Bernie’s Q&A: O’Reilly, Carlson, Goldberg, Hayes, and more! (12/3) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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


Bernie, I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving! I know a lot of Republicans are predicting a red wave in 2022 but news of this new Covid variant should give everyone pause. Let’s not forget that in January of 2020, a lot of Republicans predicted a major Trump victory, but Covid happened and we know the rest of the blue story. What happens if a cure or highly effective treatment for Covid comes out next spring? Will Biden get credit? Is success against Covid a way for Biden to crush the red wave? — Joe M.

Success against Covid would not only be good for America and the rest of the world, yes, it would be good for President Biden too. I can live with that. Whatever happens with Covid, let’s remember that November 2022 is a very long way off — and all sorts of things can and will happen between now and then. And those things will affect the outcome of the midterms. Things look rosy for the GOP as the moment. But there’s no election at the moment. So Republicans can be optimistic, but there are no certainties in life or in politics.

Regarding President Biden you wrote he is a profile in cowardice. Hard to disagree but may I add he may be significantly delusional. His life’s dream was to be our president. His history is littered with verbal snafus, plagerism, extremely poor judgement, average intellect, plastic values, synthetic morals, pretentiousness and convenient recall. Even President Obama recognized Old Joe wasn’t fit for the challenges associated with being the leader of the free world. But for a confluence of unfortunate events I believe he would have lost the election. Covid and Trump’s abysmal debate performances saved him from his proper place in history. Cowardice, yes. Delusional, most certainly. — Bob S.

No argument here, Bob.

[Regarding Rittenhouse], you’d think “white supremacists” shooting each other would please the left. It’s even more interesting that they are racists for doing so. I can’t keep up. — Titaniumman

I know, it’s crazy. And you said it so well. I’d worry, my friend, if you COULD keep up with this nonsense.

[Regarding your Rittenhouse column,] spot on again. There’s no way you could watch the video of Rittenhouse being chased and in altercations with those he would later shoot and not assume some kind of “reasonable doubt” for self-defense. Also decrying the verdict is a kind of delegitimization of the legal system, which kind of matches, albeit at a smaller level, decrying the result of the 2020 Presidential election. I’m 62 years old and growing up in this country we’ve had political disagreements all through my youth, but never as direct, system challenging as now. Not a good sign for us. — John R.

Agreed, John. The polarization has gone way too far and, as you say, “not a good sign for us.” I don’t see what’s going to make things better anytime soon. Sorry for the pessimism, but I think that’s a realistic take on the sorry state of affairs.

I didn’t see Tucker Carlson’s special but I have listened to his TV opinions January 6. And he seems to be asking valid questions and bringing up valid points. He hasn’t seemed to condone the activities of that day. And he highlights the obvious fact that the Left has exploited and distorted the realities of the incident, and have exercised their corrupt control of institutions, including the media, to do so. He seems to be justifiably pushing back, so my question is are Hayes and Goldberg also questioning the Lefts behavior appropriately? I never liked Trump’s leadership of the conservative center-Right. But I fear the Left much more, and see the fight against them as top priority. And in that fight, Fox is indispensable. I have always liked and respected the opinions of Hayes and Goldberg, but I don’t know if they calculate the threats the same way. Sorry, but the Left and what they have done, are doing, and will do is far, far more of a threat than Tucker Carlson. Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson are NOT the same thing. One is honest, the other isn’t. If Hayes and Goldberg for some reason can’t see that, then I’m afraid I’ll simply have to bid them adieu. — James T.

I did not say Carlson and Maddow are the same thing. I said they’re in the same line of work. And that line of work is appealing to their niche audience. Neither says what the viewer doesn’t want to hear. As for Carlson … he’s nasty and attributes the worst motives to anyone he disagrees with. You’re free of course to think whatever you want about him. I hope you’re not concluding that I support the excesses of the Left. I don’t. And even a casual reading of my work would make that clear. Let’s end with the usual … reasonable people may disagree.

It’s clear that Fox News started going downhill the day they let Bill O’Reilly go. Regardless of what one thinks of Bill, and regardless of why the network let him go, the facts are that 1) He built the Fox News brand and, 2) in many ways, he was the one who gave the network credibility. Of course, Fox still has fine news anchors like Brett Baier, Bill Hemmer, Jon Scott, and Eric Shawn, as well as commentators like Chris Wallace and Brit Hume, but they have never defined the network for most people. Which is too bad because they are all high quality journalists.

O’Reilly always provide balance in Prime Time. He always gave voice to both sides. Every one of O’Reilly’s political segments featured the Liberal/Democrat perspective along with the Conservative/Republican side. If he couldn’t get a liberal guest, or if the guest backed out of their appearance, he always took the alternative point of view when discussing the issue at hand.

Not only were liberal voices like Austan Goolsbee, Marc Lamont Hill, Juan Williams and Kirsten Powers regular guests on Bill’s show over the years, but Democratic strategists like Mary Anne Marsh, Simon Rosenfeld and David Goodfriend also appeared regularly and were treated respectfully. O’Reilly never diminished their voices and would often end a segment with the phrase “Good debate!”

O’Reilly also regularly did something that the current prime time hosts NEVER do: bring on powerful voices that would disagree with him, in particular, the late Charles Krauthammer and Yours Truly. The segments where Krauthammer or you would smile and put Bill in his place were priceless, and said a lot about Bill being willing to let his audience see he wasn’t always right. But those days are gone, and so is Fox News. Do you agree with my perspective? — Joseph R.

I agree with all of your perspective, Joseph.

It seems as though the extremists on both sides are squeezing out the moderates on both ends. First you and O’Reilly, then several other moderate to liberal voices over a period of time. Now Mr. Hayes and Mr. Goldberg. I hope what happens is that more and more people just shut these slobbering fools off. I would think the news services would pay attention to these 18-30 demographics and see where there are getting their news. My two sons, both under 30, seem to be remarkably well, or so it seems, informed on broad issues, and yet neither one has cable hooked up in their homes. They have WiFi, and I know Obama’s campaign used that medium to encourage younger voters. But it seems that’s pretty much where it ended. I’ve for the most part have tuned out of broadcast and cable news for these forums from those I know have a moderate point of view and not some agenda other then the preservation of our democracy. Maybe you all, moderates on both sides, can get together and put together an outlet and get news journalism righted from its current perilous course towards oblivion. — Rodney A.

Cable news is in the business of extremes. They don’t want moderate voices. You know why, Rodney? Because the audience, by and large, doesn’t want moderate voices. The audience tunes in because cable news gives the viewer what the viewer wants — and doesn’t give him too much of what he doesn’t want. That said, there are more and more people who I’m hearing from who say what you’ve just told me: that you, for the most part, have tuned out. As for younger viewers: They never tuned in in the first place.

Bernie, [Hayes and Goldberg] agree with you so you understandably like it BUT there are many of us out there who are reasonable and quite pragmatic about Trump and the fact that he takes the Left on aggressively and gives as good as he gets. We are tired of the milquetoast Republicans of the past and want a fighter, warts and all. The tactics of the Left are reprehensible. We can’t keep sitting back and keep playing nice for the sheer decorum of it. I don’t watch Fox much anymore but Tucker Carlson is certainly not the reason. I find Fox a bit tiresome as well but without them the media landscape would be unbearably Leftist. While we fight among ourselves the Left comes together when it matters most. This has to stop or we will only have ourselves to blame. — Thomas C.

Here’s what I’m not sure you understand, Thomas. What you like about Donald Trump’s personality, most Americans don’t. In fact they detest his personality, which they see as toxic. You accept him as a “fighter, warts and all.” Most Americans see him as a liar, a bully and a narcissist — and they’re right; he’s all three. Joe Biden is president today not so much because voters saw him as a smart guy with great ideas. He’s president because they hated Donald Trump. And his “warts and all” personality also cost the GOP the House and it’s why two Democrats beat two Republicans — in historically red state Georgia! How any Republican can admire Donald Trump when he cost the party so much, is fascinating (and not in a good way).

One more thing, if I remember correctly, Thomas, you don’t believe that Trump really lost the election. Sorry to be the bearer of “bad” news, but he did lose. It’s time to move on. Donald Trump hasn’t but the majority of Americans have.

I heard that the contracts for Jonah Goldberg and Steve Hayes were ending soon anyway, and thus they really didn’t quit but simply took the opportunity to shine lights on themselves. Any truth to this? — Tony P.

First, as I understand it, their contracts were not ending soon anyway, as you put it. Hayes was signed until May of next year and Goldberg was signed until the end of next year. But that doesn’t mean people aren’t saying what you ask about. They are. And they’re mainly Trump loyalists, which explains a lot. And if Fox would rather have loudmouths on whose claim to fame is that they would kiss Donald Trump’s ass at high noon in Times Square …than have Goldberg and Hayes offering opinion … then that tells us a lot about Fox.

Chris Cuomo was finally – and indefinitely – suspended by CNN for actively using his media connections to dig up dirt and information useful to his brother the governor. This was after they repeatedly violated their own code of ethics over conflicts of interest concerning the Cuomos. I was frankly shocked they announced this suspension pending further investigation. In the past, CNN execs showed nothing but recklessness with any sense of journalistic integrity. In your opinion, what broke here? What finally gave way? — Steve R.

Sometimes people cross a line that can’t be ignored. This is one of those cases. But let’s wait and see how this plays out. I wouldn’t be shocked if CNN waits a while, hopes this episode fades away, and brings Cuomo back. If not, MSNBC would be a good fit.

Great article, Bernie! I feel this kind of thing was inevitable since Fox News launched Fox Nation (to which I don’t subscribe). The idea that a news organization has a paid streaming service that offers curated content aimed at the political ideology of the majority of their viewers is highly problematic. However, I am curious how impactful Carlson’s Patriot Purge special was given it was aired on the streaming service and not the main channel. I’d be curious to get your perspective of Fox Nation and it’s impact thus far. Thank You. — Hendrick G.

I don’t think it matters all that much that the “documentary” aired on a streaming channel. First, because the channel is part of Fox News and so what happens on the streaming service affects the reputation of Fox News in general. And second, streaming is big and getting bigger. Sure there are fewer people who watch Fox Nation than those who watch the Fox News channel, but still what appears on the streaming service is seen by more than a few people.

I have always considered myself a mainstream center-right conservative. I have always appreciated smart, insightful commentary. I currently subscribe to National Review and I did to Weekly Standard while it was still with us in print. I am also an original subscriber to The Dispatch, a place where I find my perspectives both challenged and largely shared. This is the reason that I also now subscribe to you Bernie and am happy at the opportunity to participate in intelligent discussion. My question is this: moving forward in time, is there a place for relevant conservative critique, analysis and discussion that might be able to swing the pendulum back into normal ranges? Will those of us who had to back out of the Fox orbit always be contained within a small remnant of movement conservatism? I consider myself more an optimist than a “Debbie Downer”. But my faith is strained at the seams nowadays. — Jesse B.

There are more than a few places, Jesse, that dish out relevant, reasonable, thoughtful commentary on the right. You named a few — and thanks for adding me to the list. But I don’t see a cable news channel on the horizon that would be to your liking — or mine. That’s because cable makes money appealing to the partisan right and the partisan left. The viewer doesn’t tune into cable news to get nuanced commentary that might get him to change his mind. The viewer tunes in to get his or her own views validated. When enough people turn away from the three main cable news operations, tired of the same old partisan crap, maybe then things will change. But I’m not holding my breath.

I have been watching excerpts of the Supreme Court case on Mississippi abortion law. I noticed that Justice Sotomayer was very rude to the attorney representing Mississippi when questioning him. She kept interrupting him. While Justice Thomas was very respectful. As I read Twitter feeds, I also noticed that the liberal tweets were very rude on this topic while the conservative tweets were not. I don’t think that you can generalize that liberals are rude and conservatives are respectful, but it seems that on this topic, that is true. What are your thoughts on this? — Jerry G.

The subject of abortion raises passions on both sides. The Wall Street Journal editorial page agrees with you, Jerry … that she was (if not rude) political. We know how she, Kagan, and Breyer will vote. Not sure about the others, though I think Thomas and Alito will uphold the Mississippi law. I’m with you Jerry, in that you can’t generalize about rudeness. There’s plenty to go around from both sides on many subjects.

The Supreme Court is now allowing live TV coverage of hearings and arguments. Before they were just allowing live audio coverage. I don’t think this is a good change, because as we’ve seen with DC politicians, being on camera makes everyone act more theatrical and less professional than they otherwise would. The SCOTUS seems to be one of our last respectable gov institutions (for the most part). I’d hate to see it slowly turn into Judge Judy or Jerry Springer. What are your thoughts? — Ben G.

I’m not sure that the Supreme Court is allowing TV coverage … not yet anyway.  But that aside, I think you’re on to something, Ben.  The camera does tend to affect conduct.  But I think the Justices have more class than Jerry Springer and less drama than Judge Judy. Still you make a legitimate point.  That said, I found the oral arguments this week captivating — and would definitely tune in for live TV coverage.

I might find [the topic of this week’s “Off the Cuff”] laughable if the folks who are redefining our syntax were not so serious and have so much power. And we all cower before the threat of racist for pointing out that the vast majority of looters are black. Kudos to you, Bernie, for not backing away from that fact. I can’t remember hearing it it from any of the “news” reporters out there. How do we solve the problems if we can’t just acknowledge what is true, not ideology? — John F.

Thanks, John. I think in most cases, the race of the criminal suspect is NOT relevant. But sometimes it is. If a bunch of white guys attack a black guy because of his race, then race is relevant in the news account  — and the other way around.I could actually make the case that in instances of looting we DON’T need to know the race of the looter. But when the woke crowd say we can’t call looters … looters … and when the “intellectuals” who make that case are black … then race, arguably, becomes relevant.

This week’s Off The Cuff makes me ask—-that liberal black professor at New Haven University wants us to stop using the word “looters” because he claims that it’s racist. You mentioned that In all likelihood that he is just upset because it makes black criminals look bad and he himself is black. (I recall a black politician doing the same thing years ago with the word “thug” which he likened to the infamous N-word, but I digress). I would think that a former police officer would see firsthand the bad choices and familial breakdowns that lead to such criminal behavior as looting. So I’m not a fan of left wing academics and I don’t claim to be a sociology expert, but I would think that if he really did want to help struggling black communities, that he would push self-sufficiency, better lifestyle choices, and hard work and studying to help people better themselves, rather than push to change the words to describe bad criminal behavior, which would accomplish ABSOLUTELY NOTHING —-even I, your humble benevolent Emperor, can see that. Why don’t liberal academics see it? For that matter—-I’m tired of hearing the term “White Supremacy” used indiscriminately—-from now on let’s say “Caucasian Conservatives Who Point Out How F—-ING STUPID & ASININE Liberal Woke Progressives & Their Enablers Are.” Whaddya think? Rolls off the tongue pretty easily, doesn’t it? –“Redefining Words WON’T IMPROVE the BAD CHOICES People Make” Regards from The Emperor

What do I think, you ask. I think you F’ing nailed it, that’s what I think.

Mark Meadows, former President Trump’s Chief of Staff, is releasing a new pro-Trump book. One of the book’s revelations (which was previously divulged by anonymous White House sources) is that Trump tested positive for COVID-19 three days BEFORE his infamous, wild and wacky presidential debate with Joe Biden. Though Meadows claims that a subsequent COVID test came back negative, he also added in the book that the campaign knew both candidates had “to test negative for the virus within seventy two hours of the start time,” and that “Nothing was going to stop [Trump] from going out there.” A couple days after the debate, it was made public that Trump was indeed infected (along with some of his family and staff). 

Trump has called the positive-test allegation “fake news”, but also endorsed Meadows’ book which is being marketed as “No fake stories. Just the truth.”

I have a theory as to what happened. Let me know what you think:

Trump indeed tested positive for COVID-19 before the debate, but recognized an opportunity from it. After faking the second test by having Jesse Watters submit his own saliva for it (Watters was always drooling around Trump anyway), Trump decided he was going to infect Biden on stage a few nights later (nailing Chris Wallace too, as an added bonus), and hopefully force him out of the race due to serious illness. That’s why Trump kept interrupting, shouting, and speaking out of turn that night: he was trying to hock a loogie all the way across the stage at Biden, while knowing all along that, as president, he had access to experiential anti-body treatment for himself that Biden didn’t have.

Do you think Trump would be president today if he were a better spitter? And if I were to present the above theory as fact rather than speculation, do you think I might be awarded my own cable news program? — John D.

Yes on the cable news program question: ON CNN OR MSNBC.

I think if you could add a few more words you could turn your theory into a book. Sounds fascinating. I’d buy it. And I haven’t heard the term “hock a loogie” for quite some time now. I sort of wish you left that out of your otherwise brilliant analysis. If writing books is not your thing, Mr. D (inside joke), then a column would work fine. Please contact John Daly if you’re interested. He handles that kind of thing for my website. And thank you for sending in a question Mr. D.

 


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.




‘Good Riddance’ to Chris Cuomo. And ‘Are You Kidding Me?’ to His New Admirers

On Tuesday, CNN announced that they had suspended Chris Cuomo. The news came shortly after new documents were released by the New York attorney general’s office, who are currently looking into multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault levied against Cuomo’s brother, former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The documents revealed that Chris had done much more than just advise his brother on his political and legal woes (as was previously reported). He also used CNN’s resources to dig up information on Andrew’s accusers, and pass that information along to the governor’s office to assist with his brother’s defense.

CNN released the following statement on the matter:

“The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense. The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second. However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”

Many expect the suspension will lead to Cuomo’s firing.

It was the right move by CNN, though there’s a strong case to be made that they should have taken action earlier, and also that the network had previously allowed Cuomo to engage in unacceptable conflicts of interest when it came to his brother.

“For years, the network banned Chris Cuomo from interviewing his brother, a commonsense precaution,” wrote David Graham in a piece for The Atlantic. “But in the spring of 2020, as the coronavirus ravaged the country, Andrew Cuomo presented himself as a competent counterpart to Donald Trump’s pandemic bungling. CNN, knowing ratings gold when it saw it, decided to put the brothers on air together, apparently concluding that the rules mattered less in the midst of a crisis.”

“The exchanges between them were entertaining…” added Graham. “Journalistically, however, the shtick was appalling…”

Graham’s right, of course, and if CNN executives are at all concerned about the network’s credibility (which is a big “if”), they should indeed fire Cuomo.

Unsurprisingly, regular critics of CNN (especially in the right-wing media) had a field day over the suspension, taking the opportunity to taunt Cuomo in fairly sharp terms. And frankly, they had every right to, especially considering how sanctimonious Cuomo had long been in his lectures of Fox News and other MAGA-heavy outlets for their lack of journalistic ethics.

But Cuomo did find one unlikely admirer among his Fox News detractors, at least in the way he’d helped his brother go after his female accusers: Tucker Carlson.

On Tuesday night, after taking several shots at Cuomo for being an “idiot” and narcissist, Carlson used his prime-time show to proclaim that what Cuomo did was actually… an act of nobility.

“Helping his brother is not the worst thing he ever did,” Carlson said. “In fact, it may have been the best thing he ever did. Not because Andrew Cuomo was a good person. He certainly wasn’t a good person. Andrew Cuomo was loathsome. But Andrew Cuomo was Chris Cuomo’s brother and that’s what you do with brothers, even the loathsome ones. You help them when they need it. Period.”

Period?

“Your most basic obligation is to the people you are related to,” Carlson added. “When they need your help, no matter who they are — even if you’re the governor of a state, even if they’re horrible people — you help them anyway because it’s your family. Chris Cuomo may be an idiot – and he is – but he understands that.”

Carlson even shared his argument on his Twitter account, which he doesn’t use all that often. This started a big social media discussion, with a number of Carlson’s fans (and other right-wing pundits) deciding that he was absolutely right, and that they would have done the same thing for their family if they had been in Chris Cuomo’s position.

Now, assuming that Carlson actually believes what he said in his inflexible statement (and that’s a big assumption), one has to wonder what he himself may have done behind the scenes over the years, using his positions at Fox and elsewhere, to “help” members of his family.

Regardless, the supposedly moral argument he was trying to make is absurd, as one of my Twitter follows aptly pointed out:

In other words, blood may be thicker than water, but there is no moral or ethical argument for going after your blood’s victims. This should be especially obvious in the case of your blood being a sexual predator.

One can always help out a family member (even a “horrible” one) in ways that aren’t morally and ethically repugnant. One can help in ways that don’t re-victimize an individual. But such nuance, unfortunately, seems lost on people like Cuomo and Carlson.

I suppose a larger point to be made is that if you’re looking for substantive moral arguments and examples of noble behavior, today’s cable news is not the place you should be spending your time.




They Quit Because They Had Enough of What Fox News Has Become

Two prominent Fox News contributors, who have offered intelligent, conservative but not mindlessly partisan commentary on the channel, have quit. They had enough of what Fox News has become, “the Trump administration in exile,” as Kevin Williamson put it in National Review.

Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes – neither a fan of the former president – resigned and explained their reason in a message to their readers at the Dispatch, an online publication that they described as “a place that thoughtful readers can come for conservative, fact-based news and commentary.”

Here’s part of what they wrote: “As you may know, we’ve been Fox News contributors for a long time. For most of that time, we enjoyed ourselves and believed we were contributing to a good cause. Whether you call it liberal media bias or simply a form of groupthink around certain narratives, having a news network that brought different assumptions and asked different questions—while still providing real reporting and insightful conservative analysis and opinion—was good for the country and journalism.

“But over the past few years, that’s changed. And the tension has grown between what we are building at The Dispatch — a fact-driven, center-right media company — and what’s come to dominate the network, particularly in primetime.

“In late October, Tucker Carlson aired a promotion for a series he produced for Fox Nation, Fox’s subscription streaming service, called Patriot Purge. It’s a revisionist history of January 6, one in which those who participated in the rally and subsequent storming of the Capitol are victims. Among the main protagonists of the series are the organizer of the ‘Stop the Steal’ rallies and a racist fired from the Trump White House for his associations with white nationalists. The message of the series? The U.S. government is coming after patriots as part of a ‘War on Terror 2.0,’ using the same tools and tactics used to fight al-Qaeda.

“This isn’t true, and it’s dangerous to pretend it is. And for us, it was way too far. We resigned after watching the series in its entirety and asked Fox to release us from the rest of our contracts.”

This seems to be a good time to repeat what I’ve often said and written: Fox News – and the other cable news operations – are not so much in the news business as they are in the business business. Opinion hosts (and most paid contributors) are there to inflame the grievances and validate the biases of the audience. They’re supposed to feed viewers the kind of opinions that they want to hear. They are not expected to give “inconvenient” opinions that might offend the viewer or God forbid, make the viewer think. Make no mistake it’s not only Fox; it’s the same at all the cable channels. Tucker Carlson and Rachel Maddow are in the same line of work.

But in the case of Fox News, a sizeable portion of the audience wants to hear good news about Donald Trump (just as Maddow’s audience wants to hear bad news about him). Fox loyalists don’t want to hear that he egged on the mob that stormed the Capitol.

Tucker Carlson often appeals to the right-wing fringe. Who knows whether he believes what he says. What we know for certain is that it works. Carlson, more often than not, is the highest rated host on cable TV news.

Writing about the departure of Goldberg and Hayes, the New York Times said that, “The reality of Fox and similar institutions is that many of their leaders feel that the tight bond between Mr. Trump and their audiences or constituents leaves them little choice but to go along, whatever they believe. Fox employees often speak of this in terms of ‘respecting the audience.’ And in a polarized age, the greatest opportunities for ratings, money and attention, as politicians and media outlets left and right have demonstrated, are on the extreme edges of American politics.”

Liberal contributors have some leeway when it comes to criticizing Donald Trump. They’re tokens and are allowed contrary points of view – within reason. There are always three or four conservatives to spout the accepted party line – to make sure the audience knows what side Fox is on.

I heard from a wise conservative friend after Goldberg and Hayes quit. In an email he said: “What’s happened with FOX News makes me sick. Its coming into being was great for journalism and great for the country. And for a long time it remained so. And they still have some first-rate journalists. But they sold their souls to … Trump and they’re too damn stupid to realize the damage they’ve done to the conservative cause they claim to espouse.”

He’s right. And so are Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes. They did the right thing. They didn’t have to agree with everything they heard on Fox, but certain things they couldn’t ignore. They no longer wanted to be part of an organization that not only tolerates, but encourages, Trump sycophancy. A tip of the hat to both of them.


Sean Coleman is back in John A. Daly’s upcoming thriller novel, “Restitution.” Click here to pre-order.



Bernie’s Q&A: Kamala Harris, the Rittenhouse Case, Lara Trump, and more! (11/26) — 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):


Several months ago Biden announced that Harris would oversee the ‘seasonal surge,’ and Ms. Harris responded with that deer-in-the-headlights look. It took several months for both to recognize a border crisis exists, unfortunately it was the Poland-Belarus border crisis, do Americans have a clue what’s going on there? But after Harris’ Paris trip, it seems that the two have developed a bit of friction and their respective teams have even less cohesion. I’m curious of your thoughts here as I cannot remember recent administrations when a President and his VP had such open hostilities. Is Biden laying blame for declining approval ratings on Harris? This is curious to be so public. — DonEstif

First, Don, I have no inside information, so this is just my guess: Biden’s people are worried about his poll numbers. They won’t take the blame for his dismal approval ratings. They need a scapegoat. They can’t blame the media because the media are their allies. They can try to blame GOP supposed obstruction regarding legislation. But that’s not flying with the public. So since the VP’s approval numbers are even lower than her nominal boss’s numbers … pin the tail on her. But you’re right, it is curious to be so public. Maybe that’s because this is one more thing they can’t get right.

Happy Thanksgiving Sir Bernie! I’m very thankful that justice has been served in the Kyle Rittenhouse case! That said, not only have the lamestream media figures been continuously doubling down on the false narrative that they had been pushing on this case from the beginning, but even President Biden had falsely accused Rittenhouse of being a white supremacist, and said that while there’s no place for violence in reacting to the verdict that he was angry at the verdict just the same. Please explain something to me——WHY do liberal media members CONTINUE to push false narratives that hurt their credibility AND their bank accounts!? Have they forgotten how foolish and hypocritical they looked after Jussie Smollet AND the Covington Catholic students? Can Rittenhouse successfully sue these lying hypocrites out of existence for slander and defamation of character and thus teach them a lesson (and yes that INCLUDES President Biden)? –“Justice Is Served But the TURKEYS STILL Won’t Swallow It” Regards from The Emperor

You raise good points about the media, Your Holiness. They never seem to learn. They have very little self-awareness. And they don’t listen to anybody who tells them their wrong. The title of my second book (about the news media) is Arrogance — guess why? Regarding defamation lawsuits: It’s hard to win but he sure can try. And early indications are that he will.  If he’s judged to be a public figure, it’s even harder to win — the bar for defamation is higher than if somebody who nobody ever heard of is defamed. I think he might have a case against some media jerks, especially if malice is involved. And I hope he sues Joe Biden too. That would be fun, Your Emperorness.

Mr. G., Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. I am thankful for your continued contributions here. But aside from that & the good health and resiliency of our loved ones, is there anything else we should be thankful for this year? As 2021 has been the ultimate turkey, I’m not sure I can think of a single #&@! thing. Surely I’m missing something? –ScottyG

First, Scotty, many thanks for the kind words and I hope yours was a Happy Thanksgiving too.

I’m thankful for all sorts of things outside the world of politics. I’m thankful for my wife and kids. I’m thankful for my friends. I’m sure you too have many things to be thankful for … but they’re not things in the “outside” world. Too often we let pols determine our happiness. That’s understandable to a point — they do pass laws that affect our lives. But I’m not letting Joe Biden or Nancy Pelosi or Donald Trump or any other Democratic or Republican determine my happiness. And I’m guessing, Scotty, neither are you. All that said, I really do understand the essence of your question.

I wonder whether Joe Biden will express that he is angry and concerned about the black man who drove an SUV through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, WI, killing 5 people and injuring at least 40. I doubt it but let’s see. If not, this will be just another example of the lack of unification from the self-named “unity” President. — Jerry G.

We both know the answer to that, Jerry. Of course he won’t express anger over the driver of that SUV. He has few convictions but many political concerns. So if he says that driver should have been behind bars for his previous offenses, he figures “What if I say something that offends an important voting bloc?” I’m guessing about 100% of black Americans hate what that guy did. Joe Biden should know that. But he’s a politician in the worst sense — a profile in cowardice.

“This Just In” was a great column by you. I have read similar opinions from people like Liz Peek, Peggy Noonan, as well as in several columns & Op Eds in major media written by concerned Democrats. My question to you is, “Why do you think traditionally savvy Dems like Nancy Pelosi & Chuck Schumer are allowing their party’s popularity to go into free fall?” They may get legislation passed but they will soon lose even more control of states than they lost in 2020, and Congress may soon be controlled by Republicans.

Polling is not getting better, but worse each time a new poll comes out. Along with James Carville, Bill Maher is now acting like a self-appointed Evangelist trying to put the fear of God in his team. Is it possible that the Dems’ deal with Sanders is actually contractual? That they HAVE to do this crazy stuff that has made a large contingent of Biden voters (Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, suburban housewives) already jump on the Republican train?

Newt Gingrich just referred to what’s going on as a tsunami and it’s hard to disagree. I just don’t get the lack of an attempt at course correction. What do you think? — Joseph R.

Good question, Joseph. I think Pelosi, Schumer and others like them very simply are afraid of offending the progressives in their party. The hard left is so damn ideological, they’re such purists, that they want to fundamentally transform America and anything less, to them, is selling out. So, Joseph, fear is what motivates Biden, Pelosi, Schumer et al. But … if Biden’s poll numbers continue to head south, I’m guessing he’ll turn on the progressives in his party. He’ll have no choice at that point. Let’s see.

You referenced “the sane wing of the party” in your remarks. Besides Manchin and Sinema in the Senate and a few House democrats who are in so-called “swing districts”, where are they? It seems the entire leadership of the Senate and House and the party has bought into the whole woke, bail reform, defund the police, CRT philosophies being foisted on the american public. I was a democrat for most of my life and these politicians are about as far from the type of voter demographic I represent (white, middle class) as Karl Marx. It won’t be enough for the democratic pols to suddenly get moderate religion because they see the tsunami approaching. They have revealed their colors, whether it be true blue radical left or the bright yellow of hypocrisy. — John F.

I get your point, John, but as I told Jospeh (above), I think a lot of Democrats — who haven’t actually lost their minds — are afraid of speaking out against not only the progressives, but also Nancy Pelosi, who can make their lives miserable in the House. And, again as I noted above, she too is afraid of offending the crazy wing of her party. And the price they pay is losing moderate, swing voters. And without them, neither party can win an election.

The phenomenon of “overplaying one’s hand” has been a consistent political trend for twenty years or more. Yes, Biden’s delusions of grandeur have handed Republicans a gift horse large enough to fit within the walls of Troy. With Trump ” Trumping” and Trumpists purging the party at the grassroots level I cannot help but think that the red wave might peter out rather quickly in 2024. When insanity is countered with insanity the craziness multiplies exponentially. The question that knocks on my mental door wonders what or who on the Republican side will be able to capture enough of GOP apparatus in enough states to moderate the tone in an ongoing manner, enough to win elections consistently moving forward? Where are the bright, reasonable candidates that can appeal to normal people who work hard and play by the rules? For instance, would Larry Hogan be able to win a single primary? Liz Cheney? Condi Rice? Anyone? Anyone? What say you? — Jesse B.

I’m about to write a column on this subject. So stay tuned. But in answer to your question, none of the names you mention can win a primary. The only strategy for the GOP is to NOT offend Trump loyalists while at the same time praying he keeps his mouth shut in Florida. But, I fear that prayers may not be enough.

I don’t know if people were duped or just didn’t want to open their eyes but I don’t think it’s surprising that Biden is toeing the progressive line. He’s always been a go along to get along politician and the progressives are the loudest voice in his party, even if they’re not the brightest. It’s scarier than hell that we have to hope for two Dems, Manchin and Sinema, to stave off this latest monstrosity of a spending bill, but that’s where we are, with a lot of help from Trump in telling people not to vote in the GA senate runoff election. I’m almost 70, and that’s too old to be wishing away time but I’d be tempted to wish away a year if we could tomorrow skip to the 2022 election. Republicans will almost certainly take over the House and probably the Senate in 2022, but if the BBB bill gets passed now it’s going to be hell trying to undo any of it later. I might give up a year to save my children and grandchildren from having to pay for what Joe, Nancy and Chuck can come up with in the next year. — Bob K.

Perfect analysis, Bob. Not much I can add to it. I’m with you that Biden goes along with the progressives because they’re the loudest voice in his party. But (and I mentioned this earlier in the Q & A) when his handlers are convinced that the hard left will bring him down (as they’re now doing) he may very well turn on them. Looking out for #1 is what pols do. And Joe has been a lifelong pol.

Bernie, this week on Fox News, Lara Trump (I’m not sure which one she is, to be honest) argued that liberals are trying to end Thanksgiving by driving up the price of turkeys through high inflation. If true, this may be the left’s most sinister plan yet.

Do you think it’s time for patriotic Americans to stand up to the War on Thanksgiving by supporting the increase of this country’s turkey population through expanding the size of the U.S. Congress and creating another cable news channel? — John D.

Good question, John D. I’m glad they let you use a computer in the Home for the Terminally NUTS. On a serious note for a moment, the idea that Fox News has a paid contributor related to Donald Trump is reason enough to NEVER watch that channel again. But I digress. Now, onto the essence of your question.

If we expand the size of the U S Congress we would, as you suggest, have more turkeys in the United States or at least in Washington, DC. If we create another cable channel — like Fox or CNN or MSNBC — that too would increase the turkey population. And if we increase the number of turkeys in America, the law of supply and demand tells us that the price of turkeys would go down. That would defeat, as that Lara Trump person indicates, the liberal War on Thanksgiving.

I’m hungry, so bye bye.

I hope you, John D, at the institution that you currently call home, and all the normal people who come to my website had a GREAT Thanksgiving.

 


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.




Two Principled and Admirable Fox News Departures

I’ve joked about this phenomenon a number of times over the years, but it really is uncanny. Literally every time I go on a family vacation, a news story unexpectedly breaks that I really want to weigh in on (in a manner more substantive than a tweet). Earlier this week, it was the Fox News departures of longtime contributors Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg.

By now, most people who follow the national political-media scene know the story. Hayes and Goldberg (who co-founded the conservative news website The Dispatch two years ago) asked for their releases from the network after watching Patriot Purge, Tucker Carlson’s three-part special that aired on Fox News’s streaming service.

I’d describe the special myself, but I think the two did a pretty good job of it in a newsletter they sent out to Dispatch subscribers (including me) last Sunday:

“The special … is presented in the style of an exposé, a hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism. In reality, it is a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions. And its message is clear: The U.S. government is targeting patriotic Americans in the same manner —and with the same tools—that it used to target al Qaeda.

‘The domestic war on terror is here. It’s coming after half of the country,’ says one protagonist. ‘The left is hunting the right, sticking them in Guantanamo Bay for American citizens—leaving them there to rot,’ says another, over video of an individual in an orange jumpsuit being waterboarded.”

Among the dangerously irresponsible conspiracy theories promoted in the special was the notion that the January 6 attack was a “false flag” operation carried out by the “Deep State” to frame Trump supporters.

The disinformation was so perverse, and counter to Fox News’s own hard-news reporting, that the network’s top news anchors, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, reportedly expressed their concerns about the special to top FNC executives. They apparently lost that battle, but for Hayes and Goldberg, it was the last straw.

“Over the past five years, some of Fox’s top opinion hosts amplified the false claims and bizarre narratives of Donald Trump or offered up their own in his service,” the two wrote in their joint newsletter. “In this sense, the release of Patriot Purge wasn’t an isolated incident, it was merely the most egregious example of a longstanding trend.”

They’re right, of course, and it hasn’t been just the hosts. The same has been true of many of the network’s contributors. Having purged several conservative Trump critics and skeptics from its ranks in recent years, Fox has awarded more air-time and network prominence to seemingly anyone of note willing to abandon their past positions and principles to serve as a Trump toady. I’m talking about individuals like Bill Bennett, Mollie Hemingway, Ben Domenech, and Dan Bongino (to name a few).

“The reality of Fox and similar institutions is that many of their leaders feel that the tight bond between Mr. Trump and their audiences or constituents leaves them little choice but to go along, whatever they believe,” wrote the New York Times’s Ben Smith in his coverage of Hayes and Goldberg’s departure. “Fox employees often speak of this in terms of ‘respecting the audience.’ And in a polarized age, the greatest opportunities for ratings, money and attention, as politicians and media outlets left and right have demonstrated, are on the extreme edges of American politics.”

Categorizing Trump sycophancy as “respecting the audience” may be how some at Fox have rationalized their behavior over the past five years, but it’s a piss-poor excuse. If you respect someone, you tell them the sobering truth. You don’t feed and prey off of their addiction.

Hayes and Goldberg managed to stay on the network’s payroll, despite shooting straight on Donald Trump, but their air-time was dramatically reduced… sometimes to just once every couple of months. And on the rare occasions when they were invited onto shows like Special Report (where they used to be regulars), the topics they were asked about often seemed to carry the intent of steering them away from any potential Trump criticism. Other contributors of similar caliber met the same fate, and it’s hard to imagine how even the great Charles Krauthammer could have remained a regular guest on today’s Fox News programs.

These practices have not only damaged the network’s credibility, but as Goldberg explained in a separate piece he wrote for the L.A. Times, they likely also hurt the Trump presidency.

“Because Trump is a thin-skinned narcissist, he has no tolerance for criticism, and neither do his very vocal fans among the viewers and the punditocracy… Traditionally, conservatives—including conservative politicians—influence presidents by praising them when they make the right decisions and criticizing them when they don’t. Trump was impervious to criticism, and over time, many conservatives stopped offering it and Fox stopped providing opportunities to present any kind of critique… Such objections to Trump, however legitimate, were cast as left-wing propaganda or irrational Trump hatred — or both.”

For those who follow Hayes and Goldberg through their writing and podcasts, their sentiments about the ethical decline of FNC’s opinion programming are nothing new. They’ve been voicing them for years.

Why, then, didn’t they leave sooner? Part of the reason is that they hoped to help right the ship in the post-Trump era. In fact, as they stated in their newsletter, they used to believe that the country “needed” Fox News.

“Whether you call it liberal media bias or simply a form of groupthink around certain narratives,” they wrote, “having a news network that brought different assumptions and asked different questions—while still providing real reporting and insightful conservative analysis and opinion—was good for the country and journalism. Fox News still does real reporting, and there are still responsible conservatives providing valuable opinion and analysis. But the voices of the responsible are being drowned out by the irresponsible.”

According to Goldberg, he’d felt assured from conversations at Fox that “the network would try to recover some of its independence…”

This was certainly a shared hope from others I know who still work at Fox, but a year out from Trump’s electoral defeat, and with Fox still giving a platform to sickening propaganda in service to the former president and his interests, I doubt that hope still exists.

What I can say for certain, having become quite familiar with Hayes and Goldberg over the years, is that they’re men of principle and integrity, who’ve once again demonstrated both. Ironically, what I’ve come to appreciate the most about the great institution they’ve created in The Dispatch is that the outlet reflects (and has expanded on) several of Fox News’s best qualities from back in the pre-Trump era. It’s become a vital source of quality reporting and insightful conservative analysis.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’ll close this piece by offering my thanks to these two guys for not only taking a brave stand for what’s right, but also filling a void for news consumers like me.

 


Sean Coleman is back in John A. Daly’s upcoming thriller novel, “Restitution.” Click here to pre-order.