Bernie’s Q&A: Christie, Biden, Rather, Election Conspiracies, and more! (12/18) — Premium Interactive ($4 members)
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Now, let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
This year controversy stirred at the University of Texas over "The Eyes of Texas," a song that has been sung for decades at the beginning and end of every UT sporting event. In my lifetime it has always been considered a song of unity. As Texas Monthly wrote, "The Eyes of Texas is not your typical school song. It's something closer to a prayer." It is whispered in the ears of babies just a few days old, and dignitaries such as Lady Bird Johnson have had it performed at their memorial services. It recently came to light that the song had its genesis in 1903 when it was used in various minstrel shows with white performers in black face. This news caused a backlash among many black athletes and other social activists, who refused to participate in the song's performance. While I understand and acknowledge the racist history of my once-segregated home state and state school, this seems to me a giant step backwards. Despite its racist roots, until recently The Eyes of Texas was a song of unity among all Longhorns of various races, incomes and backgrounds. We had moved on and moved the song forward to a more enlightened, inclusive message. To me this is just one example of moving the culture backwards in our inability to detach ourselves from our worst history. What is your opinion of these occasions when art, history and institutions collide? -- Steve R.
I'm pretty much with you, Steve. Kate Smith, a woman beloved by much of America, was posthumously cancelled because way back when, she sang songs that rightly would be considered racist today. So no "God Bless America" by Kate Smith at Yankee games (and, I'm sure, other places). Instead of ridding the nation of its vestiges of racism, it creates, I think, more division. "Racist" was once a powerful word. Not anymore. It's been watered down to include way too much.
A recent headline in the Oregonian screamed: "Black Teen Killed By White Man Over Loud Music In Parking Lot." I think we all know it would have read differently had the races of the two involved been reversed. Here's a snippet of the story.
Terrible tragedy, right? I read a similar incident some time ago about an elderly man who shot and killed a younger man in a movie theater. Why? After the previews were over and the movie was starting, the victim was still chatting away with his family at normal volume, and this was disturbing the elderly couple sitting behind them. The older man either asked or told the chatty guy to be quiet since the movie was starting. Rather than quiet down, the victim threw his popcorn at the older man, who immediately left, returned to the theater with a weapon, and fired. Skin color wasn't mentioned in the story, so I assume that they were both the same.
Let's state the obvious: Neither victim deserved to be murdered, and if convicted, the shooters should go to prison. HOWEVER, can we agree that these two people would still be alive if they'd been decent neighbors and good citizens instead of behaving like aggressive inconsiderate jerks? Is this victim blaming? I don't think so. WHY did the guy in the movie theater feel justified in throwing popcorn instead of quieting down? Why was the 19 year old "black teen" playing loud music at four o'clock in the morning and disturbing hotel guests, and why did he refuse to turn it down when confronted?
What are your thoughts on incidents like these, and was it really necessary to emphasize the skin color since I don't think that this was necessarily racially motivated? -- "Aggressive Dumb Asses Get Shot By Other Aggressive Dumb Asses" Regards----From The Emperor
Journalists bring race into the story even when it's not especially relevant -- if the victim is black and the guy with the gun is white. It's what liberals do to show their racial manners, to show how they're concerned about victims of racial injustice -- as they see it. The incident in question may have involved racism. But it may not have. Do we know if the gunman would have done the same thing if the guy playing the loud music were white? And you're right: If a black guy shot a white kid playing loud music, most liberal journalists would not have brought race into the story. For the record, loud music or no loud music -- in the middle of the night or at high noon -- you don't get a gun and shoot the guy playing the music. The black guy is dead. The white guy's life will soon be over -- after he's convicted and spends the rest of his life in prison.
Bernie, call me crazy but I think [the Hunter Biden story] is actually the SECOND major story the media covered up or ignored during the 2020 election in order to help their pal Joe. The other major story was the shockingly quick development of a Covid vaccine. All of the media and its "experts" laughed and mocked President Trump when he said we would have a vaccine by the end of the year, and guess what...the media was wrong again! The reality is none of this is a surprise and the media cannot act like it did not know it was likely to happen since clinical trial progress in the US is made publicly available on clinicaltrials.gov. How much do you want to bet this was another story the media conveniently ignored until after Nov 3? How much do you want to bet if Biden pulled off a similar feat they would start running stories calling for him to be anointed President for Life? -- Joe M.
There's a thread, Joe, running through the mainstream media's behavior -- how it handled the Hunter Biden story and how it's now handing the story about the success of President Trump's Warp Speed project. And the thread is simply this: Too many journalists are anti-Trump and pro-Biden ... and were willing to throw their integrity over the side to help ensure that Joe Biden would win. I understand that this may sound simplistic and maybe even paranoid. But it's neither. It's the blatant corruption of journalism in America.
Do you have any knowledge as to who writes the scripts the anchors read on any of the cable news shows - CNN, FNC, MSNBC, NewsMax, OAN. Is it the producers? Is it the anchors themselves? Is it a group effort? Are they following orders from above as to language or buzz words? Who decides what guests to have on the shows and what questions to ask them? How much discretion do the anchors have? How much is all this governed by focus groups, opinion polls and viewer feedback? Here, I'm not talking about the overtly opinion shows. Second, do you know who decides what stories to cover, the priority and the frequency of coverage? Yes, I know it may vary among the networks and a network's policies may change with management. -- Bob H.
When O'Reilly was on Fox, he wrote every word in the show, but that's not how it works 99 percent of the time. There are writers and producers who write scripts and the anchors either tweak, edit or re-write. Best of my knowledge there are no formal orders regarding buzz words, etc ... but at CNN, to use one example, everyone knows how the boss, Jeff Zucker, feels about Donald Trump ... so no one is going to step out of line. As for what governs their decisions ... on cable it's ratings. They know what their viewers want and that's exactly what they give them. Finally, as to who makes editorial decisions on what to cover, there's usually a group of producers and the anchors who weigh in.
As we move into the Biden era, given what we have seen from the press for the past decade plus, especially the failure to report stories that do not fit in well with their bias, how should we approach news reports going forward? Put another, how do we know we are getting the news, the facts and the truth about a particular subject? What can we do to be aware of what is happening or should we just give up, ie, don't ask because we won't tell? -- Michael F.
I no longer know what to believe when I watch the news. Once, if I heard a reporter or anchor tell me something I generally knew it was true or if not, it was an honest error. No more. That's one reason I watch less and less cable TV ... though I do watch Special Report on Fox at 6p ET.
I think we’re doomed. After listening to your “Off the Cuff” remarks this morning, I am convinced now more than ever that we are in a serious decline in this country on all fronts - and are heading full-steam into the abyss. Criminals are now victims. Police are the enemy. We are $30 trillion in debt, much of it owned by China, and they want to hurt us. We are electing some of the most ‘bizarro people’ ever to hold government office. We now live in a PC driven fascist state with the activist removal of statues and re-naming of schools and sports teams. We are also in the midst of a race and culture war - fighting each other over every single thing one can imagine. I could go on and on - but you get the idea. Given your understanding of world history, and the demise of past empires like the Ottoman, Roman, Persian, British, and the collapse of Soviet Russia - what are your personal feelings about where we are headed as a nation. Are doomed to a similar fate? Sure looks like it. -- Pistol Pete
I'd like to answer your question Pistol Pete but after reading it more than once I have to go JUMP OFF THE ROOF OF THE TALLEST BUILDING IN TOWN.
As to where we're headed: If this continues we're headed toward more polarization, more hatred of the other side, more destruction of basic civic values that hold a society together.
I was a big fan Pistol Pete when you played at LSU. Thanks for writing ... it must be hard ... SINCE YOU DIED IN 1988!
Bernie, Tell me if I'm following this correctly: Trump and many in the GOP and rightwing media have been pushing crazy conspiracy theories about massive election fraud for weeks. When called out for what they're doing, they explain that most Republicans think the election was rigged, and so they have to fight the good fight for them. But the only reason so many Republican voters think the election was rigged in the first place is because Trump, the GOP, and the right-wing media keep telling them it was rigged! Do you find this as ridiculous as I do? -- Ben G.
Yes!!! And remember, the answer to all questions regarding TV in general and that includes cable TV news is ... MONEY. They pander for dollars. That's yet another reason a lot of sensible people are tuning out cable news.
Someone asked last week I think about your old colleague Dan Rather. I seem to remember you saying a long time ago that Rather never spoke to you again after the Wall Street journal column (or was it after Bias came out?). I'm curious: Now that more years have passed, has he still not spoken to you? Either way, would you think he has ever come to acknowledge how right you were about a bunch of things? Or do you suspect he's still very much in the bubble of denying liberal bias even exists in the media? Thanks. -- Alex D.
After my WSJ op-ed about liberal bias came out in February of 1996 he has not uttered a single syllable to me. It should be noted that I left CBS News in 2000 -- so I don't run into Dan anymore. Do I think he has acknowledge that I was right, you ask. No way. Dan has many good points but one bad one: He either can't ... or won't ... take serious criticism seriously.
It appears that Chris Christie has become a born-again "wear a mask" advocate, after spending over a week in the ICU suffering from the coronavirus. He even recently filmed a "wear a mask" PSA that is starting to air on television stations all over the country. I think this is good but why on earth haven't we been seeing PSAs like this since WAY back in April when health experts were largely and finally on the same page about masks being very helpful in lessening the spread of the virus? Instead, masks have been politicized, mocked, and treated like some kind of attack on liberty. I can only imagine how many fewer people would have become infected if there had been a broad bipartisan and multi-cultural effort to get people to take mask wearing seriously, for the sake of those around them. -- Philip S.
You'd think that SOMEBODY would have thought of such a public service ad campaign. The president could have but he was one who didn't wear a mask almost all of the time. But I don't recall Joe Biden putting up campaign money for such a campaign, either. Yours is a good idea, Philip. Too bad no one actually launched such a campaign back in the spring.
Was wondering if you were you ever asked to guest host the O'Reilly Factor on any of Bill's days off. That used to be a pretty common practice, with other people filling in. -- Joseph R.
I made clear I had no interest in doing that. Besides, the show came out of New York and I was living in Miami.
Bernie, I know you don't exactly celebrate the holiday, but I thank God every day that Bill O'Reilly, President Trump, and Jesse Watters won the War on Christmas. Personally, I was getting sick and tired of not being able to say "Merry Christmas" out loud without being dragged into the street and severely beaten with the trunks of "holiday trees" by latte-drinking liberals. Don't you agree that as a nation, we owe these three an enormous debt of gratitude for doing what they did (I'm still not clear what that was, exactly) to triumph over retail-store ad-marketers, negotiate their surrender, and restore Christmas spirit across the land? -- John D.
You have a point, John D. But if you wear a hat nobody will notice it.
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