Bernard Goldberg, a former CBS News correspondent, reports for HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. He also provides commentary for The O’Reilly Factor and is a successful author. Goldberg’s newest book is Crazies To The Left Of Me, Wimps To The Right: How One Side Lost Its Mind And The Other Lost Its Nerve.
1. TVNewser: When my first book, Bias, hit #1 on the NY Times bestseller list, I was…
Goldberg: Shocked. I had never written a book before. This was like coming up to bat in the World Series, as a rookie, and hitting the game winning grand slam in the bottom of the ninth. But then I quickly realized what had happened: I caught up with the American people who had noticed this bias problem long before I ever wrote about it — and who were sick and tired of it. I spoke for them. And coming from an insider (who had never been labeled a conservative ideologue) apparently it meant a lot. Then I thought about how incredibly clueless the media elites are. To this day they think the only people who care about bias in the news are toothless idiots who are married to their sister, or maybe their first cousin. They went to the best schools, these elites, but they know almost nothing about the American people.
2. TVNewser: What I miss least about working in network news:
Goldberg: When I was at CBS News the correspondents used to root for each other — TO GET HIT BY A BUS. The mantra was that we were part of a family. Yeah. The Manson Family. I don’t miss that one bit.
(photo courtesy of Brian Smith)
3. TVNewser: Sports journalism is:
Goldberg: Often a contradiction in terms. Especially at the local level where the ‘journalists’ covering the home team might as well wear short skirts and carry pom poms. But at its best, and I think Real Sports on HBO fits into that category, it is a look at some of the most important aspects of American life – race, class, our fascination with heroes — through the prism of an institution (sports) that generates more passion than almost any other in our culture. And one more thing: the best sports journalism on television today is better than almost anything network news divisions are putting on in prime time. Only 60 Minutes is still a quality news program. The rest — 48 Hours, Dateline, Barbara Walters’ interviews with dumb celebrities — it’s all tabloid crap.
4. TVNewser: The best anchor for the CBS Evening News is:
a. Katie Couric
b. Bob Schieffer
c. Dan Rather
d. Someone else
Goldberg: America refuses to take Katie seriously. So she’s out. Bob Schieffer was okay, I guess, but had no great impact on broadcast journalism. So it’s not him. Dan was and remains a great newsman. He covered every major story since the assassination of JFK. But — and this is a very big but — Dan is unwilling or downright incapable of taking serious criticism seriously. Mention bias in the news and he becomes Nixon. He doesn’t see well-meaning critics. He sees enemies. He won’t look inward. Instead he circles the wagons and goes on the attack. Cronkite was the only one who was voted “Most Trusted Man in America.” Sure, he’s a big lefty now, but he was the essence of credibility in his day. Can you imagine any network anchor today being named Most Trust Person in America? Neither can I.
5. TVNewser: I keep my 8 Emmys…
Goldberg: Actually I don’t “keep” them anywhere. I hold them in my hands at all times no matter where I go — to the supermarket, to the movies, everywhere. I often begin conversations with, “Did I mention that I’ve won 8 Emmys?”