Bernie’s Q&A: Kristol, Biden, Rathergate, Ron Burgundy and much more (6/14) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Bernie, I'm surrounded by liberal family and friends. In a give-and-take argument, what would be the top pluses to Obama's presidency and his biggest minuses. I can argue the Trump side economy, jobs, vs personality, etc. How about Obama? It's sometimes easier to gain points in an argument by conceding a point. -- Paul M.
He wore nice suits and ties and he had a nice smile. That's all I've got.
Trying to find honest down-the-middle news reporting on television these days is giving me a migraine. As far as the print media goes, I depend on the Wall Street Journal for the straight news. Their editorials are right wing, but their news reporting is decidedly down the middle. On television, MSNBC, CNN, and the nightly network news programs are far to the left of Lenin. On Fox News, Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and sometimes Laura Ingram are nothing more than cheerleaders for President Trump. I’m surprised they don’t break out the pom poms and do splits. Bret Baier and Shepard Smith seems to be the most neutral on Fox, but their time slots aren’t the best for working people who want to watch their shows. Is there any news show in prime time, on any of the networks, that consistently puts out straight news without any obvious ideological tilt? -- Joe B.
I agree with almost everything you wrote, Joe ... except ... Shepard Smith is not neutral. It's not his liberal politics that annoy me, it's that he sprinkles his opinions throughout the show. That they're liberal opinions drives Fox viewers nuts. I'm sure they'd be fine with him if he had a conservative bias that he threw into his newscast. Also, I'm a big fan of WSJ editorials and columns. I learn more from the Journal's opinion pages than I do from a lot of other news sources.
Try watching the 11pm show on Fox with Shannon Bream -- and let me know what you think.
Sir Bernard--During my decades of public service with DoJ (sorry, U.S. Dept. of Justice), I saw my share of ruthlessness and hypocrisy at the top of the so-called food chain. As I watch our current state of political food fights, I can't help but think of the movie The Godfather with one particular episode coming to mind:
Your comments please? Also, regarding the soon-to-be released OIG (sorry, Office of Inspector General) report , I would suggest not having many expectations, considering the IG community (where I finished my federal service) is known to be a "paper tiger." Wish I had more uplifting news for you and your ever-growing audience. Thank you for responding to EACH of my thought-provoking questions and comments. -- Matthew Q.
First and foremost: The Godfather Parts I and II are masterpieces. I know nothing more as it pertains to your questions. I'm not even sure what you're suggesting. As for the "paper tiger" characterization: You know more than I do, but I'm willing to wait and see what the OIG report says. But I thank you, Matthew, for giving me the opportunity to watch 2 minutes and 40 seconds of my second favorite movie of all time. (Casablanca is my favorite.)
Hey Bernie, first, your feedback to my questions and opinions are appreciated. For the record: I’m not trying to butt heads with you, just asking for your opinion on things I feel passionate about. You know and worked with the people I’m asking about and being someone who has bought and read every book you’ve written it’s really awesome to actually have a back and forth. As you know, I’m not crazy about Democrats, but I’m not a fan of elected officials who have been in D.C. for decades including many Republicans. Do you think term limits would be a good idea? Democrats have been saying the most outlandish stuff that just baffles me! AOC calls ICE agents terrorists, NY passes abortion bills up until birth, Presidential candidates are talking about banning guns, limiting speech, not saying flattering things about people of faith, and talking about abolishing the Electoral college. Pelosi says we are in a “constitutional crisis” YEAH! Mostly from the left. Do you think they say these outlandish things because they know the media will not challenge, but champion their comments? Do you think what happened to Kavanaugh was despicable? Do you think we are headed for a dark time in America, or will these moves towards soft tyranny be defeated? -- Ralph
Ralph: Hell may be freezing over. I agree with everything you said.
First, I do NOT think progressives say those crazy things because they know liberal reporters will eat it up. I think they say crazy things because they believe those crazy things.
Second, Yes I do think that what happened to Kavanaugh was despicable. I thought left-wing Democrats on the panel embarrassed themselves.
Third, I'm not sure how you're defining a dark time. I think we'll get more polarized in years to come. And that's not a good thing. And I'm not sure what it will take for us to come to our senses.
As for term limits: The voters have a chance every 2, 4 and 6 years to vote anyone they want in or out of office. Sure, incumbents have an advantage. But I'd rather put the burden of choosing on the voter rather than having term limit legislation. But I'm open to be swayed on this one.
Bernie, I imagine I wasn't alone growing up and thinking the whole world was like my own. Though I'm a few years younger than you, it's likely we shared similar childhood experiences. Growing up in Detroit in a Jewish neighborhood, I thought everyone in the world was Jewish and a Democrat. The values I recall, included the importance of equal opportunity, civil liberties, color blindness, and an abhorrence of quotas and preferences. These values likely came from our grandparents who fled socialists, communists, Nazis, and other totalitarians where there was no freedom. Around 1994 I realized that no issues really mattered if we didn't have prosperity that comes from a strong capitalistic economy, a good monetary system, and a safe and secure environment. At that time, I began noticing Democrats were becoming less interested in equal opportunity and color blindness, and more interested in economic equality, preferences and economic policies that threatened our future. Which brings me to a troubling recent survey by the Jewish Electoral Institute that concludes that a large majority of Jews now prefer a party where skin color is a determinative factor, civil liberties and due process are replaced by mob rule, and an economic system that many fled is now preferred -- not to mention actual anti-Semitic congressional members who are tolerated by leadership.
How is it that Jews overwhelmingly support a party that represents everything that is anathema to their own beliefs about culture, freedoms, security and economic prosperity? And it's not just Jewish ‘voters’. Not one of the 7 Jewish senators or 20 Jewish Democrat house members voted to approve the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. They, along with the ACLU apparently no longer support individual rights, freedom of speech, due process, presumption of innocence or the constitution, and instead favor the incivility, violence, and smear tactics of their party which always seem to lead to Jews being the first victims. Incidentally, where are the ADL and ACLU? It's not that I'm crazy about Trump. But at least he's color blind, not anti-Semitic, a great supporter of our relationship with Israel, and keeping his promises on improving the economy with cuts in taxes and regulations that have brought jobs and prosperity to many previously ignored. I know some scholars like Norman Podhoretz have tried to analyze this puzzling behavior. What do you think is going on? Is it rote behavior? Is it lack of knowledge? Are younger people just uneducated? Or is it that Jews, like many other groups, tend to put blame on leaders trying to fix problems, instead of those who caused the problems? -- Michael E.
I think the mistake we make is to think the religion of the Jewish people you speak about is Judaism. It's not. It's liberalism. That comes first and that's what guides their opinions and votes. And that, to me anyway, explains why something like 70 percent of American Jews vote Democratic.
Thinking back, I see the CNN coverage direct from Baghdad of Desert Storm perhaps the High Water Mark of journalism. Today it seems, outside of programs such as 60 minutes and HBO sports, today's mainstream journalist focus on press briefings, interviews, and the internet for writing news. I may be wrong but I don't see the street journalism and investigative reporting that was typical years ago. Am I wrong on this? Just a note: this Sunday morning our local sports radio station dedicated a full morning discussing horse racing. Centering on your reporting from HBO sports. You were quoted all morning. Great listening. Amazing how infectious good reporting is! -- Tim H.
Hey Tim. Newspapers are still doing investigative reporting, and CBS News promotes itself with the tag line, Original Reporting. I think you're too harsh regarding mainstream journalism's dependence on "press briefings, interviews and the internet." Cable is another story. The news people at Fox are very good. But all 3 major cable TV news operations are best known for their opinion shows. And what they do, by and large, is tell the audience what it wants to hear. It's as if liberals think they can't learn anything from conservatives and conservatives don't think they can learn anything from liberals.
Thanks for the kind words about HBO Sports and my recent story about the deaths of racehorses at tracks all across America.
Do you think that once Trump is no longer president (whether it's after this term or a second term), the Republican/conservative base will start caring again about things like the national debt, limited government, free markets, personal character, etc? Or do you think the base will continue down this path of personality/culture-war fueled populism?
Also, if Trump loses next year, do you think he'll run again in 2024 (which I believe the law would allow)? Thanks. -- Ben G.
Second question first: No way he runs in 2024. No. Way.
Ben, I hope, and think, once Donald Trump is out of office conservatives will care once again about things they've long cared about: national debt, limited government, etc etc.
But if the standard bearer for those ideas is very much unlike Donald Trump in terms of personality, I'm not convinced Mr. Trump's most loyal fans will get on board and support that candidate. They like Donald Trump's in-your-face demeanor. A more civil candidate may not go over well with the so-called base. Several million sat home on Election Day when McCain ran; same thing when Romney ran.
Bill Kristol seems to be one of the most despised conservatives among hardcore Trump supporters (online anyway). Have you ever met Bill, and what are your thoughts on him as a person and commentator? -- Jen R.
I met him once, very briefly. We set hello and that was it. It's no surprise that hardcore Trump supporters despise him. When I criticized Donald Trump I did it on Fox. Kristol -- and more than a few other conservatives -- bash the president on CNN and MSNBC. I'm not saying Mr. Trump doesn't deserve the criticism. But it bothers me to see conservatives on those two cable channels. They're being used and that seems to be just fine with them. CNN and MSNBC love nothing more than to have conservatives bash the president. Fox bears some responsibility for this. If Fox won't let Kristol (and others) criticize the president on their channel, and CNN and MSNBC will, then if they crave face time they'll do just what they're doing.
As a movie fan, I’ve seen any number of films about true crimes. What disgusts me is when I read the facts about many of the people accused and sometimes convicted of the crimes after watching the Hollywood movie versions of what happened. Now I realize & get the whole notion of dramatic license. Nonetheless when I read about Robert Stroud (“The Bird Man Of Alcatraz”), Barbara Jean Graham (“I Want To Live”) and Ruben Hurricane Carter (“The Hurricane”) and see blatant lies passing for dramatic license to push a false picture of what these historical criminals were actually like, I want to show audiences who and what these thugs truly were! My question—what is it about these people that makes Hollywood writers & directors and other left wing entertainers like Bob Dylan want to lionize and make heroes and martyrs out of them? Norman Jewison Even got sued by one of Ruben Carter’s opponents for distorting a boxing match that Carter lost fair and square—-what’s going on with these leftists? At long last, have they no shame or sense of decency? -- The Emperor
There's a reason I don't watch docudramas. And you stated that reason. I don't know where truth ends and drama begins. As to motivations: I'm not specifically commenting about any of the movies you mentioned because, at least in the Ruben Hurricane Carter story, the facts are unclear -- to me. But in general, liberals like to fight for the underdog and they often find that underdog at the wrong end of a guilty verdict. But we both know if Rush Limbaugh were wrongly convicted of a violent crime, Hollywood wouldn't be making movies about the injustice; they'd be celebrating.
With Joe Biden's age.....does he promise to just try and serve one term? (82 years old) or does he say, (Well, we'll see when we reach that point) or does he (hope???) that 86 years of age will be granted him and we are supposed to come along for the ride?? With all of that, how important will his V.P. pick be?? If people can see Biden winning in 2020.....I would think it would be a LOT harder in 2024....wondering if he is going to be around for 4 more years.....Could he be the get rid of Trump candidate so that in 2024 we have a REAL election again? -- Mike C.
I'm guessing Biden isn't thinking about winning a second term. He's focused on one thing: winning in 2020. If he succeeds, Que sera sera. What will be, will be. As for public promises regarding his future: I'm not expecting any promise from him. If he says he'll serve just one term, Democrats would begin fighting for the top spot in 2024 campaign about 5 seconds after the inauguration.
As for VP: If Joe wins the nomination he won't pick a white male as his running mate. I'm pretty sure of that. I've said all along that he'd pick Kamala Harris -- white/black ... old/young ... male/female ... moderate liberal/progressive.
Bernie.... Since you’re on the Mount Rushmore of current REAL journalists...if all the sudden you were made ‘Czar Of All Media’...and we’re given total control of the way media is presented and procured...what are five things you would immediately implement? -- Greggo
Thanks for the compliment.
I would tell my staff, if you have an agenda, find another place to work.
No tweeting about stories you're covering or may cover. No appearances on partisan TV shows either. The public won't trust you if you appear, for example, on a show whose host calls the president a "schmuck."
You're entitled to your opinions but you must check them at the door.
It's not enough to be accurate. We also have to be fair. Be sure to include all serious points of view on controversial stories. That does not mean we have to put someone in our story who says the Earth is flat. Use common sense.
We are not in business to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. That's what ministers and social workers do. We are here to present both sides (or more) of the story as honestly as we can. We are not crusaders for ANY cause, no matter how worthy you may think it is. Let the audience decide how to feel about any story we cover.
I just watched the documentary on FoxNation.com of the whole mess that became Rathergate, and the fake but accurate memos from George W Bush's national guard service. Considering this all went down just a couple years after your book 'Bias' came out, how much guilty pleasure did you get seeing Dan Rather & Mary Mapes get their comeuppance? -- Thomas K.
Fair question, Thomas, but really ... I don't gloat. I do think Mapes and probably Rather had it in for W. But I don't revel in their bad circumstances.
Bernie, have you ever seen the movie Anchorman 2? If you have what do you think? If not, I’ll tell you a little about it. It came out in 2013 and I just recently watched it. The scene takes place around 1980 when cable was getting into the news business. Ron Burgundy (Will Farrell) is fired from a network news channel. At the same time his wife is hired by the same network. Burgundy ends up getting a job with GNN, the world’s first 24-hour network.
I am not sure that have all of the details exact, but one of the scenes went something like this. His wife has a huge interview lined up with I believe Yasser Arafat and other leaders in the Middle East. They plan to have an intellectual discuss and hope to bring peace to the Middle East (similar to Walter Cronkite’s interview with Sadat and Begin). Burgundy’s cable news cast is up against his wife’s show. All week long, Burgundy promises everyone that he’ll out do that! Everyone thinks he’s crazy and it will probably be the end of his career.
With a few minutes before each show begins, Burgundy is preparing to admit that he has nothing and is ready to apologize on air to everyone, including his wife. Suddenly, he glimpses at one of the monitors and asked his producer, what’s that??? The producer responds that the police are chasing someone on a Los Angeles freeway. Burgundy replies, “put it on the main feed!”. The producer says, “are you crazy?” Burgundy insist “put it on!”. The producer, thinking that Burgundy is gone to be fired anyway, complies. The ratings go through the roof and Ron Burgundy wins! The rest is history! Sound about right? -- Michael T.
Yup! Some guy steals a pack of bubble gum from a candy store and Fox was on the air for hours with the police chase. I'm all for Burgundy or anyone else mocking the crap out of the real idiots who put that stuff on TV. Fox even showed a guy blowing his brains out after a chase. It was supposed to be on a delay but someone screwed up. Everyone involved in police chase live shots -- other than the OJ slow mo chase or something truly newsworthy -- is a disgrace.
Bernie, when or why did so many people in this nation stop respecting each other despite our differences? It seems like the rise of identity politics has torn us apart and made people hate those with different opinions and beliefs from their own. Do you believe identity politics is a serious threat to the survival of our nation and do you ever think we will get to a point where our leaders can work together despite their different beliefs? -- JM
I think both sides, right and left, are responsible for the polarization we have in America. Neither side thinks it can learn anything from the other. It's beyond identity politics. Politics in general is war these days. And neither side seems to want a truce. Can our leaders work together? They can. But I don't see it happening anytime soon.
It seems to me that at times journalists are lazy in terms of how they write their stories. For example, if a press release is sent to them by an interest group or other, they report that release as though it were gospel without follow up or check. If a rally is in town, and they do no interviewing of the attendees or the organizers, we are left with only the journalists description and nothing else. Journalists took pride in the past when doing their stories and made sure that they checked and rechecked the facts before printing and going on air. That is not the case anymore. Do you agree? -- Alex P.
I'm curious how you know that journalists write their stories from press releases sent by interest groups. That may happen at a small local station but not likely at a major news organization. The problem today is that too many journalists believe certain values are the "correct" ones and other values are not -- and they spin their stories according to those preconceived ideas. And journalists tend to find sources who give them juicy anonymous scoops that may or may not represent the whole situation. I'm not sure if that's laziness or something worse.
Bernie, This may not be easy to pull off but it’d command a very large audience and it’d be good for the country: For years you have written about, talked about and warned about how the liberal bias of the mainstream media is destroying journalism and the credibility of the news media and has become a serious impediment to the public’s ability to obtain a proper balance of information upon which to make well-informed judgments about the issues. All the while pretty much every big name in journalism has dismissed your claim of liberal bias, suggesting, in effect, that you and those of us who agree with you simply do not have a case that merits being taken seriously.
My question is: Why don’t you resolve to make an all-out effort to force – force - the liberal bias deniers (call them that – it’d drive them nuts) to debate you on this in public on television? It’d be great fun and it’d accomplish much good. Sure, no network or cable outlet would carry it but maybe PBS could be shammed into doing so. More likely it’d have to be C-Span but with enough publicity generated about such a debate it would command impressive audience numbers. As Ronald Reagan liked to say, If you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat. They refuse to see the light. So why don’t you do everything you can, Bernie, to burn them with the heat? You’d wipe the floor with them. I know it. You know it. They know it. All you need do is forcefully say you’d had it with these liberal bias deniers and you dare any one of them- or any group of them - to publicly debate you on this issue. And then, I guarantee it, Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge and others would pound them relentlessly demanding they be as willing to defend their no-liberal-bias claim as you are to defend you charge that’s it’s rampant. It’d be easy to create on-going coverage that would have them cringing and quivering. I’d volunteer to craft the strategy because it’s something I personally would love to see happen. They deserve it! The worst that could happen is that a pretty sizable number of the public would witness these crowds running away scared rather than defend their claim that they’re fair. Which, of course, makes your point. The best is we strike a powerful blow against liberal media bias. Would you be willing to try doing this? -- Fred E.
Thanks Fred for the confidence in me, but I'm just not interested. Would I want to debate someone who says the Earth is flat? Besides, I don't think it's just a liberal bias problem anymore -- not with the power of cable tv news. It's a good idea but not for me.
President Trump is crude and uncouth and crass and at times dishonest, among other things, but that doesn’t justify such wretched reporting on certain subjects. Cenk Uygur reported on a vile hate crime that could happen “only in Trump’s America” Where and elderly Mexican man was brutally assaulted and told to go back to Mexico. The young turks made out like this was a hate crime committed by the white supremacist Trump supporters but it turned out to be a black female thug from Los Angeles——an unlikely Trump supporter. Another reporter, a Mr. Dean I believe, reported an account of a young disabled man being abducted and called racial epithets and how trumps name was being bandied about by the criminal thugs. The narrative would lead any listener to believe that a mentally disabled black man was attacked by white Trump supporters, but the opposite was true and it was a mentally disabled young white man who was attacked by anti-trump black thugs. And finally of course, we have the Covington Catholic High School vs. Nathan Phillips and the media’s embarrassing and dreadful behavior of which they are now facing a lawsuit.
My questions are as follows: Why wouldn’t the news media’s behavior regarding these incidents NOT make them the “enemy of the people” when media members deliberately distort their reporting to not only push their biased narrative but also to purposely slander and harm people who are despised by the media when in reality THEY are the victims in these stories. Also, if the media loses tons of money to the Covington high school students, do you think other mainstream media outlets will think twice in the future before deliberately slandering people they don’t like? -- Best regards to you from the Emperor!
With all due respect, Emperor, I am so sick of the "Enemies of the people" garbage. You pick out egregious examples of bias. Not by hard news journalists but by political left wing activists with a tiny megaphone. Is Sean Hannity an enemy of the people for putting out fake news that bolsters his right wing politics? Or, in your view, are liberals the only guilty ones here.
Donald Trump refers to mainstream journalists as the enemies of the people -- because, he says, they peddle "fake news." For the 10 millionth time, they do not make up sources out of nothing. The president is playing you for a great big sucker. He told Leslie Stahl -- off camera -- that he bashes the media so people won't trust reporters when they say bad things about him. I confirmed the story with someone in the room with Mr. Trump and Leslie. Let me repeat: He's playing YOU and many other fans of his, for suckers. He knows you'll believe anything he says about the press -- even when journalists accurately report his dishonesty. I'm sick of this subject.
Mr. Goldberg, I’ve heard about the good work you have been doing to help that citizens group that is trying to persuade highway departments to relocate Deer Crossing signs from heavily traveled roads to spots where it will be safer for them to cross without getting injured or causing injuries to cars and drivers. I just want to say Thank You and Good for You. Your sensitivity and your skill at sounding the alarm for problems that need to be dealt with leads me to ask you if you would please consider joining with me in trying to do something about the national disgrace we’re experiencing in abuse of parking spaces for the handicapped. We all know that the best parking spaces are reserved for the handicapped and this is a good thing, right? But our authorities need to wise up and do it right. Think about it: the signs read that if you park in a handicapped space without proper credentials, Maximum Penalty $250 or whatever. Dumb! Why give away that that’s the worse penalty you can get? Penalty $250 & Up would be a much greater deterrent. Make them worry about worst possible instead of telling them what to expect, get it? People who are in perfect health and great shape are using spaces reserved for the handicapped everywhere you look. They know that if they do it every opportunity they get there’s little chance they’ll be caught at it and fined. And even if they do eventually get caught, well, if they’re done it 500 times over the years and pay a $250 fine they just view it as having had the best parking spaces available all these times for just 50 cents. Hard to beat that deal, right? The solution to ending this horrible abuse of handicapped parking is so obvious, Bernie, that I know someone with your smarts and powers of persuasion will be able to get the authorities to pass the law we need. Presumptions underlie all laws, right? We presume, for example, that if the penalty for bank robbery, is prison as opposed to a $10 fine fewer people will rob banks. Well, just have the law state that we as a society presume that anyone who is not handicapped who parks in a handicapped space wishes they were handicapped. Get it? If they want to identify as being handicapped, let them! Instead of paying a fine, they’ll get to play The Wheel of Misfortune. Spin and Win. Lose a leg. Lose an arm. Lose an eye or two. Spin and win a surprise handicap. I expect there will be some opposition to this, but we have to do something and I am sure that most people agree with me that if we did this then people who are not handicapped would quit hogging so many of our precious supply of handicapped parking spaces. You get it, right? Counting on your support. Thanks for considering. -- Fred E.
Fred, keep the jokes shorter next time. Ever hear about how "Brevity is the soul of wit." In your case, brevity is a four letter word. Question: Last time you wrote to me, I suggested you go pro with your comedy act. You're very good. Have you gone pro? I can see you on a local cable access TV show at 2 in the morning -- someplace like Raleigh, NC.
I know Bernie that you have said you believe Mueller believes Trump committed Obstruction. My question is, where is the crime? Obstruction of injustice? Is the Prosecutor's job to prosecute crime or merely to get a notch on his belt. My concern is if they can do this to the President they can do this to anyone! A waste of the people's time and money! -- Joseph V.
Donald Trump does stupid things on a regular basis. Trying to stop or impede the investigation was one of those stupid things. And he did it repeatedly. But as I've written more than once -- he tried to impede an investigation into a non-existent crime. I think Mr. Trump is impulsively stupid and I think his Democratic foes who want him impeached are hopelessly partisan and nasty. I don't like either side.
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