Bernie's Q&A: Brit Hume, Donna Brazile, Joseph McCarthy, and AC/DC? (4/5)
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Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
I am a big fan of Brit Hume and find his commentaries on Fox to be very insightful, articulate and straightforward without any discernible bias. What has your experience been with Brit in both your personal and professional interaction with him? -- Ken J.
I've had no professional or social dealings with Brit, except once in the Green Room at Fox in Washington -- and then it was just a friendly hello. I'm a huge fan of Brit Hume. Huge! He's everything a journalist should be. Too bad there aren't more like him.
As a former DoJ supervisory criminal investigator, I am curious as to your thoughts, why Special Counsel Mueller would utilize attorneys/investigators who have credibility issues, at a minimum the appearance of a conflict...while conducting such a sensitive and high profile criminal investigation? I am hopeful that General Barr will restore some of the luster to DoJ's once respectable reputation. If I may, I highly recommend to your readers, Licensed to Lie: Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice. -- Matthew Q.
I'm with you Matthew. Even if the Mueller associates were 100 percent fair and honest and impartial, the appearance of bias is important too. I think he made a mistake by choosing so many Democrats. You'd think a smart guy like Mueller would have thought about this. Maybe he did and just didn't care.
(Editor's Note: John Daly wrote about this topic — partly in response to this question — in his column this week).
Bernie, It seems to me, that the MSM is, contrary to their wishes, hopes, dreams and certainly conscious intentions, actually are one of, if not the, main reason Trump was so high in the polls during the primary and eventually beat Hillary. They gave him free publicity to the point he was a runaway train and they couldn't look away. Now, they are doing to some level, the same thing with AOC. They, themselves are creating this persona. Thoughts? -- James G.
The MSM certainly gave Donald Trump free air time -- and allowed him to say things that weren't true but never bothered to set the record straight. Fox simply covered his rallies as live events. He could say anything and they just put it on TV. Enough people saw that Donald Trump and figured he's different, he's not a politician, he's brash, etc ... and said "I'm going to give him a shot." Will they do that twice? As for AOC, the media -- right and left -- can't turn away. She's the shiny object they're focused on. But airtime doesn't guarantee success. The more you're on the more people know about you -- the good and the bad. Yes, airtime worked for Trump the first time around. That doesn't mean it works for everybody. It doesn't even mean it'll work for Donald Trump if he decides to run for reelection.
Mr. Goldberg: I’d understand it if you want to pass on answering my question because it’s not about bias or journalism on the national level. What’s your opinion on local television newscasts’ and their journalistic quality. Not to answer my own question, but the word that comes to mind when I watch local news is: “insipid.” -- Jim P
There are exceptions ... there are some local news outfits that do good work ... but when I tune in around the country the philosophy seems to be, "If it bleeds, it leads." Insipid's not a bad word. But as I say, some local reporting is very good. Too much is a police blotter -- one crime story after another.
My pick for Time's Person of the Year is "The Hypocrite"! Whether in religion (Pick a religion. Any religion.), politics (Pick a party. Any party.), or just regular folks. Never have I seen anything like this. Never. Your thoughts? Aloha -- Mike
Very interesting Mike. And smart. I've written about the death of principles; about how people support their team no matter what and won't give the other team credit -- for anything. That's a form of hypocrisy, I think. But I like the way you put it. One problem: If Time magazine picked the Hypocrite as Person of the Year they'd be hypocrites too -- for spotting hypocrites outside the media while ignoring the many hypocrites inside the media. I'm either on a roll -- or just rambling, right?
Greetings Mr. Goldberg: I know that Joseph McCarthy has been vilified by the left for decades, but I have to ask: Was this totally fair? Since the fall of the old Soviet Union, and release of the Venona Project in which former KGB agents pretty much admitted that YES, there actually WERE many Communist spies in America's beloved institutions undermining our way of life (so to speak), wouldn't this new information exonerate Senator McCarthy somewhat? Okay, he may have gone overboard eventually, but I have to wonder if perhaps much of the vitriol toward the late "red scare icon" is aimed at him because, well, many in the left wing mainstream press are angry because Senator McCarthy ruined a lot of their "comrades" back in the day. Truthfully, weren't there several communist agents in FDR's cabinet? Didn't the communists try to smear their own who turned on them and exposed them (Elia Kazan and Whittaker Chambers, for example). As always, I look forward to your analysis. Have a great day! -- The Emperor
Smart question Emperor but I'm not the best guy to answer it. I know what went on during that time, but I'm no expert by any means. I think the legitimate rap on McCarthy is -- as you said -- he went overboard. He tried to take down too many people, many of whom really were innocent. And there's the famous question asked of McCarthy by the Army's lawyer -- a question that brought the senator down for the count: "Until this moment, Senator, I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness." When McCarthy tried to continue his attack on one of Welch's young staff lawyers, Welch interrupted, "Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?"
Sorry I'm not all that helpful this time around, E.
Bernie, it appears that you and John Daly work closely together and have similar beliefs. How did that come about and have you read all of his Coleman books? -- Mike S.
I was reading the comments under one of my columns and I noticed that this guy, John Daly, could really write -- and really think. It had nothing to do with whether he agreed with me or not. At some point I asked if he would write a column for my website. Thankfully he said yes. Despite the close working relationship, we've never said hello to each other in person. But I can tell you this without a nanosecond of hesitation: He's a good person. I'd be lost without his help regarding the website. In fact, I'm nominating him for a Nobel Prize -- in something or other. As for the Coleman books: The last fiction I read was "A Tale of Two Cities" -- and that was a few days after it came out ... in 1859.
In one of your Real Sports pieces on Russia, I recall that you and your crew were detained and possibly incarcerated by the Russian police (the government didn't like what you were looking into). What was that experience like? Were you worried that it would turn into a much more serious/dangerous situation? Did they turn you into a Russian asset? (I'm joking about that last one). -- Jen R.
Yes, Jen, we were detained but not incarcerated. For the first hour and a half I was holding court with our Russian/Ukrainian crew telling (dirty) jokes. I was never worried. But ... after it dragged on (eventually for 4 hours) I was getting more than a little annoyed. The army interrogators questioned me first. All men and one young woman. She's the only one of that crew who spoke English. I've never told this part of the story before: At the end of the interrogation I asked the Russian woman, "You speak English, right?" She said yes. Then I pointed to her male comrades and said, "Tell your friends, this is bullshit!" And I turned, Clint Eastwood like, and walked out. It was my small way of saying this whole episode was worthy of a Barney Fife arrest. Our "crime" was shooting a story in a zone that didn't allow journalists -- a fact we didn't even know. Big deal!
I'm glad you remembered the story, Jen.
Dear Bernie, I’m offended by Donna Brazille's new [Fox News] ‘Contributor’ status. All she does is pivot and shill. A real phony! If you saw her ‘interview’ with Laura Ingalls on Jussie you know what I mean. What are your thoughts on her? -- Ronald M.
If you're a cable news organization you want to hire contributors who will give honest analyses that come from special knowledge about a subject. Hiring a political operative is always risky. They're likely to deliver the party line -- not objective analysis. She's just one of many on all the cable news channels whose opinions I'd listen to -- but then consider the source. You make a valid point, Ronald.
There's a photo on your social media with you and Brian Johnson from AC/DC. (Editor's note: Picture has been posted below). How did this pic come about, and what type of music do you generally like? Thanks. -- Andrew D.
This is crazy. I met Brian Johnson at Gatwick Airport in London. He saw a CBS News tag on my bag and asked if I worked there. I said I did then asked what he did for a living. Brilliant, right? He said he was in a band, AC/DC. I said, "They're big, right?" He said, "Pretty big." He had a girlfriend (now his wife) who worked at CBS who I knew. We became friends. He's a good guy.
As for the picture, it was taken at my house when I lived in Miami. Brian and his wife came over for my wife's birthday party. And he actually sang for the crowd. No fooling! As for my music: Sinatra and 60s rock n roll.
"License to Lie" is a 2014 original print date for a book by Sidney Powell. If you've read it, I'd be interested in your take. I found it disheartening. If you've not read it, I'd recommend you do so. Enjoy your erudite observations. Thanks for making a difference." -- Robert A.
Thanks for the kind words Robert. I appreciate them very much. Have not read the book, but will look into it.
My take on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is that she is the Sarah Palin of the Left. Both are young, physically attractive, dogmatic political personalities who drive the other side crazy. They are also basically dumb as a rock and prone to say stupid, ditzy things. Except the Leftist media hang on AOC's every word. If she were conservative, her character would be on SNL every week. Are you with me on this? -- Steve R.
I Love your analysis, Steve. Especially the part about how if AOC were a conservative she’d be on SNL every week being portrayed as a total doofus. The media love shiny objects, people who stand out from the pack. And they latch on to them because they’re not dull — and as we know, dull is the worst thing you can be on television. (The president sort of fits into this shiny object category. Just saying'.) But the media may tire of AOC. They’ve got Beto and the Mayor who are also young, attractive and different. She may have to up her game to stay relevant. This could be fun.
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