As a longtime writing contributor to this website (as well as a manager of some of the social media tied to it), I see a lot of feedback relating to Bernie Goldberg’s columns. So when Bernie talked to me about the idea of creating a Premium Membership (a move he had been weighing for quite some time), I had a pretty good idea of what readers might like from it.
One of those things was ‘question and answer’ access to Bernie, on topics related to politics, culture, and of course the media. Truth be told, Bernie (wisely) doesn’t spend a lot of time on social media, where a lot of these questions are posed. And at a time when media bias has become far less subtle (and far more shameless) then ever before, people have a lot of questions for the guy who literally wrote the book — the definitive book — on the topic.
Because Bernie is no longer on Fox News to answer these types of questions (more on that in a minute), I suggested a Premium Q&A offering once a week, where members can send their questions to Bernie and have them answered directly. Bernie okayed the idea, and that feature is now ready to go. It comes with the Premium Interactive membership, which you can read about here. Answers will be posted every Friday on this website.
That brings me to one particular question to Bernie that I’ve seen a lot from people ask over the past year: Why aren’t you on Fox News anymore?
Well, Bernie finally answered that question in his first premium column, and the piece is a must-read. He explains his status with network, the changing culture at Fox in the post-Ailes era, and why he no longer fit FNC’s preferred mold.
The piece has certainly generated some buzz. It has been covered by multiple political and media websites (Newsweek sensationalized it to the point of absurdity), and shared by a number of journalists. Bernie has also received several interview requests to further explore the topic (we’ll announce his upcoming appearances on social media). But what’s interesting to me is which parts of Bernie’s column, thus far, haven’t been reported or commented on by the news outlets.
For example, Bernie relays a 2012 exchange he had with the late Roger Ailes, back when Ailes was still running the show at Fox. In that exchange, Ailes expressed his belief that media bias should be policed not just on the liberal side, but also on the conservative side. And he (unlike others at the network) had no problem with Bernie doing just that.
I have yet to see that mentioned in any of the reports (or even tweets), nor have I seen any references to Bernie telling Ailes that Fox News was vitally important to the media for allowing voices that the mainstream networks wouldn’t give the time of day to.
Granted, the more topical part of Bernie’s column was the current, prominently pro-Trump environment at Fox (which is both embarrassing and detrimental to news consumers), but the Ailes stuff is important too because it highlights the elements that helped make Fox News successful in the first place — elements that mainstream news organizations could have learned from and emulated, but instead mocked and tried to de-legitimize.
Of course, that was the Fox News of yesteryear. Not the Fox News of today, where dissent is only valued in the interest of combative entertainment, when it comes from an opposition-party foil.
But some things in the cable news industry haven’t changed, notably the incapacity of left-leaning journalists to police their own side — even those of them who bill themselves as impartial media analysts or watchdogs.
Case in point, I knew Bernie’s piece would be shared by CNN’s Brian Stelter:
Bernie Goldberg (!) -> “The main source of fake news in America isn’t NYT or the Post or CNN. It’s the president.” https://t.co/K7tnENyDXo
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 10, 2017
But as someone keenly pointed out on Twitter, not so much (actually never) when it comes to a different topic — one that Bernie talks and writes about much more often:
The one time Brian RTs @BernardGoldberg is when he is hitting FNC. Never when Bernie is hitting the MSM.
— Chris (@CML_Texas) March 6, 2019
In fact, Stelter once even tried to cast Bernie as part of a Fox News propaganda effort. I’m not joking. He tweeted this a little over a year ago, in response to an FNC segment:
Did the president produce this Fox News segment himself? pic.twitter.com/tFcoVXP0Ar
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 22, 2017
What Stelter failed to mention was that Bernie spent half of that segment blaming Trump himself for the press’s negative coverage of him. If that’s what constitutes pro-Trump propaganda, it was the worst pro-Trump propaganda ever delivered. But that’s how committed people like Stelter are to pursuing anti-Fox News, anti-Trump narratives.
And it’s another reminder that where Fox News is failing, the other cable news networks aren’t succeeding.