Bernie’s Q&A: Trump vs. Scarborough & Twitter, Fauci, Imus, and more! (5/29) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

A few Memorial Day thoughts: I read that less than half of Americans even know that Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember those who gave their lives for America. The NYT chose that day this year to focus on white supremacy with respect to the military. Around the same time, China was taking steps to put a choke-hold on Hong Kong by criminalizing disrespect for the Chinese National Anthem (in contrast to the US where flag burning is constitutionally protected), and the media was pretty much silent while it continued to carry China’s water on various issues. I started to think about just how far we as a country have fallen in terms of patriotism, love of country and respect for our armed forces and the brave men and women who serve and have served (not all of us but a substantial number who would like to see our military spending sliced). And I started to wonder what all this portends as many of our leaders (together with academia, the entertainment industry and of course the MSM) denigrate on an ongoing basis America, the Constitution, our history and our values. — Michael F.

As the country (continues) to move leftward, we’ll see more of what you’re describing, Michael. I’m not saying liberals hate America. But I don’t think they are as traditional in these matters as conservatives. There may be a swing back to the way things used to be regarding old-fashioned patriotism. But I don’t see it coming anytime soon.

Bernie, how would you grade Dr. Fauci’s response to COVID-19? Some of the pundits have faulted him for changing his position too often or not clearly communicating his position when asked. I want to know your no nonsense assessment. — Joe M.

I’m not troubled, Joe, when Dr. Fauci (or anybody else) changes his position. Facts change. Opinions change. Anything said at the outset of the virus, means little — because we knew little. That said, I trust Fauci. If I had to pick someone who’s advice I would take, he’d be high on my list. Guess who would be at the bottom of that list. Initials: DJT.

Watching the Golf Match Today, I was thinking about your interview with John Urschel. The football interview where “A Math Seminar Broke Out”. And I was also thinking about Colin Kaepernick. Certainly there are issues in sports worthy of press such as the treatment of the horses in horse racing and camel Jockeys. But overall I believe that American Professional Sports do a pretty good job of standards as do the athletes themselves. Maybe I’m wrong but even with Kaepernick I hear he’s a good guy. The Match raised millions and I know through out the country many athletes raise money and donate as well. And personally, I hear little negative. Just looking to get your opinion overall of professional sport standards. — Tim H.

Like life outside the world of sports, there are good people and not-so-good people. Good deeds and bad deeds. We in the press are drawn to bad events — like a football player whose gun accidentally goes off at a nightclub. Or athletes involved in domestic abuse cases. For good or bad, that’s the nature of news. But there’s a lot of good deeds in the world of sports. A lot of charity and the like. But just as we don’t cover the bank that did NOT get robbed or the plane that landed safely, we tend to cover the dark side. But, as I say, Tim … there’s plenty that’s good.

Mr. G, Are we at the time in place now where presidents’ words don’t matter? Clinton wagged his finger at us and lied, and tried to change what “is” means; Bush claimed WMD’s and we still have troops getting killed for who knows what; Obama said “keep your doctor and enjoy lower healthcare costs’. Now Trump goes off the Pinocchio rails almost daily. They ALL lie and keep their jobs, so what’s the use in crying? Do we just continue to live with it? Might you have a solution? I hope so… — ScottyG

First, a quick correction: Bush got it wrong, but he didn’t lie. He based his decision on faulty intel. Obama may not have lied either. He may have been incompetent and didn’t know what was in his signature piece of legislation. Or, as you say Scotty, he may have lied.

With that out of the way, what’s my solution: Try to go about your business so that the president, whoever he or she is, doesn’t play too big a role in your life. And lower your expectations. There aren’t a lot of Washingtons or Lincolns. And finally: If we chose better presidents you wouldn’t need to ask your question.

Bernie, as of the time I’m writing this (to get my question in before your deadline), Trump has yet to announce the details of his “executive order” to, in some fashion, “strongly regulate” Twitter. He of course got mad after Twitter flagged one of his tweets as factually incorrect (a new feature). Regardless of Trump’s intent, and whether or not this new fact-check feature is a good idea, Twitter is a private company and has a constitutional right to make its own rules of use. Trump has no authority over how they manage their content and users (whether it be deleting certain posts, banning members, or adding “fact checks” to some tweets). What are your thoughts on what looks like a government power-grab, and are you surprised that the GOP (the party that’s traditionally stood for less intrusion in businesses by the government) seems to be going along with it? — Ben G.

I’m pretty much with you but let’s remember that social media sites have been granted — by the U.S. government — certain privileges. The site isn’t responsible, for instance, for anything said on the site. You can sue someone who posts libelous material about you — but you can’t successfully sue the site (because the site owner can’t know everything posted, especially when the site has millions or billions of participants like Twitter and Facebook).

So, are the people who run Facebook and Twitter and Google publishers who can edit comments and posts and say what’s true and what isn’t — or are they merely facilitators who open their sites to a free and open discussion without interference?

If Twitter chooses to call out the president’s tweets for dishonesty, then Twitter appears to be a publisher. And as such, they can be sued.

So it’s complicated. But do we really think Twitter would flag President Obama’s false statement about keeping your doctor? The big sites are heavily influenced by liberal thinking so conservatives have a right to be annoyed. Still, you raise a strong point, Ben. And there’s a good chance the matter will end up in the courts.

Even after Lori Klausutis’s widower wrote a letter describing the pain Trump is causing his family by continuing to push the baseless conspiracy theory that his wife was having an affair with, and was murdered by, Joe Scarborough, Trump (who says he read the letter) hasn’t relented. He continues to call for an investigation into Scarborough, and he even claimed that the Klausutis family wants to “get to the bottom” of what happened (exactly the opposite of what the widower — who has known what happened since 2001 — wrote). From what I’ve seen, no prominent Christian leader has condemned Trump for what he’s doing. If they can’t speak up on presidential behavior as over-the-top immoral as this, shouldn’t they just shut up on all political matters from here on out? — Bailey T.

An emphatic YES, Bailey, on whether Christian leaders should shut up on all political matters. I’ll go further. I don’t want to hear them lecture us on moral matters when they go deaf, dumb and blind regarding the president’s despicable tweets about Scarborough. Please see the column that will go up on my website Monday morning.

Have you seen the old video of Joe Scarborough on Don Imus’s show, where Imus — in the last few seconds of the segment — made some joke about Scarborough sleeping with and killing an “intern” (which I guess was a reference to Lori Klausutis, though she wasn’t an intern). Scarborough kind of went along with the joke (which was in poor taste). Some of those defending our president’s conspiracy theory are claiming this to be some kind of “ah ha” moment that implicates Scarborough. But as someone who was on his show often, Bernie, didn’t Imus do this kind of thing a lot? He was kind of a shock jock, like Howard Stern, right? I’m not sure how Scarborough should have reacted with only a few seconds remaining in such an interview. Your thoughts? — Samuel M.

Yes, Imus would do something like that … and when you’re on live radio or TV sometimes you just go along. As for those Trump supporters using this to say the president is on to something … Bull Crap!

Read my column coming out on Monday. What Donald Trump has done to Scarborough (who, for what it’s worth, I do not like) was despicable. And those who find excuses to support the president would also support him if he really did shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue.

I agree that Pelosi and the Dems want to delay the recovery of the economy in order to win the election. I further agree that Trump sabotages himself regularly by making dumb ass comments on Twitter and getting into petty adolescent battles by attacking people like Jeff Sessions & even worse Joe Scarborough (really—-WTF!?). What I don’t get is why Trump can’t figure out that he plays right into his enemies’ plans by engaging in these petty quarrels since it’s easy to see that this can come back and kick him in the rear! Same goes for Pelosi and the Dems—how can THEY not see that anyone with a reasonable disposition can easily see that they want the American economy to crash and burn for their own selfish purposes and that buying into “I can make more money sitting at home doing nothing than I can by actually working” is ultimately a deal with the devil that will cause more problems in the end than it will actually cure? We’ve both seen any number of movies about how it appears that mobsters are going to help you out but in the end all they really want is to own you. It’s obvious to you and me; why do you think it’s not obvious to them? — Petty & Nefarious Regards From The Emperor

Emperor: Let’s start with the president. You ask why he can’t figure out that he’s playing into the hands of his enemies. That’s easy: He doesn’t THINK … he just impulsively acts.  As long as his most loyal supports applaud his every move, he’ll continue to hurt himself. Check out my column that will go up on Monday. And pay special attention to the last paragraph.

As for the Dems:  I’m not sure most Americans have concluded that they want to see the economy crash and burn. Some will see it that way. But others I think will say the Dems are helping us by giving us “free” money.

Most people, Your Royalty, aren’t news junkies. If they’re getting a government check, they’re happier than if they’re not. They don’t follow the details the way you or I do. (Sometimes I think they’re better off not paying attention. Paying attention gives me a headache.)

Polling has typically been characterized by percentages based upon political party allegiance with a minority sampling of theoretical independent voters. In this new age of covid-19 virus, do you think that sampling based on the economic impact of the virus might provide more insightful data? Poll responders that have not had their income effected can afford to support political ideologies while those that have been severely impacted economically by the virus, especially those that are either small business owners or those employed by small business owners (a very significant portion of our population and economy), may be far less loyal to a party and more attuned to economic messaging. Your analysis of this observation would be thoroughly appreciated. Thank you. — Douglas C.

You raise an interesting point, but I think it would take someone named Gallup to give you an answer. That said, I’m going to give it a shot, Douglas.

Your premise, as I understand it, is a reasonable one:  People vote their pocketbooks, their financial well being. So how the virus affected them would be a better gauge than simply their party affiliation. Okay. But let’s remember that the economy was strong when Clinton left office yet voters chose W (barely) in the next election. And the economy was weak in 2012 yet Obama beat a successful businessman, Mitt Romney.

My point is that many things come into play when voters decide who they want to be president. And so I’m not sure if the polling results would be any different if they did it your way instead of the traditional way.

But I want to emphasize this question is way too complicated for someone like me to answer with any confidence.


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Bernie’s Q&A: Todd, Fauci, Kelly, Scarborough, and more! (5/15) — 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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Bernie’s Q&A: Flynn, Shutdown Protests, Gutfeld, Watters, and more! (5/8) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium Interactive members. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me. Thank you.

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

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

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

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

Thanks Tim. Much appreciated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.

Bernie’s Q&A: Cuomo, Bennett, Smith, Land O’Lakes, and more! (4/24) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

So recently, the Indian girl who has been on the package of Land O Lakes butter for ions, disappeared. Apparently some PC policeman woke up one morning and decided that in the name of political correctness, she needed to go. It never ceases to amaze me how with all that’s going on in the world, some people get a burr in their saddle over something as innocuous as this. I guess Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben can’t be long for this world. SMH — John M.

Let’s leave Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben out of this, for now. It’s bad enough that I’m going to agree with you regarding the Indian — oops, I mean Native American — on the butter package. When the backlash against PC nonsense comes, it’s going to be nasty.

Hi, Bernie, love the site, been following you for years. There is a little thing that bothers me about the way people (not just you) deal with Trump’s way of dealing with people. So the question I have is pretty simple: If you are buying a car, and you say you can’t spend more than $10,000 for it, and you end up buying the car for $12,000, would I be justified in calling you a liar? Thanks again, and hope you’re doing well in these trying times. Regards, — Chris H.

Hi Chris. Thanks for your support, and I hope you’re also doing well.

If I understand your question correctly, what you’re describing is a negotiating tactic — a bluff or a compromise. When I refer to the president’s dishonesty, I’m not talking about him bending on a deal with the Democrats, or even caving on a campaign promise. I’m talking about his frequent, demonstrably false remarks about himself, his opponents (real and perceived), events, history, his policies, etc. I’ve given plenty of examples in the past, and he provides new ones all the time.

A lot of enthusiastic Trump supporters find creative ways to frame the president’s dishonesty as something other than dishonesty (because it’s politically helpful to do so). But I don’t play that game…for either side.

Thanks again for the kind words.

If Biden were to win the presidency, I do not believe he is mentally capable of running our country. I feel he would be a puppet president, so the question begs, who would most likely be the puppet master? The Vice President he (or someone picks for him) or maybe Obama becomes his go to guy ( there by his 3rd term) or Bernie is running things? God help us but if he should win, whose really running things. Government by fiat? Thanks Bernie. — Beverly

If Biden wins, Bernie’s influence will be in the Oval Office. Why? Because in exchange for his endorsement, Bernie will have won some concessions. So Bernie will have a voice. So will the progressive wing. But Beverly, this is all based on an assumption that Joe isn’t mentally up to the job. That may be true but I can’t say at this point. Does he say incoherent things on TV?  Yes. But who knows if that’s a symptom of something serious.

Bernie, I just read your article “Bernie Sanders takes a hostage”, which I think is another good analysis. However, you left out one thing, Biden’s pick for VP. He could appease them with his VP pick. Here is how I see it. It seems almost certain that Biden is going to pick a woman as a running mate and the two most likely are Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. If he chooses Klobuchar, he runs the risk of further alienating Sanders voters. This decision is going to say quite a lot about the direction that he is going to go. Who do you think he should pick and, if you had to guess, who do you think he will pick? –Michael T.

I wrote on my website a long time ago that if Biden wins the nomination he’ll pick a woman. Then I added, most likely a woman of color. That said, you make a good point. That his VP pick will influence, one way or another, how the Bernie Bros react. But Bernie’s base will demand more than a VP. They’ll demand that Joe move even further left … and that he give them a say on his cabinet. What’s fascinating is that Bernie lost and yet he’s the one calling the shots.

Bernie: I thought I would take a break from COVID and politics to address race and sports, especially on the heels of Jackie Robinson Day last week. Much attention is given to the decline in African-American participation in baseball, both at the youth and professional levels. In addition, the presence of black families at major league games is extremely low. Baseball and Jackie Robinson played a huge role in launching the civil rights movement of the 20th century when he broke the color line in 1947, and baseball cannot walk away from its position in American history and culture. On the other hand, participation and opportunity among the world’s nationalities is at an all-time high. While only 7% of MLB players are African-American, 42.5% are classified minorities. The rise of Latin and Asian participation is especially notable. So should baseball pay absolute attention to its declining black demographic, or should it congratulate itself for what Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickie set out to do – provide the ultimate opportunity for all races and nationalities? — Steve R.

A great big thank you, Steve, for such a thoughtful question. First, the number of black MLB players may be relatively low, but that is not the result of racism. As far as I’m concerned, that’s all that counts. Black kids apparently prefer other sports for a variety of reasons. The popularity of basketball being just one. And yes, Jackie Robinson and Branch Rickey were pioneers who did, in fact, “provide the ultimate opportunity for all races and nationalities.” And that, my friend, is something for all of us to celebrate.

On Monday, CNN’s Chris Cuomo staged his official on-camera “re-entry” up from his basement to join his family, after battling and finally recovering from the coronavirus. There was a lot of dramatic effect, including Cuomo saying he had been “dreaming of this moment for weeks.”

In reality, Cuomo hadn’t confined himself to his basement (or even his house). Earlier this month (when he was still infected with COVID-19), he and his family were seen together in front of a second property he owns (a 30-minute drive from his house), where he was openly socializing. A passerby even called him out on it, reportedly telling him, “Your brother is the coronavirus czar, and you’re not even following his [quarantine] rules.”

What do you make of this type of news-media theater? Is it an actual example of “fake news?” — Ben G.

Well, Ben, let’s begin with my definition of fake news:  It’s when a journalist flat out makes something up. When he lies about something and knows he’s lying. By that definition, Chris Cuomo is indeed guilty of fake news.

What makes this so egregious is that it wasn’t only a lie that he came out of his basement for the first time since he was diagnosed with coronavirus … it was that it was a well-documented lie.

That line between news and entertainment keeps getting fuzzier and fuzzier every day, doesn’t it?

Bernie, first of all I think we your faithful readers should be referred to going forward as The True Bernie Bros. I wanted to get your views on the recent actions and attitudes regarding the lockdown as expressed by Mayor Bill (NYC) and Governor Phil (NJ). NY seems to have found the replacement for stop and frisk : Snap N Snitch. And in NJ Gov Phil, one of the best and brightest, developed Bill of Rights Amnesia. Are those of us who hold the Constitution in high esteem (I have little doubt there are many millions who have disdain for the Constitution or at least the parts they don’t like) paranoid or should we all remember what the great Satchel Paige once said? — Michael F.

I’m pretty familiar with the great Mr. Paige but must admit I’m not at all sure what you’re referring to. Help, please.

I get your drift, Michael, but I have to say I’m not on terra firma when it comes to deciding what’s constitutional and what isn’t. For instance, the Constitution gives us the right to free speech, the right to worship, the right to assemble. But are those rights absolute? Can a state or city declare an emergency and mandate a curfew? I think government can do that. So that means you cannot protest or go to church or assemble during the curfew hours, right (or wrong)?

All that said, I did find the Governor of New Jersey’s comment on Fox that First Amendment concerns were over his pay grade … let’s just say … bad PR at best.  I don’t want to attribute bad motives to actions I don’t agree with; sometimes people just make mistakes.

As for whether you’re paranoid: I don’t think so. You’re concerned.  (And a very good writer, too.)

Thanks for the Bernie Bros comment, but the other Bernie had it first. It’s his.

Bernie – my first question for you, so allow me to state that I’ve always enjoyed your reporting- because – I typically learned something. So, thank you for creating this forum enabling that to continue for me. My question – I did watch with concern for another irrelevant news story when our president made his “total authority” declarations. All narcissism aside, he had to know better. Then I had a thought directed by my history in negotiations. I have learned that my best negotiation strategies are centered around giving the other side what they are asking for, when the side I am working for will benefit, while never letting on about my side’s value – it’s important to allow the other side to think they won. This tactic comes under the ageless wisdom of be careful what you ask for. I felt some validation on my thinking when the news line of the next few days being everyone letting the President know that constitutionally the States are in charge, eventually leading to the narrative with the typical line being, yes the states are in charge,’but we need the federal government’s help”. Your thought? — Rocco

First, Rocco, I like your negotiating philosophy. Give the other side what it wants — so long as it benefits your side too. Makes sense.

As for the president’s declaration that he has “total authority”: I think he really did believe that he can do whatever he wants. I don’t think it was a ploy that he could, at some point, turn on his adversaries — and say, “See, you should have listened to me when I said I had authority to do anything.”

I think he didn’t know what the Constitution says on the matter. I don’t believe he’s very smart. Cunning? Yes. Smart? No. So I don’t think he was negotiating when he made the comment. I think he believes — or did at the time anyway — that he’s Donald Trump, the president, and that he really could do anything he wants. The man has many problems.

Two questions this week:

1) Would you agree that the 2020 election hinges entirely on whether the American people blame Trump for the effects (economic and otherwise) of COVID-19? Methinks that if they blame him, he loses. If they don’t, he wins.

2) Shepard Smith was often the only good anchor on Fox News. When his exclusivity contract runs out and he returns to broadcasting, where do you think he lands?

— Joel E.

Thanks for the tight questions, Joel. I don’t think the 2020 election hinges “entirely” on how the electorate sees Trump’s leadership regarding the coronavirus. The key word being “entirely.” A very big part of whether he wins or loses will be on how the voters see Donald Trump, the person. If he has exhausted enough — mainly independent, swing voters, he’ll lose.

But I do agree with you that if they blame him for the virus aftermath, he loses; if they don’t, he has a much better chance of winning.

Regarding Mr. Smith: He’ll wind up, I believe, at CNN. Jeff Zucker has already spoken highly of him.

Bill Bennett (among others) recently insisted on Fox News that the coronavirus is NOT a pandemic, and that it’s no more serious or deadly than the flu. The real story, however, is that from March 20 to April 20 (one month), the coronavirus killed more Americans than the flu kills in an average YEAR. And that was WITH all the shut downs and social distancing that we’ve never done for the flu. Do you think this is an example of shocking ignorance from Bennett, or is he just telling Fox News viewers what he thinks a lot of them want to hear? — Jen R.

Good question, Jen. Over the years, I’ve interviewed Bill Bennett. I was impressed both by his intelligence and his decency. In plain English, I liked the guy. But you’ve hit on something I too have noticed. Something happened to Bennett in the Age of Trump.  I have trouble believing he suddenly has become ignorant … but when you become an apologist for a president’s behavior, maybe you also become stupid. As for “telling Fox News viewers what he thinks a lot of them want to hear” …  I admit, I’m not totally comfortable with that one, either. But it certainly is possible. He’s not the same Bill Bennett I thought I knew.  That’s all I’m sure of.

Mr. G, With almost two hours a day of repetitious questioning during the daily Virus briefings, why aren’t these savvy journalists asking questions about the mishandling and misallocating of relief funds to non essential businesses, large corporations, major universities and the like? Who the hell is managing the application approvals and allowing the payouts? This to me is the bigger problem directly after Congress approving funds in the first place for Non-virus related funding. WTF! — ScottyG

Beats me, Scotty. I might have a better answer to your question but for one problem:  Every day after the president says the same thing, word for word, for the 100th time, I slip into a coma. Apologies.

Harvard Professor Elizabeth Bartholet claims that home schooling turns children into white supremacists. She argues that many parents “homeschool precisely because they want to isolate their children from ideas and values central to public education and to our democracy. Many promote racial segregation and female subservience. Many question science. Many are determined to keep their children from exposure to views that might enable autonomous choice about their future lives.”

I don’t doubt that many DO home school because they’re uncomfortable with what’s being taught in public schools (as well as the general atmosphere and social engineering), I hesitate to promote fear mongering by saying that home schools are sneaky ways to raise children to be racists and sexists. Using Bartholet’s logic, some parents who home school their children could say that public schools are breeding grounds for violence, immorality, drugs, promiscuity and communistic thought. I’m sure she’d disagree. What are your your thoughts? –Home School Regards From The Emperor (and a friendly “Hello” from Mrs. Emperor who enjoyed your comments recently).

You have painted with a broad brush, Emperor. Yes, the professor does in fact believe that in some cases home schooling promotes sexism and racism, as you say. But here’s what a piece in Harvard magazine says about Professor Bartholet’s thinking:  That she believes “Some [parents] find local schools lacking or want to protect their child from bullying. Others do it to give their children the flexibility to pursue sports or other activities at a high level. But surveys of homeschoolers show that a majority of such families (by some estimates, up to 90 percent) are driven by conservative Christian beliefs, and seek to remove their children from mainstream culture. Bartholet notes that some of these parents are ‘extreme religious ideologues’ who question science and promote female subservience and white supremacy.”

I just wanted to give the professor her say … and put her thinking into a broader context.

It didn’t take long for Climate change advocates to find a new friend, namely COVID-19. I am a hard green guy. I believe we need to invest in our oceans to remove plastic. I believe natural gas is a great way to reduce carbon emissions. But John Kerry in a recent Boston Globe article has related the Pandemic to Global Warming. Bill Gates has warned us about a Pandemic for years. His foundation has helped reduce Malaria in the world by one half since the Millennium. But the 97% of the smart people in the world say we have to change the climate to stop malaria. Where is the scientific community on real life threats? Your opinion please. — Tim H.

The scientific community hasn’t gone anywhere.  Journalists just don’t seem especially interested in putting them in the news.  If you’re suggesting that people like Bill Gates are better equipped to deal with real life threats than scientists who spend too much time on theoretical solutions … you may be right.  Not my field of expertise.  Sorry, Tim.


A personal note from yours truly aka Bernie Goldberg: I have an admission to make. Sometimes I just don’t understand the question. Maybe I’m dense. Maybe they’re not written clearly. But I try my best to answer your questions … as I understand them. In the future, I may just tell you: “Sorry, I don’t understand your question. Maybe that’s on me; maybe it’s on you. But you might want to try again next week.”

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: Coronavirus briefings, blame, and spin (4/10) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)

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

Mr. G, It appears to me that The Whitehouse Press briefings are mostly attended by reporters that do not have the years and quality of experience to be asking the POTUS & Task Force serious thoughtful and exploratory questions that will provide informative responses that the American people need to make decisions. Who is really to blame here for these childish, stupid and “WGAS” questions; the educators or the media executives? It’s such a disservice at this crucial time. — ScottyG

Actually, Scotty, I think some of the reporters are quite good. The problem is that some are just there to stir things up. If a reporter asks a tough question that puts the president on the spot — I have no problem with that. In fact, I think the president has called several questions “nasty” when they weren’t out of bounds at all. It’s just that an honest answer may have made the president look bad. That, my friend, is on the president — not the journalist. But I’m with you to this extent: If the reporter asks a foolish question hoping for an angry response that will get picked up and replayed by other news organizations … that is a disservice.

Bernie, can we (the USA and the world) all agree that everyone missed on the coronavirus pandemic? No nation, Democrat, Republican, committee, hospital, doctor, scientist, expert, pundit, commentator, journalist, or whoever predicted this would happen and none of them thought it was necessary to prepare for it either (yes, I am sure you can go through archives and find some people who may have mentioned some pandemic scenario, but you get my point, it wasn’t a focus of world and national discussion). No one predicted it or tried to sound the alarm bells in all of 2019, January of 2020, February of 2020, and most people still have no idea how rough this will be or what will happen next. Can we (all of the aforementioned parties) also agree to stop wasting time pointing fingers on what could or could not have been done to prevent this situation and unite around fixing this really big a** problem? Or is all of this too much to ask of everyone (aka all aforementioned parties) right now? Our finger pointing and politicking keeps us, “stuck on stupid.” — Joe M.

Let me point out Joe, that in 2015 in a TED discussion, Bill Gates said something like this could happen. No, he didn’t have this particular virus in mind, but he made the point that a virus could hit us and cause many deaths. Did we take his warning seriously? No.

I’d also agree with you that finger pointing at this point doesn’t help deal with the problem. A lot of it is just plain old fashioned politics. If Democrats can blame President Trump, they figure it could help them in November. That said …

If the president wants to blame the previous administration for leaving “the shelves empty” and therefore leave us unprepared to deal with the pandemic, let me pose this question: He’s been in office for 3 years …  why didn’t he stock the shelves when he noticed they were empty 3 long years ago?  If he’s going to point fingers then I think it’s legitimatize to point a finger right back at him.

There’s more blame to go around:  City officials in New York early on encouraged people to go out and mingle. They didn’t see what was coming — and maybe they should have been more cautious.

And along those same lines, the president as late as March 9 suggested the virus was no worse than the seasonal flu.

So you’re right, that almost everyone missed the boat, they didn’t see this coming (again, Bill Gates saw something like it coming). But the more finger pointing we get now the more it will look like politics as usual.

I received a shocking call the other day. From a friend who is a long term Democratic donor who called to asked what I thought about Laura Ingraham’s show on Fox. When I told him I don’t watch much commentary TV I could hear his jaw drop. He went on to state that if hydroxychloroquine proves to be the miracle drug that she is talking about, she should get the medal of Freedom. I’m sure he heard my jaw drop. He stated that she was the one to break the story and as I watched her program the last couple of nights she had several doctors with case studies. I’m not sure if she’s the story breaker on this or not and wondered if you had followed this enough to have an opinion. It’s the first time in 40 years I ever heard my friend say one nice thing about a conservative, including me. — Tim H.

The reason Laura Ingraham and other conservatives are pushing hydroxycloroquine as a miracle drug is because Donald Trump is pushing it as something like that. This is a good example of how corrupt TV commentary has become. In any event, I did some research and got this from a journalist who said the following: “Ingraham by no means broke this story, but she has pushed it hard because Trump stated early optimism in the drug (some initial tests proved promising). Continued testing and physician-prescribed usage seems to suggest that it can indeed reduce the severity of coronavirus symptoms in some people (though not prevent people from getting it). That’s a good thing, of course, though I don’t think any serious people in the medical community are touting it as a ‘miracle drug.’ Dr. Fauci’s certainly not putting a huge amount of stock in it.”

Hi Bernie…I hope you are well. As for Biden….One hundred years ago a Rep ((Harding) ran a ‘front porch’ campaign for the presidency. He won, by the way. Now, one hundred years later, Biden has moved it into the basement. And this is progress????…..What’s that saying….”Give me that old time religion”….Just sayin’. Stay safe, and be well…. — Andrew M.

Good point, Andrew. We’ve gone from that front porch you mentioned to Biden’s rec room basement. We’ve come a long way, haven’t we? You stay safe too, Andrew. No more clubbing til 5am. At least not until this is behind us.

Good morning Bernie. I just finished listening to your Off the Cuff comments and first off want thank your honest and straight forward reporting style. I’ve followed your work for years, and although I haven’t always agreed with everything you write, I do find myself better informed and taken away something to think about. The current state of the journalistic world has been of grave concern to me many years now. Without going into detail nitpicking, what I feel the shortcomings are, that would take a dissertation I’m in no way prepared to submit, let’s suffice to say I’m unhappy with both sides of the conversation. I would like to hear your thoughts on the possibility of mainstream journalism returning to a more honest and responsible baseline. I keep waiting for the population to wake up and realize how far off the rails things have gone and demand a return to quality information. Or am I just whistling in the dark? Gleefully Isolated in Kansas — Matthew W.

First, thanks Matthew for the kind words. Now to the dark side. You’re right, too much journalism is indeed “off the rails.” It’s beyond bias. It’s corruption. Can it come back and once again be what journalism is supposed to be?  Theoretically it can. But in reality … I’m not so sure. As I’ve said before, cable TV news, where hardcore news junkies get their information, is not a journalism model. It’s a business model. Cable news outlets are giving the customer what the customer wants, which is: validate my views; tell me I’m right to hold those views; don’t confront my biases; don’t challenge me to think differently than I do. The un-indicted co-conspirators in all of this are the consumers of news. As long as they continue to watch and support corrupt news organizations … that’s what they’ll continue to get.

There seems to be a messaging effort underway by pro-Trump media people (not so much Trump himself) to try and marginalize the number of deaths being caused by the coronavirus. On Wednesday, Bill O’Reilly said that “many people who are dying, both here and around the world, were on their last legs anyway.”

Others are saying that if someone infected with the coronavirus dies, COVID-19 should NOT be cited as the cause of their death…IF that person had underlying conditions. For example, they’re saying that if someone with a heart condition becomes infected with the coronavirus, and their body is weakened/stressed to the point that they have a heart attack and die, that person’s death should NOT be added to the national tally of COVID-19 deaths (because it was technically the heart attack that killed him) 

This strikes me as ridiculous, being that such people would certainly still be alive, had it not been for the coronavirus. Your thoughts? — Ben G.

My thoughts are pretty much the same as yours, Ben. You want to know how polarized we’ve become in this country: We’re even using a killer virus to make political points. I’m beyond disgusted.

Bernie, I try to take people seriously who seek power. The Democrats in my view have sent clear signals how they feel about income and wealth inequality. One way to achieve greater equality in those spheres is to impose confiscatory taxes. Another way is to simply destroy wealth. The latter is not worrisome to those seeking to level the playing field, especially if they believe that no societal harm would ensue by their simply printing and distributing more money ( and of course their overall belief that their compassion and wisdom will allow them to achieve their objectives without long term negative unintended consequences). This is one of the underpinning foundations of leftist economists pushing MMT (modern monetary theory). Am I off my rocker or should we be worried about whether those who want to keep the economy closed have a motive beyond just flattening the curve? — Mike F.

You’re not off your rocker, Mike. If the left ever takes control of our government — not liberals, but progressive leftists, Bernie Sanders types — it’s game over. They will destroy the economy … all in the name of doing good. As for their motive: They tell us they want everyone to have a good life … so far so good.  But to achieve that they have to confiscate money from one group and give it to another. But corporations and the super rich don’t have nearly enough money to fund what these leftists want. Earlier I said, IF they get into power. My fear is that WHEN they take over is more like it.

(Editor’s note: the below question was shortened due to length):

My wife leans left. I lean right (libertarian). We argue about is media bias. She claims “it’s the money” that causes reporters and commentators to present issues the way that they do. She also correctly points out that FOX News and talk radio are “disgustingly biased toward the right side of the political isle.”

My response: FOX News and talk radio DO skew to the right, but NOBODY except the partisans would’ve ever paid attention to Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and others if news icons like Dan Rather had been fair and honest in their reporting in the first place! FOX News wouldn’t even exist (nor conservative talk radio, nor would your book “Bias”) had the MSM NOT been so biased.

I tell her the conservative media (and Trump too) are not the problem, but rather SYMPTOMS of a bigger problem. They are a response to the negative and misrepresented portrayals of conservatives and their ideas.

My wife says that “saying the other side started it is a childish argument.” Well, maybe…maybe not. I’ve often heard left wingers say that the civil rights movement (and the Black Power movement, and the Weather Underground et al) began because conservatives “started it” by denying marginalized groups their civil rights.

In your opinion, which is it? Are Trump and the conservative media a legit response to all the bullying and dishonesty, or are they an overreaction using a grade school excuse of “they started it” simply to justify themselves? — “THEY Started It!” and Happy Passover Regards, From The Emperor

Whoever started it, it’s become a journalistic mess. It’s true that Roger Ailes created Fox as a way to counter liberal media. But then Fox — the channel’s opinion shows — became knee jerk supporters of the president … just as CNN and MSNBC are knee jerk enemies of the president. I loathe both sides. Let’s say liberals in the media did “start it.” Are Hannity and Ingraham the response we really want? I sure as hell don’t. Say hi to your wife for me. Does she have a title t0o, like Mrs. Emperor?

Do you remember the TV show from the 50s, Who Do You Trust? Johnny Carson was the host for about five years. The question is very apropos today where we get inconsistent answers from so-called experts. The UN and its “scientists” have lied about global warming. The media runs stories without any fact checking, rarely admits its errors and then proceeds to do it again the next day. And of course the President ( and various other pols) makes statements that are withdrawn or contradicted. So, Bernie, in 2020, who do you trust? — Mike

Excellent question, Mike. I check out several sources … but don’t take any of them (anymore) at face value. That’s a shame, really, because we should trust the media and the experts. But both have gotten things so wrong for so long that you’d be foolish to automatically believe what they tell us. Too often, both journalists and even scientific experts have a political ax to grind.  So in 2020, who do I trust? I trust my family and my friends. But in the worlds of journalism and politics and (sadly) even science:  I’m with Reagan. Trust but verify. By the way, I was in the audience for one of the Who Do You Trust shows way back when.

Hi Bernie, I’ve been seeing advertising from The Epoch Times. They seem to be conservative and anti-communist but they’ve been banned by FaceBook. They support Trump. Do you have any insight on them? — Paul M.

I don’t follow Epoch Times, Paul, but I did find this on Wikipedia: “The group’s news sites and YouTube channels have spread conspiracy theories such as QAnon and anti-vaccination propaganda.

Beyond that, I don’t know enough to comment.


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