Note from the
By Joe Kovacs
CBS News correspondent now lashing out at TV
networks for what he calls a liberal slant in coverage has taken his case to
Bernard Goldberg, who spent 28 years with the
network, made a guest appearance yesterday on Limbaugh's nationally
broadcast radio show, promoting his new book, "Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes
How the Media Distort the News."
"It's not at all unusual
to hear on the news a description of right-wing Christians, right-wing
politicians, right-wing radio talk-show hosts, right-wing Miami Cubans,"
Goldberg lamented. "The only time you hear the word
left-wing is if they're talking
about part of an airplane. ... They don't even think there's a liberal or
Limbaugh, who rarely
invites guests on his program, devoted an hour to questioning Goldberg about
his thesis. The radio host himself has spent years examining the issue.
"Each day this program
could be about nothing but
media bias," said Limbaugh. "People still on every program today call and
give me an example. ... It's become pervasive."
In fact, it can be argued
that Limbaugh rose to the top of his field by being one of the few national
voices to challenge accepted practices by the media establishment. "I
am equal time!" Limbaugh often
thunders on why he doesn't interview guests with views opposing his staunch
Limbaugh even thinks his political stance hindered him in his quest last
year to become an analyst on
ABC's "Monday Night Football." He says he was told
one of the reasons why he didn't get the job was that "management couldn't
face cat calls at cocktail parties for hiring [him]." ABC selected comedian
Dennis Miller over Limbaugh, and ratings for "MNF" have since been among the
show's lowest ever.
Goldberg's book – which media writer Howard Kurtz of the
Washington Post points out is published by
"conservative house" Regnery Publishing – the
author rips into his former employers as well as anchorman Dan Rather, whom
he calls "ruthless and unforgiving," with a touch of Richard Nixon's
Goldberg says CBS News
President Andrew Heyward once told him: "Look,
Bernie, of course there's a liberal bias in the news. All the networks tilt
left. ... If you repeat any of this, I'll deny it."
Kurtz reports that "Heyward
declined to be drawn into a debate with Goldberg, saying: 'Bernie asked to
see me before the book was published and said he didn't want to be portrayed
as a liar or a disgruntled employee. Therefore, I have no comment.'"
Goldberg says the
implication he's a disgruntled employee and other statements saying he's
committed treason show the network is in what he calls full-attack mode.
audience; they're hemorrhaging viewers," he said, referring to a continual
dwindling of television newswatchers.
an example of bias in network reporting, Goldberg says producers and
reporters often seek comment only from liberal-minded groups. On women's
issues, he says you can often expect to hear someone from the
National Organization for Women.
"Do they do anybody a
service when they only go to NOW?" asked Goldberg rhetorically. "They don't
even see that as a liberal bias, because the only way to define liberal bias
in their world is if you're tough on Republicans and easy on Democrats."
He also recounted how a
CBS weekend news producer referred to presidential candidate Gary Bauer as
"the little nut from the Christian group," with no one raising an objection.
But Goldberg added that
the situation for balanced-news seekers is not hopeless, telling Limbaugh
that his impact in radio is being echoed elsewhere.
"Your show is a crack in
the dam; the Internet is a crack in the dam ... and I hope in a small way my
book is a crack in the dam," he said.
specifically cited the
Fox News Channel as a mainstream network that does
what it says in providing "fair and balanced" coverage.
"I think when Fox went up,
it was like the Berlin Wall coming down," he said.
As far as why viewers have
recently gravitated toward Fox, Goldberg says many have collectively said,
"I just don't trust those guys anymore at the three main networks."
In recent days, Limbaugh
has been harping on reporters for their lack of willingness to choose sides
U.S. war on terror. He said American
failures had been magnified by the press while successes were ignored,
adding that journalists' new mantra was to be critical in order to be
"I don't expect anybody to
go 'rah rah!' on the nightly news," Limbaugh said. "If you are a media
person, I don't think it's unrealistic to hope your country wins."
Limbaugh offered his own
reasoning why modern broadcast journalists tend to lean left. He said if
someone asked a student at an average journalism school why he or she
were there, the response would be something like
"I want to change the world."
"Journalism has taken this
ardor of social justice, righting the wrongs," he said.
Limbaugh pointed out that
Goldberg was in effect a whistleblower whom the news media would normally
love – had he exposed any other target besides journalists. To that,
Goldberg responded, "If I were writing about Big Tobacco or Big Oil ... I
would be a national hero."
Goldberg, who now works for
HBO's "Real Sports," says he's hearing from both
former as well as current employees at CBS who are glad he's going public
with his book.
"We agree with you, but we
can't say anything," he said is the common theme of their remarks.