Bernie’s Q&A: Impeachment, Riots, Democratic Control, and more! (1/15) — 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.

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):


You responded to BackPacker last week as to transitions in Dem leadership. I’d be interested in your thoughts on the GOP too? Is there anyone out there who can be “Reagan-esque” and find a way to present a common sense vision without the extremes we hear promulgated continuously these days? I cling to the hope there are still fellow citizens out there longing for such a message. — Paul M.

There are some good people on the Republican side but they’ll never be accepted by the fringe — and by that I mean the Trump diehards who will not vote for anybody who EVER said a bad word about their messiah. I like Senator Ben Sasse … and two Members of Congress — Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. The ones I like the most are the same ones the MAGA loyalists hate the most. That alone tells me I’m on the right track. Please go back and read my column posted last Monday. In it I say the GOP has to cut ties with the rabid Trump base. Go after a bloc that’s winnable: moderates in the suburbs.

I understand the frustration and anger over the events at the Capitol which were criminal and the perpetrators need to be prosecuted. However I strongly object to the whitewashing of the events this summer in Portland, Seattle and the numerous other cities throughout the country by the Fascist so called Anti Fascist Antifa. Are we to believe the silence of the Left was not incitement? I’m 86 years old and sick and tired of the inference that Leftist Totalitarial Fascism is more Noble than their Nazi adversaries and is not Fascism at all. If you believe that BS I have a Bridge in Brooklyn for sale. Lenin , Stalin , Hitler were the same coin. A Fascist is a Fascist no matter how you try to dress it up. Any comment ? — Joseph V.

The partisan hypocrisy on the Left, Joseph, is overwhelming. As I said in my Off the Cuff report this week, there will soon be time for me to comment on that. Soon. But I’ve focused my time on Donald Trump at the moment. Give me a little time to pick up where you left off.

Yes Bernie, I believe Trump’s finally realized the system is not going to support his efforts for re-election. Looking to the future, I believe the media and politicians of both parties have mis-read what’s actually going to happen. They make everything about Trump, and he does a good job of doing the same thing, but I believe the Trump phenomenon is more about the people than it is about him. Yes, he’s motivated lots of people to vote and participate in the election process, but I firmly believe that he actually tapped into the frustration of the people towards the elites (media and politicians of both parties, etc.). This frustration can be tapped into by other people, provided they have the ability to inspire and excite. It will be interesting to see what happens the next two years. Given that even if Trump wanted to go away, the media won’t let him as they need him as a punching bag to prop up their ratings Do you have any insights as to who you believe might have the ability to excite and expand the Republican base? –Thanks, TJ (the General).

Conservative ideas presented by a decent person could inspire the Republican base. A politician who talks about cutting regulations that strangle business, limiting the scope of government, emphasizing the dangers of censorship by the “woke” authoritarian crowd … but talks about these things not like a street thug but like a good man or woman. Trump had more than a few good ideas … but he was a horrible messenger … because everything was about him. He needed applause 24 hours a day. The GOP needs someone who, unlike Donald Trump, will try to expand the base. Those people are out there. They will appeal to most Republicans — not the Trump diehards — and many if not most moderate swing voters. There’s hope — but only if GOP pols lose their cowardice and stop fearing the Trump fringe.

Bernie, as a previously right-leaning Independent, I was alternatingly, smiling, and horrified, the way you had to twist yourself into a pretzel, to maintain your “neutrality” in regard to Trump and his Republican enablers. Trump at his best, is incompetent. At his worst, he’s dangerous. We know where we are, presently. I’m happy to see that you have finally recognized a significant threat to our democracy — Aloha, Mike

Aloha, Mike. Yes, I’m on record for most of his presidency saying Donald Trump is a very bad person but not a threat to democracy. I thought that those who said he threatened democracy and western civilization as we know it were engaging in partisan overstatement. But that changed — and I wrote about it — when he wouldn’t admit he lost the election. I said that in a democracy we must have faith in our institutions — and that elections were the most important institution of all. If we lose confidence in elections, I wrote, our democracy is in danger. And I put the blame for weakening the trust in the election squarely on Donald J. Trump.

I take issue with you, Mike, when you contend that I twisted myself into a pretzel to maintain some kind of neutrality. I supported conservative values. I criticized the partisan media. And at the same time, I criticized the president. I took issue with the hard right and the authoritarian hard left. That’s not an attempt to be neutral. It’s an attempt to be honest.

Bernie, I know the easy answer these days is to blame the chaos on Trump, but violence is violence and it is wrong whether you commit it for the BLM or MAGA cause. Regardless of who is to blame for all that has happened (I am not referencing just the past two weeks), do you think we are missing an obvious instigator in the room, our social media addiction? It seems throughout history, society gets a little screwy when it finds a new addicting toy. For instance, the Civil War happened not too long after the proliferation of the telegraph which greatly sped up the nation’s news cycle. World War 2 occurred not too long after the peak of broadcast radio, and the events of the 1960s coincidentally happened after the explosion of television. Maybe, just maybe, one thing we could all do is put the phone or computer down, take a deep breath, and go talk face to face with someone who might seem a little different than us (feel free to stand 6 feet apart for now). Hiding behind a PC or phone is not healthy and all social media is doing is reinforcing people’s paranoia with a false belief that they are “liked” or “followed”. Who knows, maybe I am wrong and this is really just Trump’s fault and once he is gone peace will reign again…but just in case, is it time to put social media on the shelf? — Joe M.

What happened last week at the Capitol was Trump’s fault, as far as many of us are concerned. But peace will not reign when he’s gone. The polarization is too deep. The divide is too great.

You make interesting points, Joe. I think social media is a big factor adding to our divisions. Some anonymous idiot can go on line and call you all sorts of names and we don’t even know who the jerk is. I think cable news is also a factor. They also pour gasoline on the fire.

Donald Trump didn’t start that fire … neither did cable TV news … nor social media.  But all three made things worse.

Question for you. Do you agree with Dennis Prager’s 12-22-20 article? Do you agree with EVERYTHING Dennis wrote in his 12-22-20 article?

Also, you SHOULD be happy, honored even, about being the lone diversity on “Real Sports”! THE ONLY reason I watch it, is to see if you’re in it that episode! Without you, “Real Sports” would be a non-starter for me. SO–keep on keeping on! You are one of the ONLY bright spots on cable TV! –Sincerely, Frank C.

Very kind of you Frank, but I may soon be disappointing you regarding Real Sports. Stay tuned.

Regarding Dennis Prager’s article: There’s too much there for me to agree with wholeheartedly. I think Dennis makes a lot of sense. That’s as far as I’m comfortably going. That said, I’m glad he had a good time at a bowling alley. I’m not taking that kind of chance — just to bowl or hang out with friends and family.

I agree with you that Republicans have to kick Trump to the curb and move on. The question I have is whether Republicans will be able to compromise with Democrats and help Biden get any of his agenda? Biden ran on being able to work with Republicans. Can Republicans spurn Biden and still be competitive? — John R.

Biden has to show some flexibility to work with Republicans just as the GOP has an obligation not to simply be what the Democrats were for the past four years — the party of resistance. But Republicans have no obligation to give in to Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer simply for the sake of unity. Compromise is another matter. For too long, though, compromise has been seen as something akin to treason. Conservatives on talk radio hated compromise … and Democrats in the age of Trump felt the same way. And we wonder why we’re so polarized and why politicians are even less popular than used car salesmen?

What type of punishment/accountability do you believe Trump should receive for his role in Wednesday’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol? He won’t resign. Pence and the cabinet won’t enact the 25th Amendment. The House might get impeachment, but Trump’s term will probably be over before a conviction. Do you think he should be barred from never serving in public office again? It seems that a ton of people on the right want no accountability for him at all, with the explanation that it would create more division. Now they’re worried about division???…  after saying nothing against, and even participating in, Trump’s endless lies about the election over the past couple of months? — Ben G.

Here’s what I think, Ben: Even if impeachment is warranted — I say “even if” because there are compelling arguments on both sides — I would rather the Democrats just let him slink out of town and let it go at that. And no, I don’t think he should be barred from ever serving in public office again. Not because I want him to ever run again — he won’t; imagine the TV ads the opposition would run — but I have a problem telling the entire American electorate they can’t vote for somebody — for almost any reason.  I have faith they won’t ever elect him to anything — just as I have faith that he’ll never run for anything. But I don’t want him barred from running … and I don’t want voters barred from voting for him if — on the million to one chance — that he ever runs again. And consider this: FDR locked up over 100 thousand Japanese-Americans during World War II. If a president ever tried that today he’d be impeached and convicted. Should FDR have been banned from ever running again? The slippery slope worries me.

Danish physicist Niels Henrik David Bohr once observed “Prediction is quite difficult, especially about future events”. But I am going to ask you anyway to predict what I perceive to be fallout on both major political parties on the kerfuffle on The President Donald, the 25th Amendment, Impeachment. What are your thoughts lies ahead between now and 2022 and 2024?

(Full disclosure: I did not vote for Trump, Hillary, nor Biden; Condi Rice in 2016 & Nikki Haley 2020 as write-ins as none of the clowns in contention deserved my vote. So I do not have a horse in this race, and as always very interested to hear your thoughts. ) –Gregg H.

My crystal ball remains broken, but I’ll give it a shot. If Biden is pushed to the left by Bernie and AOC, Democrats will pay a price in 2022. That’s how things work, historically. The party out of power picks up seats … and if Joe gives moderates a reason to fear the leftward movement … he’ll lose more than he would have. And that could easily mean that the GOP takes control at least of the House. As for 2024: I cannot see Donald Trump running. And if he does, he won’t even win the nomination. There will be more than a few credible GOP candidates. But … and this is an important ‘but’ … if the true believers refuse to support anyone who hasn’t kissed their savior Donald Trump’s rear end … or if Donald Trump makes trouble (as I suspect he will) … enough Republicans might sit home on Election Day 2024 and cost the GOP the election. But remember, I said my crystal ball was broken.

When Obama said he was going to “fundamentally transform the USA” did you ever think he meant what we are seeing now? And it happening so quickly? Because this change is obviously embraced and dare I say fueled by a liberal media, how can the legitimate Right ever recover and regain some semblance of balance? What is needed to shift the biased press, media & the tech billionaires back toward the center? Do we have to just wait for them to all expose and eat each other before normal folks achieve the “I told you so moment” for leverage to start the correction? Or are we screwed for at least a generation or so? — A very concerned ScottyG

Big Media and Big Tech are hopelessly left wing in their thinking … and as long as they can make money spewing their biases, they will. In fact, even if it cost them money, I think they will. Because in the world of media, anyway, ideology trumps even money.

Is it easier to find a “healer” in a tent than in Washington DC.? — Michael F.

Is that a biblical reference, Michael? As long as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are in DC … as long as there are a few hard-line, true-believers in the ranks of the GOP, there will be no healing. I hope I’m wrong.

Bernie, you’ve said many times (and I agree) that profiles in courage are extremely rare in today’s politics. But I think what Liz Cheney did the other day, by strongly condemning Trump (the leader of her party) for his role in the U.S. Capitol attack, and endorsing impeachment and removal, was indeed a principled profile in courage. Do you agree? — Jen R.

I agree 100 percent. I’ll add Ben Sasse and Adam Kinzinger to the list, too.

Bernie, are you sick and tired of politicians constantly making Nazi comparisons? The Nazis were most hideous and vile people who committed the most unimaginable and horrifying crimes in the past century. It seems everyone from Joe Biden to Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats along with TV talking heads and entertainers paint President Trump and other Republicans with the hideous comparison far too often. While Trump is not saint, he’s certainly no Hitler or Himmler or even a member of the SS. Seeing Biden slip in a Goebbels reference last week was over the top for someone in his position I believe. To me, the Nazi reference been overused so much it’s lost all of its shock value or the meaning that it’s meant to convey. It’s just an easy crutch for these people to use. Of course it’s not going to happen but wouldn’t a bill by Congress to force everyone from making the wretched analogy be welcome? Thanks for your input. — Warren

I agree with everything but your last sentence — unless you’re kidding, of course. Comparing Trump to Hitler is repulsive. It shows no understanding of Hitler. It demeans the memory of those killed by that madman. But … I don’t want Congress passing laws telling us what we can say and what we can’t — beyond the obvious bans on falsely yelling fire in a crowded theater, and laws on libel and slander.

The best way for me to process these violent social/political events of the past 10 months is to take it out of the political realm. I was opposed to the violent actions of antifa and BLM when attacking and overtaking police headquarters and federal buildings in various U.S. cities. I was especially appalled at local politicians’ acquiescence to such actions. Arbitrary toppling of statues goes into the same category. I was equally appalled at last week’s stunning events when Trump supporters overtook and overwhelmed the Capitol. No politics in my thinking, just a reaction consistent to both sides. The common denominator among all these events is mob mentality, where individuals are influenced by their peers to adopt dysfunctional behaviors they never would have as individuals. There is much documentation of lynchings and other such events from the Jim Crow era where out-of-control mobs ruled over violent actions. Human behavior doesn’t change. It is ingrained in us. How do we avoid the glorification and encouragement of mobs in the future? We have done a poor job of it throughout American history. — Steve R.

A good start, Steve, would be for all decent people to condemn that kind of violence without regard, as you say, to politics. The problem in a word is hypocrisy. The Left rightly condemns the storming of the Capitol … but remained silent during the violence last summer. And some on the Right — some — were quick to condemn the left wing violence but aren’t quite sure that what happened at the Capitol was so terrible. Excuse the cliche but a plague on both their houses.

While I agree what Trump did was horrible (and certainly could be worthy of impeachment), how does this country heal if we keep rehashing prior wounds? The truth is that President Trump will be an ex-president in less than ten days regardless of whether or not a second impeachment proceeding/trial is held. Why are we doing this other than for political theater? Does either party even care about our country anymore? I know the Democrats are taking the lead on impeachment, but why aren’t more Republicans looking to shut this down for the good of the country as opposed to looking good for their future political careers? — Frank T.

Whether Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense or not — as I have said before, there are smart people who differ on this — with him leaving office in a matter of hours, I thought impeachment was unnecessarily widening the rift in this country. As for Republicans shutting the process down: Good luck with that. Thanks to Donald J. Trump the Democrats now control both Houses of Congress and can do pretty much what they want on this matter.

Several conservative commentators (Guy Benson and Noah Rothman to name a couple) have said that a number of Republicans in congress have told them that many more than 10 of them favored impeachment for Trump, but voted ‘no’ out of fear for their lives and personal safety [threats from Trump supporters]. I’m sympathetic, but it seems shameful for them to let those 10 do the heavy-lifting, and it seems un-American that important political decisions are being dictated by what is probably a genuine fear of being attacked or killed by their fellow Americans. Your thoughts? — Max the Great

I agree with you, Max, on all counts. While I understand the fear I don’t admire it. I do admire, however, those who as you say did the heavy lifting. Liz Cheney being at the top of that list.

I condemn what Trump supporters did at the Capitol. It was treasonous. Send the guilty parties to prison! While I’ve heard McConnell and Crenshaw unequivocally condemn this violence from their own party’s supporters, I did not hear Maxine Waters, Ted Wheeler, or Jenny Durkin do it during the ANTIFA/BLM “Protests”/RIOTS. So, for all the left wingers who are justifiably outraged and fearful of Trump supporters because they pulled these horrible actions, I would like to offer some observations:

The actions of January 6th 2021 are…

“…something some people did… an equivalent to the summer of love… from a group of disaffected people who were frustrated by the lack of fairness and objectivity in the mainstream media…from a group of people who should be allowed to vent out there frustrations…Trumpers are an IDEA, NOT AN organization”  

You get the picture. To paraphrase the late great Christopher Hitchens, “Liberal Democrats and their media cheerleaders, I just wanted you to hear what your arguments sound like once they’re played back to you. I thought you deserved that.”

I’m also hearing that if the protesters had been BLM supporters, they all would have been shot. I think this is a bunch of baloney since I didn’t hear of any black rioters or protestors getting shot during the riots in Portland, Seattle, and Baltimore… well, not by the police anyway..

What are your thoughts Hitchens’ “Hitchslap” analogy, and how do we bring the light of truth to the people hearing the lies that if it had been black protestors that they all would have been shot, but because they were white Trump supporters the cops supposedly spared them?

“We Conservatives Condemn OUR Violent Insurrectionists—WHY Can’t Prominent LIBERALS Do The Same For THEIRS?”===Regards From The Emperor

I think two things, Your Hiney-ness: Many on the Left have been hypocrites on the matter of riots. So you’re right about that. They rightly condemned the rioting at the Capitol but were pathetically silent about the riots, the looting, and the arson when the perpetrators were thugs more to their liking. That said … too many on the Right use liberal hypocrisy as an excuse — in an indirect way — to play down the mayhem that too many of Trump supporters caused. What they’re in effect saying is that, “Yeah, but they — the liberals — did it too.” I get it, I understand the frustration … but let’s not take our cues from the other side, especially when they’re being hypocritical.

And the second thing: I think your questions are too long.

Bernie, Do you think it hurts Mike Pence’s feelings that 197 members of his own party (including his brother, Greg) decided that the act of inciting rioters to try and kill him wasn’t an impeachable offense? Also, can you imagine having a brother who’s as big of a jerk as Greg? — John D.

Let me address your last sentence, the one in which you call Greg Pence a “jerk.” Such vulgar language may get you banned from ever asking another question here on this site. We, at BernardGoldberg.com don’t tolerate vulgar language. Jerk, Mr. John D, is a four letter word and we don’t tolerate four letter words here. Do you understand you dumb ass Mother-Fu****?

Editor’s note for members who are new to the weekly Q&A: Bernie’s always unreasonably hostile toward “John D.”, who — from what this impartial editor understands — is actually a tremendously nice guy who should really be admired by all.

 


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: Insurrection, Continuity, Future Dems, Miracle on Ice, and more! (1/8) — 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.

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):


I was thinking about your HBO Sports segment on professional football players that were broke after multi-million-dollar contracts and just a few years in the NFL. I’m a big college football fan. Love the atmosphere. But watching the Big Ten this year with the messages on the back of their helmets, End Racism; Equality; Love; End Bigotry, made me think in the player’s best interest for them long term. Let’s end scholarships for athletics. Make them worry about making tuition payments, insuring their loans for school were processed properly through admissions, and wonder how to paint enough houses in the summer to stay in school and play ball. Let’s make them Equal! Yes, it ain’t happening. But I’m not sure I’m wrong? — Tim H.

It’s obvious the particular content of those messages got you to the point where you want to end the free ride college athletes get in exchange for playing football, basketball, etc. What if the messages were more to your liking? Would you want to end scholarships because of those messages too? For what it’s worth, I don’t like those messages on the helmets. But if you’re going to take away scholarships because of the content, that’s a slippery slope. Somebody else won’t like other messages — those that say “blue lives matter” to use one easy example. Better no messages at all on helmets — not the ones we disapprove of and not the ones we like.

Bernie: It is generally regarded that “The ’60’s” is not so much a decade in time as it is a series of national upheavals marking that period in history. Most sociologists consider “The ’60’s” as beginning with the Kennedy assassination on 11/22/1963 and ending with Nixon’s resignation on 8/9/1974. I think we have a similar paradigm considering 2020, which seems like an entire decade in and of itself. A pandemic, local and national lockdowns, massive COVID casualties, an uncertain recession, violent social unrest and an exhausting Presidential election were just a few of the major events of the past year. Like “The ’60’s”, 2020 can’t be confined to just dates on a calendar. I see “2020” (and all that implies) as beginning with the WHO declaring a pandemic on 3/11/2020 and ending with the Georgia runoff election on 1/5/2021. Is this a proper way to frame these troubled times, or am I wishfully thinking that this thing has ended and we can settle into a new normal? — Steve R.

You make interesting points … but I would pick a different period that transcends dates on a calendar. And that is 2016-2021 … a time when Donald J. Trump did his best to wreck the United States of America.

Bernie, I know you will not write another book, but have you thought of writing another sports documentary like your last one, “Do You Believe in Miracles?” I have said this before, and I will say it again, that documentary is by far one of the best sports documentaries ever! I’ve owned a copy of it on DVD for at least 10-15 years and watch it at least once or twice a year. It is informative, inspirational, and Liev Schreiber is the best documentary narrator ever (sorry Morgan Freeman). — Joe M.

Many thanks, Joe. I appreciate very much your kind words. My favorite line in that documentary — which was held at Lake Placid, N.Y — was “the only thing placid that day was the lake” … referring to the showdown between the Russian pros and the American college kids.  But no interest in another big project, at least not at the moment.

Who do you see as the next leaders of the Dems to replace the geriatric set? — The BackPacker

Kamala Harris ain’t going nowhere. Neither is AOC. Andrew Cuomo has hopes, too. That’s just three; there’ll be more in a few years.

This weekends banter seems a lot about GOPers who are sticking with Trump possibly at their own peril or at least facing post Trump Presidency embarrassment. Is this more a classic case of The Emperors New Clothes (where the Kings court doesn’t want to be outed as disloyal) Or really a case of The Right trying all they can to keep The Left off the throne? We all know The King is a jerk and screwed this election up for conservatives, but I believe this is all about more importantly fighting the Left with an unfortunate leader still hanging on to the horse. My apologies to Hans. — ScottyG

You wrote this question before the insurrection … and yes, that’s exactly what it was at the Capitol. I will never support anyone who doesn’t speak out against what happened in Washington … and who doesn’t make clear that Trump was the instigator. I am sick of the cowardice. Sick of the pathetic pols who fear Trump’s retribution and the retribution of the yahoos who love him unconditionally.

First let me wish you a Happy and Healthy New Year, Bernie. How much input do you have into storylines on Real Sports? I don’t normally care for sideline reporters but one I have come to enjoy and respect is Holly Rowe @ ESPN. She knows her business, that’s obvious, but she also has worked through and apparently has won a long battle with cancer. The other thing that amazes me about her is her work ethic, probably helped get her through cancer. The woman is always on the go, during the college FB season she is somewhere every weekend and once basketball kicks in and overlaps FB she works 3- 4 different venues a week.! From what I can tell she only takes a break for a period in July and August. I hope ESPN provides her with the use of a private jet, can’t imagine flying commercially given her travel schedule. Always thought it would be neat for ESPN to do a “Day in the Life Of” on her. Maybe Real Sports can beat them to it? Very impressive individual. — John M.

Anyone can suggest story ideas but they mostly come from the producers in New York. So I have a lot of theoretical input but I choose not to use it. Writing about the madness of our time is what both interests me … and depresses me.

I found this news story interesting about bestselling author Kurt Eichenwald tweeting, after his brother-in-law died of COVID-19, that he wanted to find an “antimasker” and “beat them to death.” He also scolded “anti-mask” “F***ING ‘Christians’ who preen about God saving [them] from COVID.”

So just for fun, let’s replace all referrals of “antimaskers” with the term “people who resist arrest.” Let’s replace the references to “F—ING Christians” instead with references to “F—ING Looters, BLM protesters, ANTIFA rioters, and anarchists.”

NOW let’s imagine what the responses would be to these edits from Kurt Eichenwald and his readers and followers.   I get that the left wing authors can’t see past their own hypocritical buffoonery, but I find it odd that liberal readers of the New York Times don’t at least notice it. Do they? I mean, Eichenwald gripes about the GOP being silent on deaths and wickedness, but I have to wonder—while liberal readers of the New York Times may agree with the spirit of the piece, do these liberals truly admire and wallow in the hatred as well?  That same hatred that the Trump supporters have been accused of since 2016?

— “Hypocritical Stench From Kurt Eichenwald” Regards From The Emperor

Hello again Your Worship. You’re right about the hypocrisy. I would add just one thing: Both sides are guilty of it. Equally. Just watch cable news for a while.

As we get ready for the beginning of the Biden Administration, I think it is fair to say that it is now clear that Barack Obama delivered on his primary promise to America. Is there any doubt that we are in the midst of the fundamental transformation of this country, at a minimum in our largest cities and most of our major institutions? Is there any doubt that corporate America is on board the transformation train? I am struggling to understand what comes next and if there is even a goal in sight from the standpoint of what America is to be like if we ever get to the endgame. No doubt many are already exploiting the transformation process and will acquire both wealth and power by embracing the concept of wokeness. But will we in fact be a better society where identity politics and critical theory rule the day and freedom of speech and thought and expression will continue to be restricted? Many of us believed ( and were excited) that we were marching towards a colorblind society only to find that such a society is no longer a noble goal. I await your analysis. — Michael F.

First, a tip of the hat to your analysis, Michael. Revolutions have a way of turning on itself. The French Revolution started as a revolt against royalty. Before it was over a lot of people who supported the revolution wound up with their heads cut off. Here’s hoping that if the woke culture gets even scarier than it currently is, there will be a counterrevolution.

If I recall, you were against the impeachment of Donald Trump earlier this year (correct me if I’m wrong). Trump has spent the last two months inundating us with election conspiracy theories, trying to get state officials to overturn the election, and enraging his supporters with false claims that the election was rigged and that he was the winner. This is clearly what incited the violence at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday (which resulted in 4 people dying, one of them shot). I’m curious if you would be in favor of impeaching him now?

I know that he has only two weeks left in office, but my feeling is that there HAS to be serious accountability for what he’s done, and what happened because of it, instead of just letting him run out the clock in office, and cause even more problems. What are your thoughts? — Jen R.

Jen, I’m TOTALLY with you. I don’t recall if I wrote about his impeachment … but I’d support getting him out of office and out of town by an legal means. Any. Legal. Means. Look for my column going up on Monday.

One of the very frustrating things for me right now, as someone who was disgusted by the “social justice” riots and statue desecrations over the summer, is people on the right using those events (pointing to the way the media and some Dems were reluctant to condemn them) to defend or excuse what happened at the U.S. Capitol.

Yes, there’s partisan hypocrisy. Fine to point that out. But it’s not a DEFENSE of what those MAGA maniacs just did. Furthermore, there’s at least one difference between these riots that we shouldn’t pretend doesn’t exist. While it was bad enough that media figures and a handful of Democratic politicians seemed sympathetic to, and reluctant to denounce, what happened over the summer, Trump actually INCITED what happened at the Capitol. OVER WEEKS he convinced MILLIONS of Americans that the entire election was corrupt, that he actually won, and that January 6th would be the day when “justice” would be served. He even did it that morning.

I have no patience for people brushing that off with “But what about liberals!” — Ben G.

I can’t add anything to what you said. I agree with every word. As I told Jen (above) look for my column on Monday.

A number of people have been resigning from the Trump administration over the past few hours, in disgust over what happened on Wednesday. I get why they’re doing it, but do you think there’s a concern about government continuity for the next two weeks? Between Trump being checked-out, people leaving (including other recent departures like AG Barr), other positions being vacant because Trump has been firing people, and Trump dragging his heels on helping with the Biden transition, that we could be in some serious trouble of a foreign entity attempted right now to attack our country either here or abroad?  — Mary M.F

Fair point, Mary, but right now I’m more worried about the damage Donald J. Trump might do than what some foreign entity might do.  I applaud those in his administration who are resigning.  And I have nothing but contempt for the cowards who continue to run interference for him.

 


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: Cable News, Baldwin, Kinzinger, Wells, and more! (1/1) — 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.

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):


I grew up a couple of years behind you. Back in the sixties information was good and propaganda was evil. When did narrative replace information and how is it different than propaganda? –Douglas C.

A lot of what we get — mostly on cable TV news shows — isn’t honest analysis. It’s partisan propaganda. My last Off the Cuff is on this subject. Honest analysis would at least give a nod to the other side. That’s not allowed on cable because giving a nod to the other side is bad for business; it might offend the equally partisan viewer. Read a few op-eds in the NY Times and you’ll see how blindly partisan their columnists can be. In case you’re wondering, the Wall Street Journal is not guilty of the same hyper partisanship. The opinion page is conservative but also open-minded. They have principles at the Journal. As to when this slide started … all I know is that it was a slow process. One baby step at a time. And I don’t see things getting better any time soon.

Happy New Year, Sir Bernie.

I hope you have safe and blessed 2021.

Here is my first question of the year: What is your opinion of this You Tube video that basically claims that white people are superior at everything wicked and evil? — Happy New Year Regards From The Emperor

I watched half of the video before I had had enough. I won’t be commenting on this kind of crap anymore. I’m sick of the polarization. Is the video concocted to make people mad? Yes. Is it racist? Arguably so. Is it worth our concern? Not mine. Stupid stuff doesn’t interest me — unless powerful people are behind the stupid stuff. Spend less time in 2021, Your Worship, watching garbage like this. You’re welcome, and Happy New Year.

Happy New Year Mr. G., Welcome to the world of less cable news watchers. I highly recommend it. We are probably down to less than 3 hours per WEEK! Wow there are a lot of great documentaries and mini series out there we’ve discovered. As for this weeks “Off The Cuff” no resolutions here either, just gunna let the world happen. So then, what other non-news topics are fair game for the weekly Q&A? I will save one more political question for after the GA run-off results which I’ll probably hear about from my barber or somebody. — ScottyG

Feel free, Scotty, to ask about anything — and I’ll give your questions my best shot. But since I’m not a Renaissance Man, I may not have an answer for everything. And Happy New Year, to you too, my friend.

One of Stephen Covey’s “Seven Habits of Highly Successful People” is “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Part of his definition of understanding is that this doesn’t necessarily mean agreement. In that spirit I’m curious to ask you, as a former liberal, what parts of the current liberal agenda do you understand, at least that of a genuine motivation to help others and create a better America? Caveat repeated: It doesn’t mean you agree with this agenda. — Steve R.

I think many (not all) on the left mean well. They want to make the country a better place, as I do. I understand why they want to spend gazillions ostensibly to help poor people. I also think they don’t want to talk about behaviors that lead some (some, not all) to be poor. I understand why they think racism is everywhere. They’re wrong. It isn’t. And I’m pretty sure I understand why they feel the way they do about race: it makes them feel better about themselves. So, Steve, there’s a lot that I understand about the left … and a lot I disagree with them about.

Can you comment on the Hilaria (nee Hillary) Baldwin crack up on the internet this week — she is Alec Baldwin’s wife and there has been some uproar over the veracity of her Spanish roots, though she grew up in suburban Boston. IS this an invention of the internet age; righteous anger against cultural appropriation; or backlash given her husband’s penchant for criticizing Trump on SNL for the past few years? –Happy New Year, Peter S.

This is one of those areas, Peter, I’m thankfully and blissfully ignorant of. I heard something about it but had no interest in finding out more. For me — and I don’t suggest anyone else think the way I do — there’s too much trivial crap out there that just doesn’t interest me. Cultural appropriation as a bigger more general subject does interest me. I think it’s BS. If I want to wear a sombrero, I’m going to wear one. But a celebrity’s wife and her “crack up” … I’ll pass on that. I would suggest though that she change her name. It sounds ridiculous.

So where/what to watch/read for balanced news? — Tony P.

Hey Tony … this is a frequent question, mainly because it’s an important one. On TV, I watch Special Report with Bret Baier on Fox. The channel’s hard news reporters are solid. I glance at the NY Times and read the Wall Street Journal opinion pages. I find a lot of news there to go along with the opinions. I’d suggest you NOT get your news from partisan websites. They don’t peddle news so much as partisan propaganda.

I couldn’t agree with you more [on your latest “Off the Cuff“]. The less we watch these stations the better off we all are.They are not informing us nor making our lives better. We have sadly gone astray of Thomas Jefferson’s adage about an educated people make knowledgeable decisions, paraphrasing somewhat. But I also blame us, as a society. Have we grown so lazy that our quest for truth and knowledge has led us down this path? Rather than questioning, we seek answers in 30 or 60 minutes, 2 hours at most. And rather than critical thinking because that simply is harder than doing all the easy things, we settle for someone else’s opinion. Thanks for the time, Bernie. Have a wonderful New Years and I look forward to your commentary next year. –Rod A.

Thanks, Rod. What too many people who watch cable news want is to have the opinions they already hold validated. That’s why I believe the audience is the un-indicted co-conspirator in all of this. The talking heads (and behind the scenes executives and producers) give the audience what it wants to hear. Anything else might cause defections.

While it sometimes seems that ALL DC Republicans have submitted to Trumpism over the past four years, there have been a few lonely exceptions. Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois has been one of them, and not because he’s trying seek favor with the left. He’s an unapologetic Reagan small-government conservative (and vet) who hasn’t been afraid to call the president out on his toxic, sometimes un-American conduct (like we’re seeing now with his dishonest efforts to steal the election). Kinzinger was recently interviewed by Charlie Sykes, and it was a great discussion that drew a contrast between what’s right and important about conservatism (and also what the GOP wanted from their candidates before Trump), and what we’ve seen in recent years with performative, Jerry Springer-style politics on the right. Are you familiar with Kinzinger? Do you think there’s any chance of the GOP, over the next four years, returning that vision of strong character and small-government principles? — Ben G.

First let me say a word or two about Charlie Sykes. He was a rock solid conservative who now feels more at home with far left progressives than with his old conservative pals. If he doesn’t like Trump, fine. If he doesn’t respect, Trump sycophants, fine again. But to be a useful idiot on MSNBC annoys me.

There are plenty of Republicans who still adhere to those conservative principles you speak of, Ben. The question is will Trump make them cowards who are afraid to stand up to him — even after he’s out of office. Trump is a vindictive man, whose most loyal followers won’t hesitate to punish anyone who doesn’t kiss Donald’s big fat rear end until the end of time. I’m hoping for some on the right to stand up for their principles, but profiles in courage are hard to come by. I fear Donald Trump and his most passionate fans will continue to do harm for the foreseeable future.

My question is unrelated to politics and the media (maybe). What’s your all-time favorite novel, and who is your favorite fiction writer? — Mary R.

I’ll give you two. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck … and Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I like Rand a lot, not so much for her writing style, but for the message she puts out.

Dawn Wells of Gilligan’s Island fame unfortunately passed away this week (of COVID-19 related complications). She of course played Mary Ann on the show. While we mourn her loss, memories of the show have brought back to the forefront an age-old question that I will now pose to you…

Who was more your cup of tea: Mary Ann or Ginger? Or were you more of a Lovey Howell kind of guy? Also, if you’re presumably The Skipper of BernardGoldberg.com and this membership, does that make John Daly your Gilligan (always screwing up things) or perhaps the professor (with his technical know-how)? Thanks. — John D.

Easy: Ginger. A no-brainer. As for John Daly, many readers are unaware that his great, great, great, great grandfather was the captain of a vessel that had an unfortunate accident. The vessel was the Titanic … and today, John Daly the Fifth is my webmaster. I’m guessing you didn’t know that, John D.

John Daly contacted me recently asking who this John D is who asks goofy questions each week. I told him, I have no idea but I think he’s harmless, though I can’t say for sure. Mr. Daly is concerned that some people might think that John D is John Daly. Crazy, right?

 


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: Pardons, Vaccinations, TIME, Senate Control, and more! (12/25) — 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.

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):


Bernie, great job on the Real Sports year end show. I felt like you were the lone voice of reason in a 6-on-1 discussion. Can you elaborate a bit on your relationship with the other correspondents on that program? You obviously have been at the game a lot longer than most of your colleagues on the show. Especially curious about the relationship with Mr. Gumbel, as you certainly would seem to have vastly differing views. I think the stories are so excellent and really well done by all, make no mistake. I’ve been watching since RS came on the air and never get disappointed by the outstanding content and quality of the product. Kudos to you and HBO for continuing the show under challenging circumstances. — Thanks, Mark H.

I see Bryant and the others as colleagues — we’re not pals. We don’t socialize, though Bryant usually throws a Christmas party each year that I don’t attend — because of geography more than anything else. As for differing opinions, I have said — out loud — that I AM diversity on the show. I’m not thrilled about that.

Dennis Prager writes often about the differences between the right and the left. Not just the obvious politics, but our paradigms and the way we see the world. We saw contrasting examples of this on display very recently. The left demands purity of their leadership and of the world as they attempt to create a government-mandated utopia. On display in San Francisco (shock!) is the name cancellation of two schools: One named after Abraham Lincoln for “not caring enough about black lives,” and the other named for Diane Feinstein for allegedly being sympathetic to the flying of a Confederate flag back in the 80’s. I won’t waste your space in describing how ridiculous this is to the rest of us. The religious right, on the other hand, has been criticized for backing Trump despite his personal and moral failings. The right’s reasoning was that Trump was a bulwark in support of their Constitutional rights to freedom of religion and free assembly. Indeed, Trump nominated three Supreme Court justices who two weeks ago upheld this very right and ruled unconstitutional the authoritarian shutdowns of religious gatherings in California and New York. You have written extensively about Trump’s sycophantic followers. However can you make a case that the right was rewarded for their lack of purity in a nod to pragmatism? — Steve R.

Isn’t it possible, Steve, to support Trump policies and still find him to be a man of very low character?  I have no problem supporting Trump’s tax cuts, his thinking on overzealous regulation, his picks for the federal bench … and still be convinced that he’s a chronic liar who would throw even his most passionate supporters over the side if it suited his purposes. As a thoughtful friend of mine puts it, “The problem isn’t with people supporting Trump on initiatives when he’s right. It’s with the unconditional defenses of anything and everything he does, often at the cost of forfeited principles.” My friend is right. You can detest liberals all you want, you can think they’ll wreck the country … but that doesn’t make Donald Trump a good person. Because he’s not.

All that said, I understand the essence of your question: that we live in a real world and so sometimes it makes sense to be pragmatic and support people we don’t admire. You’re right. Sometimes it does make sense. But it’s never an easy decision. And Donald Trump makes a difficult decision even more difficult. That’s how toxic the man is to many Americans. And while we’re at it, that’s a big reason he lost the election.

I live in a very Red county in GA. I voted early the other day for the two Senate Run-offs. I didn’t see one MAGA hat, not one American flag t-shirt, not one pick up truck with a Trump 2020 flag waiving. Nor did I see more than five “persons of diversity” on a line of over 200. So I’m confused at what I saw and I’m now concerned that my once conservative neighbors are going to vote for left leaning & eroding American values. I’m afraid the Anti-Trump sentiment vote is bleeding over into the Senate run-offs. We could be doomed. So what’s your one biggest fear if the Dems win the Senate? Or is one too difficult to single out? –ScottyG

My single biggest concern, Scotty, is that they MAY try to eliminate the filibuster rule. IF they succeed, that mans they’d need only 50 votes (plus the VP in case of a tie) to do whatever they want. And that includes adding blue states, lowering the voting age, allowing convicted felons still in prison the right to vote — and more. That’s my biggest concern but it won’t be easy to accomplish since ALL Republicans would be against such a move and I suspect a few Democrats also would be against it.  But it could happen.

What are you thoughts so far on Trump’s end-of-term pardons? All within his legal right, of course, but a pretty disgusting group of characters so far, and I expect by the time you answer this, they’ll be even worse people added to the list. — Ben G.

I’m with you, Ben. Donald Trump isn’t the first president to pardon political allies. But as with everything else about our current president, he’s worse.

Members of the U.S. House and Senate have been posting smiling pictures of themselves getting the new COVID-19 vaccine on their social media accounts. I get that they’re our elected leaders, and so they’re setting a good example by demonstrating to their constituents that the vaccine is safe. But there’s something VERY irritating about seeing certain members of congress, who’d for months and months followed Trump’s lead by publicly downplaying the severity of the pandemic (including scoffing at mitigation efforts like wearing masks and no large groups), be among the VERY FIRST to be granted safe, medical immunity to this virus. If these politicians would have been more responsible with their rhetoric in the first place, who knows how many fewer infections (and even deaths) there would have been among their constituents. Again, I get the current public awareness message, and I want EVERYONE eventually vaccinated, but the optics here are pretty irritating. Let me know what you think. — Jen R.

Once again, we’re on the same page, Jen. That Donald Trump has no shame — about anything — is one thing.  But that his sycophants join in just adds to the irritation.

When will people finally realize that TIME Magazine’s “Person of the Year” issue is an absolute joke? Rather than recognize and honor medical workers and scientists who’ve been dealing first-hand with the pandemic for a close to a year (to do their best to keep the rest of us healthy and alive), the magazine chooses Joe Biden and Kamala Harris who basically just campaigned? Like I said, an absolute joke. — Mary R.

Whoever does NOT understand that  Time magazine’s Person of the Year is a joke … is a joke him or herself. Once Time was a serious news magazine. Not any more.

The very expensive and posh Dalton private school in NYC has presented a list of woke demands from faculty members of color for the very progressive liberals who pay high end dollar to send their children there to learn all those wonderful leftist values that the uneducated masses and rubes in flyover country shun. About 100 faculty members signed onto the list. Here are some of the demands.

The requirements could, no doubt, cost millions — a cost that will likely be passed on to parents through tuition hikes. Ironically, Dalton is one of the city’s most progressive schools, leaving progressives — not conservatives — ultimately responsible for the school’s pervasive climate of systemic racism.

Care to bet that these same dunderheads would be shouting accusations of racism if parents who sent their children to a public school in Brightville, Tennessee raised a fuss over such demands? Now there is a backlash from several parents who are threatening to remove their children from the Dalton School. Now that there is a backlash, maybe the left wingers will say “Hey, maybe we were wrong all this time for pushing this agenda.  It never actually helped minorities, and now it’s making hypocritical fools out of all of us.”  Fat Chance, I know.

How is it that so many liberals are so clueless to the fact that, like Dr. Frankenstein, THEY themselves have CREATED THIS MONSTER woke culture of appeasing the perpetually aggrieved, and now that there is starting to be a backlash against this woke nonsense, do you think this asininity will eventually go away?  At least Dr. Frankenstein admitted he was wrong, once the angry villagers showed up with the torches and pitchforks. –Torches & Pitchforks Regards From The Emperor

I keep hoping for a great big backlash against this left wing progressive woke bull crap. A great big nationwide backlash. Some parents are threatening to leave, you say. And many are staying, right? They deserve what they get … just as Portland, Seattle, LA, NY and other cities run by progressives deserve what they get. This is their problem, not yours, Your Worship and certainly not mine.

Bernie, Do you plan on using your secret network of elite “deep state” insiders to secure early VIP access to the coronavirus vaccine? If so, could you do me a solid and send some of it my way? I feel like the anti-maskers in my town have been trying to cough on me since March, and could use a break. — John D.

I’ve already received the vaccine from my friends in the deep state. I drank it. It tasted good. It came in a soda can and tasted like root beer but I was told it was the vaccine so I must have been, right? I can’t figure out why all those “regular” non-elite people are getting shots in the arm. Drinking the vaccine is much easier and less painful.

As for doing you a solid — nice street talk, by the way Homey — that would be wrong. If I help you out what about my million other close friends? What about them?

Regarding the anti-maskers in your town who have been coughing on you: How do we know you’re not antagonizing them somehow? How do any of us know that you’re not wearing a sign when you stroll the streets that says: “Sneeze or Cough on me.”

And, for the record, just because someone walks up to you and sneezes or coughs on you doesn’t make them a bad person. A little understanding wouldn’t kill you, John D. But that sneeze might, I guess. So good luck.

 


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: Christie, Biden, Rather, Election Conspiracies, and more! (12/18) — 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.

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):


This year controversy stirred at the University of Texas over “The Eyes of Texas,” a song that has been sung for decades at the beginning and end of every UT sporting event. In my lifetime it has always been considered a song of unity. As Texas Monthly wrote, “The Eyes of Texas is not your typical school song. It’s something closer to a prayer.” It is whispered in the ears of babies just a few days old, and dignitaries such as Lady Bird Johnson have had it performed at their memorial services. It recently came to light that the song had its genesis in 1903 when it was used in various minstrel shows with white performers in black face. This news caused a backlash among many black athletes and other social activists, who refused to participate in the song’s performance. While I understand and acknowledge the racist history of my once-segregated home state and state school, this seems to me a giant step backwards. Despite its racist roots, until recently The Eyes of Texas was a song of unity among all Longhorns of various races, incomes and backgrounds. We had moved on and moved the song forward to a more enlightened, inclusive message. To me this is just one example of moving the culture backwards in our inability to detach ourselves from our worst history. What is your opinion of these occasions when art, history and institutions collide? — Steve R.

I’m pretty much with you, Steve. Kate Smith, a woman beloved by much of America, was posthumously cancelled because way back when, she sang songs that rightly would be considered racist today. So no “God Bless America” by Kate Smith at Yankee games (and, I’m sure, other places). Instead of ridding the nation of its vestiges of racism, it creates, I think, more division. “Racist” was once a powerful word. Not anymore. It’s been watered down to include way too much.

A recent headline in the Oregonian screamed: “Black Teen Killed By White Man Over Loud Music In Parking Lot.” I think we all know it would have read differently had the races of the two involved been reversed. Here’s a snippet of the story.

Terrible tragedy, right? I read a similar incident some time ago about an elderly man who shot and killed a younger man in a movie theater. Why? After the previews were over and the movie was starting, the victim was still chatting away with his family at normal volume, and this was disturbing the elderly couple sitting behind them. The older man either asked or told the chatty guy to be quiet since the movie was starting. Rather than quiet down, the victim threw his popcorn at the older man, who immediately left, returned to the theater with a weapon, and fired. Skin color wasn’t mentioned in the story, so I assume that they were both the same. 

Let’s state the obvious: Neither victim deserved to be murdered, and if convicted, the shooters should go to prison. HOWEVER, can we agree that these two people would still be alive if they’d been decent neighbors and good citizens instead of behaving like aggressive inconsiderate jerks? Is this victim blaming? I don’t think so. WHY did the guy in the movie theater feel justified in throwing popcorn instead of quieting down? Why was the 19 year old “black teen” playing loud music at four o’clock in the morning and disturbing hotel guests, and why did he refuse to turn it down when confronted?

What are your thoughts on incidents like these, and was it really necessary to emphasize the skin color since I don’t think that this was necessarily racially motivated?  — “Aggressive Dumb Asses Get Shot By Other Aggressive Dumb Asses” Regards—-From The Emperor

Journalists bring race into the story even when it’s not especially relevant — if the victim is black and the guy with the gun is white. It’s what liberals do to show their racial manners, to show how they’re concerned about victims of racial injustice — as they see it. The incident in question may have involved racism. But it may not have. Do we know if the gunman would have done the same thing if the guy playing the loud music were white? And you’re right: If a black guy shot a white kid playing loud music, most liberal journalists would not have brought race into the story.  For the record, loud music or no loud music — in the middle of the night or at high noon — you don’t get a gun and shoot the guy playing the music. The black guy is dead. The white guy’s life will soon be over — after he’s convicted and spends the rest of his life in prison.

Bernie, call me crazy but I think [the Hunter Biden story] is actually the SECOND major story the media covered up or ignored during the 2020 election in order to help their pal Joe. The other major story was the shockingly quick development of a Covid vaccine. All of the media and its “experts” laughed and mocked President Trump when he said we would have a vaccine by the end of the year, and guess what…the media was wrong again! The reality is none of this is a surprise and the media cannot act like it did not know it was likely to happen since clinical trial progress in the US is made publicly available on clinicaltrials.gov. How much do you want to bet this was another story the media conveniently ignored until after Nov 3? How much do you want to bet if Biden pulled off a similar feat they would start running stories calling for him to be anointed President for Life? — Joe M.

There’s a thread, Joe, running through the mainstream media’s behavior — how it handled the Hunter Biden story and how it’s now handing the story about the success of President Trump’s Warp Speed project. And the thread is simply this: Too many journalists are anti-Trump and pro-Biden … and were willing to throw their integrity over the side to help ensure that Joe Biden would win. I understand that this may sound simplistic and maybe even paranoid.  But it’s neither. It’s the blatant corruption of journalism in America.

Do you have any knowledge as to who writes the scripts the anchors read on any of the cable news shows – CNN, FNC, MSNBC, NewsMax, OAN. Is it the producers? Is it the anchors themselves? Is it a group effort? Are they following orders from above as to language or buzz words? Who decides what guests to have on the shows and what questions to ask them? How much discretion do the anchors have? How much is all this governed by focus groups, opinion polls and viewer feedback? Here, I’m not talking about the overtly opinion shows. Second, do you know who decides what stories to cover, the priority and the frequency of coverage? Yes, I know it may vary among the networks and a network’s policies may change with management. — Bob H.

When O’Reilly was on Fox, he wrote every word in the show, but that’s not how it works 99 percent of the time. There are writers and producers who write scripts and the anchors either tweak, edit or re-write. Best of my knowledge there are no formal orders regarding buzz words, etc … but at CNN, to use one example, everyone knows how the boss, Jeff Zucker, feels about Donald Trump … so no one is going to step out of line. As for what governs their decisions … on cable it’s ratings. They know what their viewers want and that’s exactly what they give them.  Finally, as to who makes editorial decisions on what to cover, there’s usually a group of producers and the anchors who weigh in.

As we move into the Biden era, given what we have seen from the press for the past decade plus, especially the failure to report stories that do not fit in well with their bias, how should we approach news reports going forward? Put another, how do we know we are getting the news, the facts and the truth about a particular subject? What can we do to be aware of what is happening or should we just give up, ie, don’t ask because we won’t tell? — Michael F.

I no longer know what to believe when I watch the news. Once, if I heard a reporter or anchor tell me something I generally knew it was true or if not, it was an honest error. No more. That’s one reason I watch less and less cable TV … though I do watch Special Report on Fox at 6p ET.

I think we’re doomed. After listening to your “Off the Cuff” remarks this morning, I am convinced now more than ever that we are in a serious decline in this country on all fronts – and are heading full-steam into the abyss. Criminals are now victims. Police are the enemy. We are $30 trillion in debt, much of it owned by China, and they want to hurt us. We are electing some of the most ‘bizarro people’ ever to hold government office. We now live in a PC driven fascist state with the activist removal of statues and re-naming of schools and sports teams. We are also in the midst of a race and culture war – fighting each other over every single thing one can imagine. I could go on and on – but you get the idea. Given your understanding of world history, and the demise of past empires like the Ottoman, Roman, Persian, British, and the collapse of Soviet Russia – what are your personal feelings about where we are headed as a nation. Are doomed to a similar fate? Sure looks like it. — Pistol Pete

I’d like to answer your question Pistol Pete but after reading it more than once I have to go JUMP OFF THE ROOF OF THE TALLEST BUILDING IN TOWN.

As to where we’re headed: If this continues we’re headed toward more polarization, more hatred of the other side, more destruction of basic civic values that hold a society together.

I was a big fan Pistol Pete when you played at LSU. Thanks for writing … it must be hard … SINCE YOU DIED IN 1988!

Bernie, Tell me if I’m following this correctly: Trump and many in the GOP and rightwing media have been pushing crazy conspiracy theories about massive election fraud for weeks. When called out for what they’re doing, they explain that most Republicans think the election was rigged, and so they have to fight the good fight for them. But the only reason so many Republican voters  think the election was rigged in the first place is because Trump, the GOP, and the right-wing media keep telling them it was rigged! Do you find this as ridiculous as I do? — Ben G.

Yes!!! And remember, the answer to all questions regarding TV in general and that includes cable TV news is … MONEY. They pander for dollars. That’s yet another reason a lot of sensible people are tuning out cable news.

Someone asked last week I think about your old colleague Dan Rather. I seem to remember you saying a long time ago that Rather never spoke to you again after the Wall Street journal column (or was it after Bias came out?). I’m curious: Now that more years have passed, has he still not spoken to you? Either way, would you think he has ever come to acknowledge how right you were about a bunch of things? Or do you suspect he’s still very much in the bubble of denying liberal bias even exists in the media? Thanks. — Alex D.

After my WSJ op-ed about liberal bias came out in February of 1996 he has not uttered a single syllable to me. It should be noted that I left CBS News in 2000 — so I don’t run into Dan anymore. Do I think he has acknowledge that I was right, you ask. No way. Dan has many good points but one bad one: He either can’t … or won’t … take serious criticism seriously.

It appears that Chris Christie has become a born-again “wear a mask” advocate, after spending over a week in the ICU suffering from the coronavirus. He even recently filmed a “wear a mask” PSA that is starting to air on television stations all over the country. I think this is good but why on earth haven’t we been seeing PSAs like this since WAY back in April when health experts were largely and finally on the same page about masks being very helpful in lessening the spread of the virus? Instead, masks have been politicized, mocked, and treated like some kind of attack on liberty. I can only imagine how many fewer people would have become infected if there had been a broad bipartisan and multi-cultural effort to get people to take mask wearing seriously, for the sake of those around them. — Philip S.

You’d think that SOMEBODY would have thought of such a public service ad campaign. The president could have but he was one who didn’t wear a mask almost all of the time. But I don’t recall Joe Biden putting up campaign money for such a campaign, either. Yours is a good idea, Philip. Too bad no one actually launched such a campaign back in the spring.

Was wondering if you were you ever asked to guest host the O’Reilly Factor on any of Bill’s days off. That used to be a pretty common practice, with other people filling in. — Joseph R.

I made clear I had no interest in doing that. Besides, the show came out of New York and I was living in Miami.

Bernie, I know you don’t exactly celebrate the holiday, but I thank God every day that Bill O’Reilly, President Trump, and Jesse Watters won the War on Christmas. Personally, I was getting sick and tired of not being able to say “Merry Christmas” out loud without being dragged into the street and severely beaten with the trunks of “holiday trees” by latte-drinking liberals. Don’t you agree that as a nation, we owe these three an enormous debt of gratitude for doing what they did (I’m still not clear what that was, exactly) to triumph over retail-store ad-marketers, negotiate their surrender, and restore Christmas spirit across the land? — John D.

You have a point, John D. But if you wear a hat nobody will notice it.

 


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.