Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium Interactive members. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me. Thank you.
Editor’s note: If you enjoy these sessions (along with the weekly columns and audio commentaries), please use the Facebook and Twitter buttons to share this page with your friends and family. Thank you!
Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Years ago, Connie Chung on 60 Minutes interviewed Newt Gingrich’s mother (I think for a feature on Newt). At one point, the mother told Chung that she couldn’t reveal what her son really thinks about Hillary Clinton. Chung learned forward and said, “Why don’t you just whisper it to me… just between you and me?” The mother learned forward and whispered, “She’s a bitch.”
It was good television, but this struck me as journalistically unethical. It seemed clear to me that Chung was assuring Mrs. Gingrich that that specific part of their conversation would be ‘off the record’. Yet, it ran on national television anyway. What are your thoughts? — Ben G.
First, it wasn’t a 60 Minutes interview. It was on Connie’s show Eye to Eye with Connie Chung. I was a correspondent on that show. We had good ratings — until Connie did her “just between you and me” bit. Here’s my answer to your question: You can’t say “just between you and me” to an elderly woman who might take you literally. But … there were at least two cameras shooting the interview and lots of lights. So Connie figured Mrs. Gingrich knew it WASN’T just between you and me. Finally, the show got so much negative response that it was cancelled not long after the interview.
Bernie, we know you didn’t vote for either viable presidential candidate this time around, but here’s a question for you: Which presidential candidate (since you started voting in U.S. elections, whenever that was) did you take the most pride in voting for? In other words, which one were you most satisfied with, and confident and optimistic in their abilities and vision for the country? — Rusty M.
In the beginning, when I was a liberal, I voted for Jimmy Carter and was happy about that. He was the last Democrat I voted for. Then, I sat out presidential elections because I was, politically speaking, in transition. So I didn’t vote in either of the Reagan elections. Later, I voted GOP in presidential elections and while I’m glad I did, I can’t say that any of my choices, looking back, made me feel especially confident and optimistic. I’m still hoping to vote for just such a candidate. Maybe in 2024. I hope.
I was born in Dallas in 1963, so I know a thing or two about conspiracy theories. It seems like they are all the rage today along with socialism. I know you have said the reason young people gravitate towards socialism is that they like free stuff, but I think it’s more than that. Like conspiracy theories, socialism promises order out of chaos. I think it’s no coincidence that the more chaos exists in the world, the more people falsely grasp for explanations and solutions that tie things together from the top down. Your thoughts? — Steve R.
I’m tempted to say, Steve, that this is too deep for me. That said, I don’t know that people are grasping for order when they embrace socialism. I think they may be registering their opposition to capitalism because capitalism — though it provides the masses with great opportunity — leaves some people in the dust. Not a great answer, I know, but I don’t have much more on the subject. You weren’t on the grassy knoll as a toddler in ’63, were you?
I’ve kind of checked out from watching any daily cable news and it’s been kind of refreshing. But when I do take a peak now and then I almost feel like I’m checking in to a pure propagandist driven society. It’s shake my head level stuff. How’d we get here? I know you’ve predicted it. So, how do we get back to say a Pre-“Bias”? Will it take generations for a somewhat Free & Fair Press to reappear? Will today’s Press need to start taking on their own fellow Left colleagues and politicians to reaffirm proper checks and balances? Is this foreseeable at all, or should I just stay checked out and call it a day? — Thanks for keeping us aware, ScottyG
You are one of many, Scotty, who have tuned OUT of watching daily cable news. And many others, when they do tune in feel the way you do — like they’re watching propaganda. It’s all about the business model. Cable is only giving the audience what it wants. And most who are still watching want to hear their own views given back to them by someone on TV. The future? Doesn’t look good from here. I don’t see a return to a pre-bias media (whenever that was) … but I do see a media that has gone beyond bias. Maybe if enough of us turn off the cable tv crapola, they’ll get the message. But I don’t see a revolution like that coming
I’m not sure if you have read anything from Dr. Jordan Peterson. Recently, his publisher held a meeting with the staff to discuss his second book. Apparently some staff members came to tears because they were publishing it. I’m curious, was there any such events when you published Bias? Or is it much worse today that so many fear books? — Tim H.
There were no issues like the one you described with Bias … but Bias was published by a conservative company. This business of staff members coming to tears makes me want to puke. They’re almost always young and they have too much influence on cowardly older staffers. In short, Tim, it is FAR worse today than when Bias came out 20 years ago.
Lots of talking heads in the right-wing media have been complaining that the mainstream media is still “obsessed” with covering Trump, even though he’s been out of office a month. I’m not sure what they’re talking about. Trump’s impeachment trial was obviously a huge story (as it would be for any president, especially one who caused an insurrection), and the rest of the coverage, which has been far from “obsessive” in my view, has had to do with inner-party conflicts about where the GOP may go from here (which Trump of course fueled the other day with his rancorous statement about McConnell). Theoretically, I understand why the media would want to “obsess” over Trump (ratings), but so far the coverage has seemed proportional. Am I wrong? — Jen R.
Let me answer it this way, Jen: CNN and MSNBC need Trump for ratings reasons. We know that. Fox needs to bash CNN and MSNBC … for ratings reasons. CNN and MSNBC hate Trump but love the ratings he brings in. Fox loves Trump and knows if it doesn’t bash CNN and MSNBC its ratings will continue to go downhill. Now, are the media obsessed with Trump? You’re right, he’s still legitimately in the news. And knowing him, he’ll find way to continue to stay in the news. I don’t know about you, but I’m watching less cable news. Most of it is crap.
HOW do woke leftists like the ones you spoke of in Oregon actually ATTAIN positions of power and how do they get their ridiculous agenda actually ACCEPTED by the public based on the notion of— “Yeah, objective answers ARE signs of white supremacy and the only way to remedy this is to make wrong answers acceptable whenever they come from black students because we all know black students aren’t capable of actually learning objective answers” in the classroom? — “2 + 2 = White Supremacy” Regards From The Emperor
As in institution, the educational establishment is basically left of center. In some places, way left of center. Education czars are pretty much elected along party lines. So liberal states elect liberal czars who appoint liberal bureaucrats. When the public has had enough, they’re be something resembling a revolt. Until then, they’re getting what they voted for and what they deserve.
I’m not one of those guys who usually suggests “they’ve got something on him,” but is it possible Trump’s got something on Lindsey Graham? As hard as it is to watch, I at least get why Republican leaders kiss up to Trump (so the base doesn’t primary them out of office), but Graham JUST won re-election. He’s safe for 6 more years, and yet he’s out there promoting “Trump Plus,” and going after Trump’s critics in the GOP, and declaring that Trump’s the future of the party. He’s even now saying that Trump’s not at all to blame for January 6th (a reversal from just a few weeks ago). What is with this guy? — Baker W.
Good question, Baker. First, Graham is from deep red South Carolina. He may not be up for reelection for 6 years, but maybe he’s figuring: Why take any chances? But even with that, his sycophancy is stomach turning. Does Trump have something on him. Let’s just say if he does, he wouldn’t hesitate to use it. That’s how nasty Donald can be.
Bernie, any thoughts on the passing of Rush Limbaugh? — Michael R.
He was very generous to me after Bias came out. I was on a show on CNBC and there was supposed to be a panel evenly split, about 3 on on my side, and 3 critical of the book. The producer lied to me. EVERYONE was on the other side. No problem. I was able to handle every shot they threw at me. Since the interview was not live but on tape, any time I made them look really stupid they cut it out before the show aired. And, by the way, none of the critics even read my book! They just knew they hated it.
Anyway, Rush heard about this and had me on the very next day after the show aired. The book shot up the best seller list landing at #1. He had me on again when the paperback came out. He was very generous and very kind.
But … his adoration of Donald Trump left me cold. He said Trump’s personality didn’t matter, later slightly changing his words, saying it shouldn’t matter. Rush was a bright guy but he was wrong about that. Joe Biden is president today because Donald Trump’s personality mattered a lot.
Rush was the one voice in both media and politics who had enough clout to tell Donald Trump to knock it off, that ordinary Americans didn’t like Trump’s toxic, combative style. If he had, and IF Trump had listened, Donald Trump might have won a second term.
Detesting what the Left stands for is one thing. Embracing a man like Donald Trump is something else altogether.
Let’s end on an upbeat note … a few thoughts from an editorial in the Wall Street Journal:
“Millions of Americans had never heard a coherent argument against the welfare state or Roe v. Wade until they tuned in to Limbaugh’s show. He played an enormous role in popularizing conservative ideas and policies.”
And this: “But unlike others on the talk-radio right, he kept his sense of humor and rarely let anger drown his fundamental optimism about the United States. His great strength was never to take himself too seriously. Limbaugh knew he was an entertainer, not an intellectual or politician, and he said so many times. He was popular because he was superb at his craft and represented traditional American values that the dominant culture too often demeans.”
This excerpt from a recent New York Times profile on Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger grabbed my attention:
“Two days after Mr. Kinzinger called for removing Mr. Trump from office following the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol, 11 members of his family sent him a handwritten two-page letter, saying he was in cahoots with ‘the devil’s army’ for making a public break with the president.”
Bernie, as someone who was publicly critical of Trump over the past five years, I’m curious if members of your own family ever sent you a similar letter. Or did they figure out that you were in cahoots with the devil’s army long for Trump ever came on the scene? — John D.
I’m not only “in cahoot’s” with the devil’s army … I’m a 5 star general in that army. Started as a private and worked my way up. Don’t ask the things I had to do to get promotions. Actually, the devil gets a bad wrap. She’s not all that bad. Has many fine points, which I can’t go into right now — I signed a non disclosure agreement. But I can say this: She knows who you are, Mr. John D … and she knows where you live. A word to the wise, if you know what I mean.
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.