Bernie's Q&A: Donny Deutsch's Ambush, Ann Coulter, Bill Maher, the Mueller Report, and More (3/29)
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Let’s get to your questions (and my answers):
I was channel-surfing one night, years ago, when I unexpectedly found you on CNBC being ganged up on by five — yes FIVE — obnoxious liberals. The show was The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, and you were on it to talk about your book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.
The "exchange" (for lack of a better term) was one of the craziest things I had ever seen on cable news. These people were shouting at you, repeatedly cutting you off, and launching into long, sanctimonious condemnations of what they thought you had written in your book. I say "thought," because it was painfully clear (as you pointed out at the time) that none of them had actually read it, and thus were drawing some rather bizarre assumptions. They seemed more upset by the notion that you had the gall to write a book that was critical of a number of high-profile liberals.
In one of the more ironic twists (if my memory serves me), just a minute after you had gotten Deutsch to agree than only an idiot would compare Bush and conservatives to Nazis, he closed out the segment by suggesting that making a list (as you had done in the book) was Nazi-like.
The segment was highly edited (obvious to anyone watching it), I assume to make your detractors look better. Either way, in what made it to air, you held your own remarkably well.
Can you explain how this insane situation came about, as well as what was cut from the segment? -- John D.
Editor's note: It took a while, but we managed to find a partial clip (sorry for the poor quality) of what was aired of that segment. You can watch it by clicking here. Unfortunately, it cuts off before Deutsch completed his remark about "lists."
Here's how it came about, John: A producer for the show called and asked if I'd be a guest to talk about my book. She assured me the panel would be split -- some who agreed with me, some who didn't. That seemed fair so I said yes. But it was a lie. Bookers/Producers on cable TV shows say whatever they have to say to convince a guest to come on the show. Her value to Donny Deutsch was in securing guests -- not in telling the truth.
Anyway, it was 5 against 1. And none of the 5 liberals had even read the book, which didn't stop them from hating it. Think about that. I'm invited on the show to talk about my book, to be grilled about the book -- by people who didn't read the book.
Donny Deutsch thinks of himself as a tough guy. But he's a coward and a punk -- at least he was on that night. Too bad for the 5 lefties that they were throwing spitballs at a battleship. But since the interview was pre-recorded, they took out a lot of the stuff where I made Donny and his gang look like idiots. But they did a pretty good job looking like idiots all by themselves.
The very next morning I got a call from Rush Limbaugh's radio show. Rush wanted me on to talk about the night before. I went on with Rush and my book immediately went to #1 on the Amazon best seller list.
We could have had a civil, intelligent discussion on the Donny Doofus show. But that's not what he wanted. He wanted a food fight. That's what they got and the food wound up all over him and his dopey guests -- again, who didn't have the decency to read the book before going on his show to attack me and the book.
After the taping, I called the producer to say the obvious, that she lied to me. She apologized. Blamed her superiors who she said misled her. I told her she should quit, on principle. She said she couldn't afford to and as I recall she started crying. Honest? I had little sympathy for her or anyone else on that show.
Donny is an unapologetic liberal. No problem there. But he lacked the courage to make it a fair fight. That's why I call him a coward. Fair fight or no, he and his pals looked like fools. I'm happy with how I handled them. As I say, my book went to #1 on Amazon; Donny's show was cancelled.
As a journalist, should the details in the Mueller report on those that were not indicted be redacted from the report if the full report is released. -- Tim H. (Editor's note: This question was received back on 3/23)
I think as much as possible should be made public. Exceptions, of course, are parts that might deal with national security, grand jury testimony, etc. But just because someone wasn't indicted doesn't mean we shouldn't know as much about him as possible -- as long as we're not talking about unsubstantiated rumors. Those should not be made public.
In your capacity as a professional journalist, how do you view Geraldo Rivera's attributes as a serious journalist, specifically during the last decade? -- Matthew Q.
Let's just say I'm not a fan. With Geraldo, it's usually about ... Geraldo.
When that old Inside Edition outtake of Bill O'Reilly throwing a temper tantrum was released (Editor's note: video is below), I think it's safe to say that the intent was to embarrass him. However, even Bill's fans seemed to get a kick out of it. O'Reilly himself joked about it as well. Two questions: Do you think people in the mainstream media underestimate the right's sense of humor (ability to laugh at their own), and do you think there's any similar unseen footage of yourself flipping out over a production problem (or anything else)? -- Jen R.
I think liberals, both in and out of the media, underestimate conservatives on all sorts of things -- sense of humor included. As for similar unseen footage of me, Jen: I HOPE NOT!!!
Sir Bernard--Pls proffer your views on Dennis Miller and Ann Coulter, as it appears both are used selectively and sparingly by conservative media..albeit their keen wit, not to mention being fairly easy on the eyes. -- Matthew Q.
I like Dennis and don't like Ann. He's smart and funny. She's smart and mean spirited. I wrote about her in one of my books. The chapter title was ... Do the Ends Justify the Meanness? I think she says provocative things simply to provoke, to stand out from the crowd. She's outrageous because it's good for her business. She's entitled. Not my cup of tea.
Edmund Burke was a strong advocate of "The Party" until he realized that "The Party" promoted itself above the country. And when they did, Burke became their fiercest critic. I see the Democrat party of today also turning against the nation but where is the Edmond Burke to call them out? -- Clarence V.
Both Democrats and Republicans are loyal to The Party over principles. Where were the Republicans when President Trump continued to bash John McCain, seven months after he was dead and buried? A few spoke up. But very few. As for the Democrats, they're worse: For the past 2 years they crawled out of the woodwork, went on CNN and MSNBC, and declared that Trump was guilty of collusion. Some said they had evidence. And when the Mueller Report concluded there was no collusion, no conspiracy, no nothing ... did they apologize? Did they say their hatred of Donald Trump clouded their judgment? No. They said the report doesn't mean he didn't collude. There's a special place in political hell for people like that.
Profiles in Courage are hard to come by. These days, very, very hard.
Bernie- Forgive me for yet another comment & question about Fox & Bill O'Reilly. I think O'Reilly was largely responsible for Fox's growth because he spoke in a way that reached people with traditional values, and although he is a staunch conservative, he almost always presented the liberal point of view via one of his guests. He also had wildly entertaining segments, yours being one of them. Do you have an opinion about the effect of The O'Reilly Factor on cable news? -- Joseph R.
I agree with your premise, entirely. Bill changed the cable news landscape. He conducted interviews that were both informative and entertaining. Some liked it, some didn't. But it was a departure from what old school journalists had been doing. Love him or hate him, he was a real pioneer.
We recently had a president who was cool, flip and glib and oh so Presidential. He was also grossly incompetent, inept and an utter failure. I don't understand why so many people prefer that to Pres Trump. Yes, he can be brash and crude and insulting. He does, on a fairly regular basis, say things that make me cringe and I wish he would let an adult check out his tweets (as an adult I resent even writing that word) before they go out to the public. So what? He is trying,and I believe this is his real sin, to fix some problems. Your thoughts? -- Dennis C.
You set up a choice, Dennis -- either we prefer an incompetent, polite president ... or a crude but effective president. How about this: A competent, effective president who is not vulgar, not petty, not dishonest and not vindictive. That's what I and a whole bunch of Americans prefer. Some people don't like anything about Donald Trump. Others like his policies (at least many of them) but not his behavior. That makes sense to me. And that's why if the next election is about the Trump economy and the Democratic socialist tendencies, Trump has a good chance of winning. If the election is about Donald Trump and his character, I think even a lefty can win. Also, if the Democrats overplay their hand and either push for impeachment or launch non-stop investigations after the Meuller Report said there was no collusion, that helps the president. Stay tuned.
I’m guessing that you were not a conservative when you joined CBS News. When in life did you become a conservative? And what were the greatest influences in making you conservative? -- Fred E.
Interesting question, Fred. I grew up in a blue collar family in the Bronx -- and everybody in the area was a Democrat. In college I was a liberal, but not especially political. Over the years, people have said, "You became a conservative when you started making money." That may be part of it, but not the main part. The main reason I'm no longer a liberal is because -- to paraphrase Ronald Reagan -- I didn't leave them, they left me.
I was for civil rights, but now I was asked to support affirmative action for a black student whose parents may have been successful middle or upper class folks, at the expense of a white Anglo Saxon protestant son or daughter of a coal miner in West Virginia. How was that kid privileged?
I was for women's rights, but now I was asked to support a woman who wanted to be a firefighter even if she couldn't carry a man out of a burning building.
Abortion, maybe. Late term abortion, NO.
So the greatest influences in making me a conservative were actually liberals who went too far in too many things. Liberals made me a conservative.
Any chance of you appearing on Stephen Colbert's or Bill Maher's shows? How about “The View” sometime? In light of The Mueller Report, I think it would be interesting to see someone like YOU bring the truth out in front of their live audiences, especially considering the rhetoric that they have been spouting for the last two years. Best Regards --The Emperor
I'm flattered, Emperor ... but no on Colbert (who I find to be mean spirited) ... No on Maher who asked me on his old ABC show several times but I choose not to be the token conservative making my case in front of his far left audience ... and a great big NO to The View -- but in fairness they wouldn't want me any more than I want them. But again, Emperor, thanks for the vote of confidence.
It sees to me that much of the media pays a great deal of attention to celebrities, as if their expert opinion matters. I could give a rat’s hat about what these people think. Your thoughts? -- Terry J.
I'm with you, Terry. The reason some media pay attention to celebrities is because they figure -- rightly, I think -- that the audience likes to hear from and see beautiful people. And when, to use one example, Robert DeNiro at the Tony Awards says F Donald Trump, journalists figure it's too good to ignore. Stuff like that gets clicks, and eyeballs which translate to ratings and circulation. It comes down to the fact that we live in the United States of Entertainment. The "funny" thing is that celebrities think they're smart because they're famous. They have a great big megaphone and they use it to promote their causes. That, I get. But ... News people ought to know better.
What was the reason you decided not to make more appearances on Bill O'Reilly's podcasts? -- Christopher S.
I actually answered this in a previous Q&A, Christopher. Here's what I wrote:
"I’ve been on a few times but as I told Bill, I don’t like being a guest on his show to talk only about the media’s biases. I think the president brings a lot of the bad press on himself — and while Bill lets me say whatever I want, I know that he’s more interested in media bias than Trump chaos. So I’ve declined his invitation on more than one occasion."
That said, I may return in the future.
Hi, Bernie: Love your work. Can you explain why Trump finally took what seemed to be the logical step and decided to declassify a number of documents that we have been wanting to see, only to backtrack on it and keep those documents hidden to this day? I have a hard time with that one. Thanks. -- Jim C.
I'm having a hard time with it, too, Jim. Maybe there's something in it that isn't good for ... wait for it ... Donald Trump. Who knows. Let's hope he de-classifies the documents. If he doesn't, I will become very suspicious. And I won't be alone. Let's wait and see.
Mr. Goldberg, you have written a lot about bias in the mainstream media, but what are your thoughts on bias in sports media, namely ESPN. For several years ESPN has been accused of having a liberal bias and it even admitted it may slant left in an article published by its ombudsman following the 2016 election. Do you have any thoughts on these claims and do you think politics has any place in sports reporting? Since John Skippers’ departure from ESPN, the network has claimed it is going to just “stick to sports”. -- JM
Just sticking to sports isn't a bad idea for a sports network, right? But you ask a good question ... and yes, I think liberal bias creeps into sports reporting. When the story is about "Who's a better shortstop, this guy or that guy" there's not much chance of bias. But when it's about social issues that trascend sports -- race, gender, even politics (teams visiting the White House) -- then, just like non-sports reporting, bias is a possibility. And since reporters -- sports or otherwise -- tend to be liberal ... that's the kind of bias we're going to get.
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