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Bernie’s Q&A: My meeting with Matt Drudge, Wallace, Mueller, Thomas Jefferson, and more (5/31) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for Premium
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Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Bernie, what do you think of Matt Drudge and the Drudge Report’s impact on the media. Even though he does not write 99% of the stories he links to on his site, he is consistently named as one of the most influential people in the media. What do you think of this position and how his site has influenced how we read the news online? -- J.M.
Just as liberal journalists take their cues from the NY Times, conservatives in the media are influenced by the stories Drudge links to on his site. Personal story: Just before my first book Bias came out, I had lunch with Matt Drudge at the News Cafe on Miami Beach. The book was ranked # gazillion -- since it hadn't come out. At lunch, Drudge, who had an early copy, said the book would be a big hit. I had no idea; I had never written a book before. This was new territory for me. After lunch, he went back to his office and posted a great big headline about my book. By the next morning -- literally, the next morning -- the book was #1 on Amazon. That, JM, is what I call influence.
Do you believe as I do that Robert Mueller desperately wanted to find President Trump guilty of obstruction of justice but he did not find that evidence and did not have the honesty to simply say "no charge of obstruction of justice. -- Clarence
I believe Mueller thinks that President Trump is in fact guilty of obstruction but didn't formally come to that conclusion for the reason he stated at his press briefing -- that DOJ rules don't allow for a president to be indicted while in office. So, I do NOT believe he lacked the honesty to say "no obstruction." I think he put it on Congress to act -- on impeachment.
What are your thoughts on Jonah Goldberg (I know you two aren't related) of National Review? Have you read any of his books? -- Skip R.
I think he's (obviously) smart; I generally like his politics, but don't know him personally so can't say what kind of guy he is off camera. And have not read his books. I was a rookie CBS News producer on the McGovern campaign in 1972 -- and flew around the country on the press plane. Guess who sat right across the aisle from me during the entire campaign. Jonah Goldberg's mother, Lucianne. She claimed to be working for The Women's News Service but in fact was a paid spy for the Nixon campaign. True story.
Bernie, I cannot recall if you have weighed in before regarding the recent scandals that have emerged at USC , Yale and other schools where affluent parents paid substantial sums to help get their children into colleges that arguably were beyond their reach. And earlier this week , a front page article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted a related development where children attending affluent public schools are granted additional time to take SAT and ACT tests. Would love to hear your thoughts about what all of this says about our current society and values and whether you think we have devolved in terms of character traits like honesty, honor and integrity. -- Michael F.
People who pay a king's ransom to get their little darling into first and second rate colleges turn my stomach. I find them pathetic. Do people with money have advantages others don't. Sure. But they shouldn't have these kinds of advantages. There have always been slugs who lack character and integrity, Michael. But now we seem to know more about it. I'm glad we do. Maybe the spotlight will make others with that tendency to think twice -- and then do the right thing. One more thing: If their kids knew what their parents were doing to get them into college, then I find them pathetic, too.
In a recent column, Fareed Zakaria wrote that America faces a growing social divide, particularly between rural and urban residents. National service, he suggests, might be a good way to fix it.
“Imagine if in today’s America the sons and daughters of hedge-fund managers, tech millionaires and bankers spent a year with the children of coal miners and farmers, working in public schools or national parks or the armed forces,” Fareed writes. "It wouldn’t solve all our problems, but a robust national-service program could help bridge the country’s widening cultural and economic chasm."
I have felt for years, that this kind of program would be a terrific start to bringing our country back together again. Your thoughts, please, Mr. Goldberg? -- Michael S.
In theory, it's a good idea. I say in theory, because it's been a very long time since this country has had a compulsory national service program -- and that was the military draft. And even then, only young men were subjected to it -- not young women. I can imagine a lot of resistance to requiring young people -- men and women -- to serve their country in a manner that Zakaria or you are suggesting. I also wonder how many politicians -- dependent on college-educated suburban votes to keep them in Washington -- would get behind such an idea. I'm not suggesting that they'd outright oppose it; just that they wouldn't campaign FOR it. All that said, the idea has merit.
Maybe I'm wrong about this, but I don't think I am. Judging by online conversations and conservative blogs, it use to be that Fox News viewers respected and were generally proud to have Chris Wallace as part of the network. This was true during both the Bush and Obama admins. Fox fans held him up (to liberal critics of the network) as perhaps the best "proof" that the network was a fair and respected news organization; Jon Stewart even told Wallace that's what Fox fans would always tell him. But ever since Trump won, Wallace seems to be one of the more despised Fox News personalities (among the network's viewers) -- often framed as a biased anti-Trump pro-Democrat hack who needs to be fired. In reality, he hasn't changed at all. He's the same guy they used to admire -- fair, blunt, and still holding both sides' feet to the fire. Do these Fox News viewers no longer care about the network's credibility? Do they no longer care about having reputable, professional journalists that they can hold up as examples to the network's critics? -- Andy D.
The kind of Fox viewers you describe don't care one bit about anything but pumping up the president. If he does something that puts him in a bad light, and Chris Wallace says so, they turn on Wallace. Remember, they turned on Megyn Kelly when she asked Donald Trump a tough but legitimate question at the first GOP presidential debate. Fox viewers are loyal to Fox ONLY as long as Fox gives them what they want. And they DON'T want bad news about the president. Your analysis, Andy, is right on the money.
Hello Mr. Goldberg: I enjoyed your story about how you left the left wing. I also enjoyed hearing similar stories from others, especially people like Harry Stein and David Horowitz. However, on a more philosophical note, why do you think you (and others) DID leave the left, when so many others (Chomsky, Rather, Olbermann et al) DOUBLED DOWN and defended the left regardless of how nutty the left got, and CONTINUES to go? And speaking of Chomsky, why exactly do you think that he is so respected by many "great thinkers" of our time? Best Regards --The Emperor
Your Royalty: I left the left because it started taking positions that didn't make sense to me. I was for civil rights -- but didn't like the idea that a minority kid with upper middle class parents got affirmative action points but the son of a white, Anglo Saxon, Protestant coal miner in West Virginia didn't.
I was for women's rights. But didn't believe a woman has the right to be a firefighter if she can't, for example, lift a man and carry him out of a burning building.
Whatever one's views on abortion, are we really expected to support so-called late term abortion?
As for why the others you mentioned double down on their left wing thinking, maybe it's because that's how they really feel. Maybe they're really hard leftists. Or maybe it's a reaction to conservatism; a rejection of right-of-center politics.
Finally, Your Highness, Chomsky. He says the kind of things liberals and the hard left like. He's clearly a bright guy, despite his left wing views. A lot of "great thinkers" like other "great thinkers." Just a theory.
I believe that perhaps the greatest difference in opinion between progressives and conservatives/libertarians relates to how they view Trump and the Trump investigation. Progressives either do not know (because of a dearth of under-reporting) about the misconduct in the intelligence agencies and the DOJ or they think the ends justified the means and that attempting to get Trump was a small price to pay. I don't recall (or don't remember) reading your comments on the apparent misconduct. On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the most severe rank), how would you rate the Administrative State spying on American citizens in order to "save" the union? I consider it the greatest political scandal in American history that makes Watergate and Teapot Dome almost comical by comparison. -- The Fantom
I'm awaiting the Inspector General report from the DOJ. I'm also awaiting the attorney general's findings. Until then, I'm going to hold my fire. But if the IG comes up with the kind of gross misconduct you're referencing, I'm pretty sure it will be dismissed by progressives. And if the attorney general finds misconduct, that too will be dismissed. But let's be fair and balanced here: While good news about the president is almost always de-emphasized by the left and bad news pumped up, the opposite is true of conservatives. They'll downplay bad news about the president and play up good news. I wish we had fewer ideologues and more principled observers. But again, let's see what the IG and AG come up with. One more thing: Isn't it PHANTOM not FANTOM?
Over the years, I have noticed the mainstream press engage in word games to hide the reality of what they are reporting. In the past I heard journalists like Peter Jennings label then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev as "Soviet President". I have heard the same with regards to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Here in the U.S., when it comes to Congress, the words liberal, conservative and moderate are thrown around when describing its members without looking at voting records, statements, and rankings from groups like the ACLU, ACU or ADA. It is like mainstream journalists are trying to pull a fast one on viewers and readers. Can this be changed? -- Alex P.
I'm not sure I'm following you, Alex. Gorbachev was the Soviet President. He may not have ruled over a democracy or republic like ours, but that was his title (in addition to General Secretary of the Communist Party). And generally speaking, I think we attach liberal and conservative to politicians who would get rankings from the ACU and ADU to back up those labels. Not always, but most of the time. I'm guessing you're saying American journalists afford too much respect to authoritarian leaders. Sometimes they do. If Castro, to use an example, was cracking down on human rights in Cuba, the better description would be "dictator" not "president." But sometimes the formal title is legit.
Mr. G, What if anything will it take for The Mainstream Media to ever get close to being objective again and report news & facts without such a left slanted agenda? Am I nuts? -- Scotty G.
Let's separate the networks and big newspapers from cable. The former can be fixed. It just takes the right leadership. Liberal bias is ingrained, but the problem is fixable. Though, be assured, I'm not naive about these things. It won't be easy. Cable, on the other hand, is beyond repair. It's not based on journalism as much as business. So we get slanted news -- right and left. And that's just what the cable audience wants. As long as the viewer craves slanted news and not totally honest opinion, that's what the viewer will get.
Why are "journalists" so lazy? A committee of History Professors was commissioned to look in to the the Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings controversy. Their study was quite exhaustive and their conclusion was it was doubtful that Thomas Jefferson fathered any of Sally Hemings' children. The DNA evidence that everyone cites showed that one of the descendants of Sally Hemings had a male Jefferson marker. A male Jefferson. Not necessarily Thomas Jefferson. They did not dig up Thomas Jefferson and get his DNA. There were 19 male Jeffersons running around the area when Sally conceived. But hardly a week goes by that some "journalist" in some story related to Thomas Jefferson states that he had a sexual relationship with Sally Hemings. I just clicked on an article by your buddy Bill O'Reilly on your web site and he stated that Thomas Jefferson had a sexual relationship with at least one of his slaves. It drives me crazy. It is not a "fact" that Thomas Jefferson had sex with any slave. He might have. But it should not be stated as a fact. Why does it matter? Because the truth matters. Please bother to get and read the Commission Report. I think you will find it quite fascinating I know you will care. Please shine some light on this. Thomas Jefferson is one of my greatest heroes. He should be the hero of all Americans. There would be no America if it were not for him. I can't stand for people to denigrate him unfairly. Please pass this on to Bill O'Reilly and ask him to research this. He is a historian. He should care about the truth don't you think? -- Doug R.
First, along with everyone else, I heard about the Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemmings alleged connection. You seem to know a lot about this so I defer to you on the matter. But I'll offer up one reason that the story is taken as fact mainly by the left: I suspect it's that it feeds into a convenient left of center talking point -- about how our Founders were a bunch of bigots and scoundrels. O'Reilly, as you know, is not of the left. So I asked him about your question. Here's his reply:
"If he reads Killing England all the documentation on Jefferson as well as perspective is there, it has not been challenged by historians."
As a practicing physician I can't help noticing Nancy Pelosi's hand tremors suggesting she might have Parkinson's disease or a similar disorder. There is often a connection between tremors and dementia. Do you have any thoughts on this topic? -- William W.
Since I went to journalism school and not medical school ... not really.
In any case, like her or hate her, Nancy Pelosi is a savvy politician. She knows what she's doing. She thought through her actions. I don't think she suffers from anything resembling dementia.
We have a sports reporter here in Minneapolis, Sid Hartman, that still writes for the StarTribune and has a Sunday radio program. He says he knows everyone and I was just wondering if you ever met him? Also, I think he would be a great story for HBO Sports? Just my opinion. -- Tim H.
Never met Sid. My loss, I'm sure.
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