Courageous Bernard Goldberg
12/7/2001 12:00:00 AM - Brent Bozell
CBS usually loves a whistleblower. You can sense reporters' juices flowing when some corporate insider wants to whisper that he knows that his corporation is riddled with deceit, even if he's telling the public a sugar-coated fairy tale that everyone on the inside knows to be a lie.
Think of Jeffrey Wigand, the Brown & Williamson tobacco executive, who "60 Minutes" interviewed some years ago, but shelved the story for fear of lawsuits. The outrage within the liberal media community was intense, and eventually the Wigand story came off the shelves, and he became a hero against the scheming power of Big Tobacco.
The media elite thinks of itself as the conscience of the country, living on a moral plane far above mortal businesses.
That's why Bernard Goldberg has done something unprecedented, something no one before him had the courage to do. After 28 years on the inside, Goldberg has blown the whistle on the liberal distortions of CBS News -- and displayed that the country's "conscience" is viciously two-faced. It's all in the book "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News."
In this case, the sugar-coated fairy tale was that CBS News is guided by the principle of straight news with no liberal spin. Goldberg really calls Gunga Dan Rather on the carpet, telling about his super-expensive British-tailored suits and other fancy tastes, and his needs for a cast of toadies, including a CBS vice president whose only job was to keep Dan happy. Rather's famous cornpone expressions, far from extemporaneous, were scripted in advance to make him appear folksy. Little, it appears, was as it was presented to CBS.
Goldberg tells how, when he proposed doing a news story on allegations of liberal bias, CBS News President Andrew Heyward said there was no news in that concept because all the networks tilt to the left, but if Goldberg ever repeated that in public, he'd deny it. Indeed, when asked about liberal bias and its watchdogs on C-SPAN, Heyward quickly dismissed the Media Research Center and Accuracy in Media as "activists and extremists of the Right."
Goldberg provides other details of liberal attitudes inside CBS. Goldberg once asked Susan Zirinsky, then CBS senior producer in Washington, how many times she went to conservative women's groups for on-camera reactions either to Supreme Court decisions or votes in Congress on women's issues. "She thought about it for a few seconds, then told me she couldn't think of a single time." In a 1999 conference call about the Republican primaries, veteran producer Roxanne Russell referred to candidate Gary Bauer as "the little nut from the Christian group." Goldberg's comment: "If any of the CBS News producers on the conference call were shocked, not one of them gave a clue."
These stories are really amazing. But even more amazing is the ridiculous CBS reaction to the book. In Howard Kurtz's story in the Washington Post, senior correspondent Bob Schieffer dismissed Goldberg as disgruntled, "upset with the world." Hatchet-job specialist Eric Engberg said Goldberg committed an "act of treason" and decided the best way to sell a book "is to trash your friends and former colleagues. ... He didn't have many friends in this organization because he was a selfish, self-involved guy who was not a team player."
Isn't this just what tobacco executive Jeffrey Wigand's employers said about him? But didn't CBS consider him a hero for trashing his friends and former colleagues? And what's with liberals using words like "treason"? Isn't that supposed to be a right-wing kook word? Or do they consider CBS a country unto itself?
CBS usually likes people who aren't "team players" -- when they're pleasing liberals. John McCain was riding the "Straight Talk Express" when he compared himself to Luke Skywalker criticizing his friends and colleagues in the Republican Party as "Darth Vader" and the "Evil Empire." James Jeffords was a "profile in courage" for betraying his singing buddy Trent Lott. But CBS won't be describing Goldberg as a lovable "maverick" who speaks the truth to Big Media power.
Some may dismiss Goldberg's remarkable book as telling us something we already know, and have known for years. With the rise of an alternative conservative media, the networks aren't exactly the "Evil Empire," but this book is a little like the files that poured out of the communist archives. We knew that Alger Hiss was a spy, and we knew Communist Party USA was a tool largely funded by Moscow. But the internal evidence really sets the truth in stone.
Go get a copy. Put it on the best-seller list, where it can't be ignored. If you think it's nothing new, buy it to show the media that this is a topic worth reading about and hearing about a lot more than they've ever been willing to admit.