Bernie’s Q&A: Pence, Schumer, Limbaugh, Trump, COVID-19, and more! (3/13) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Hi, Bernie.....I figured you need a break from the incessant political questions so...I just watched your HBO Real Sports feature on the deaths in horse racing. I live in Arcadia, CA, very close to Santa Anita, and so have been aware of the deaths this year and the protests. I must say that your report opened my eyes to the shameful, shameful treatment of these horses. Do you have any updates on any movement to do something legislatively? THANK YOU for doing this feature! Unrelated....who is the dog at the top of your question submission page? He looks like your typical reporter at a Trump press conference. -- John F.
Thanks for the kind words about my HBO story, John. Much appreciated. I know of no active legislation to address problems in the horse racing business. A bill to create uniform rules in all 50 states has been lingering for years -- but I have no new information regarding any progress. As for the dog, he's an accredited journalist who works for Dog News Daily and the picture was taken at a press conference.
Mr. G, From a Queens guy to a Bronx guy; if Schumer who is from Brooklyn used that as an excuse for a pass regarding his threats to the Supreme Court, why then can’t he and the Dems allow Trump from Queens a pass, or many passes, for all his crass comments? Why can’t we all “Fugghedabout” the trash talk and exaggerations and just debate policy? -- ScottyG
If coming from an outer borough, as they call everyplace in NYC except Manhattan, were a legitimate excuse for stupid behavior, there would be a lot fewer dopes in NY. Schemer's excuse was pathetic. He should have said, "I got caught up in the moment ,.. and I'm sorry for what I said." But apologizing is seen as weakness in the world of politics, so he didn't say I'm sorry. By the way, Mr. Trump is no better. He doesn't believe in apologies either.
Bernie you always call the Democrats and the media "allies." But Trump and the Republicans have media allies too. -- Douglas S.
You're right Douglas, but far, far fewer. Trump has Fox and talk radio (and some places on the web). The Dems have most of the so-called mainstream media.
Many resent that Trump awarded Rush Limbaugh the Medal of Freedom because of their disdain for Rush's politics. I get that. I also keep hearing that "Rush is a racist." While I know that Rush says controversial things that can be seen as pushing the envelope, I don't think he's a racist. I just think he likes people who agree with him (including black people like Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, and Thomas Sowell), and he dislikes people who disagree with him (Jesse Jackson, Obama, et al). One of the racist accusations is that he called some black people "uppity."
So here are my questions: Why exactly is the word uppity a "racist" expression, even if the person being described actually IS uppity? AND...in your opinion, do you think Rush Limbaugh IS a racist? Do you think he is undeserving of the Presidential Medal of Freedom? Or do you think he just calls it as he sees it through his right-wing viewpoint? -- Talk Radio Regards From The Emperor
I don't think Rush is racist but I do think he's needlessly provocative and brings some of the criticism on himself. I think it's a conscience decision he's made -- for ratings. Uppity: The word has historic baggage. Advice: Don't use it despite its literal meaning. Is he deserving of the Medal of Freedom? Rush has been very good to me when others weren't. I don't like bashing him But given some of the things he's said, he wouldn't have been high on my list. Had Barack Obama given the award to Michael Moore, we know how conservatives would react. The president knew what he was doing. He was giving the award to a man with a serious illness -- but also playing to his presidential base.
Bernie, do journalists have any sense of responsibility at all these days? The coverage of Coronavirus has been completely ridiculous and it seems most of the problems are driven by the press. Last week, the Daily Mail ran a headline that implied Corona was just as bad as Ebola and AIDS. How in the world is running that headline responsible? This morning, Dan Patrick said on national radio that there is, "no test for Coronavirus" which is absolutely false. It seems the journalists now are more interested in throwing grenades in a crowded room and covering the carnage that results instead of drilling down deeper into the facts of a story and seeing what is a real threat and what is nothing more than fear mongering. Will there ever be sanity again in journalism or is getting clicks and ratings all that matter? -- Joe M.
Let's get the easy part out of the way first, Joe. When journalists are irresponsible I obviously am against it. When they hype the news for clicks, I'm against that too. But when you say "most of the problems are driven by the press" you leave me confused. The problems are real. People are getting infected all over the world. People are dying. This is not "fake news" made up by journalists. Criticize them when they get it wrong. And criticize the president when he gets it wrong. But it's not a good idea to take the most blatant examples of bad journalism and draw conclusions from that.
In today's hot political climate where so called journalists are clearly on one side or the other (well many of them anyways) which one would you want to interview and what one or two questions you would ask? Given they had the guts to be interviewed by you. -- Tim H.
There are some fools on cable television who would make for good interviews, but only because they're so biased that it would be both easy and fun to expose them for what they are. But they're not important enough -- if i had to pick only one. To answer your specific question, Tim ... I guess I'd pick Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the NY Times, because he has so much influence. Brian Stelter of CNN interviewed him and if they gave out Worst Interview of the Year Award, Stelter would have won it because he didn't ask a single tough question. All he did was lob softballs at Baquet who hit them out of the park. I'd also like to interview Stelter because he's so pathetically bad in his job, but as I said, cable news fools don't make the cut. As for what questions I'd ask, I listed a few in a column I wrote. Here's a link to it.
Prior to his address to the nation on Wednesday, Trump had been saying (to downplay the threat) a number of things about the coronavirus that contradicted what his top medical experts had been telling Americans. And following his address, the White House had to immediately walk back THREE of Trump's major policy announcements that he had stated quite incorrectly (the false information tanked stock futures). Being how extremely important this public safety issue is, should he just let Mike Pence do all the talking from now on? -- Ben G.
Yes. On second thought, make that YES!!!!!!
Hillary supporters love to bash the electoral college and point out that she won the popular vote. They're basically saying that she won a contest by a set of rules that doesn't exist. The electoral college is still relevant and useful. It requires a presidential candidate to build a large coalition over a broad set of cultures and geography. It also doesn't allow the 51% to steamroll over the 49%, something the founders wisely put into several areas of constitutional law. Yes, Hillary won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, but she won California by more than 4 million. Trump won the popular vote in the other 49 states and also carried more than 82% of U.S. counties. While it's troubling that an elected president lost the popular vote by a substantial margin, it equally doesn't seem fair that another candidate almost carried the election without even winning 1 in 5 counties. To me the electoral college is extremely relevant and a bulwark of our representative democracy. What is your opinion? -- Steve R.
First let me say, Steve, that you are a perfect example of how intelligent so many of you, who submit questions, are. You state the facts not only correctly, but with nuance and, as I say, intelligence. And for that I thank you.
Now to my opinion: I've long had mixed feelings about the Electoral College. Part of me says one person, one vote. End of discussion. If California is a big state with a lot of people, most of whom vote for Democrats, well that's the way it goes. But that leaves us with the problem you outline. The Founding Fathers came up with the Electoral College for a good reason. I'm not going to second guess them. But honest, Steve ... I'm torn on this. I could go either way. I know that's not a solid answer but it's an honest one -- and that's the best I can do right now.
Thanks, everyone! You can send me questions for next week using the form below! You can also read previous Q&A sessions by clicking here.