Bernie’s Q&A: Pence, Kurtz, Tucker, Fox News Conflicts of Interest, and more! (8/23) — 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.
Quick note: Due to personal time constraints (including work travel) and a growing member list, I’d like to start limiting question submissions to one per member, per week. Most of you already do this, but I would appreciate the rest of you doing the same. Thanks for understanding.
Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
Do you think the Convention of States effort will be successful? Do you see any value in having a COS? I would like to see term limits for Congress members put into effect, but worry that a COS could go "off the rails." -- Dwight B.
Dwight, this is one of those things I don't give a lot of thought to. Mainly because I don't think it's going to go anywhere. And yes, it could very well go "off the rails" -- but I wouldn't lose sleep over it if I were you. Again, I don't think it will happen.
Though news commentators shouldn't be held to the same professional standards as reporters, the incestuous relationship between our president and a number of Fox News commentators is really something. Fox News host Pete Hegseth recently married a Fox News producer at one of Trump's golf courses. Kimberly Guilfoyle was a Fox News host while in a serious relationship with Trump's son. Trump regularly promotes (on Twitter) books by pro-Trump Fox News people, and he reportedly has private discussions with Sean Hannity and others at the network all the time. Aren't some of these things conflicts of interest, and shouldn't they be disclosed to viewers? -- Ben
No, Ben ... SOME of these things aren't conflicts of interests ... ALL OF THESE THINGS ARE CONFLICTS OF INTEREST. You got it right, my friend. This is disgraceful and no REAL news organization would let it happen. Emphasis on the word REAL.
Bernie, I don't watch as much of Fox News as I used to. When you and Bill left it was a turning point for me. However, I do still enjoy watching Howard Kurtz and his show Media Buzz. He and his show seem pretty balanced. Do you agree? -- Michael T.
Hey Michael, small world ... I don't watch as much of Fox News as I used to either. And When Bill left, that was a turning point for me too. Re Howard Kurtz's show: Roger Ailes offered me the job and I turned it down. I was busy with other things, like Real Sports on HBO. Let's just say it's a lot fairer than Reliable Sources on CNN with Brian Stelter. That show is one of the most biased on television.
Regarding your "Committee to Re-elect the President" column, there is another factor that you haven't given enough attention, Bernie. It is the Dems themselves who are running for Pres. Not only are their policies unacceptable to a majority of Americans but the candidates themselves may be the largest group of mediocrities ever assembled to run for the job. Without listing their policy ideas, which one is worthy of voting for? Which one do you really want to be C in C of the US military? Handle the economy, deal with foreign policy matters? The answer is a loud none. As bad as Obama was at all of these thing he is better than any of this bunch. -- Dennis C.
I agree with you, totally. O'Reilly recently asked me, on his podcast, which Democrat I would vote for -- if I had to vote for one of them. I told him I wouldn't play the game. That I wouldn't vote for any of them. I added that I'd vote for you, Bill, before I'd vote for any of them. And I would.
Bernie, in the ongoing quest for quality news analysis, I think one platform that often gets overlooked are podcasts. There's a lot of insightful political/news commentary podcasts out there, and what makes them nice is that they aren't constrained by time and television hard-breaks. Instead of squeezing in talking points before a commercial, podcasts let smart people delve into issues with more time and nuance. They also tend to be more honest and less partisan (not always, of course) because there aren't network higher-ups breathing down the hosts' necks. Are there any podcasts you listen to? I'd recommend Jonah Goldberg's and the Jay Caruso/Ben Howe show. -- Jen R.
I agree with your analysis, Jen. But, and this is on me, I don't listen to any on a regular basis. That said, I did listen to a Guy Benson podcast recently and liked it a lot. But generally, I'm on political analysis overload and limit the time I spend listening to that kind of thing. That's why I've cut back on my cable watching by a lot. When I do listen I find them interesting -- for the very reasons you mention. (You ask good questions.)
King Bernard....staying with my short and sweet questions...who is your favorite Yankee of all time...and it can’t be Kevin Maas.... -- Until next week ....Greggo
Your question may be short and sweet ... but excruciatingly difficult. My favorite that I actually saw play would be Mickey Mantle -- with Yogi, Whitey, Elston, Roger, Hank Bauer, Bill Skowron, Bobby Richardson, Phil Rizzuto, Don Larsen, not far behind. But then there's Ruth, Gehrig and DiMaggio. You're killing me, Greggo!
Greetings Sir Bernie—-so I understand that Trump’s presidency has now been compared to the Second Coming Of Christ (or if you prefer—- the first arrival of the Messiah if you’re Jewish or other non-Christian). Now I have to ask—is Trump deliberately TRYING to anger EVERYONE now!? Is this a covert way for him to purposely lose the 2020 election rather than saying that he just might be in over his head and rather than admit defeat he is now spouting off blasphemy to anger his base with the rest of the country? I know he’s a narcissistic blowhard... but...seriously? -- Apocalyptic Regards from The Emperor
Every day it's something new. Sometimes the other side starts it, sometimes he does. All I know is that I'm exhausted. Is the president deliberating trying to anger everyone? Who knows. This is who he is. Either he creates controversy or controversy finds him. One way or the other, I need a break -- and if swing voters feel the same way, it'll be bye-bye Mr. Trump.
Do you believe Trump could be mentally ill or impaired? Perhaps you might believe he's just a first class narcissist. -- Bob
He definitely is a first class narcissist. Whether this, along with his need to answer every attack, his childish behavior, etc, constitutes a diagnosable mental illness is out of my depth. But do I think he's nuts? Yeah, I do.
A couple of recent studies have highlighted the chasm in understanding the other side of the political spectrum. It has been revealed that many voters, as well as many commentators, think they have correctly sized up the other side's philosophy when they are really far off base. These studies also point out that the group with the largest "understanding gap" consists of far left liberals when they opine about conservatives. I believe this may be why so many pundits got the 2016 election wrong, and reminds us that many prominent journalists, as well as coastal elites, simply do not understand average Americans. Calling people white supremacists and racists simply for being conservative may have the opposite effect as intended. Reasonable, clear-thinking Americans do not like being labeled, and vilified, as being something they are not. Do you think I am onto something? -- Joseph R.
I think you're 100 percent correct. One hundred percent! And if the Left doesn't understand what you do, they'll pay a price. It'll cost them their credibility (which is already in tatters) and may cost them the 2020 election.
Somewhat of a quiet week politically compared to recent weeks. The Mooch flip flop noise doesn’t count. I REALLY enjoyed Real Sports Tuesday night, Your story on Justin Tucker the Opera singer was very good. Did you discover that on the assignment and were you truly surprised by that aspect? I was also thrilled yet stirred to see Ken Greens story revisited, he is as resilient as any subject I’ve ever seen. Do you enjoy those assignments more than covering the political game? Great show! -- Scotty G.
Thanks, Scotty. The only reason I accepted the Justin Tucker assignment is because in addition to kicking field goals, he's an opera singer. If it were simply that he's the most accurate kicker in NFL history, it wouldn't have interested me. The Ken Green story was painful. I enjoy doing interesting magazine length TV stories -- 10 -13 minutes or so -- but I also like commenting on the political scene, which I do here on my website. I don't miss Fox.
Hi Bernie, in your opinion does Vice-President Mike Pence and other people in his cabinet believe all the nonsense that President Trump speaks? I have trouble believing that Mike Pence goes home at night and tells his wife how wonderful Donald Trump is. -- George V.
Good question, George. Whether Pence and the others actually believe the nonsense isn't as important -- to me -- as the fact that they blindly defend it. It takes a certain kind of person to defend BS. Kellyanne Conway, for example, seems like a very nice person. I understand why she defends her boss's contradictions and lies. That's her job. And in a sense, Mike Pence's job too. Why they do it, is another question. As I say, some people are cut out for that kind of work. Others aren't.
I swear I'm not making fun of you. I'm truly curious, having seen some old CBS videos of you from the Reagan years. Have you always had white/silver hair? -- Louis
It started turning when I was in college. That was 5 years ago.
Hi, Bernie, a recent NYT's article describes how many shows on Fox have shown declines in advertisers as campaigns threatening advertiser boycotts have ramped up recently. This seems to be a one-sided affair as I don't read as much about this from conservatives versus progressive sites. What do you think about this tactic? Am I wrong that this is more from one side of the argument than the other? -- theFantom
I think progressives are more likely to want to shut down speech they don't agree with. So instead of not watching a show on Fox they don't like, they launch campaigns to encourage advertisers to boycott the show. This raises a question: What happens if -- or when -- the hard left has enough power to actually shut down speech. Will progressives do just that, or at least try. I think they would.
Bernie—From my perspective, the “Squad” and their friends are the first folks to openly verbalize aggressive anti-Semitism in over 70 years. They seem to be getting some support from various quarters. Are you concerned about this development? Could it portend worse times to come for the Jewish people? Is there anything that decent, God-fearing people can do to put this rabbit back in the hat? -- William W.
Personally, I'm not worried. I think most Americans -- even traditional liberals -- see them for the outliers they are.
Trump seems to have a need to manufacture ridiculous feuds with foreign allies over absolutely nothing (like the Denmark prime minister dismissing the idea of selling him Greenland) while bending over backwards to share oxygen with (and kiss up to) foreign adversaries like Kim Jong Un and Vladmir Putin. I guess someone could make the case (I don't think a good one) that a flattery offensive against fellow narcissists like Jong Un and Putin is a smart diplomatic movie, but how on earth does needlessly insulting leaders we're friendly with advance anything? Doesn't it just make America look dickish and them more likely to say "screw you" if we later need their help with something ? -- Gabe
Gabe, we're talking about Donald Trump here, right? Stop with the logic. Donald Trump goes after everybody who he believes went after him. So when the prime minister of Denmark called his interest in buying Greenland "absurd" that's all it took for Mr. Think Skin to go after her. Does it make sense for the president of the United States to make a big deal out of this? Of course not. But we're talking about Donald Trump.
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.