Off the Cuff: When Michael Jordan Came to My Rescue

When I went public about liberal media bias in 1996, Dan Rather and many others at CBS News were furious with me. But one unexpected individual came to my defense.

That’s the topic of today’s Off the Cuff audio commentary.

You can listen to it by clicking on the play (arrow) button below.

 

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Bernie’s Q&A: Rather, Schultz, Stengel, The Sopranos, “Fake News”, Palestine, Abortion and More (4/19)

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

Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):


Really enjoy the weekly Q&A. I have been thinking a lot about the potential impact if H Schultz runs in 2020 as an independent. While it is very unlikely he could garner a majority of the electoral college votes, I have read nothing about the possibility of his winning a few states and thereby depriving the two major party candidates of an electoral college majority. Do you think this could occur, what states are the best targets, and if this were to occur any predictions as to how Speaker Pelosi would deal with the resulting circus that would then take place in the House and the MSM? — Michael F.

I don’t believe Howard Schultz will run, Michael. So I think the rest is moot. But …

It’s clear that if he does, Donald Trump almost certainly will win re-election. Schultz would split the Democratic vote opening the door to a Trump second term.  I don’t believe his candidacy will deprive either major party candidate of the electoral votes they need to win.  As you say, “very unlikely.” Schultz believes in many things, high on the list is that Donald Trump needs to go.  He, Schultz, is a smart man and can figure out that he’d be the spoiler.  People will convince him not to run.  Donald Trump should pray that he does.

Have you read Ilan Pappe’s book “The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine?” It seems to me that until the well documented actions of the Israelis are addressed that there will be no peace in the Middle East. — Thomas W.

I have not read the book, but it seems to me that until the Palestinians decide they love their children more than they hate the Israelis there also will be no peace.  We can argue the pros and cons of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  But let’s not forget the Israelis have already tried “land for peace.”  They gave back every inch of Gaza and got, not peace, but rockets on a daily basis.  The Palestinians a while back had a chance to get 95 percent of what they claim to want, and turned the deal down. As the great Israeli diplomat Abba Eban once said:  “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

I have been a fan for many years. I find you to be a consistent and rational source w/ about how the national media operates. W/ regard to FOX News Channel I wonder if you would agree w/ this. While I don’t watch FNC opinion programming I understand why it is there (same w/ MSNBC and CNN). But I find that the ‘news’ division inside FNC to be the most balanced of the national broadcast media. Chris Wallace, Shepard Smith, Bret Baier, and many of the correspondents do a reasonably good job of covering both sides of the news. Far better than any other national organization. But since both ‘news’ and ‘opinion’ programming are rolled up under one brand they get confused. What isn’t confusing – rather blatant – would be MSNBC and Andrea Mitchell. She has/had a daytime opinion program and then would report in the evening for NBC News as their Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent which breaks the ‘golden rule’ for a news organization and any journalist. This is where a set of enforceable rules would be handy. W/ regard to FNC maybe they could create another channel (think FBC) called FNC News for their news division and keep their opinion shows on FNC. It could create a revenue opportunity while helping the national media get back on track. — Chuck

I’m with you, Chuck.  In terms of straight news reporting, Fox is way ahead of CNN and MSBNC.  I also agree that when a hard news reporter has an opinion show then covers foreign affairs for the network it creates problems.  We shouldn’t know how a hard news reporter feels about any subject she’s  covering.  You’re also correct when you say news and opinion get rolled under one brand — and cause confusion.  As for creating a news channel and a separate opinion channel:  First, FNC would have to do opinion all day long (which some people think already happens) — and then do news all day long on a separate channel.  The former would be torture (for me) and the latter wouldn’t be interesting enough for a mass audience.  Interesting thought, though.

I’m surprised and a bit dismayed to read your words in the last Q&A to the effect that fake “made up” news is a rarity in media journalism today. For the past two and half years we’ve endured blatantly false news reporting nearly every day by the likes of CNN and others promulgating a preposterous “Trump is Russia” narrative based on a discredited dossier. We saw similar bad faith media reporting on Judge Kavanaugh as possible college serial rapist allowing Michael Avenatti a platform for his clients’ ludicrous accusations. So please tell me what difference there is in the media’s making up its own false news stories or reporting false news stories—via other sources—such as the FBI leak of the Steele Dossier? — Phillip R.

Fair enough, Phillip.  Legitimate question.

Donald Trump has said, repeatedly, that journalists “make up” sources and that this constitutes “fake news.” If they did make up sources, he’d be right.  But except for the very rare cases, they don’t.  Getting things wrong is not “fake news.” I’ve said before that journalists have made mistakes and they seem to go in one direction — the anti-Trump direction, and that this constitutes bias.  Bias, while not a good thing, is not “fake news.”  If the media believe sources that aren’t telling the truth, the villain first, is the source with an ax to grind and second, the journalist who should have been more skeptical.  If you define “fake news” as putting out stories based on speculation that turns out not to be true, Ok, then it’s fake news.  That’s not my definition and more importantly, it’s not really Donald Trump’s definition.  Again, he has repeatedly said that reporters just make stuff up.  Not true.  That said, you make good points about the constant drumbeat of negative stories about the Donald Trump and Russia.  That tells me that too many journalists have it in for this president.  But that’s just not the same as concocting sources out of nothing.

Hello Mr. Goldberg: In your book “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America” you have a chapter on Al Franken. You mentioned that Casey Stengel used to line up his players and talk nonsense to them and “he wasn’t joking.” I’m not much of a sports fan, so I have to ask: what kind of gibberish would Casey Stengel spout at the players, and why did he do it if he wasn’t joking? Was this some kind of head game he was playing? What would be the purpose? And while I’m at it, in “A Slobbering Love Affair” I recall that there were some documents from Barack Obama’s college years that you mentioned were being held under wraps, and you were wondering what is in them. Could you please elaborate? Which documents were you specifically referring to? What do you think would be revealed? Finally, why can’t they be revealed? Mr. Obama is a public figure, so such information (along with Donald Trump’s tax returns) SHOULD be made public, shouldn’t they? What’s the holdup? Best Regards –The Emperor

There’s a lot in your question(s), Emperor and I have to be someplace by mid-December, but I’ll give it a try.

Casey Stengel would go on and on when chatting with reporters, bouncing from one subject to the next without so much as a breath in between.  He was a character.  At spring training one year he told his players to line up in alphabetical order — according to height.  He must be on Google someplace.  You have to listen to him to truly understand how “entertaining” he was.

As for Mr. Obama’s records:  They’re not public records, they were college records.  His grades, his term papers, anything he might have put on paper that would give us a clue to his thinking then — and maybe during his presidency.

The holdup is that he’s never given Columbia (or any of the other colleges he attended) permission to release whatever they have. And since it’s all private, the public has no legal right to know what’s there.  Why hasn’t he released his college info?  That’s what’s so intriguing.

It seems to me, as the news media becomes more and more of an entertainment product, that there’s an unprecedented amount of importance placed on the youth and looks of news commentators. Of course, it has long been an advantage in television journalism to be good looking (news organizations and producers strive for an attractive news presentation). But in recent years and especially on cable news (most noticeably on Fox), I feel as if it has become somewhat of an overriding factor on the opinion side — overriding in the sense that if someone has the “right look”, they are not necessarily expected to be able to put forth serious or informed commentary, even when seated at discussion tables alongside individuals who can and do.

Do you feel that today’s cable news audiences for the most part even notice this type of thing, or feel insulted by it? Or do you think they just appreciate the “eye candy,” as long as that person is saying the stuff they want to hear? — Andrew D.

There’s plenty of eye candy on cable, most notably at Fox, as you say.  But a lot of those attractive people are also pretty smart.  Not all, but more than you’d think.  Let’s not assume that a beautiful woman can’t also be a very smart woman. Here’s what’s not a good thing, especially for women:  If you’re a good journalist, but not especially attractive, you’re going to have a tough time getting an on-air job at places like Fox.  That’s troubling.  But the audience isn’t complaining — especially the guys watching the women show leg on Fox shows.  They don’t call it Infotainment for nothing, Andrew.

By any chance have you ever watched the Big Interview with Dan Rather? It’s on AXS TV. Dan has some really interesting guests, which is why i’ve watched it a few times, but I’m very surprised by how bad of an interviewer he is. The questions are surprisingly bad and he seems quite unprepared. I don’t recall what kind of interviewer he was when he was with CBS News. Was he generally good back then? — Beverly

I have watched the show, Beverly, and when the guests are interesting I like it.  Regarding Dan:  He’s not out to grill his guests on a show like this.  He’s there to be a pal and have a conversation with them.  I’ve long believed that the most important single factor that makes for a good interview … is the person being interviewed.  If he or she is interesting and engaging, the interview will be a success.  Yes, the interviewer can screw things up by not asking good questions or not listening and missing a needed follow up question.  But for The Big Interview, Dan is fine.  As far as how he did at CBS News, he did good work.  The problem with Dan — and I’ve said this before — is that he was either unwilling or unable to take serious criticism seriously.

Years ago I remember you talking to O’Reilly on Fox about The Sopranos. You had some pretty deep thoughts on the show, and you were clearly a fan. Are there any current television series, or series since then, that you really enjoy and would perhaps place in the same league? — Jeff P.

My favorite show is Homeland on Showtime. I’m a HUGE fan!  I watch Billions on Showtime but it’s not in the same league as the Sopranos or Homeland.  I also watch Curb Your Enthusiasm on HBO — and each week root for Larry David to get hit by a bus.  Not in real life, of course.  It’s just that he’s so annoying in that role — which I suspect is not that much different from Larry David in real life. I watch almost nothing on network TV — except big sporting events and every now and then Shark Tank. I recently watched the 6 part series The Bodyguard on Netflix and thought it was pretty good — but not great.

Mr. G., In view of the vitriol being tossed back and forth, between AOC and her ilk, and Mr. Trump, do you think we’ll ever see real civility in politics ever again? — Terry & Kathi

That’s the $64 million dollar question.  My gut answer is … no.  Things have gotten so bad, so uncivil, that I see no path back to reasoned, decent disagreement.  All I see is Resistance.  I used to think that a national tragedy would bring us together.  9/11 did.  For about 10 minutes then it was back to what passes for “normal.”  Maybe if a charismatic politician comes along who shows “the other side” respect and calls on his team to also show respect … maybe then things would change.  But I must sound like Pollyanna saying that.  I don’t see that person on the horizon. I’m pessimistic, Terry and Kathi.

With very few journalists such as yourself, it’s hard to biased journalists to really make a name for themselves anymore. They just parrot each other. Will it ever become fashionable again to take a more clear and honest approach to journalism? Unbiased! — Paul M.

For quite a while now, journalism in America has lost the trust and confidence of the American people.  And for good reason. As long as bias sells, things won’t change.  And make no mistake, it does sell.  News organizations — and not just cable TV — have made a business decision:  give the audience what it wants.  Don’t challenge its biases.  Instead, validate what the viewers  already believe, what they already think about Donald Trump or the Democrats.  As long as that model continues to bring in money, things won’t change.  The viewer or the reader is an indicted co-conspirator as far as I’m concerned.  They’re not asking for change.  They like it when CNN, MSNBC, Fox, The NY Times, et al give them what they want.  That said, there’s some good journalism going on.  But too much slanted journalism .

After the David Shaw series in the L.A. Times detailing an abortion-rights bias in the newsrooms, I thought that the media would look at how it reports on these stories and stop giving it a slant. That was 29 years ago. Do you feel that reporting on abortion has changed for the better? — Alex

I once jokingly suggested that we need affirmative action in America’s newsrooms for a minority group vastly under-represented in the world of journalism.  That minority was conservative journalists.  After a while, I stopped joking about it and started pitching it for real.  I don’t want conservative journalists to bring their opinions and biases into the newsroom — any more than I want liberal journalists to bring their opinions and biases into the newsroom.  But with so few conservatives in journalism, abortion coverage — to use the example you mention — is seen through a liberal, pro-abortion rights prism.  With more conservatives we’d have a different perspective injected into the conversation.  A conservative might see how a story on “late term” abortion is being discussed in the newsroom and chime in with a different position.  I don’t follow abortion coverage closely enough to answer your question beyond what I’ve already suggested, but I’m pretty sure some diversity of opinion in the newsroom would make abortion coverage — and a lot more — a lot better.

Have you read Michael Luo’s article “The Urgent Quest for Slower, Better News”? What is your take on Slow Media (e.g. Delayed Gratification, Tortoise Media) and its pros and cons? — John M.

Sorry, John, I know nothing about this.

 


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Bernie’s Q&A: When Geraldo Threatened Me; Dan Rather, Ben Shapiro, The Conways, and More (3/22)

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

Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):


Several years ago, Geraldo Rivera — on The O’Reilly Factor — threatened to give you a “bloody nose” over some comments you had made about his well-documented bias on Mexican immigration issues. (Editor’s note: the video is embedded below). Do you know if there was any disciplinary action taken against Rivera for physically threatening a network colleague? Also, what was your reaction to his comment? Did you talk to anyone at Fox about it? — Ben J.

I thought he sounded like a jerk and let it go at that.  I doubt Fox said or did anything about it.  Fine with me.  Geraldo gets excitable at times.  No harm no foul.

In light of the views and behavior of Ihan Omar and “AOC”, do you think they are a potential albatross for the dems, or an actual catalyst for bringing socialism to fruition? — Terry H.

Interesting question, Terry. I’m guessing the grownups in the party will give AOC and maybe Omar “movie money” during the campaign to get them away from cameras and microphones.  If they keep talking, yes, it could hurt the Democrats.  But I’m not betting on it.  As you suggest in your question, there are plenty of hard-left “progressives” who love what they’re saying.

I read your books years ago, and there were a few things about Dan Rather that I’m curious about. Was Dan raised in any particular religion, and if so, did he practice any particular religion? Was he religious at all or is he atheist/agnostic? Thank you for these Q&A sessions, Mr. Goldberg. They are much appreciated. — Ted B.

Don’t know about Dan’s religious background.  But he grew up blue collar in Texas so I’ll go out on a limb and say he didn’t grow up atheist.  Sorry I’m not much help on his religious leanings — then or now.  But I’ll say this:  Dan’s a good guy who has one major journalistic flaw:  He’s either unwilling or unable to take serious criticism seriously.  His tendency when the term “liberal bias” pops up is to do what most journalists do:  circle the wagons.  God bless him!

Wanted to get your opinion. I think Laura Ingraham does a great job on Fox and is really bright. Her name didn’t come up on your list of the best commentators. What am I missing, too much pro-Trump? On Juan [Williams], I just have to say that when he said he was concerned that Trump, if he lost in 2020, might not leave office voluntarily, that seemed ridiculous. Trump the businessman, will be happy to get back to his empire. Could the left really think that Trump would balk when the people speak? Juan lost me on that one. — Jim A.

He lost me too.  I know Juan and like him.  He’s a bright guy.  But this is what Trump has done to people:  made them a little nuts.  The notion that Trump wouldn’t leave office struck you as ridiculous.  Struck me the same way.  As for Laura, she is bright.  Ivy League.  Not my cup of tea.  Yes, too pro-Trump and not enough hard-nosed analysis when it comes to the president.  But she’s better than some others on the channel.

Do you think if Robert F. Kennedy hadn’t been assassinated that he would have (i) won the Democratic nomination, and (ii) beaten Richard Nixon? — James P.

That’s like saying, “Besides that Mrs. Lincoln, how’d you like the show.”  Just kidding.  Who knows, but I’d say there would have been a good chance.  He was charismatic unlike Nixon and likable, unlike Nixon.  If I had to guess, I’d say Bobby or Dicky.

Many point to the repealing of the Fairness Doctrine in the late 1980’s as the beginning of extreme one-sided politicized reporting. Fox News was one of the first instigators. What are you thoughts about the doctrine in light of the state of the news today? — Mike S.

I don’t think the federal government should be in the business of dictating content.  But you’re right, without mandated balance broadcasters were free to put on whomever they wanted — and there’s more money in hot opinion than in lukewarm moderation.

Mr G, What’s been your favorite role in your media career? (And it’s OK to brag on how many roles you’ve had – local reporter, network, cable sports, AP, pontificator, NYTimes best selling author and thorn in their side…) — Gregg H.

I never really thought about that, Gregg, so thank you for encouraging me to consider your question.  I think I like long-form TV journalism — magazine news reporting as in my work at Real Sports at HBO — and when it’s not a food fight, I also like doing commentary.  I got my start at the AP and I’m grateful for that.  But wire service writing and reporting, and local TV, were not my favorites.

As a follower of Jesus Christ, my Christian convictions lead me to seek folks rooted in traditional thinking. To that end, Ben Shapiro is a person I trust to give me a fair assessment of any subject worth covering. I’m sure he’s a fan of yours. What is your opinion of him and if invited, would you do a guest interview on his daily show or his Sunday Special? — D-Rock

I have no idea if Ben is a fan or if he even knows who I am.  I like him.  He’s smart.  And yes, if asked, I’d be a guest on either of his shows.

A few years ago, you were on O’Reilly’s show. I think it was a Friday. I forget what the discussion was about. But toward the end of your segment, you said you wanted to voice a criticism of FNC and that O’Reilly might not invite you back as a consequence. O’Reilly kept interrupting you before you could articulate the criticism. Soon thereafter – I think it was the following Monday – O’Reilly had you on and purportedly gave you the opportunity to say what you wanted to say on the show before. I forget what you said, but it was something mealy mouthed. You then proceeded to thank O’Reilly for allowing you to speak freely. What was the criticism of Fox News that you originally wanted to make that you thought might have you disinvited to O’Reilly’s show? If you don’t want to answer the question, I understand. I’m also curious as to the backstory. Did O’Reilly call or e-mail you to warn you about straying too far off the reservation? I know, that’s a second question and you probably don’t want to answer it. O’Reilly was so good to you. It would probably be disloyal to answer this question. — Bob H.

Mealy mouthed?  Me?  Surely you jest.

I remember the incident but have no recollection of the specifics.  O’Reilly is a fair guy and he knew I got short changed.  That’s why he had me back on.  It’s possible that I let his producer know I wasn’t happy.  But whether I did or not, Bill wasn’t afraid to hear me out.

It’s possible that I had just criticized something about the liberal media and wanted to make a point that Fox was guilty too.  That’s what it sounds like, all these years later, but I can’t say for sure.  I barely remember what I had for breakfast.

There is a young progressive YouTuber named Kyle Kulinski. His show is called Secular Talk. While he makes no secret about being a leftist progressive, he does seem to be somewhat fair in his commentary, although I don’t always agree with him. Recently he was supposed to debate Ann Coulter at Politicon, but she backed off. He eventually debated Jessie Lee Peterson on Peterson’s show. I would love to see an honest debate between two intelligent people from opposite ends of the spectrum, like Kulinsky and you or Ben Shapiro. I would say the same thing about you and Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and Dan Rather. Is there any chance of you reaching out to Kulinsky for a debate or even a discussion on his show? How about the others I mentioned? — The Emperor

No.  I know nothing about YouTubers.  Sorry.  Old School.  But once upon a time there was a show on TV that you’re yearning for. It was called Firing Line, hosted by Bill Buckley.  Every week Buckley would debate some other smart person.  It was civil and great TV.

I get that TV is a business and TV news is business, big business. So why would large capitalist business’ like NBC, CNN, ABC, CBS seem to push leftist, socialist ideas? Some say George Soros is behind everything, but he can’t possibly “buy” all of these large institutions. Can he? What is the motivation? — Doug R.

I used to wonder the very same thing, Doug.  But then it hit me:  The only thing that trumps money is ideology.  Even if they lose viewers by being too liberal or too conservative, ideology wins out. But then they figured out a way to make money by pushing ideology.  Fox, CNN and MSNBC disseminate  strong liberal and conservative opinions — which pleases their audiences.  Hence, money.

I have concluded that the Democratic Party died when Senator Lieberman retired from Congress and the Republican Party has faded away since Ronald Reagan finished his second term. The Dems should be rebranded the New Democratic Socialist (OXYMORON) Party and the Repubs renamed the RINO WHIG Do NOTHING Democratic Socialist (OXYMORON) Liters. I believe the BIG difference b between the 2 Parties in the 21st Century is that the OXYMORON Party wants “fundamental transformation” NOW and the RINO WHIGS just want the change to be slow. Your thoughts? — Geoff M.

Let me get back to you, Geoff.  I just re-read your question and my head hurts.  That said, you’re not alone in your unhappiness with BOTH parties.  Whichever party captures the middle ground — even if it offends the purists on the ends — will win.  At least that’s been our history.

In your opinion is it becoming hard for President Trump to govern the country with all the personal distractions and accusations he faces everyday? — George V.

Let’s just say it can’t be easy to govern when you’re surrounded by non-stop controversy and at times chaos.  If — and let me emphasis the word IF — the special prosecutor comes up with anything that shouts trouble for the president, these will look like the good old days.  That’s when distractions will really take a toll.  But that’s only “if” at this point.

I think many people are perplexed about the relationship of Kellyanne Conway and husband, George. How about this… When Trump’s done, she’s done. Kinda like what happened to Spicer. George, a Harvard/Yale guy, now becomes the Man, as he had the stones to speak “truth to power”…and, the money machine doesn’t stop. Any validity? — Mike S.

I know nothing about their personal at-home relationship, Mike, but out in the open George is putting his wife in a tough position.  Kind of unfair, I think. He says Trump has a mental disorder.  Trump calls him a “whack job.” And Kellyanne says you think the president is “just should take that sitting down?”  My people have a term for this:  OY VEY!  Would be interesting to be the proverbial fly on the wall when they’re at home and the subject comes up.

Hi Bernie, In the 30+ years that I’ve been visiting Miami, Joe’s Stone Crab has always been my go-to for a great and uniquely Miami place to dine. As a long time resident of Miami, I’m wondering if you have a favorite place to eat for lunch or dinner. — Keith M.

My favorite restaurant ON PLANET EARTH … Is Joe’s Stone Crab on South Beach.  And I don’t even eat the Stone Crabs.   I LOVE the place.  Recommend it highly!!!


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My Few Minutes with Andy Rooney

Now that Andy Rooney is calling it quits after 1,097 TV essays on 60 Minutes, I thought I’d like to share a little story regarding something Andy said about Dan Rather, me, and liberal bias in the news.

My first book, Bias, came out ten years ago and caused quite a stir.  Liberal journalists hated it – and me!   The book was an insider’s story about how liberal bias at CBS News, where I had worked for 28 years, and at the rest of the mainstream media actually operated.  I was on lots of radio and TV shows talking about the book, but one show I was not on was the Larry King Live on CNN.

Larry, or probably his liberal producer, had no interest in having me on.  And since I have no constitutional right to be on Larry’s show, or anyone else’s, I had no problem with the decision.  Besides, my book was number one on the New York Times bestseller list without any help from Larry.

But Larry did have a number of other journalists on over time to talk about the news business in general and at some point Larry would inevitably ask what they thought of Bias.  One of those journalists was Andy Rooney.

When Larry asked about my book and about liberal bias in the news, Andy was Andy – direct and to the point  “There is no question that I – [Andy Rooney] – among others, have a liberal bias,” he said.

I didn’t care about Andy’s liberal bias.  He was a commentator and was entitled to his opinions, no matter how liberal.  But who were the “among others” who had a liberal bias?  That remark had me leaning forward in my chair as I watched the interview.

Then Andy answered the question with this bombshell: “I think Dan [Rather] is transparently liberal.  Now he may not like to hear me say that.  I always agree with him, too.  But I think he should be more careful.”

Wow!  Andy Rooney – one of the elder statesmen of television journalism — had just acknowledged that conservatives had been right all along.  He had just outed Dan Rather on national television.  Dan Rather was transparently liberal. Even I had never said anything that inflammatory.  This was news.  Big news.  Or so I thought.

The Washington Times, a conservative newspaper, ran the Rooney quote, but no other news organization did.  No other newspaper, no television station, no news magazine, no nothing.

Not one media writer found it newsworthy that such a major TV news personality had just said that the anchor of the CBS Evening News was “transparently liberal” – a charge Rather had heard before, many times, but always from conservatives.  It always made him fume.

These are the same media writers who had devoted columns to Rather’s haircut or his salary or Katie Couric’s wardrobe.  But this – liberal bias at CBS News — they simply ignored.  Liberal bias in the so-called mainstream media was – and still is – a subject the media elites don’t want to take too seriously; if they do, their whole house of cards might come tumbling down.

So the subject went out not with a bang, but with a pathetic whimper.

But before Andy went out, he had one more observation for Larry King, this one aimed right at me.  He told Larry that I “just [had] a great knack for being a jerk.”  Hey, I’d been called a lot worse, so this shot didn’t register on my give-a-crap meter.  I just assumed Andy was covering his rear end, making sure the CBS News brass knew whose side he was on.

It wasn’t enough.  Not long after Rooney said what he said about Rather, the you-know-what hit the fan at CBS headquarters in New York.  A top CBS News executive took Andy to the woodshed for daring to speak the truth.  Andy later told me the executive said he was “disloyal” to say those things about Dan being transparently liberal.

But that isn’t the end of the story.  Not long after he went on Larry King’s show and got his knuckles rapped, Rooney wrote this in his nationally syndicated column:  “As a guest on the Larry King show a few weeks ago, I said some things in answer to his questions, that I would have been better off lying about or avoiding.  It was not that the people who objected to what I said necessarily thought I was wrong.  They thought I shouldn’t have said it.  In my own defense, I told a boss of mine that I thought if all the truth were known by everyone, it would be a better world.  He scoffed.  I think ‘scoff’ is what he did.  I know he rejected the idea.”

Translation:  As far as Andy Rooney and his bosses at CBS News were concerned, when it came to talking about liberal bias in the news, dishonesty was the best policy.  Taking the Fifth and never uttering the words “liberal bias” was an even better policy.

And here’s the capper:  After mulling it over for a while, Andy concludes right there in his column that his boss was right.  “I’ve thought about it,” he wrote, “and in retrospect decided he was right in dismissing what I had to say.  Our lives could not survive all the truth about everything.”

A while later I wrote Andy a letter.  This is part of it:

“It’s really pretty simple, Andy:  It’s not good for news guys to lie.  Not even by omission.  Not about the news anyway.  If you want to lie about how many times a day Jennifer Lopez sneaks into your office and says she can’t live without you, no problem.

“But when you start to lie about the serous stuff — or simply “avoid” the subject — you cause real problems for honest journalists …

“The bottom line, Andy, is not just whether a news media that behaves this way can survive.  It’s whether it even deserves to.

Your pal,

Bernie Goldberg”




Goldberg Undercover- Segment 2: 48 Hours On Crack Street- “The Streets”

This is the second segment in a special three part series of a groundbreaking documentary that aired in 1986.

[bitsontherun krWEZrYT]