Bernie’s Q&A: Bongino, Sharpton, Hitchens, Logan, and Much More (4/12)
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Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Dan Bongino wrote an excellent book called SPYGATE where he effectively outlined ALL the players and the timeline of events plus the interconnections of the coverup regarding the REAL Collusion. He has written a follow-up titled EXONERATED which deals with the plot to “take down” President Trump due out in November. YOUR thoughts if you read SPYGATE and your analysis of Mr. Bongino. Thank you. -- Geoff
I have not read the book and Bongino comes off -- to me -- as a hyper partisan. I tune out when people like that are on TV. If Donald Trump dropped a nuclear bomb on Cleveland, Bongino would find an excuse to defend the president. At least that's how I see him. And, of course, he's hardly alone when it comes to Fox contributors defending Trump no matter what. And yes, CNN and MSNBC contributors bash the president -- no matter what.
My guess, based on its enormous success and groundbreaking importance, is that Bias is the book you're most proud of as an author (pls correct me if I'm wrong). Which of your books are you second proudest of? -- Andrew D.
You're right Andrew and, yes, because it broke ground and caused such a furor. I liked A Slobbering Love Affair second, I guess, because it documented the embarrassing love affair the so-called mainstream media had with Barack Obama. I think the title captured what the book was about.
Is there any polling or statistical data to support the labeling of MAGA hats wearers and Trump rally attendees as anti-semites and neo-nazis? As a Jewish American, do I have more to fear from the typical Trump supporter or typical left leaning college student? Which group is more likely to support violence against those with whom they disagree? -- Michael F.
There is no polling data that I know of that would show that people who wear MAGA hats and people who attend Trump rallies are anti-Semites and/or neo-Nazis. Are there some Jew haters on the right? Sure. But there are a lot on the left these days -- especially on college campuses. For the record, you can be anti Israel without being anti Jewish. But more than a few on the anti Israel left, I suspect, aren't fans of Jews in general. As for violence, it's the hard left on campus that tries to shut down speech they don't like -- often using violence to achieve that goal.
Bernie: Don’t you suspect that many traditional Democrats won’t have a dog in this race when it comes to challenging Trump? You and I grew up in the same era. I grew up in Minnesota in the era of Hubert Humphrey, Fritz Mondale, and similar centralists. Humphrey was even one of my professors at Macalester College. Coming from such a liberal institution, I was once a typical Democrat. Once I experienced a bit of life I drifted leftward and have keep moving in that direction for the past 40 years. Virtually all the current Democratic candidates are avowed Socialists or worse. Some claim this is necessary to win the primary and perhaps that’s true, but most Democrats I know are more typical centralists. Joe Biden is the only traditional Democratic candidate and if he enters the race he will get burned at the stake by his own party. What does all of this mean? I would say four more years for Trump! -- William W.
First, William, I think you meant to say that you've been drifting rightward, not leftward. But I get the gist of your question.
The Democratic Party has moved far left and that's where the energy is. It's not the same party that we grew up with. So if the election is about their hard left policies .... Trump can win. But if the election is about Trump's character, his behavior, his pettiness, etc ... then I think even a lefty would have a chance to beat him. The progressives want no part of Joe Biden, you're right about that. But if the ten thousand or so progressive candidates split the primary vote, Biden can sneak in and win the nomination. And he's got the best chance of beating the president. The progressives won't like it if Biden gets the nomination but they so want to defeat this president that they won't sit home on Election Day. As always, I could be wrong; 2020 is a long way down the road.
Every time the subject of health care arises, the Left (along with the 'MSM') say that "Health Care is a Right." When this was the mantra during the Clinton era, we did not have FOX, or any other conservative tv station, and so the public never learned that the Hillary Plan would have ELIMINATED our rights to purchase care which the plan denied. (As one of 17 board members of the AAPS when we sued the Clinton Health Care Task Force, I can guarantee that this is a fact.) So much for our "Right" to Health Care or our natural rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Would you agree to make that utter hypocrisy clear to the public at the appropriate time? -- Joe S.
Health care is a major concern of enough Americans, Joe, to sway the election. The Republicans better have a plan if they want to repeal Obamacare. Beyond that, you're right ... they need to explain for example what Medicare for all really means; that the federal government will be making a lot of your medical decisions. So far, the GOP has totally screwed up the healthcare debate. That's a big reason the Democrats took over the House in the last midterms. Republicans are vulnerable on this issue. Stay tuned.
In my humble opinion, the greatest sporting event of the 20th century was the US Hockey Team at Lake Placid. After I saw it on HBO, I purchased several DVD's to give to friends. It wasn't until a few years later that I noticed you wrote that documentary (Do You Believe in Miracles?). I consider it one of the best sports documentaries I have ever seen. Just curious; was this story of personal interest to you and is there anything interesting to report during production? I was surprised how friendly and open the Russians were in the interviews. -- Tim H.
My best line in that documentary, Tim, was: The only thing placid that day ... was the lake.
What sticks with me about that documentary is that even though you know how it ends, that the American kids beat the mighty Russians ... you'll have tears in your eyes watching it. That's how moving it was -- even for me, the guy who wrote it.
Here's a behind-the-scenes story never told before now: I wanted to end the documentary -- which began with how terrible the 1970s were; long gas lines, high interest rates, etc -- with this line: February 22, 1980, the day the 1970s finally ended.
The producer wanted to end the documentary with interviews from some of the key players. It was his show so he got his way.
I'm still annoyed about that. (A little, anyway.)
Bernie, Are we not clearly in Bizarro World when every Democratic ‘Candidate’ finds it necessary to bow at the alter of Al Sharpton, let alone endorse and commit to the notion of reparations . Do they all have no shame?? -- Ronald M.
Yes, we are in Bizarro World and they have no shame.
It's pathetic, but such is the Democratic Party: Offend "Reverend Al" and you have problems with the black vote.
I'm going to stop writing now because I'm getting ill thinking about it.
Bernie, I have always considered myself a libertarian(from Latin: libertas meaning freedom). I really think most people don't want anyone telling them what to do or how to run their lives. Yet both parties seem to be absolutely trying to run our lives (what to do with our money, who with and how to have sex, what we can say or think, etc.) I think this because my liberal friends and conservative friends don't seem to like my libertarian philosophy. They seem to think I don't stand for anything. Actually I do. I stand for their freedom and mine. Your thoughts? -- Doug R.
I'm with you, Doug. I'm a conservative in that I want a small government, low taxes, and I want the government to be tough on terrorists and other enemies. But I want the government out of our personal lives as much as possible. Your friends are wrong. You stand for personal freedom. If they don't get it, that's on them. Stay cool.
Regarding your column this week about partisan hate, pointing out the problem is the easy part. How do we fix it? I don't think Trump dropping dead is realistic. And, despite your obvious disgust with Trump claiming that fake news is an enemy of the people, I tend to agree with him. Trump has never said all news is fake. It is the news that is made up, comes from anonymous 'sources' that prove to be wrong and other lies they deliberately tell. I think this is an enemy of the people. Journalists (see Lara Logan) need to go back to being reporters and not advocates. Your thoughts? -- Dennis C.
Dennis, you and I will never see eye to eye, I'm afraid. Trump says reporters make stuff up, they concoct sources. They don't. Maybe a tiny fraction of 1 percent of journalists have done stuff like that. But that's the extent of it. He once told Leslie Stahl that he continually bashes the media so people won't believe what they report about him. Fake news to Donald Trump is news he doesn't like. Do some journalists from time to time make mistakes? Yes. Do the mistakes tend to go in one direction -- the anti-Trump direction? Yes. Does this constitute bias? Yes. So we agree that too many journalists are out to get the president and that that's not a good thing. But fake news meaning made up news? Sorry. No.
You favorably quote Lara Logan. Do you know that I said what she's saying 23 years ago in the Wall Street Journal and then again in 2001 in Bias. I like Lara, but let's be clear: She's taking on the media after she was let go by CBS News. I wrote the op-ed while I still was a correspondent at CBS News. Big difference, Dennis. If you agree with her, you agree more than you know, with me.
What is your opinion of Rachel Corrie? Some hold her up as a heroine who fought for the rights of the Palestinians under siege against an enemy with superior artillery. Others say that she was a naive tool exploited by the PLO at best, and a terrorist sympathizer at worst. Also, in your opinion, what do you think of her parents and the publicity that they have garnered, and why do you think Rachel Corrie decided to fight with the jihadists in the first place? Best Regards --The Emperor
All I know nothing about her is what I read in the papers at the time of her death. I don't want to attribute motives to her; that would be unfair. But an American who goes to the Middle East to side with the Palestinians during one of their frequent uprisings is not someone I'd like to hang out with. Sorry, but that's all I can offer.
I notice a lot of fox news contributors (as well as other cable news outlets) are ex politicians, military, intelligence, and etc. How much are they paid? -- Bill E.
Varies. Some who are on only occasionally probably work for free. Maybe they get to plug a book in return for their appearance. But for regulars -- on at least once a week -- and exclusive -- can't work for CNN or MSNBC -- the pay range is quite wide: maybe 50k a year on the low side; considerably higher for others who are in demand, money into six figures.
What’s your opinion of the late Christopher Hitchens? What did you agree with him about and what did you disagree with? Best Regards -- The Emperor
Very smart guy. But since I never met him, can't really say. He wrote an interesting book about faith; he was an atheist.
While the editorial board at the NY Times has its share of bias issues, one of the most concerning stories I've seen is around Project Feels. It seems the NY Times is making premium ad pricing around how a story makes the reader "feel". The NYT may be saying this is a limited scope project for only a small group of advertising dollars, but I'm worried if this is as successful as they project it could be. The rabbit hole would then seem destined to be littered with future efforts to shape a new story's message to fit one of the "feelings" that sell the best. We've gone from reporting the news, to "if it bleeds, it leads" to this, which seems to be evolution in reverse. Mr. Goldberg, is this just a lot of unnecessary worry on my part? Thank you for your column and for your brilliant books. -- Steve
First, thanks for the kind words, Steve. They are greatly appreciated.
As for Project Feels, here's what the Times says: "To be clear: this is an advertising project and was done without coordination with the newsroom; its findings will never impact our news report or other editorial decisions."
So, if it's strictly about advertising placement, I'm OK with it. But ... if the Times goes down the road you worry about, then I'll be with you. If the paper believes it can make more money running certain kinds of stories that make readers "feel" a certain way, that'll be very, very bad. The Times says don't worry, it won't happen. So let's see how it plays out.
Can you name two or three current cable-news commentators (not necessarily hosts) who you believe have resisted the pressures of political tribalism and sycophantism, and have provided fair, honest, and reasonable commentary in the era of Trump? -- John D.
Alan Dershowitz, Brit Hume, Guy Benson.
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