Bernie’s Q&A: Rachel Maddow, Catherine Herridge, DC Papers, the Ukraine Call, and more! (11/8) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium Interactive members. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me. Thank you. Note: A few questions came in after this week's deadline, so they will be added to next week's Q&A. Thanks for understanding. Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
The WSJ had an article today how the University of Michigan's "Bias Response Team" was found, interestingly, to be "Biased" by an appeals court. I became aware of this college program through a friend who is a teacher and, by the way, quite liberal. She experienced the Bias Police personally. UM renamed the program "Campus Climate Control" in response to the ruling. I guess I am shocked that these programs exist and secondly, the MSM isn't all over this issue. Isn't the NY times and others burdened with the responsibility and defense of Free Speech? -- Tim H. It looks like free speech just isn't as important to the left as it used to be. That's why they think they can shout down conservative speakers on campus -- because it's for some kind of greater good. Too many college campuses have become playpens for cupcakes who can't deal with ideas they don't agree with. As for the MSM, if conservatives were shutting down liberal speech, they'd be all over it. I get that Trump lives in his own made up world. But how can every Republican in the House read the Ukraine call transcript, and not see what he did was wrong? It may not be enough to impeach him. But Trump saying it was a perfect phone call gives the Republicans no wiggle room. So we all can clearly see they have sold out and put Trump before country. How can they ever come back from that ? -- Franklin S. I'm with you Franklin. Republicans may rightly think his phone call doesn't warrant impeachment. And in fairness, some Republicans have said he shouldn't have said what he said. But too many others will defend this president NO MATTER WHAT. As the president might tweet: #sad. Three "bias" questions:
You have frequently stated your opinion of the Washington Post bias; what is your perspective regarding bias of the other Washington news media, the Washington Examiner and The Washington Times.
The electronic news bias seems even more extreme than the written news bias, even from the publishers using both media; what is your opinion regarding this?
There seems to be significant bias exhibited by the news media via omission of newsworthy items as much as by slanting the news stories that are published; what is your perspective on this?
-- "John in Flyover country" I don't spend a lot of time examining the myriad on line publications searching for bias. So, John, I can't give you an accurate answer regarding the Washington Examiner and the Washington Times. But I can say that they're both conservative operations, so that, to some extent, would provide another point of view to balance the Post. Again, it's hard to say if TV information is more biased than written news bias because I don't follow enough news sources to know. But let me take a crack at question #3. Bias comes in many shapes and sizes. Some are blatant, but others, as you suggest are more about what is NOT published; what stories editors choose to run and what stories they choose to ignore. Sometimes the problem stems from intentional bias. Sometimes it's the result of those editors living in a bubble. Inside the liberal bubble, for instance, they don't know what conservatives are thinking, what's important to that side -- and so they play down that kind of news. Life inside the elite media bubble may be comfortable. But it's not good for honest, balanced journalism. Bernie, [regarding Monday's column about Trump fabricating the details of al-Baghdadi's death], would you agree that if Obama said the same thing about UBL when the SEALs took him out, the mainstream media would label those who questioned his account as racist and/or unpatriotic? Two wrongs do not make a right, but the media's double standard gets worse and worse as Trump's term continues. -- Joe M. Do I think the media would go easier on President Obama if he made up a story about the final moments of UBL? Yes. And if that would have been the case, then yes again to the double standard. But Obama didn't make up a story and Donald Trump did. That's what we're dealing with right now. I’m hearing that the original whistleblower was a holdover from the Obama admin and a CIA operative to boot. I’m also hearing (as with Russiagate) that several CIA members and other Obama leftovers were leaking out info and trying to undermine Trump (including to impeach him). If Trump is actually guilty of treason, I have no problem with exposing and punishing him. But it appears to me (especially after the Mueller report), that the Dems and their CIA allies have been up to no good this entire time. Hence I have to wonder why the Dems and their MSM allies are taken seriously. If all this is exposed as a witch hunt, what legal ramifications could be in store for those who perpetrated it? -- Whistleblower Regards from The Emperor Tell me, Emperor, why does it matter if the whistleblower was a holdover from the Obama administration? Why does it matter if he worked for the CIA? And let's another step down the road: Why would it matter if he were Joe Biden's campaign manager? The summary (which was not a transcript) of the phone call is the only evidence that matters. Who the whistleblower is, certainly is interesting. And it would speak to his enthusiasm for blowing the whistle. And yes, I'd like to know who he or she is. But all that matters is what the president said to the Ukrainian president -- and whether there in fact was a quid pro quo, which I think there was. Now, whether this is an impeachable offense is another story. As for whether the Dems and the CIA (and FBI) have been up to no good for quite some time now ... there's an investigation underway on that very point. Can't we wait for the results? Ramifications: Depending on the level of wrongdoing, there could be criminal charges against members of the Intel community. That's about it. Reporters aren't going to jail for publishing information that turned out not to be true. That's a good thing, right? [Regarding your Monday column], presidents seem to lie to the American people for various reasons. I would think that a president could avoid lying all together. Remember when Obama traded five high-level persons for one of our own who went AWOL? It seemed to me at the time that Obama couldn't tell us the real reason and had to look like a fool, and we may never know the real reason. Character question: Would you lie to save a loved one? I think we should never lie. Satan is the father of lies. God would never ask us to lie. Therefore, we put our lives in God's hands and are truthful. We don't have to give someone up, but at the same time we don't have to lie. Your thoughts? -- Bill N. Let's just say we're not on the same page Bill. Would I lie to saved a loved one? Yes -- and without a moment of hesitation. Would I instead put my faith in God to save my loved one? No! As in, not even close, NO. And while we're at it, I don't believe in Satan either. Mr. Goldberg, do you think Trump will go more toward the left if he wins in 2020? It seems his 1st thoughts on policy are toward the left and then the people surrounding him pull him back to the right. Why would he care about his base if he wins reelection? Thanks. -- Tammy D. I think Donald Trump has no core values -- either to the right or the left. I believe he would do whatever he thinks will win him the applause of his small base -- the only ones these days still enthusiastically cheering for him. Mr G., How do today’s polls have any validity now a days since we woke up to and had lunch & dinner to a predicted landslide in Nov 2016 ? -- Scotty G. I'll turn this over to John Daly who was written quite a bit about this topic:
"Actually, the polls in 2016 did not predict a landslide. That's a myth. It was a number of analysts who predicted a landslide, based on data that included what was being gathered from the polls. In reality, the national polls in 2016 were incredibly accurate (even more so than in 2012).
As I've written before on Bernie's website, these polls measure national public sentiment, which in the context of a national election represents the popular vote. The average of national polls taken just prior to the election showed Hillary Clinton with a 3.1 point lead over Donald Trump. Once all the votes were tallied, we learned that she won the popular vote by 2.1 points (a mere 1-point difference, which falls well within any margin of error). In other words, the national polls collectively nailed it.
Some state polls (including in some important swing-states), however, were a different story. Local polling in Wisconsin, for example, had Clinton with a 6.5 lead right before the election. But on election night, Trump ended up winning Wisconsin. Unfortunately, local polls have long been less reliable than the national polls (which someone probably should have told Hillary Clinton before her infamous decision not to campaign in Wisconsin).
The takeaway from all of this is that the national polls (which also measure the president's job approval) have proven to be generally trustworthy. So dismissing them by saying "they were wrong in 2016" isn't a solid argument; again, they were right in 2016. However, because they don't take into account the complexities of the Electoral College, they're not necessarily reliable predictors of who is going to win a presidential election."
Hi Bernie; The word impeachment seems to becoming overused and just another cliche. Don't like the opposing president? Impeach him! Don't like what the president said or did or didn't do...Impeachable offense!! And if you don't know what an impeachable offense is?? ....just create one....make up an impeachable offense. What do you think? -- Charles K. I think you're right. Bernie, What is your take on recent stories on Real Sports showing, what I believe, is excessively and disturbingly violent footage of dog fighting and horse abuse, including real footage of euthanization? I'm not a prude but I thought the footage was excessively long and graphic. My wife left the room crying. Do you see any reason for going that far? -- Paul M Fair point, Paul. We need to show enough to document the situation as it really is. But we also need to be careful, not to go overboard. I am an evangelical Christian and voted for Trump in the last election and will vote for again in 2020, most likely. I think that his accomplishments in office justify my vote. I did not vote for him in the 2016 primary and generally there are many of his personal characteristics I do not approve him. Yet to spend my time denouncing his behavior plays into the hands of the destructive and immoral "Resistance" in this country. I would rather have a flawed Trump than one of the leftists that the Democrats have put forward, whose policies are anathema to my beliefs, both as a Christian and a patriot. I do not feel that makes me a hypocrite, although some of your recent postings re evangelical support of Trump makes it seem that you do. I'd appreciate your comment on that. -- John F. John, your thinking on this issue is how many Trump supporters -- evangelicals or not -- think on the issue. And I understand your reasoning. What I'm saying is that Donald Trump mocks every Christian belief you hold dear: He's vulgar, he's self-absorbed, he humiliates those who disagree with him, he's chronically dishonest. It's one thing, John, to say I don't like any of that but I still think he's better than the other side. But to remain silent in the face of his vile character doesn't -- in my mind -- speak well of people who think like you do, especially high profile evangelicals. If evangelical Christians ever developed a moral backbone, Donald Trump might change his ways. As long as you remain silent, he'll remain vile. Bernie, I have to work pretty hard to find a source of news that is not biased. For the most part I have consumed less news in the last year than any time in my adult life. Who out there is actually committing journalism? Bias has always been there but my confidence in all journalism is very low; there is a whole in the market place for someone to step in and provide the facts with an informed context. Have you considered starting a daily/weekly news product? -- Thanks, Dave E. No to your last question. There's an indicted co-conspirator in all of this: The audience. On cable for instance, a lot of people want opinion, not balanced news. They want their opinions validated by people on TV. I watch less TV news these days ... but I still like Special Report on FNC. [Regarding this week's Off the Cuff]: So Harridge leaving Fox because she's tired of being on the same network with Carlson, Hannity, and Ingraham, [as you say, if in fact that was the case], her life is going to be better at a place that is at their face, anti-Trump, part of the mainstream resistance? Not as blatant as CNN & MSNBC but when was the last time CBS did a positive segment on Trump? At least she still had Wallace, Baier, and Hume at Fox. The three of them always seemed to be neutral in their reporting. -- JM I wrote, more than once, that I don't know why she left. But it could be to get on 60 Minutes. Maybe as simple as that. But ... whatever CBS News is these days, it doesn't have anybody like the trio on FNC prime time. A lot of hard news journalists get hammered by the public because of them. Again, I don't know if that's why Catherine Herridge left. Maybe with the passage of time, we'll find out. Bernie, all points well taken [in your Off the Cuff about Catherine Herridge]. I can also see a potential flip side. I don’t believe she would have made the transition to only see her becoming muzzled. Maybe the MSM finally has a credible journalist well versed in the “investigation of the investigators”. And when the _hits the fan she’ll be front and center reporting it. I doubt she’d walk away from that story, walking in boot step with CBS’s denial of the biggest political scandal in modern history. She’s too good a reporter. Curious to see the new arc of her career. I trust and like her, dogged and respected. What say you? -- Ronald M. I'm with you, Ronald. If/when it hits the fan, if it makes Democrats look bad, she'll be on it -- and CBS won't try to muzzle her. Bernie, I have a dilemma. Is there any TV station that comes close to reporting political information without projecting either a conservative or liberal agenda? With the exception of Fox News all the other stations, push the liberal agenda and, most of the time, hateful dialogue at President Trump. Then you watch Fox news they fawn at the feet of President Trump. I Can see why Fox recently had 2 reporters leave their network. Is there any source that projects unbiased political news reporting? I have subscribed to your site because you are, for the most part, unbiased in your reporting style and I thoroughly enjoy your columns. -- Charles B. Thank you, Charles. As I said above ... Special Report is a solid news program. Fox's hard news reporters are very good. I have no idea what their politics are. Bernie, just listened to your OTC commentary. Here's my question: you too have moved from one news organization to another, several times; what were some of the reasons you changed locations? If the reasons are personal, you need not answer; you're a journalist and commentator, not an elected politician :) -- Gregg H. I left CBS News after 28 years to write Bias. I left Fox after 10 years because they stopped calling me to appear on their shows. I'm pretty sure it was because I said things about the president that his loyal fans in the FNC audience didn't like. I'm still on HBO's Real Sports -- been there for 20 years plus. All of the cable news shows report from their point of view - CNN and MSNBC are never seen to be supporting or making positive comments about Trump - they'd rather bite their tongues off. Fox's actual news with Bair and MacCallum is pretty straight politically, Carson, Hannity and Ingraham don't pretend to be correspondents - they are opinion shows. What would you call Rachel Maddow, or Don Lemon? No different from the Fox opinion shows - just slanted in the other direction. -- Dr. James V. Maddox and Lemon are the left wing versions of Hannity, Carlson and Ingraham. That simple, Doc. I see where Chris Berman is back on ESPN, he of the famously funny sports nicknames. In that spirit, I have concocted a few nicknames of my own as they apply to current political figures: Elizabeth Warren "Peace"; Donald "Duck!" Trump; Lindsey Graham "Cracker"; Corey Booker "I Don't Even Know Her"; Kamala Harris "Poll"; "Up" Chuck Schumer; and my personal favorite - Adam Schiff "For Brains". What do you think? -- Steve R. Don't quit your day job, Steve.
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