Bernie’s Weekly Q&A (12/8)
Media-conservatives who sold out, George Santos' expulsion, Archie Bunker, and more!
Welcome to this week’s Premium Q&A session for paying subscribers. I appreciate you all signing up and joining me.
Let’s get started:
Bernie and John, I’m sad to say I’ve become cynical in regards to politics. I think conservative commentary, like liberal media has become about making money on hot topics. I used to really like Rush, but I remember when Trump first started running as an independent, Rush made a newsletter mocking Trump, saying “We were just laughing, Snerdly”. Then when Trump became a Republican and soared to number one, Rush was his biggest supporter suddenly, even though they had almost no political alignment. Tucker Carlson was exposed in texts lambasting Trump, but on TV he carries his water. Am I correct in my assertion that it’s no longer about principles but capitalizing on opportunities? Which is also why I think you two, and commentators like Ben Shapiro, deserve praise for being honest in your opinions. I’ve stopped listening to many since they decided to jump on the Trump Train because it’s popular. — Ed G.
From John: Hi Ed. Your observations are entirely correct. I’ve written several columns on this topic over the past eight years. Plainly put, Trump broke the conservative media. In 2015-2016, media-conservatives (including Rush) watched in horror as their longtime audiences left them in droves for refusing to abandon their long-preached principles for a ride on the Trump Train. Recognizing that their livelihoods were circling the drain, the vast majority of these individuals pulled a 180, and desperately rebranded as Trump sycophants or anti-anti-Trumpers. Selling out kept them in business, and many of them have become wealthier than ever as a result. Media-Trumpism has proven very profitable. Conversely, those who’ve held onto their principles, maintained their dignity, and continued to tell the truth have done so to their fiscal detriment. To those individuals, personal integrity is more important than job security and a fat paycheck.
As you point out, Ed, Bernie is one of the relatively few who kept their integrity. My political commentary has always been more of a hobby than anything else; I’ve never attempted to turn it into a profession, and thus didn’t sacrifice much (beyond setting myself up for a lot of online harassment) by continuing to call things straight in the era of Trump. Bernie, however, was a well-compensated Fox News contributor whose regular appearances on The O’Reilly Factor were some of the network’s top-rated segments. When FNC saw what was happening with the Republican base and their viewers, and morphed into a decidedly pro-Trump outlet to keep those viewers watching, Bernie could have went the way of so many others (Hannity, Dobbs, Pirro, Carlson, Hemingway, Bolling, Gutfeld, Huckabee, Ingraham, Gingrich, Levin, etc.) and made a ton of money over the next few years. Instead, he remained intellectually honest and consistent, and continued speaking truths that MAGA viewers often didn’t want to hear. The network responded by pulling him off the air for a year until his contract ran out.
Ed, I’m glad to see that people like yourself recognize this, because Bernie and others who gave up a lot of green and notoriety by remaining honest with audiences deserve our respect.
From Bernie: I’ll keep it short, Ed. You ask: “Am I correct in my assertion that it’s no longer about principles but capitalizing on opportunities?” My answer: YES!
Principles are either dead or on the way there. Now it’s about pandering to your audience. That’s how you keep your job and your paycheck. The kinds of people you’re talking about, Ed, don’t deserve respect. They’re not serious people.
John and Bernie: What is your opinion of the expulsion of George Santos from Congress? Good riddance of this fraud of a human being, or slippery slope to not allow due process of the most serious criminal charges? — Steve R.
From John: I get the slippery slope argument, but I’m fine with what happened. Even if you set aside the federal indictment and countless lies, the House Ethics Committee identified so many blatant acts of congressional corruption and abuses of power that I believe expulsion was absolutely warranted. (If only the Santos standard were extended to the executive branch.)
From Bernie: While I’m not going to lose any sleep because George Santos (if that’s his real name) was booted from Congress, I think the slippery slope argument is a legitimate one. In these hyper-partisan times, I wouldn’t be shocked if one party goes after a political enemy from the other party — and concocts a rationale to justify their actions. Was Santos unfit to serve in Congress? Yes. But he’s not alone and that’s why the slippery slope argument needs to be taken seriously.
Just a thought about not convincing people to agree with you and change their minds, particularly with Gov DeSantis not gaining against Trump. See if this might be right, that MAGA Republicans really don't care about the things that Gov Desantis stands for and accomplished in Florida. Education doesn't really matter that much, just the demagoguery of it. Same with abortion and so on. DeSantis accomplished great things for conservatives in education. I still hear the liberals on public radio opining about the changes he accomplished, and they're not for it. Teachers union took set backs that Gov DeSantis made. Trump says drill baby and control the border. Isn't it just about money, and that's the key with his popularity? — Pymm W.
I don’t think money has anything to do with Trump’s popularity. I think he’s popular because he comes off as someone who doesn’t care about civility or good manners — to people who don’t think those things are all that important, either. He comes off as a fighter for people who have not been listened to. He comes off as someone who shows them respect in ways that other public figures haven’t. It may all be a cynical way to win elections. It may all be an act — but his fans don’t care about money … they don’t even care about winning as much as they care about being on Trump’s team. He makes them feel good — about themselves. He makes them feel important. That’s the key, I think, to his popularity.
Bernie, [regarding the point you made using Barack Obama in this week’s No BS Zone], why are Black people the only ones that have to have a spokesperson to speak for us? Or to morally shame the one percent that may be doing something bad? Have you ever called for some white person to speak to the one percent of white people that may be doing bad things? And I'm curious who would this morally superior and respected white person be? So much for the content of one's character and not the color of their skin. — Douglas S.