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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.