I’ve got, Jen.

Great “Off the Cuff” as always, Bernie! I was wondering if you think the Democrats and their media allies worry about becoming the party in favor of an endless lockdown (or at least a lockdown until after the November election)? They use terms like, “the new normal” to describe our current environment which in reality is anything but normal, and is certainly not acceptable for the 20 million Americans left unemployed by the lockdown. Even Italy is starting to open back up and allow sports again, but the American left, particularly in California, wants the lockdown to continue for at least another three months. I am sure they are relying on all of those extremely accurate models put forth by Imperial College and IHME, which I know are based on “settled science” that we mere mortals are never allowed to question. It seems like all of these models, “settled science”, and endless lockdowns are now political footballs and both parties are going to use them to play their games until November. — Joe M.

Everything in the Divided States of America is political — even this virus. If you want to open up the economy, good chance you’re a conservative. If you want the lockdown to continue (who knows for how long) you’re probably a liberal. If we open up the economy “too soon”, more people will get sick and some will die. If we keep the economy locked down, that will cause another kind of misery. I don’t know which is the right course but I’m for a middle ground: Open up businesses — with safeguards like social distancing — and let people voluntarily decide if they want to leave their home and frequent that business. It’s not perfect, I realize, but nothing is. You might find this piece interesting.  It’s by a doctor at Johns Hopkins.

Bernie, What are your thoughts on some right-leaning people (including some on Fox) demonizing Dr. Fauci for making health-based recommendations that don’t take into consideration the economy, back-to-school dates, etc. Do these critics not understand that a president surrounds himself with various advisors with different areas of expertise (health, economic, education, military, etc.), and that each of those advisors provides recommendations based on their area? Do they not get that it’s the job of elected leaders (like Trump and governors) to listen to each of those advisors, and then make the governing decisions? Also, do you think that because the Fauci bashers are mostly Trump fans, they’re taking aim at Fauci to avoid criticizing Trump (who has enacted many of Fauci’s ideas)? — Philip S.

I think the particular “right-leaning people” you’re talking about are slugs. They’ll bash Fauci ONLY because he differs with their messiah, the president. Dr. Fauci isn’t always right, but if it comes down to trusting him or Mr. Trump, take a guess where I’m landing. As for the Hannity’s of the media world, I ignore them. They’re bootlickers and have no credibility.

Dear Bernie: I have practiced law, including criminal law, for almost 30 years. In all of that time, I have never seen any judge attempt to do what Judge Sullivan is doing with the General Flynn case. Namely, to retain outside counsel (a retired judge no less) to argue an active criminal case in his Court. The case is supposed to be the USA v. Flynn. If the USA wants to drop the case, then the case is over. The judge is supposed to be an impartial referee not an advocate for one side. It seems that Judge Sullivan wants to force President Trump to pardon General Flynn for political reasons. What are your thoughts on all of this? My thoughts are that Judge Sullivan should be (at the very least) sanctioned for this improper conduct and the case removed from his consideration. — Thanks, Frank T.

I am not nor have I ever practiced law. So let’s get that out of the way. Still, it seems to be that a judge is supposed to rule between two competing claims. One side says X the other side says Y … and the judge (or jury) picks one. But when the defense (Flynn) and the prosecution (DOJ) agree, I would think that’s the end of the road. I have read that there is some case law to support Judge Sullivan’s decision — but that doesn’t mean it’s constitutional. And for what it’s worth, Alan Dershowitz says it ain’t!  This, at the very least, is strange. I don’t think he’ll be sanctioned, though. Instead he’ll be lauded in op-eds. Nor do I think he’ll be removed. If this case is appealed, the judge will find out just how much authority he actually has.

Bernie, can you share your thoughts as to when , if at all, you think our political acrimony will subside to any meaningful extent and how it might occur? Ultimately I think this is a question of optimism v pessimism. I am most interested in the “how” question because I fear we have passed the point of no return given the absence of leadership in the country and the hatred and malice that permeates everything these days. — Mike F.

I believe that this polarization that you describe is a bigger threat to our nation than climate change. I used to think we’d put an end to this nonsense if, say, we were attacked. And we did just that after 9/11. But it lasted 10 minutes. I too fear we have passed the point of no return. It keeps getting worse. And whether Mr. Trump wins in November or not, the political acrimony will continue. Someday, we may look back, and see how serious this problem was. And the villains are the pols who think their reason for being is to condemn the other side no matter what … and the idiots on TV who perpetuate the malice.

Okay Bernie, let’s say I agree with everything you just wrote [in Monday’s column about journalists conspiring against Trump]. And lets say I am a conservative — a conservative that does not like Trump. Because I honestly don’t think he is good for the country. How do I, or a reporter like me, debate Trump’s base — his base that takes everything he says as fact, and believes that anything other than praise for Trump is fake news. I get it that trump and his base distrust the mainstream media. But they also don’t allow anything in the middle. I have Trump supporting friends that still believe Mexico is paying for the wall. Friends that believe that China (the government) paid the tariffs. It is really frustrating. There should be a way to be critical of this president, and at least have it considered on the strength of its facts. I think a book about “Truth in the Age of trump” would be interesting. — Douglas S.

Very interesting observation on your part, Douglas. And you’re 100% correct. There’s no getting through to his most loyal supporters. It’s a waste of time to even try. All you get in return is their scorn. You can’t be rational with irrational people. Let that one sink in.

I’m almost 60, I grew up in NYC & have lived in five other states. I or nobody I’ve ever known to my knowledge has ever been “polled” for a political election poll. Who are these special 1005 people who tell us Biden is winning to date? With the so called polls accurate to within a +/- 3% margin that had HRC winning in a landslide even up to 3pm on Election Day 2016, how is anyone supposed to believe these things? Why haven’t they been largely discredited by now? — ScottyG

Scotty, my friend, you may not know anyone who’s been polled, but they’re not fake. Gallup and the others really do question people. I’m guessing you’re suspicious because you don’t like what the people are telling the pollsters? If the polls showed Trump beating Biden, for instance, some might not be so skeptical. I get a lot of blowback when I write about polls that show Trump — at a particular moment — trailing Biden in key battleground states. People tell me I shouldn’t trust the polls. But if the polls showed Trump kicking Biden’s ass, a lot of those same people would have no trouble believing them.

As for the second part of your question, you asked me something similar last year. John Daly’s written a lot about this topic, so here’s what he had to say about it when you asked before:

“Actually, the polls in 2016 did not predict a landslide. That’s a myth. It was a number of analysts who predicted a landslide, based on data that included what was being gathered from the polls. In reality, the national polls in 2016 were incredibly accurate (even more so than in 2012).

As I’ve written before on Bernie’s website, these polls measure national public sentiment, which in the context of a national election represents the popular vote. The average of national polls taken just prior to the election showed Hillary Clinton with a 3.1 point lead over Donald Trump. Once all the votes were tallied, we learned that she won the popular vote by 2.1 points (a mere 1-point difference, which falls well within any margin of error). In other words, the national polls collectively nailed it.

Some state polls (including in some important swing-states), however, were a different story. Local polling in Wisconsin, for example, had Clinton with a 6.5 lead right before the election. But on election night, Trump ended up winning Wisconsin. Unfortunately, local polls have long been less reliable than the national polls (which someone probably should have told Hillary Clinton before her infamous decision not to campaign in Wisconsin).

The takeaway from all of this is that the national polls (which also measure the president’s job approval) have proven to be generally trustworthy. So dismissing them by saying “they were wrong in 2016″ isn’t a solid argument; again, they were right in 2016. However, because they don’t take into account the complexities of the Electoral College, they’re not necessarily reliable predictors of who is going to win a presidential election.”

After watching the Michael Flynn saga unfold the past few days and comparing the differences between statements made under oath with those on CNN/MSNBC, may I suggest that Messrs. Goldberg and Daly use their wonderful writing skills and media contacts to write and produce an updated version of “All the President’s Men (and women).” The question is can you find enough conservative and libertarian actors to play the many juicy character roles . I suggest Vince Vaughn play James Comey since Mr. Vaughn is a very tall man and Jon Voight might play Joe Biden. — Michael F.

Great idea. Tell John because I’m busy answering all these questions and have little time left over to write screenplays. (joke) I like Vince Vaughn as James Comey.  But I have another leading man in mind for the role of Joe Biden: Pee Wee Herman. And that’s only because double-talking artist Professor Irwin Corey is dead.

So I’m hearing that some rogue mercenaries decided to stage a coup against Maduro in Venezuela, but for some reason I’m not seeing much about it. Trump of course denies any knowledge about it. So I’m curious, why do ya think the mainstream media isn’t all over this and using it as one more reason to bash Trump? And do you believe that some high ranking officials within the Trump administration were aware of the plans ahead of time (as apparently Venezuela was)? Your thoughts on this story are appreciated. — Failed Coup Attempt Regards From The Emperor

First, Your Emperorness, there’s another story out there that sucking up all the airtime. You may not have noticed it. It’s the coronavirus story. Google it. And second, it looks like this really was a rogue operation. So even journalists who hate the president couldn’t get very far trying to blame him. Make sense?


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: Even Maureen Dowd Has to Be Fair

Even opinion journalists have to be fair. They can’t simply make things up. Maureen Dowd of the New York Times recently crossed the line.

That’s the topic of my new “Off the Cuff” audio commentary.

You can listen to it by clicking on the play (arrow) button below.


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Bernie’s Q&A: Flynn, Shutdown Protests, Gutfeld, Watters, and more! (5/8) — 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.

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

Let me first say that several members of my extended family have served in the FBI. Have always had the utmost respect for the Bureau. But lately, I’ve been disgusted with it. I think Comey will go down as the most corrupt Director in it’s history. This latest revelation that the Bureau did a total screw job on General Flynn makes my blood boil. All a part of the plan to get at Trump and sabotage his Presidency. I hope to god they get the karma they deserve. — John M.

It depends on who writes the history regarding how Comey will be seen over time. A lot of folks on the left still treat him like an Eagle Scout. I want to hear from the people who wrote those memos. The Justice Department just yesterday dropped the case. Now let’s see if DOJ pursues the matter of those FBI agents.

I don’t believe in history American politicians have selectively decided what industries should thrive and which ones should be destroyed. Just wondering, do you believe the crowds protesting at state capitals would be larger if college professors and teachers, government workers, and retires, were no longer getting pay checks? Let’s exclude the real necessary jobs in health care. And how do you feel about the Memes “We’re all in this together” and “Unity”? I think you understand my drift. By the way, always appreciate and respect your opinion! Thanks for years of unbiased service. — Tim H.

Thanks Tim. Much appreciated.

First, I wish the crowds at state capitals would disavow the idiots who show up with assault weapons and Nazi crap. That said … You’re onto something. Elites — especially those who are still getting paid (even if they’re no longer working) don’t feel the pressure as “ordinary” Americans do. If they weren’t getting paid, if they were worried about paying the rent, they might sympathize — and take part — in the demonstrations. As for the “Unity” stuff: The virus was supposed to bring us all together. It was to close the gap that separates us. I’m not buying it. Just tune into cable TV news on any night.

Hi, Bernie I know you have no love for Jesse Watters because in the past he has conducted frivolous interviews and, of course, he is very partisan. But I see him on The Five and he seems to be one of the top analysts of current events, far better–and more humorous–than many other Fox regulars. (I don’t watch Watters World, so maybe I’m missing something that you see.) — Yours faithfully, Bennett S.

Bennet, let me put this as delicately as I can. If Jesse Watters is one of the top analysts of current events, I’m Albert Freaking Einstein!!!

But let me try to respond to the heart of your question: If you think Watters makes sense it’s because, as you suggest, he’s better than the other jerks on the show. I’m in no way referring to Dana Perino, who is not a jerk and tries to be fair.

But a friend of mine had this observation about Watters: His “entire contribution to The Five is to fawn over Trump, and smugly point out hypocrisy on the left while refusing to acknowledge it on the right, including his own.”

If Watters is better than Guttfeld or the woman at the end of the table, that’s not saying much.

Mr. G, Piling on this week’s Off The Cuff: I have long called these hypocritical so called feminists “Deminists” as they clearly and repeatedly always choose party first and fellow women second. The noisiest Deminists of all be they the politicians, news anchors, pundits and “beloved” celebrities Never rise up for woman right of center. Wouldn’t it be great then if the current Senate could configure a hearing on this Biden scandal somehow (maybe in search of disappearing Senate records and archives in Delaware?) and then get these Super-Deminist Hypocrite Senators back on a panel to explain their new positions? That could be some good theater. Can you see such a scenario? — ScottyG

My short answer, Scotty, is NO. Here’s my takeaway: When the double standard and the hypocrisy are so blatant, these liberal moralists have lost their right to preach to the rest of us. Or more to the point: They can continue to preach and be hypocritical, but we are under no obligation to take them seriously.

In regard to this week’s Off The Cuff, a question: lets suppose, just for sh*ts & giggles, that Harvey Weinstein was the Dem’s nominee and not Joe Biden. Do you think the #metoo movement would ignore the number of women who came forward to accuse him of sexual assault? As they have Biden’s accuser? Off topic a bit, did you know Sylvia Chase when she was a reporter at CBS News? If so I’ll share a story with you about how she hounded me to do an on camera interview many years ago. — JM

Interesting question, JM.  I don’t think the #metoo movement would — or could — ignore the women who came forward to accuse him of assault. The reason I think that is because those women were Hollywood women, some very high profile Hollywood women. Too tough to ignore them as they pretty much have ignored Tara Reade. And yes, Sylvia Chase and I were at CBS News, for a few years anyway, at the same time. I stayed, she moved on to ABC.

Bernie: What do you make of the latest revelations about the FBI in the Michael Flynn case? Do you think they set out to entrap him and create a crime so that he would be removed as National Security Advisor, or are we conservatives “pouncing” (the Left’s favorite verb for us) on some trivial investigative detail that regularly happens in the bloodless war of Washington politics? — Steve R.

I don’t think it’s trivial at all, Steve. It looks bad but I want to hold off judgment until I hear from the people involved, the ones who wrote the memos. The GOP controlled Senate needs to subpoena them — the sooner the better. As I mentioned earlier in this Q & A session: DOJ has dropped the Flynn case. I hope the department is investigating the agents who wrote the memos.

Slavery was of course wrong, evil, and a slap in the face of American ideals. Many modern liberals argue for reparations to descendants of African American slaves, so allow me to pose a wild scenario: the U.S. government agrees to compensate these descendants with huge one-time checks per family, with interest. In return for this compensation, all liberals must agree to abandon these things: affirmative action; protesting and filing legal complaints based on racism and discrimination; accusing people of racism simply for disagreeing with them or not voting for people like Barack Obama, Maxine Waters, etc.; groups like BLM and ANTIFA must renounce violence and disband OR agree to work constructively with the rest of society; and finally, all race hustlers such as Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Jesse Jackson must permanently renounce and abandon all protests and community organizing to extort money from organizations that they find offensive.

I realize that I’m giving a “Twilight Zone” Bizarro World scenario here, but I would like your thoughts on the likelihood of liberals accepting the reparations under the conditions that I have just outlined and what life might be like in post reparations America. — Slavery Reparations Regards From The Emperor

You’re losing it, Emperor. Your conditions for reparations are as bad or worse than the idea of reparations themselves. Years ago, I read a column that came up with this: In exchange for a one-time reparations payment, recipients would no longer receive government subsidies such as welfare payments. That’s a debatable response to reparations. Yours is just plain freaking nuts. And I say that will all due respect, Your Highness.

I was curious if you have any idea how many copies of your book “Bias” has sold worldwide. Thanks. — Ben G.

I have no idea. The book was # 1 on the NYT bestseller list for 7 weeks — and the paperback, as I recall, hit #1 also, a year later. So it’s a lot. The book was published in several foreign countries including China. The entire book, of course, was in Chinese except for one word. Putz. A yiddish word meaning a part of the male anatomy but referring to a person as a dope. The Chinese must have been saying: What is this Putz thing.

Greg Gutfeld has been a huge disappointment in the Trump years. He was once one of Fox’s most politically non-compliant people — a conservative/libertarian who made fun of the partisan hacks on both sides, called out egregious behavior (including Trump’s), and ridiculed conspiracy theorists. A rarity! A breath of fresh air on cable news! This was true right up until Trump won the election.

At that point, he must have seen the writing on the wall (career wise), because he quickly morphed into one of Trump’s most outrageous sycophants. He abandoned many positions and standards (by his own admission) to serve and make excuses for the president. He’s basically now a younger Lou Dobbs.

This week on Twitter, Trump congratulated loyal Gutfeld on the big ratings it has brought his Fox weekend show, describing Greg as “a one time Trump Hater who has come all the way home.” All the way home? Talk about being emasculated as a presidential kiss-up!  Your thoughts? — Albert

My thoughts are exactly — EXACTLY!!! — the same as yours. Word for word. Gutfeld has become a pathetic bootlicking brown-noser. An embarrassment. You nailed it, Albert.

Bernie, you said last week (or maybe 2 weeks ago) that you do now think journalists are conspiring against Trump (to take him down), not just letting their naturally aligned biases get the better of them like in the old days. But what about the private list-serve for advocacy called “JournoList” in 2007? (Shutting it down in 2010 when it became public.) The coordination started long before November 2016, right? — Letitia

Good point, Letitia. JournoList was a disgrace. And yes it pre-dates Trump’s victory in 2016. But I think my point is generally true. That bias got noticeably worse — covering far more ground that JournoList did — on Election Day 2016. Bias didn’t begin that day. But it changed. See my column that will be posted on Monday. It’s my take on this very point.


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.