Three Cheers or One?

Did you hear the one about how President Obama, upon taking office, learned that the economy was in even worse shape than he thought – so in order to save money, he had to fire 17 journalists.

The reason the joke works is that it has (more than) a ring of truth to it.  The media has been slobbering all over Mr. Obama ever since he said he wanted to be president.  So it came as a great big surprise the other day when the so-called mainstream media went to bat for the president’s least favorite news organization, the anti-Christ itself, FOX News, and in the process took a swipe at the president they love so much.

Here’s how the FOX Web site reported the story about Presidsent Obama’s “pay czar”:

The Treasury Department on Thursday tried to make “pay czar” Kenneth Feinberg available for interviews to every member of the network pool except Fox News. The pool is the five-network rotation that for decades has shared the costs and duties of daily coverage of the presidency and other Washington institutions

But the Washington bureau chiefs of the five TV networks consulted and decided that none of their reporters would interview Feinberg unless Fox News was included. The pool informed Treasury that Fox News, as a member of the network pool, could not be excluded from such interviews under the rules of the pool.”

For this, ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN (the other members of the pool along with FOX) have been hailed as defenders of a free press, courageous, and even “noble” by my FOX pal, Bill O’Reilly.  The conventional wisdom is that the so-called mainstream media had finally had enough, that they would no longer be consciencetious objectors in the White House’s War on FOX News, that now they were standing with FOX because if the Chicago Mafia in the White House could exclude FOX … they could exclude anybody.

To which I say:  Maybe.

The more I think about it, the more I believe the Chicago mob is looking more and more like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.  But not simply for overplaying their hand against FOX.  The mistake Emanuel, Axelrod and company made, I believe, was merely tactical.  They offered the “pay czar” interview to the pool – and the pool had no choice but to do what it did.   Members of the pool have to stick together.  Those are the rules.

But consider this:  What if the White House had offered up the “pay czar” to each of the networks individually – and not as members of the pool.  What if the Obama administration had asked NBC News if it wanted the inerview, then CBS, then ABC and CNN – seperately.  Do we really think any of them would have said, “Are you offering the interview to FOX?  If FOX is excluded, we won’t do the interview either.”  Two words on that:  NO WAY!

In other words, the MSM might not be as courageous and noble as they’re being made out to be.  And if the Chicago Mafia is so dopey as to try this stunt again – next time by avoiding the pool – we’ll know for sure if “mainstream” journalists finally turned a corner.  If they say, “If you exclude FOX we decline the interview” then I will happily give them three great big cheers.  But if they look the other way and  do the interview — and allow FOX to be boycotted, isolated and marginalized by the White House — then the accolades for the “mainstream media,” like notices about Mark Twain’s death, will turn out to be premature.

So far I give the MSM one cheer.  The jury is out on the other two.

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  • Jim Phelps

    By offering the interview to the Pool, and by excluding FOX from the interview, this allowed the MSM to do something “noble” and refuse the interview, when all they were doing was following the Pool rules.

    This gives them cover and puts forth the message that they aren’t in the tank for Obama.

    Now that they’ve had their “noble” moment, they can go back to being their normal “ignoble” selves!

  • Bob Bushman

    Mr. Goldberg,
    You’ve hit the nail on the head once again. As someone who has read all of you books (Crazies to the Left of Me…) three times, I am amazed how precisely you can consistantly crystallize my very thoughts in such an eloquent fashion. Keep it up!
    Bob Bushman

    p.s. Youtube no longer shows the best eight minutes of TV I ever saw. It was your “Weekdays with Bernie and Jane” segment with the tagline “Martin Luther King must be spinning in his grave”. Is there a place I could find this again. You were amazing.

  • Edward Anthony DeCosmo

    Bernie’s right. The Chicago gang isn’t stupid. I’ll bet that they try this trick next: They’ll offer another interview to the press corps sans Fox that they will expect the MSM to reject. They will then turn and say, “You wanted this interview. Then you rejected this interview. Don’t blame us for not being totally open.”

  • Zaz

    Mr. Goldberg,
    They stood together only because they don’t want the precendent set which could lead to a non-Democrat president excluding members of the Fringe Media from future interviews!!

  • http://justanotherbagofhotair.blogspot.com Dan

    Gee, Bernie, thanks for giving them a hint. Sometimes you have to keep your ideas to yourself, especially if they might help the other side. Even if a football team lines up in the Wildcat formation, you don’t know what they’re going to do.

    Of course, if the WH dissolves the news pool, then all bets are off. But then you might see news organizations stop covering the WH because the pool was formed to share the costs of such coverage.

    But don’t give ‘em any ideas! Sheesh!

  • Leland

    Bernie,

    You nailed it. It would have been fun to be in on that conference call. To hear exactly what was said by who once the word came down that Fox was to be excluded. You can’t help but wonder if someone from Fox had to speak up before the others went along with it.

    But had it not been done through the pool it is unlikely we would have seen the solidarity present in this case. Remember the President’s Sunday morning show tour not too long ago? Everyone, even the learning channel, had a go except for Fox. There was not a lot of complaining then.

  • Walter

    Susan, I’m jealous!

  • Walter

    Bernie: I’d call you a crazy ‘ol man, but you’re about my age, so I have to be careful. I remember watching you when you were liberal – that is now a dirty word, but some of the best debaters I’ve ever met, were honest liberals (and even though I didn’t always agree with you, I always believed you meant what you said and listened to others that didn’t agree) – and when you started pointing out the hypocrisy of many liberals and how they were ruining the good name of liberalism, I now know what you were talking about.
    I say that, because the so called Republican conservatives are doing the same for what I believe in. So I poses this question to you, what if President Bush offered an interview (also outside of the pool) only to Fox and boycotted all the other networks. Do you think Fox would say “No, not if the other networks are excluded?” I really wonder what you think; because I’m not sure what Fox might do, do you? Bernie, I ask with all sincerity, because I respect your opinion.

    • http://www.bernardgoldberg.com Bernie

      Walter

      FOX would accept the interview and not spend one second worrying about the other networks. But what makes it different if ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN accepted the interview without regard to FOX, is that they have been called “noble.” Critics are saying they did the right thing by refusing the interview unless FOX was included. My point is simply this: If they’re really noble they would stand up to the White House and say this exclusion stuff has to stop.

      That’s my best shot, Walter.

      Bernie

    • joel o’connor

      hey man, i just watch ur commentary about the guy who holds the most guniess book of world records for stuff like pogo stick jumping etc… I just want to say that you came across as very condecending toward that man. Why were you constantly implying he was crazy? Did he make you feel insecure? And why did you tell him during the fireman carry, “if you drop me, you’re a dead man.” ??? You just came across as a very affraid, insecure old man…..sorry, but you did end it nicely. I suggest you read a book by G.K. Chesterson called Man Alive, the main character is Mr. Innocent Smith. Read it. Trust me, you need to. I love you….joel;)

  • Concerned Citizen

    Doesn’t the old media understand the damage they have done and are doing to the repubic, let alone their own long-term relevance and survival?

    Prior to the Walter Cronkite days and post yellow journalism days, the public generally believed (with some reason) that the underlying facts that were presented on an issue was accurate fact without undue bias from the reporter’s or editor’s personal opinions. Indeed, presenting news without obvious personal bias was the definition of a professional.

    This created an ability for the general public and the various mainstream political groups to agree on the basic facts of the situation. This concensus allowed the public and the political parties to focus on presenting/discussing/debating the best approach to address the problem.

    Currently however, a signifcant portion if not the vast majority of the public no longer trusts the general media and anything that they report because of their gross, blatant, and unrepentent biases. Therefore there is no longer any public agreement on the basic facts of a problem let alone what the best solutions are. The lack of consensus on the basic underlying facts permanently prevents any consenus solutions, thereby leading directly to the continual, totally divisive, hateful, demonizing public discourse that we have today.

    Unfortunately for the health of our civilization, this current situation is not supportive of the long term survival of a functioning democracy.

  • Angry Black Guy

    Grumpy Old Man,

    That is all that you are. You consider yourself a scholar but all I hear is a person who wasn’t born with any gifts to share with the world. You know nothing about sports and now you claim to now things about politics? You don’t have the heart or talent to play sports, fight in wars or give an opinion that would matter. Where were you went our national debt doubled, when we were storing people in secret prisons. Go ahead and promote you BS because that is all that is coming from your mouth.

    • Walter

      Hey Angry, sometimes the only gift you have is being Grumpy…ask my dad, because he’s taken it to a whole new art form. From your post, it appears that you are awfully good at being grumpy too.

      You go, Angry…don’t quit being grumpy until you’ve become a professional Grump like Bernie…and my dad.

  • Buz Chertok

    An invitation to individual networks would definitely have been accepted-without question-prior to the recent pool solidarity and those acceptants would not have suffered any. Now-in the light of it their “noble” stance,

    questions by any individual network are in order and,in the event of the administration’s stupid exclusion of Fox,they would only greatly enhance their “see no evil-hear no evil” reputation and look sillier and deeper in the tank than ever–making Fox a victim of not only the administration but of them as well in that they now collectively stated that any excusion is unacceptable by a free media.Fox,again would cry all the way to the bank-at their expense- because its inevitable ratings increases would not be comming from the shopping channels.

  • D.Ashford

    Bernie,
    Do you think the “pool” took up for fellow poll member FOX when the President did not appear on FOX News Sunday while he made time for the other Sunday shows earlier this month? He’s evened granted recent interviews to Univision and that noted pillar of journalism and virtue David Letterman.

  • Jack Davis

    Another excellent column, Mr. G. You’re always a great read and I look forward to seeing you on “The Factor.”

    Would really enjoy seeing more of you on O’Reilly, and nothing of Tonya Reiman, whose junk-science segment detracts from Bill’s show as much as you add to it. Would that you only could be granted her time in addition to your own; however, I’m sure your pal Bill would NEVER hear of it (judging by how “goo-goo” he gets when talking to her).

    So when do you think you’ll be invited to the White House to break bread with President O? Or maybe a beer? Look, even if you’re not invited to the WH, PLEASE keep showing up on Fox. Your commentary is very much enjoyed and appreciated.

    I’m with you on the one cheer, until things change. They probably won’t, but we can always hope, eh?

  • LlightSaber

    I’m not sure what’s going on Bernie.

    Going as far back as the Stimulus about a year ago, as soon as “tax credits” emerged as an issue (as far as “refunding” money to people who never even paid taxes), a red flag went up. Plenty of other examples of “sneaky” redistribution schemes came in the wake of this. I learned very soon that, with Barack Obama, the “noise” always a distraction; and that if I wanted to know what was really going on I should look in the opposite direction. For a long time there he was the David Copperfield of politics. Of course, now we’ve all become pretty good at reading him.

    But this one has me stumped. Because the administration is so devious and evil it’s hard for me to believe it was simple stupidity on their part that led to this fiasco. Is it possible that they haven’t learned yet that they need to think through all the possible outcomes before acting? Or is it possible that they don’t care enough to bother attempting to fool us anymore? They’ll just march on forward. That’s chilling. No?

    Anyway, to the real question at hand: I agree with you about the Conspiratorial News Network. When I see Brian Williams get up off his knees, I might believe that integrity has been restored to journalism. Until then, I’m going with you.

  • Scott

    Mr. Goldberg,

    You are right on target with this analysis. I didn’t think about it until you cut if apart like you did. Bravo! I think that you took O’Reily aback by this theory also–lol.

    I can’t imagine what you must feel about your profession at this time in history let alone what the founding fathers would say if they could behold. Keep up the analysis as there are few seasoned people speaking out who understand the issues on a deeper level. Thanks!

    SMS

  • Sommers

    Truth to Power, Bernie!!

    This ‘decision’ by CNNCBSABCNBC to stand up for Fox News was a no brainer…. as it literally too no brains OR integrity to demand the Obamanauts follow the pool rules.

    These mainstream networks are so steeped in Obama pickle juice they cannot smell or taste any REAL story. Their journalistic senses are shrouded by Democrat Party worship.

  • http://ellievellie.wordpress.com Ellie

    The “in bed with Obama” Media will have to start asking questions about the FOX issue.
    No mistress wants to be called “a Whore” in public. They will have to push the beloved Leader into not getting the slobbering love affair exposed.

  • http://n/a Kathie Ampela

    I’m a little confused at one aspect of this story. The press pool shares the cost of coverage of the White House, so does that mean if Fox News is shut out the other 4 networks have the eat the cost? (FNC’s share, that is) Or if there is one less network in the pool, then does the cost go down? How does that work exactly?

    Will the MSM finally grow a pair and stand up to the WH if they continue their attacks on Fox News? After all, if they (WH) try to silence any dissent, then the rest of the MSM could be next. So what will they do? I’m hoping for the best, but I’m not betting the ranch on it.

  • Sheryl

    Hi Bernie:

    Are you feeling the least big vindicated since you have been accurately analyzing journalism in America for some years now? I agree with you that the “pool” adhered to its White House coverage agreement because it would have been a public relations problem if they had abandoned Fox News. I’m afraid most of these hacks have sold their souls in exchange for giant paychecks and entre to all the swell parties and events. I’m not sure who continues to watch their lazy news broadcasts because it’s obvious they have no journalistic standards. I used to subscribe to a plethora of magazines and some newspapers, but I have cancelled them because I’m just sick of the over the top hyperbole by the left leaning writers and editors. I’m not sure who we should turn to these days for accurate information that isn’t written through the lens of partisanship. I certainly appreciate the fact that you have been sounding the alarm for many years. It will be interesting to watch as Mr. Obama and his minions continue their war on Fox News. Wonder who’ll be next.

  • Linda B.

    Kudos to you Bernie for not jumping into the ‘let’s congratulate the MSM’ fray for what they did with the Feinberg interview. You are 100% correct, in my opinion: if each were offered an interview with ANY of the Chicago gang, they would indeed take it and wouldn’t give FOX another thought. The MSM will need a LONG time to wake up, see the gang for what they are, and proceed to the recovery phase of their knee-jerk reaction of slobbering.

    The Chicago gang on the other hand is engaging in the ‘cut off your nose to spite your face’ syndrome: FOX has all the viewership — so, when they appear on the MSM channels, who is watching them?? Not a smart move at all. Guess they didn’t teach that at Harvard.

  • Susan Nolte

    Thank you, Bernie, for a good analysis of the ways of the White House.
    The Chicago Mob is in charge.

    Kudos to the other networks for standing with Fox. One cheer is better than none in these times.

    • Bernie

      you’re right, sunsan: one cheer is better than none. thanks. bernie