Discover more from Bernard Goldberg's Commentary
Bernie's Q&A: Mike Tyson, Tucker Carlson, U.S. Senators, George Soros, and more! (5/10) — 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.
Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Sir Bernard---Can you kindly comment on the following:
Which current U.S. Senator do you believe to be the most credible, worthy of speaking truth to power.
Can you comment on any behind-the-scenes feedback regarding the uh-oh moment during Presidential candidate Clinton's interview on 60 Minutes
Would you care to share with your supporters, 2 legitimate news organizations that you consider to be truly fair and balanced
Who is the most impressive professional athlete (to include quality of character) that you have personally met.
Thank you for indulging me, as I missed last week's deadline for submitting my questions. -- Matthew Q.
Here you go, Matthew:
If "truth to power" is the main criterion, I'm coming up blank. Some, on a particular issue, will show backbone. But profiles in courage are hard to come by. Everybody's on either the blue team or the red team and they usually don't color outside the lines. But if we're talking credible, who's smart and trustworthy, I'll give you a list -- not just one name. If you see this as a copout, let me know next week and I'll narrow it down to one. In no particular order: Mitt Romney, Lindsey Graham, John Kennedy, Marco Rubio, Tim Scott, John Thune. I like Joe Manchin but he's on a team that doesn't let him speak truth to power -- unless his vote doesn't matter. For the record, I don't agree with everyone on my list all the time, of course, but they all have good qualities, I think.
I think the biggest uh-oh moment is when they realized the light was coming down and might kill a future president and his wife. But here's something "civilians" don't know: According to a 60 Minutes source, "Mike Wallace threatened to fire his entire team because it was a Steve Kroft producer, not one of his, who landed the interview." I believe it!
For hard news, I like Special Report on Fox. I no longer watch network news and very little CNN or MSNBC. (I don't watch much Fox either, these days. I'm trying to stay clear of the polarization on all 3 major cable news channels.)
I like Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith a lot -- all 3 who are on TNT's basketball show. I like their honesty, their personalities and their smarts. No snobs in that group.
I surprisingly love your Friday Premium Q & A. I imagine when you started it, you had no idea how it would go, much like your premium subscription which I hope is doing well. Have you yet gotten to the point of, "Man this is a lot of work reading and answering all these questions?" -- James G.
Not quite. But I have been surprised by some of the questions I've received. I get questions about all sorts of things, some of which I know absolutely nothing about. Different things interest different people, I guess. I'm waiting for the questions about personal relationships. "I like pizza but my wife/girlfriend doesn't. Should I dump her, Bernie." Please don't. I'm begging you. But generally, I like the questions and try my best to answer them. But ... and this is an important but ... I'm not a Renaissance Man. So please, amigos, be reasonable.
Over your career, you've interviewed some pretty huge celebrities (in entertainment, sports, politics, etc). Are there any that you secretly felt starstruck around, to the point that it made the interview run less smoothly than others? -- John D.
Nope. I won't let myself go down that road. I'm conscious of the lure of stardom. I spent 4 days with Paul McCartney -- and was a big Beatles fan. But I went into that interview as a journalist, not a fan. Good question, John, and I'm glad I got the opportunity to respond.
Hi Bern. When you interviewed boxer Mike Tyson a while back (I think for RealSports), I remember him getting emotional over one of your questions, telling you that you needed to leave, and quickly standing up. Keeping in mind Tyson's unpredictable past (think incidents like Holyfield and the ear, lol), were you worried at any point about your safety (having pushed the wrong buttons)? -- Al J.
Editor's note: Below is the exchange:
It was a scary moment. He was telling me about the death of his daughter and as you say he got very emotional. Then he leaned in -- we were inches apart -- and said something like, "You're going to have to go now." At that point he was very calm. That's what made it scary for some reason. Then he got up and left. But while walking upstairs, he broke down and started crying.
Here's some behind the scenes info: When he was upstairs, out of sight, the producer said to me, "Are we going to leave?" I said, "Hell no, he'll be back." And he was. He had calmed down.
One more thing: Mike Tyson is a lot smarter than he's given credit for. His rough guy manner masks a native intelligence.
What is your opinion of Tucker Carlson's approach and show? -- Randy
Not a fan. The formula gets old in a hurry. He tells the guest, "Thanks for coming on" then works him over. The problem is, even when the guest makes sense, even when the guest is smarter than the host, Tucker argues with him because that's how it works on cable. I find him tiresome.
Bernie, are you as thrilled as I am to see Lara Logan joining in unmasking the ultra biased MSM? Guessing you are! -- John M.
I like Lara and I'm glad she's speaking up. I did it, as you know, in 1996.
Is George Soros really the sinister James Bond villain that many right wingers claim him to be? Many on the left claim that Soros is simply some boogeyman created by paranoid conservatives and that in reality, Soros is NOT funding Black Lives Matter, ANTIFA, and any number of other violent left wing groups. What specific evidence is there that Soros is funding these subversive groups and that he really is a villain worthy of a James Bond movie? On a lighter note, if the Bond franchise of the days of Sean Connery and Roger Moore were active, whom do you think would be the actor to play Soros the Bond villain? Best Regards --The Emperor
The Right doesn't like Soros because he really does fund a lot of left wing organizations. Even if it's not BLM or Antifa, he does shell out a lot of money to keep left wing operations afloat. Hey, it's his money and he can spend it any way he wants. And conservatives have every right to point that out. What actor could play Soros? Alec Baldwin? Sean Penn? Michael Moore (I know he's not an actor, but close enough)? Like any of them, Emperor?
Can you please share how the election of Donald Trump has affected your relationships with family and friends who are viciously anti-Trump? What is your advice as to how someone should relate to friends who have essentially shunned them because of differences with respect to political issues? -- Michael F.
I make clear to friends, let's talk about something else, anything other than Donald Trump. He takes up too much of our time. As for my advice: If a friend shuns you -- or anyone -- because of political differences, then the person isn't really a friend. The person wants his supposed friend to agree or be banned? Fine. Ban me, but I'm not changing my opinions to make some ideologue happy.
According to your IMDB page (among more well known BG television credits), you wrote an episode of Law & Order, and appeared on a 1960's episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Are these citations correct, or did someone confuse you with a different Bernard Goldberg? -- Bob
I didn't write the Law & Order episode, but it was based on a story I suggested. That's what the on-air credit says. As for Mr. Rogers ... not me.
Do you think Trump would serve his cause better if he stopped saying “fake news” and instead called it what we had before, when he came on the scene: “Liberal Media Bias”? -- Barry
Yes. Trump calls it "fake news" because he wants his loyal fans to think journalists are making stuff up out of nothing; that they're inventing non-existent sources. And many of his loyal fans buy into it. Mr. Trump knows what he's doing. It's a cynical ploy to divert attention from him and onto the hated media. If it's liberal bias -- and it often is just that -- call it liberal bias.
I would argue that the Democrat party better renamed the New Democratic Socialist (OXYMORON) Party has embraced totally the 2009 declaration of Obama to "fundamentally transform America." 1) Can the now defunct Party of Truman and Kennedy survive?" 2) Are the Democratic Socialists out to destroy the vision of the Founders and Framers? 3) Can America and We, the People survive as the fracture of Left Right divides the nation even MORE? -- Geoff M.
The party of Truman and Kennedy went bye bye. It can come back if the hard left loses elections and the grownups come to their senses and move closer to the middle.
The progressives are out to make America in their image -- not the Founders image.
If the polarization continues unabated, this country will be in great peril. We survived a Great Depression and two World Wars. I guess we'll survive the fracture you ask about. But it won't be easy.
Mr. Goldberg, You’ve mentioned broadcast journalists whom you find worth following (such as Brit Hume). What print or on-line columnists do you find it useful to follow and why? -- Fred E.
Dan Henninger, Karl Rove, Kimberly Strassel, William McGurn -- and a few others who also write for the Wall Street Journal. I find David Brooks and Brett Stephens of the New York Times occasionally interesting. And I like lots of writers at National Review -- David French and Victor Davis Hanson top that list.
Hello again, mr. Goldberg! I was wondering about your opinion on citizen journalists (like Tim Pool) and reporters funded by Patreon (Dave Rubin of the Rubin report for instance). Are they a good thing? Why/why not? Are they an option to keep mainstream media bias in check? -- Carl-Simon Pihl
The Internet, like the Universe, is pretty big -- and getting bigger by the second. I can't keep up with either. I know a little about Tim Pool, but not enough to comment on him or Dave Rubin. My apologies.
Do you think AG Barr will uncover the nefarious activities of the FBI in the Russian hoax? Do you think it was ok’d by Obama himself and members of his administration? -- Ralph P.
To your first question, Ralph, I sure as hell hope so. Regarding the second, don't know. Stay tuned.
You once wrote that when it comes to setting the agenda for the mainstream press, the New York Times is the leader of the pack. In the years that have followed, do you believe that has changed or remained the same? -- Alex P.
I was told by a former CBS News executive that they no longer take their cues from the New York Times. I think they do. If the reporters at the Times went on strike, I'm not at all sure the people who run the news divisions at CBS, NBC and ABC would know what to put on their shows that night. Since I no longer watch a lot of network news, I can't say the Times is as big a factor as it used to be, but I'm guessing it is.
Recently, there were were a couple of stories that indicated that Social Security and Medicare are facing insolvency in a few years. While I have praised outlets that have reported the dire situation confronting the U.S. why have others been silent? -- Alex P.
I think the main reason is because Social Security and Medicare aren't sexy subjects. Another reason is that it's going to happen down the road, not tomorrow. Of course that doesn't stop journalists from reporting on climate change -- but the "end of the world" story is more interesting than a numbers story that mainly affects a demographic age group TV doesn't care that much about.
What exactly has President Trump done to improve the economy? When he took office wasn't the economy already improving? Will the perception of a good economy cause it to improve more? Thank you. -- George V.
First, yes the economy was recovering from the great recession. But president's preside over the economy and if things go south they get more blame than they deserve, so it's understandable that they get more credit than they deserve when the economy is booming. That said, the president did cut regulations that were strangling business and he did lead the way on a corporate tax cut. Both of those things helped the economy. So he deserves some credit. The perception of a good economy may help improve the economy, but perception only works when there's something resembling a strong economy behind the perception.
Hello Mr. Goldberg, I'm in a bit of a quandary. Facebook has recently banned several right wingers (along with Minister Farrakhan whom they ridiculously labeled as a "right winger"), and so the controversy started over the free speech question. Some say that Facebook is a private company that has the right to accept or deny anyone they want according to their rules. Okay, but then wouldn't this also apply to Christian bakers who own their own private companies, and shouldn't said Christian bakers be allowed the same rights that Facebook has of denying service to clients that they don't want to deal with because it violates THEIR personal beliefs? And hypothetically speaking, if the Christian bakers at the heart of the original controversy had been Muslims named Mohammed and Fatima, do you believe that there would ever have been any lawsuit or attempts to shut them down that occurred to the Christian baker? Somehow I cannot help thinking that the same people supporting shutting down the Christian bakers for refusing to cater a gay wedding would be standing by that same bakery had they refused to bake a wedding cake for a Westborough Baptist Church couple---a wedding cake that says "God Hates F*gs" and "Thank God For I.E.D.s and Dead Soldiers"===Your thoughts? -- The Emperor
This is a complicated question, but I would expect nothing less from The Emperor. One could make the case that a private company like Facebook may establish its own rules based on corporate values and ban whoever it wants, within reason. I think if Facebook banned African Americans it would be found guilty of discrimination under all sorts of laws. I'm not sure the analogy holds up with the Christian baker. The baker opened shop on a public street and opened his business to the general public. If gays are protected under state law, the case could -- repeat could -- be made that there is discrimination here. But the baker says he's the one being discriminated against, that he has rights too. Here we have competing rights. In the case of Facebook, I don't think we do. Alex Jones doesn't have a right to be on Facebook. As I say, this is complicated. And the best place for resolution is in the courts -- where the case is absolutely clear cut, not one based on a narrow, technical issue. As for the Muslim part of your question (and the Westborough Baptist Church part) ... let's just say you may be on to something.
I'm guessing my answers won't satisfy, but it's the best I've got. This space works best for less complicated questions. It doesn't work so well for long, nuanced discussions. Just sayin' ...
Who in the Sam Hill uses the name “emperor” when everyone one else is candid enough to provide at least a first name when submitting a question to you? -- Terry J.
Hi Terry. Some people prefer to use a screen-name online for privacy reasons. I'm fine with this as long as they aren't stealing a different person's identity to misrepresent that individual.
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.