A Few Words About a Friend Who Changed My Life

BiasOn February 8, 1996 I got a phone call that changed the course of my life.

The call was from a fella named Jerry Kelley, a building contractor who was born and raised in Enterprise, Alabama and made Gomer Pyle sound like Laurence Olivier. Jerry had repaired my house in Miami after Hurricane Andrew blew through the area. We became friends, two boys from the South: Jerry from South Alabama, I from the South … Bronx.

As I wrote in Bias, “Jerry Kelley saved my family and me. He repaired the damage the hurricane had done to our house. He was always there when we needed him. And we became friends, a kind of odd couple. We talked often, mostly about politics and current events, which he loved.”

When he called that night he was pretty upset. “Did you see that ‘Reality Check’ story on Dan Rather tonight?” I told him I missed the CBS Evening News and asked what the problem was.

“The problem is that you got too many snippy wise guys doin’ the news, that’s what the problem is.” He asked me to look at a videotape of the show.

The next morning, I looked at the evening newscast that had Jerry so worked up.   After I watched the tape, I was as angry as Jerry was. It was a story that shamelessly made fun of GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes and ridiculed his key proposal, the flat tax.

The flat tax? Not exactly a sexy subject but as I wrote in Bias, “… the more I watched the more I saw that this story wasn’t simply about a presidential candidate and a tax plan. It was about something much bigger, something too much of big-time TV journalism had become: a showcase for smart-ass reporters with attitudes, reporters who don’t even pretend to hide their disdain for certain people and certain ideas that they and their sophisticated friends don’t particularly like.”

And Steve Forbes was an easy target. He was a white, male conservative Republican.

I was so fed up with complaining about bias privately at CBS News that I decided to go public. I wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about liberal bias in the mainstream media – an op-ed that touched off the media version of World War III.

I had become radioactive at CBS. Colleagues didn’t want to be seen with me, fearing that Dan Rather might see us together. Four years later I quit and wrote Bias.

So you see how that phone call from Jerry Kelley changed the course of my life. If he hadn’t called, I wouldn’t have written Bias, a book that became a #1 national bestseller. I wouldn’t be on Fox, giving my version of the truth about the media and American culture. Jerry changed my life – for the better.

I mention all this now because I just came back from Enterprise, Alabama where I delivered the eulogy at Jerry’s funeral. A few days ago he passed away in his sleep.  He was only 71.

I told his friends and family in the chapel that Bias changed the American culture because now even some liberal journalists admit that bias is real and not some delusion of nutty conservatives. And I said, “Let’s be clear: Jerry Kelley, a blue collar guy from Enterprise, Alabama … Jerry Kelley changed the American culture.”

Jerry knew more about bias and fair play than any of those journalistic “geniuses” did who put that piece of garbage about Forbes on the air back in 1996. And Jerry was a building contractor, not a journalist.  Still, he saw the bias that the CBS News Washington correspondent who reported the Forbes story didn’t; that his producer didn’t; that the senior producer in Washington didn’t; that the top evening news producers at CBS News in New York didn’t; that the president of CBS News didn’t; and that Dan Rather, the anchorman and managing editor of the broadcast, didn’t.

Jerry Kelley, in no small way, is responsible for holding powerful people accountable.

Ordinary Americans – and I use the word “ordinary” as a high compliment – can make a difference. Jerry did. We all can.

Rest in peace, my friend.

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  • Otto Maddock

    Jerry said it best … too many snippy wise guys doin’ the news. Personally, I never really paid attention to the media bias before 2008. (Of course, in 2008 it was impossible to not notice the media bias). But Jerry knew 18 years ago that true journalism followed the typewriter into obsolescence. Sorry for the loss of your dear friend, Bernie.

  • Seven

    Very good!

  • MM from Georgia

    R.I.P. Jerry. You two made a great team and I’m sorry for your (and America’s) loss. I read all the comments here, all 144, and can see a glimmer of hope for America. Your readers are also a great bunch and I’ll send this one around. I’ve read your books, the WSJ column (still have it around somewhere) and remembered the Jerry-Gomer Pyle line, forgot his name but now will remember Jerry’s name from now on. Jerry would be proud of this column. Yes, the flat tax : I voted for Forbes both times he ran and recall the media and the Republican establishment trashing him. Find someone the media smear and you have a winner. We need more like Jerry and Bernie. I’m 74 – lucky to be here.

  • docww

    Nice euology.

  • potemkin_village_usa

    YOU’VE MET THE MAGNIFICENCE OF UNKNOWN FATE MR. “G”
    “The true adventurer goes forth aimless and uncalculating to meet and greet unknown fate.” ___O. Henry

  • contradictioncounter

    I notice on TV how anchors treat celebrities w/ much more respect than the occasional layperson who gets interviewed. Thank you Bernie for being different. Thank you for seeing that Jerry Kelly and all of us “Jerry Kellys” have just as much worth and often more insight. It’s wonderful to hear about such a special friendship; I’m sorry for your loss.

  • Russ Perrine

    I missed last night’s O’Reilly program when our power failed during rain storm. But I believe Robin Williams is guilty of bringing 3 children into the world and then leaving them without one word of warning or goodbye. If he had told them I’m sure they would all have tried to stop their father from ending his life. In Jerry Lewis’ book he recounts that he was about to pull the trigger on a gun to end his life—until he heard his daughters voice somewhere in the house and put the gun down. Bravo Jerry Lewis.

  • wildjew

    OT: Bernie, in a nice way, you put O’Reilly and Fox News in their place tonight on this morbid / sensational coverage of the Robin Williams death. It is very sad seeing Fox News join the rest of the news networks in this.

  • JASVN67

    Hello Bernie. First, may I offer my condolences for the loss of your friend Jerry. As you know, a good mans legacy never dies! Yours won’t either! I used to take in all my news from the MSM. Then, one day, I happened across the FOX news channel with Bill O’Reilly. I have never gone back since. Those on the left hate him, for he gets under their skin. (Telling the truth will do that!) IMP Americans are waking up to that fact that the MSM spins the news telling the viewer the news from their bias point of view. We have seen this time and time again with this Administration. Fox news has held the number one rating in cable television news for what fourteen years in a row now. That speaks volumes. Glad we can count on you to continue with great articles. You don’t disappoint.

  • Russ Perrine

    Line 8 should read….”when Assad told them he preferred”

  • Russ Perrine

    Bernie’s friend Jerry Kelley brings to mind Edward R. Murrow who hosted a brilliant program co-written by Fred Friendly called See It Now. On one early broadcast Murrow did a closing editorial about television, the very same medium he was speaking on. “We know not what we have created” said Murrow ending with his sign off good night and good luck. This past week we can see what he was referring to when major networks re-broadcast a piece by ISIS terrorist who gassed their opponents in Syria and then moved over to Iraq when Syria’s ruler he preferred an Assad-State rather than an Islamist-State. To allow this insult to air claiming to raise their flag over the White House is exactly what See It Now was talking about. The razor sharp perception by viewers like Jerry Kelley and Ed Murrow will be missed.

  • LHS

    Thank you Bernie. Once again and yet another reason I continue to follow your columns and work.

  • HFH1

    That is a terrific story! Odd couple indeed. It takes a special kind of person to not condescend, automatically, as nearly every moneyed person does towards tradesmen, or anyone lower down on the affluent scale.
    Very heartening, Bernie; thanks. As a mason, I’ve made a few friends from clients who were hundreds of times better “fixed” than I. It’s rare, though.

    • Bernie

      HFH1

      Thanks. My roots are blue collar too. My father worked in a factory. I grew up in a tenement. I may have my faults, but I’m not an elitist, that’s for sure.

      Take care,

      Bernie

  • kayakbob

    Sorry to learn of your friends passing. Hopefully some of the void left in the hearts and lives of his loved ones can be somewhat mitigated by Bernie’s gracious acknowledgement of Mr. Kelley’s positive contribution to the culture.

  • Tonethousand

    Sorry about your friend, Bernie. I had an old friend who used to say “too much homogeneity (groupthink) only produces monstrosities, like the Bay of Pigs and the Nazi Party.”

  • nesw

    OMG a FLAT TAX! You ARE a delusional loon… Yeah, your book “changed the American culture….” Get a grip, dude. The progress of humanity on Earth is inarguably a shift to the Left, from authority and tradition to equality and rationalism. Sorry, psychos.

    • RMN

      You don’t want to be patriotic and pay your fair share like President Obama asks? “Progress of humanity” and “equality” means you need to start paying your fair share. A flat tax would insure that.

    • Drew Page

      nesw — Thanks for including the little cartoon. It reflects you perfectly.

    • Jeff

      “…to equality and rationalism.” Except leadership in that world will always be “more equal,” authoritarian, and they will define what is “rational” and send the rest of us to “re-education” camps to learn new “traditions.”
      .
      Your cartoon betrays any pretense of tolerance and any belief in diversity. Brilliant.

      • One Man’s Opinion

        nesw is the poster child for critical thinking and art classes in our government run public school system.

    • Iggy Autry

      You’re enlightened gravatar says it all…

      …tata…

    • Iggy Autry

      Name some right-wing dictators… Name some left…

      (Be sure to check that those you list on the Right were actually Right…)

    • Tim Ned

      The context of the book Bias had nothing to do with the flat tax. However you actually have to read to understand that. Try it sometime.

    • factsarestubborn

      What is rational about leftist thought? If ignoring facts for emotional reasons is rational, then you may be right.

  • FloridaJim

    You never know how a question or comment can make a difference in anyone’s life lives turn on small issues which fester.

  • Roadmaster

    If you had met me in the 80′s, Bernie, I could have “wised” you up years sooner than Jerry because by the time Reagan was elected, my disgust with the Down Stream Media was nearly 100%. Fox News was a temporary respite for a few years (thanks in no small part to you) but I don’t even watch them now.

    I keep wondering if news media (especially printed) will ever stop insulting our intelligence and reverse their headlong plunge into total irrelevance/bankruptcy. They’re already mostly ignored by many, mocked by the rest, broke, amoral and delusional, can they sink any further without gubmint subsidies? That’s the only thing which will save them, our “infinite” tax dollars. They’re obviously not going to save themselves.

    Set aside, specifically protected by the 1st Amendment, our “free press” today is abusing it’s commission to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, so corrupt to my mind, they are violating the very Constitution that shields them.

    Sorry for your loss, Bernie, Jerry’s friends and family. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

    • David Alan Darby

      “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”

      Amen!

    • One Man’s Opinion

      I don’t watch Fox News as much anymore, either. I like Bret Baier’s program, including the panel with Dr. Krauthammer. Too much fluff in the other “news” programs (Shepard Smith & Megyn Kelly — their personalities overwhelm the programs — like “look at me. look at me.”). We do have to be critical about sources and aware of bias, regardless of broadcast, internet, newspaper or any medium.

      • HFH1

        I’m with you, exactly. That 30 minutes is the extent of my TV time, other than golf and Jeopardy.

  • Bruskie

    Sorry for the loss of your friend Bernie. I remember the story well in Bias. Something like “The top ten reasons Steve Forbes flat tax won’t work” It’s been years, I can only paraphrase now. At least we don’t see Dan Rather any longer because of HIS bias. And I’m sure he still doesn’t understand.

  • Will Swoboda

    Sorry to hear about the death of your friend. I pray there are a whole lot more Jerrys then Rathers.

  • http://theromancatholicvote.com/ catholicvoter

    This is beautiful, Bernie. Our condolences.
    I’ve read all your books and I love ‘em!

  • therealguyfaux

    The saddest part of all of this is that Jerry Kelley was not, in any sense, unique, save in how he influenced Bernie. There are WAY more Jerry Kelleys out there– honest people of good will who do not merely surmise– they KNOW– that they are being told that they know nothing, if what they claim to know isn’t what they’re spoon-fed by the Media Priesthood. Jerry knew he was being told that Steve Forbes, a somewhat-curious-looking-and-sounding man, was being made fun of in an arch way, as if what Forbes was saying couldn’t possibly have any validity because HE was the one saying it– which is not to say that the reporter would have fairly covered such an “outré” proposal whoever may have made it.

    Fortunately, Bernie has enough integrity not immediately to jump up in favor of a professional colleague simply in virtue of being one– for after all, a reporter wants to get the story accurate– or they USED to, at any rate, or at least we thought they did, or maybe we just thought they were supposed to. Bernie did. And because HE did, we have now seen a looking-glass world in which nothing is to be taken exactly as it appears, because it would be an insult to our intelligence to do so. We needn’t insult ourselves by buying into the MSM’s insult of us.

    Jerry Kelley refused to do that. And he complained to someone who was willing to listen and to act. And, as Paul Harvey used to say– you know the rest of the story…

  • Dijinn

    My condolences Bernie. I’m sorry that another advocate for common sense is gone.

  • D Parri

    Yes, as I read these comments that people are making it really does look like you struck a true nerve in talking about your friend. It is also true that there are many of us who feel the same way and we had better be ready to step up and take our country back from those who want to lead us down a path of destruction.

    I’ll bet that Jerry would second that ‘emotion’.

  • MontanaMade

    sorry for your loss Bernie. Sounds like a great guy with a good head about him. We have plenty of these people in America- we need them to step up and get the idiot out of power.

  • Jim Glennon

    great story, I love ‘em, have plenty of my own, where the most genuine and ordinary of people touch a nerve, right a wrong, or point out an issue that I was blind to see. RIP for you friend and thank God for him and those that care about this country as a whole.

  • D Parri

    BTW, Bernie, I live only 73 driving miles from Enterprise, but I talk pretty ‘normal’.

    Gomer Pyle was one of my favorite shows while was growing up, though.

  • VinBick

    Prayers are offered for Jerry and his family. Thanks, Bernie, for once again writing a stirring, meaningful column. When you share your thoughts with us, I am often moved by your sincere, accurate take on the weaknesses of the Left in our great nation. It is a struggle, a battle daily for conservatives to overcome the nimnons (translate as in idiots) hold on the body politic and the culture of today.

  • Gloria

    There are lots of Jerry Kelleys out here………..the difference that he made was due to his proximity to you – an honest journalist. Thank goodness for that and his access to get the truth told. Unfortunately that is the exception,not the rule.
    The only disagreement I have with your piece is in the paragraph which lists those who supposedly didn’t recognize the bias. They saw it and believed it and chose to disseminate it. It has been going on for more than 20 years and I see no sign of it stopping. We’re doomed to slanted views – which sadly are swallowed whole by those who are not as astute as your Jerry Kelley.
    Sorry for the loss of your friend.

  • Drew Page

    I am sorry for the loss of your friend. I’m in my 70s and like many others my age have lost a number of people very close to me, some family, some friends that I grew up with since I was five years old. It always hurts. My heros were my mother and father, who were anonymous to the world. Both, like millions of other Americans, grew up during the Depression, went to WW II, survived and came home to find a job and raise kids. Dad was a bricklayer and Mom was a part-time waitress. None of us kids would dare to get in trouble with our teachers or the police because of the embarrassment it would cause our parents. My parents were great role models, they taught us to study hard, work hard, save our money, look out for one another and to be kind to those less fortunate. They were patriotic people who loved this country and told us how fortunate we were to live here. They won no awards, never felt more important than others and the only time their name was ever in the papers was when their obituaries were published. As I said, they were anonymous to the world, but they were my heros. I think I understand how you felt about your friend.

    • TarHeel456

      Though they may have been anonymous to the world, your parents – like mine – were the salt of the earth. Most importantly, they are NOT anonymous to God. Bless them!

  • D Parri

    Bernie, I am sorry to hear about your loss of a friend, and I am also sorry to hear about our joint loss of one more honest person. The world cannot survive if too many more of them are lost.

    It sounds like Mr. Kelley was a friend of the truth and that is why he was so upset at hearing Dan Rather’s disdain for the truth. Truth is not arrogant, it has no need to be.

    Thanks for sharing your experience.

  • Russ Perrine

    Sorry for your loss, Bernie. The flat tax has merit today if only to reform the entire process of tax collection. The president should never be seen scolding US businesses for taking advantage of legal methods of taxation to avoid a bottom line loss.

  • disqus_yeZNegncsV

    Thank you, Jerry. I would imagine Jerry could tell you how Americans don’t like being blackmailed either. POTUS has been trying to blackmail ordinary Americans: “I’ll let that border stay open, continue not to enforce the laws as the Constitution demands I do, until you do as I wish on immigration.” As if that’s not bad enough, so-called “Dreamers” (what a great Orwellian word, huh?) are now confronting congressmen and demanding to know why they are “against us.” Well, perhaps that’s because congressmen SHOULD be about putting AMerican citizens first, so that THEIR kids can dream.

    I’m sure Jerry, Ordinary American, didn’t like being blackmailed and didn’t like being taken for granted.

    RIP, Jerry. I hope all of us Ordinary Americans fight for what you believed in–fair play.

  • Shane

    The liberal bias has turned into corruption as liberal journalists and commentators collaborate on the messages they will spread to the American people. Too many “jorunalists” are really propagandists for the Dems or Republicans, but mostly for the Dems.

  • Ksp48

    That was lovely.

  • ogieyoungnhip25

    God bless Jerry!! I said some prayers that he rest in peace!!!
    And I pray all the time that you remain healthy and strong so you can keep on telling it like it is as my Grandmother used to say until you are a hundred and twenzik!! (to your non-Jewish friends I translate until you are a hundred and twenty)

  • gerry t.

    Nice story. Sadly, the Jerry Kelleys of America are being trampled by the leftist
    press. While we know about ultra-liberal culture of ABC, CBS, NBC, NY Times,
    Washington Post, et al the most liberal of liberals is Yahoo News. They have an army of leftist journalists and contributors than any so called news outlet. Unlike newspapers and other responsible journalists, we know zero about their news executives. They are a bunch of yellow journalists who do not have the guts to identify themselves on their news page.

    • Mark W.

      True about Yahoo. Same with “Business Insider” and other similar sites. There seems to be no way to know anything about their “reporters” or “editors.” Yet this seems to be the future of journalism.

  • http://batman-news.com 1940voter

    Bernie you are a gentlemen and were blessed to Know Jerry and he you

  • fitzsimmons Photography

    So sorry about your friend. Great column Mr Goldberg.

  • Phil

    Nice tribute, Bernie. Enjoyed reading it.

  • SkyCitizen

    A very touching article Bernie.

    It’s ironic that more often than not wisdom can come from a man with rough hands, while we are constantly reminded by the manicured and beautifully coiffed that they are about doing the “hard work” for the people.

  • Joh

    I’m sorry for the loss of your friend Bernie. As we grow older, we start losing people who matter to us. Dan Rather is a disgrace to the concept of a media that reports fact and not biased propaganda

  • Mark W.

    Thanks, Bernie.
    People who live where I do are often disdained by those who live in metropolitan areas. In their opinion, your I.Q. exponentially diminishes the farther away you live from them. And, God forbid, if you don’t live near an Interstate highway, you are automatically classified as someone you would see in the movie “Deliverance.” Wherever they live, whatever their occupation, people have the God-given gift of a brain that allows them to think for themselves and figure out what is right or wrong. Seems like the highly educated folks at CBS couldn’t figure out what Jerry Kelley could. Thank goodness he spoke about it to Bernie and, thank goodness, Bernie had the courage to do something about it.

  • Brian Fr Langley

    Try getting a degree in journalism without getting a hard left professor. All the best journalism schools are fully infiltrated. With many prof’s being actual Marxists. While most modern journalist are not Marxists, they are as Lenin called them “useful idiots”. The unhappy truth is, the milieu they’re trained in, has them truly believing their political views are centrist. “Useful idiots” indeed.

    • Mark W.

      Politics probably entered the J-schools starting around the Watergate investigations. When I was in J-school at a major university in the late 60′s, the emphasis was on objective reporting; there were other courses on public relations and propaganda, so the differences were explained and respected. A very few years after graduating, I found the newsroom where I worked filled with liberal Democrat ideas, in addition to a great deal of cynicism toward an otherwise conservative community. I left journalism 40 years ago, but have never lost my love for good, objective reporting. The loss of the ideal of “objectivity” is disheartening at best; frightening at worst. When the public cannot discern bias in reporting, the propagandists will win.

      • Bob Olden

        There is also a difference between well written news pieces and objectivity. My friend who reads the NY Times regularly says he enjoys reading the well written articles, but he doesn’t seem to notice the lack of objectivity. It’s not that journalists lack writing skills, it’s just that they are blind to their own bias, and their blindness is passed on to their readers.

  • brickman

    Nice sentiments to remember a friend. Although if you don’t mind a retail salesman and engraver mentioning to you- the flat tax violates the taxation principles of Adam Smith the founding philosopher of capitalism. In his groundbreaking work “Wealth of Nations”, Smith states ” It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue but something more than in that proportion.”.

    • Tim Ned

      Perhaps, but the book Bias is not about the flat tax. The subject of the book was how CBS took the position to broadcast this subject as a news story and not an opinion as it should have been broadcast. The reporters bias is clearly spelled out in Bernie’s book. Our debate on the flat tax can be a debate for another day. You can can include Adam Smith or not.

    • iammlr

      Doesn’t mean that Adam Smith is correct. The flat tax is inherently based in the principle that the same percentage of a higher income is MORE MONEY. So the rich DO pay more because the EARN more.

      I have often tried to get liberals to tell me what a “fair” tax rate is and they never will. It is because it is different for everyone. Liberals don’t look at how much a successful wealthy person has already paid in taxes. They look at what that person has left, and if they think it is too much (and they always do), they want more of it.

      • Drew Page

        Neither Obama, nor his supporters, will define “fair share” as a percentage of income. If they did assign such a percentage, that would become a cap and they don’t want there to be a cap on how much they can take. Everyone likes to think that they are “fair”, but all too often what they mean is “what is fair for me”. According to IRS statistics, those who are among the upper 10% of all wager earners pay 70% of all income taxes and 47% of all wage earners pay no federal income taxes, what’s their “fair share”?

        I would love to see the progressive income tax be scrapped and replaced with a flat national sales tax. Those spending the least would pay the least in taxes and those spending the most would pay the most.

        • brickman

          So you don’t mind the government forcing businesses to work for free collecting its taxes.

      • brickman

        Poor and middle class people pay a higher percentage of other taxes. If rich people paid property taxes at the rate we middle class people do in NJ, they would be declaring their estates as part of Switzerland.
        Plus if I remember correctly, the flat tax Forbes advocated had a 0% capital gains tax and guess who has more capital gains, rich or poor?

      • brickman

        There are about 35 countries that have a flat tax. Every single one is poorer than the USA, most are way poorer. No prosperous country has a flat tax.

  • ampdx

    Very touching story, which proves wisdom can be found in “ordinary” people like your friend, Jerry. Even when sometimes I respectfully disagree with your views, this story has proved why I consider your comments insightful and intelligent.
    Most commentators, anchors and so called journalists have huge egos, they are stiff and self grandiose, Dan Rather is one of them at the top of the list. I question if some of them do it as a requirement to keep their jobs or if all of them are a bunch of elitist that must prove their superiority by being so byas.
    Thank you Bernie for the wisdom and courage to stand above all of them.

  • Hammockbear

    Great tribute to a dear friend Bernie. Thanks so much for sharing. My sympathies to you and to Jerry’s family. I am sure that many lives will be changed for the better after reading your article.

  • Danny Harmon

    Thanks for this, Bernie. Thanks to you for your work and thanks to jerry for opening that door.

  • Jeff Webb

    I was maybe 30 seconds in when I started to realize this was a fond farewell to a departed friend. You and Jerry’s family have my sympathies.

    I’m reminded of what William F. Buckley said about trusting a bunch of average people listed in a phone book more than members of Harvard’s faculty.

  • Stephen17

    Thank you. A beautiful & important story.

  • jonshepp

    That’s a good story we should all remember about trust and how unexpected friendship can lead to unexpected places.

    It was a friend that had put me onto a cable news channel called FOX News in the summer of 1999. That was where I heard for the first time about the murder of a teenage boy, Jesse Dirkhising, of Arkansas. FOX had not reported it because the boy was tortured and murdered by two adults. Instead FOX had noted his death because virtually all the mainstream media had refused to report on it.

    I then realized the managing editors of the mainstream media had all chosen in rank step to throw sand in the boy’s face a second time while the memory of his body was still warm and with the hope almost all Americans wouldn’t find out about his ordeal. Investigation would lead me to the head of the snake, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the ASNE.

    Retiring a few years later, I had already stopped watching any of the network news channels and decided to put up a simple Web site that supplied links from conservative Internet sites with news stories the media had either ignored or buried. I also created a memorial page to Jesse, adding the police report to the content.

    I think I got about 25 visits a day in the beginning, probably almost all accidental from search engines. I also had no advertising, which is still the case today. My idea was that conservatives were very busy with daily life, my site a place where they could take a quick look at recommended links they could trust while America’s mainstream media was becoming more arrogant, more aloof, and more dangerous to our right to know.

    Eight years later I now glean news stories from around 70 conservative sites, producing a weekend e-mail on the week’s news to a short list of conservatives, from retired military to professionals. The site has grown from word of mouth to around 30,000 visits a month, still chump change to the big boys.

    But to me, the son of a father who fought for America on Okinawa in WWII and would never talk about it, it’s enough.

  • Tar Heel, Barney

    Since I first saw you on the factor, I knew you were a real, damn good, American.
    I spoke to you at a movie theater lobby in North Carolina. I could tell then you were a damn, good guy. Wish we had more like you in todays media.

  • gonaes

    Well done, Bernie Goldberg. You are a gentleman with feeling. I’m always delighted when you are on the O’Reilly Factor

  • Lori J

    Really enjoyed this piece. God bless Jerry and his loved ones, and thanks Bernie, for giving your friend new life.

  • ScranunSlim

    Bernie’s tribute to his friend proves what I repeatedly tell friends, family, bar-tenders and arresting officers:The only reason to watch The O’Bloviator (Bill O’Reilly) is Bernie Goldberg’s commentary.

  • Jarob54

    Interesting piece. I would venture to say that your friend Jerry was long on common sense and was a humble person, qualities that are not found in network newsrooms. The Jerry’s of the world teach us many things and humility is probally the best lesson we learn. Enjoyed the piece.

  • trailbee

    Jerry Kelley actually received two eulogies. Lucky man!
    Thanks for Bias. It was the first of many books, and I thank Steve Forbes for his suggestion. Your books are right on the mark, so is the flat tax idea. My wish is to be around when it is enacted. You think it’s got a chance? :)

  • 4Commencefiring4

    What a heart warming story. Amazing how one person, as opposed to a “movement” like OWS, can actually leave a real imprint on us for the better. I’d never heard of this man, of course, but now we all have. Thank you, Jerry, for making a simple phone call. It was a mere pebble that rolled down a hill that loosed a rock, that struck a boulder, that started an avalanche. Well done.

  • Camille Incorvaia

    I love true blue Americans. Kudos to Jerry, RIP and Bernie G. Wonderful people and they help me stick with it no matter what.

  • CharlieFromMass

    A nice way to pay tribute to a friend. My condolences on your loss.

    Having recently experienced a similar loss myself, I understand where you’re coming from.

    I think we should be thankful you and Jerry crossed paths. That experience has really started to turn the tide in a way, and I hope it continues.

  • Ted Crawford

    My condolences on your lose Bernie! Though, sadly, I’ve found many causes to disagree with you this past year or so, my original faith in your character is restored here!
    This article displays not just your wisdom, but also your deserved confidence in it! You also display your humility, by crediting Jerry as you did! You are and Jerry was, blessed! Most of us will never share such a friendship!

  • lark2

    Media bias is clear today yet it continues and actually seems more prevalent than ever before. I don’t read newspapers anymore. I think the J-schools should be taken to task over this but, we can be sure they would deny the existence of any bias … Even respected journalists … Howard Kurtz … always finds a way to deny it’s existence or minimize it’s impact. Media bias has always driven me crazy but It took a lot of courage for Bernie to shine a light on it. Where is his Pulitzer?

    • Drew Page

      The best way to keep a conspiracy alive is to ridicule anyone who suggests there is a conspiracy.

  • Joe Castiglia

    Amen! RIP Jerry!

  • JimStaudt

    The “road not taken”…. in Bernie’s case, the road that was opened up by Jerry Kelley. Amazing how one small seemingly insignificant event can change things entirely. Kudos to Bernie for giving credit where credit is due.

  • sparkleplenty27

    Bernie, your dedication to ferreting out the truth is admirable. For MSM however, the truth is merely an inconvenience easily swept under any carpet. One of the problems is that there are too many senior level members of MSM who are married/related to many White House and Administration folks – a true conflict of interest and an enormous barrier to disclosure, much less truth. And for some inexplicable reason, the media (many years ago) decided it was in their best interests to do an info black-out on all things Obama – failing to vet, much less disclose the man’s background and highly controversial associations that far exceed some smug jerk-ass militant from the 60s. My wordpress blog done in 2008 exposed more details about obama than most of the media has yet to uncover – though much of what I found then has eventually been exposed, though in limited ways by few sources. There remains a good deal of info yet to make it to the news broadcasts. Now if I as an ‘ordinary’ citizen can dig and find details, it is shameful that MSM has not bothered, or if they have, has refused to divulge said information (most all of which is seriously mind-boggling).

  • robin in fl

    great post bernie..you were a good friend to him and i am sure he was to you.your bias book really made me look at things with much clearer eyes.thanks to both of you.rip jerry.

  • PeterFitzwell

    Great One Bernie. I know plenty of “Blue collar” people like Jerry. They have more heart, soul & a lot more “common sense” than any Elitist Main stream Media person around.

  • tyeeCR

    Speaking truth to power, questioning authority and apple pie. Where has my America gone? From an expat in Costa Rica. Want a good yarn to read? Go to dmallach.com

    • Ted Crawford

      I hope you don’t find me tiresome here tyee, but, don’t you just hate those “buts”? Depending on the outcome of the November Mid-Terms my Wife and I are considering expatriation. We are debating between Costa Rica and Belize!
      We are of modest means, and my wife has health issues, would you recommend we continue to consider Costa Rica?

      • Drew Page

        Don’t do it. Don’t let the current power structure drive you out of your home. Stand and fight with the rest of us. I know it can be exhausting, but hang in there. If we don’t hang together, we will surely be hanged individually.

        • D Parri

          Yeah, hate to say it but that is absolutely his strategy and it has always been Obama’s strategy.

          Rules for Radicals, tear down the existing structure in order to rebuild the communist/socialist structure.

          It is no secret than the fundamental transformation that Obama speaks of is actually total anarchy.

  • Johnny Deadline

    Terrific post, Bernie. Sure your eulogy was every bit as poignant, heartfelt and genuine as today’s post. Coincidentally I’m leaving work early today to attend a funeral as well. Sincere condolences to Jerry and his family.

  • Jim Pell

    Thank you, Bernie.

  • Meat Popsicle

    I wonder how many (so-called) top journalists have friends like Mr. Kelley? My impression is they do not, that they live in a total bubble and therefore have lost this connection to the real world. Bernie not sure if you read these comments but would love to hear your take on it. My condolences on your loss.

    • Bernie

      MP

      You hit on a very good and important point. Most journalists don’t have friends like Jerry Kelley. And that’s a big problem. They don’t know and don’t want to know “ordinary” folks. Media bias, as we know, is a problem. Media elitism is a big problem, too. Thanks for making an important point.

      Bernie

      • JLC

        Bernie, that is a problem, but I think it goes deeper. You were friend enough to those at CBS, and yet when you pointed out what Jerry Kelley had pointed out to you, their response was not your response. It was a failure even then to comprehend.

        • Drew Page

          In the MSM disagreement is treason and betrayal.

  • jazzdrums

    there are no reporters left. some are still self deluded that they have no bias when they are working. the only reporting with no bias noticeable is at ITN, SKY and some BBC. It the newsperson is a household name they are commentators.

  • Seattle Sam

    The most insidious form of news bias is not so much what reporters actually say, it’s what they choose to cover and what they don’t. In 2012, the press covered Mitt Romney’s dog Seamus getting sick on a car rooftop ad nauseam (pun intended). Supposedly it spoke to his compassion and concern. In 1975 Hillary Clinton vigorously defended a 41 year old man who raped a 12 year old girl and publicly blamed the victim. Heard that story over and over? Why not? Because it’s less indicative of character than how Romney transported his dog?

  • Dave M

    A very moving and important story. It demonstrates how truly interconnected that we all are in many ways and instances, and not even realizing it until we do.

  • nickshaw

    My condolences on your loss of a valued friend, Bernie.
    All too often the thoughts of the “regular” guy are given short shrift by those who think they are “better” than the rest of us.
    I’m glad you listen.

  • JLC

    When I saw the title of this article, I knew
    exactly to whom Mr. Goldberg was referring. I read Bias long ago when it first came out, and this story about his friend
    opening his eyes has stuck with me to this day. The ability of his friend to see and point out obvious things which the MSM seemed unable to grasp even when explained to them in great detail was a startling illustration of the lack of intellectual capacity among the supposed media elite, and helped me to better understand the context of the “news” we get from them.

  • stephens.jr@gmail.com

    Seems to me America’s ‘journalist’ have a recent history of recognizing greatness in people only after their deaths. Even if during these people’s lives reporters did all they could to make these people miserable, stressed, and concerned until they finally died.

  • Callipygian1

    Mr. Goldberg you have ensured that Jerry Kelley will live forever.

  • Libertarian Ish

    This is a wonderful story with a valuable lesson. People always think that they can’t make a difference, but the truth is if one person has an idea about something going on in the culture, chances are others do too. And when they see one ordinary person standing up it gives them courage to stand up too.
    This reminds me of the protests all over the country right now in favor of Hamas. If you live in a city where people are protesting in large numbers in favor of Hamas, don’t be afraid to chant in favor of Israel. Stand up. Make your voice heard. Show the world that there are plenty of people in favor of Israel. If you have the guts to do that it will give others who feel the same way courage to do it too.

  • newsjoc2004

    So sorry for the loss of your friend, Bernie. May he Rest in Peace.

  • ARJ127

    My condolences to Bernie on the loss of his friend. He died too young at 71. With regard to biases, I think that it’s easier to find the bias in reporting that one disagrees with. Liberal biases are obvious to conservatives. Conservative biases are obvious to liberals. Everyone, Bernie included, sees the world and reports on it through the prism of his own values and beliefs.

    • mplo

      You’ve made some great, good points that’re well taken, ARJ127. Thanks for an excellent post.

      71 is still too young to die. Without knowing Bernie personally, my condolences go out to him during these difficult times.

      Bernie, if you’re listening…sorry to hear about the death of your friend.

    • Lc Goodfellow

      “The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.”

    • Ted Crawford

      I’ve heard it said that Personal Prejudice is the single most powerful force shaping any Society!

  • gold7406

    A lovely tribute to a good friend. Jerry without any pretense was able to distinguish between right and wrong.

  • Tim Ned

    Sounds like Jerry had a good friend as well. My condolences to you and Jerry’s family.

  • Joe

    You certainly know about biased reporting, you and all your Fox colleagues.

    • The man’s black

      Good one rich…um dick…um joe

      • Joe

        Yup that was a good one. It also proves that the biased reporting and articles by Mr. Goldberg have an ignorant following like yourself.

        • Bob Hadley

          Wrong timing. Bernie is obviously still in mourning. I frequently disagree with Bernie, but now is not the time – especially in such a rancorous tone.

          • nickshaw

            This is exactly the kind of “timing” that progs hope for, Bob.

          • Meat Popsicle

            Bob you are a true gentleman. Thank you for this post.

        • Tim

          It’s an OPINION piece. Do you know what opinion means or haven’t you learned that yet?

          • Meat Popsicle

            No Joe doesn’t because he thinks that what MSNBC and the NY Times and CBS does is “news”. He doesn’t have the knowledge to understand how what they do is opinion.
            Too bad there isn’t a book he could read that would help him spot the Bias and learn what is opinion and what is fact.

          • Paula

            lots of these people get their “unbiased” news from Jon Stewart, Colbert, Maher and all the late night talk show hosts!

    • gold7406

      wow, the vp showed up on this site.

    • Tim

      Details please.
      Just saying it doesn’t make it the truth.

    • newsjoc2004

      Which Fox News reporters, the men and women who report news for “Special Report” and other news programs, are biased? And please remember, I’m talking about reporters, not program hosts or pundits.

    • Silas

      Joe, trolling sites trying to validate you uncertain World View? 2 plus 2 will NEVER add up to five.

    • Meat Popsicle

      Wow ALL of them. Every single one? Does this apply to CNN and MSNBC and the NY Times too? Or are they pure and objective and incapable of error, lacking in bias and always speaking truth to power?

    • JLC

      Joe, I’d tell you to read the book Bias, but based on the inability of Rather et al. at CBS to understand, I don’t know why I should expect you to understand either.
      Once upon a time, I gave a book to an open hearted, intelligent liberal dear friend who gave all appearances of being open minded. The book had example after example after example of how the New York Times slanted its “news” articles. When he gave it back to me, I was startled to hear that he hadn’t seen anything wrong with the writing in any of the hundreds of examples in the book. It sadly confirmed to me that, consistent with what Bernie found, too many liberals’ brains seem not be wired to understand what Bernie’s friend so easily recognized.

    • Jarob54

      And you are qualifield to pass out moral indictments? If you don’t know what to atone for, examine your good deeds.

    • Mark W.

      Maybe you should quit taking other people’s opinions about Fox News Channel and actually watch it for a while, realizing that there are hard news programs and there are opinion programs. You might learn something by comparing what stories are reported on Fox News and see that they are ignored by the channels you watch. Open your mind, you might find it… enlightening.

  • EddieD_Boston

    Nice story Bernie. If you can count your closest friends on one hand you’re a millionaire.

  • Iggy Autry

    Rest in peace. I’m happy he was able to reach a good ear who could do something.

    If the media people, from the highest positions – down to the students in the elite journalism schools – could just recognize in the droves of “common” people who have not just stopped watching and reading them – but who feel increasing animosity to that fallen institution — they could change…

    …They refuse to see it…

    when it is as plain as the nose on our faces…

    • nepakandy

      I stopped watching when Gerald Ford was president. SNL had skits of “Pres. Ford” falling, tripping all over. But when the evening news had footage of Ford’s skiing trip, they used the one run where he fell, not the other eight beautifully executed runs.

  • Redlight2

    Great article—great story.

  • RickonhisHarleyJohnson

    My sympathies to you and to Mr. Kelley’s family, Bernie. He was the very kind of person that the leftist journalists disdain.

  • Kathie Ampela

    Very sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, Bernie. The next time you feel our political discourse has become too bitter and divisive, just remember the way it used to be before Jerry Kelley, 1996 and your book Bias. I’ll live with the consequences of greater pubic awareness, I don’t want to go back to the bad old days when the phony media “elites” controlled the messaging to the Great Unwashed.

  • Dennis Robbins

    Bernie, you’re the thinking person’s hero. Thanks for hanging out that shingle that says, “Factual integrity before opinion.”

  • Brian Stover

    I’ve said for years that Obama would be a better president if he would discuss issues with the people at any sports bar in any town in the country.
    It’s far better than talking at the country club or university.
    Your story prove the point.

    • Tim

      Obama is and always will be a failure.
      His Ideology would never let the facts get in the way.

      • mplo

        Tim: If you think that Obama is a liberal or a socialist, you just might want to think again. His actions and behaviors since taking office back in 2009 are proof that he’s anything but. No liberal or Socialist would escalate our war on Afghanistan, keep 50, 000 U. S. troops in Iraq on the pretense that our war on Iraq is over and the troops are home, or start parroting AIPAC’s lines the minute he took office. Nor would a liberal or Socialist invade other countries (even covertly, as the Obama Administration has done) with impunity, get innocent people killed or permanently maimed, or allow abortion rights to be thrown under the bus in order pass a healthcare “reform” law.

        I could go on, but the list is way too long, here.

        • Tim

          I don’t need to think again. He pulled troops out of Iraq prematurely and lost that the war that was won.
          He’s already signaling his intention to bale on Afghanistan.
          What is this abortion “right” that you speak of?
          It’s a right to kill millions of children here through abortion.
          That must be why liberals cry so hard over the Palestinian children.
          He totally botched Libya.
          Please go on and on, since what you’ve given me is pretty thin.

        • Ted Crawford

          Really? Care to explain Putins actions ? GET A CLUE!!

        • Meat Popsicle

          Hi mplo,
          You argue what he is not…what would you say he *is* then?

        • Berkeley Transplant in AVL

          Obama is a disgrace to all liberals.His treatment of the immigrants and especially Israel , with respect to the war in Gaza, is utterly reprehensible.NO US President in history has denigrated Israel like he has. I live in Asheville, NC and so many conservatives, who i once despised, I find my views are totally compatible.
          Thank God the vast majority of people in the US, both, Democrats and Republican despise him . Spielberg, Streisand open your mouths

  • jackietreehorn3

    Love hearing stories like this. REAL hope and change can come from the most unlikely people and places.

  • http://johndalybooks.com/ John Daly

    It’s amazing how the most unlikely people can win your friendship, nudge you in the right direction, and ultimately change your life.

    I think several of us have had a “Jerry” in our lives that have made us better, braver people. We should all feel blessed to have met them.

    My sympathies to Jerry’s family and your family. Great piece, Bernie.