Book Details Bias Inside CBS; NYT’s Friedman Scolded Colleagues; Tax Cuts Blamed for Recession; Gumbel Tried to Tie Bush to Enron
1) CBS News insiders are reacting with anger to former CBS
reporter Bernard Goldberg’s new book about their liberal bias.
"Treason," Eric Engberg told Howard Kurtz. Goldberg reported
that CBS News chief Andrew Heyward conceded liberal bias, but warned:
"If you repeat any of this, I'll deny it." Indeed, Heyward did
deny it during a C-SPAN call-in show last year.
2) On Friday’s Late Show, New York Times columnist Tom
Friedman mocked the European press for focusing on civilians being hurt by
bombing when, in fact, "the Afghan civilians were praying for another
ration of B-52s." He also pointedly noted how "people say to me
often, ‘war doesn’t solve anything.’ To which I say, ‘guess what,
neither does social work.’"
3) Dan Rather is in Afghanistan but realizes that
"whatever danger journalists are in is nothing to compare with the
moment-by-moment danger faced by young people in uniform."
4) Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift blamed tax cuts for the
recession: "President Bush gambled on a tax cut that largely rewards
better-off people in this country." ABC’s Cokie Roberts lamented
lost opportunity, arguing Democrats would have been more effective if they
had repeated Clinton’s strategy of running ads "under the radar
5) Bryant Gumbel tried to link President Bush to the
collapse of Enron, but the guest wouldn’t buy it. "They were George
Bush's biggest campaign contributor. Does any of this reflect on the
President at all?" The guest replied: "No." Gumbel pleaded:
"No way, none, none whatsoever?"
6) New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. revealed
on C-SPAN: "I don’t read any other newspaper on a regular
basis." Asked about how the public overwhelmingly supports military
tribunals, Sulzberger was befuddled -- even though just such a poll
finding ran on page one of the Washington Post. Top editor Howell Raines
boasted: "We’d editorially supported virtually every aspect"
of Bill Clinton’s policies.
7) Letterman’s "Top Ten Questions on the
Application for Doorman at Osama Bin Laden's Cave Complex."
Drudge previewed in postings on Friday and Sunday, in Monday’s
Washington Post Howard Kurtz offered insights from former CBS News
reporter Bernard Goldberg’s soon-to-be published book about his years
with the network, Bias: A CBS News Insider Exposes How the Media Distort
"Of course there's a liberal bias in the
news. All the networks tilt left," Goldberg quoted CBS News President
Andrew Heyward as conceding. Kurtz cited Goldberg’s reporting that
Heyward warned: "If you repeat any of this, I'll deny it."
(Indeed he did on a C-SPAN call-in show last year.)
Kurtz, however, didn’t relay one of the most
fascinating tidbits which Drudge reported: How CBS Evening News senior
producer Susan Zirinsky conceded she’d never thought of getting a
reaction soundbite from a conservative women’s group. Goldberg observed:
"She didn't conspire with anyone to freeze out conservative women.
She just thought NOW was the logical place to go. NOW wasn't a liberal
group, to Zirinksy. It was a sensible, reasonable, and rational
An excerpt from Kurtz’s December 3
Washington Post story, "Goldberg on CBS: Nothing Good to
Report," in which Kurtz related the angry reaction from inside CBS
News, including how Eric Engberg accused Goldberg of "treason."
It's not every day that someone likens Dan Rather and CBS News to the
Or declares that the don in this case is The Dan, "who wanted me
Or calls the CBS brass "a bunch of hypocrites" so consumed by
liberal bias that they reflexively slant the news.
The source of this vitriolic attack is none other than Bernard
Goldberg, a CBS correspondent for 28 years who left the network last year.
In his forthcoming book, "Bias," published by the conservative
house Regnery Publishing, Goldberg unloads on his ex-employer.
What's striking is the intensely personal nature of Goldberg's assault.
He describes Rather as a generous man who is also "ruthless and
unforgiving," with a touch of Richard Nixon's "paranoia."
He accuses one correspondent of "junk journalism." And he 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." [Ellipses in
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 became something of a pariah at CBS after accusing the network
of liberal bias in a 1996 op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal.
Some CBS insiders describe Goldberg as a talented journalist who became
increasingly bitter and isolated at the network. They are stunned that he
would betray Heyward, a longtime friend who refused to fire him during the
Journal controversy, pushed to get him a spot at 60 Minutes II and kept
him on the payroll until Goldberg could qualify for a larger pension at
"In the end, he seemed to think his job was to report on CBS News
instead of reporting for CBS News," said Bob Schieffer, chief
Washington correspondent. "Bernie just seemed to be upset about
everything. He was upset with the world."
Correspondent 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
Engberg accused Goldberg of a "sleazy, snake-in-the-grass
style" for not complaining to him before blasting him in the Journal
over his report ridiculing Steve Forbes's flat-tax plan.
Goldberg, who now works for HBO's Real Sports, said yesterday he wrote
the book because he cares about journalism and that he "left out a
bunch of things that might really embarrass people.... Whenever you raise
an issue like this, they close ranks and close their minds. They're just
going to call me these terrible vicious names instead of looking at the
problem....They don't like the people they're broadcasting to. I can't
tell you how many times I heard the term 'white trash' thrown around. I
come from a lower-middle-class background and I resent that."...
Goldberg describes a CBS conference call in which a Washington staffer
"nonchalantly referred to a presidential candidate as 'Gary Bauer,
the little nut from the Christian group.' " No one, says Goldberg,
raised an objection....
The book also derides coverage of family issues: "Feminists are
the pressure group that the media elites (and their wives and friends) are
most aligned with."...
END of Excerpt
For Kurtz’s story in full, go to:
In a Sunday posting, the DrudgeReport.com
added an interesting anecdote, "In a chapter titled ‘Identity
Politics’, Goldberg writes: ‘I once asked Susan Zirinksy, a first-rate
journalist who had been the CBS Evening News senior producer in Washington
(she's now executive producer of 48 Hours), how many times she went to
conservative women's groups for on-camera reactions either to Supreme
Court decisions or to votes in Congress regarding women's issues. She
thought about it for a few seconds, then told me she couldn't think of a
"Goldberg explains: ‘Zirinksy didn't act
out of malice. She didn't conspire with anyone to freeze out conservative
women. She just thought NOW was the logical place to go. NOW wasn't a
liberal group, to Zirinksy. It was a sensible, reasonable, and rational
For the entirety of Drudge’s report, go to: http://drudgereport.com/matt91k.htm
As for CBS News President Andrew Heyward
promising to deny that he realizes the networks have a liberal tilt, he
certainly did that during an appearance C-SPAN the day before the start of
the Republican convention. A reprint from he July 31, 2000 CyberAlert:
"Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you, but I do deny that we have a
bias, and I'm familiar with the work that [Brent] Bozell and [Reed] Irvine
do. They are activists and extremists of the Right," declared CBS
News President Andrew Heyward Sunday afternoon on C-SPAN in dismissing a
caller who asked about liberal media bias on CBS documented by the Media
Research Center and Accuracy in Media.
After denigrating the work of the heads of the two groups, Heyward
proceeded to claim "the people I work with, many of them are
As for why people see a liberal bias, Heyward maintained it's only
because "as journalists we're always holding the establishment up to
scrutiny, whether it's a Republican or a Democratic administration, a
Republican or a Democratic Congress." "It's our job to ask tough
questions and to shine a light in corners that might otherwise remain
dark. And if you tend to be conservative, by definition somebody who's
constantly challenging the status quo, even though that's how we see our
jobs, is seen potentially as unpatriotic or they're anti-government,
anti-American." He ended his answer by insisting: "Our job is to
communicate the truth to people."
For a view of the cover of Goldberg’s book,
For a picture and bio of Goldberg, access this
old CBS News page which Drudge found and which was still up as of Sunday:
-- To read Goldberg’s May 24, 2001 Wall
Street Journal op-ed in which he sketched his thesis that many journalists
don’t realize their bias, go to: http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=95000520
Some earlier CyberAlert articles on Goldberg,
two of which feature RealPlayer clips:
-- Dan Rather considers the New York Times
editorial page to be "middle of the road," former CBS News
colleague Bernard Goldberg revealed in an op-ed in Thursday’s Wall
Street Journal about how the three broadcast networks anchors
"don’t even know what liberal bias is." With a picture/video
of Goldberg on MSNBC:
-- Tom Brokaw lashed out at Bernard Goldberg.
Brokaw insisted "the idea that we would set out, consciously or
unconsciously, to put some kind of an ideological framework over what
we’re doing is nonsense." A bitter Brokaw related how he knows
Goldberg has "had an ongoing feud with Dan, I wish he would confine
it to that."
-- On C-SPAN, former CBS News reporter Bernard
Goldberg disclosed that since taking CBS to task for liberal bias in 1996,
Dan Rather has "never spoken to me." With video and picture of
Goldberg on C-SPAN: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010612.asp#4
And for details about Goldberg’s 1996 op-ed
targeting liberal bias in a flat tax story by Eric Engberg on Steve
Forbes, the one for which he was ostracized, read the February 1996
MediaWatch article about it: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/mediawatch/1996/mw19960201p1.html
pre-September 11 liberal, Bush-bashing New York Times foreign affairs
columnist Tom Friedman has changed since the terrorist attacks, Fred
Barnes noted in his Weekly Standard piece last week on press coverage of
the war, a new attitude in full display on Friday’s Late Show with David
Friedman mocked the European press for
focusing on civilians being hurt by bombing when, in fact, "the
Afghan civilians were praying for another ration of B-52s to destroy this
regime and once it was destroyed they felt enormously liberated." He
also praised the military targeting of Osama bin Laden, pointedly noting
how "people say to me often, ‘war doesn’t solve anything.’ To
which I say, ‘guess what, neither does social work.’"
Making for an unusually serious Late Show,
Letterman kept Friedman on for three segments, bumping a planned bit from
a stand-up comic. The two most noteworthy quotes I heard from Friedman
during his appearance on the November 30 show:
-- "If you read the Arab press or the
European press, they’re all so critical of America. ‘Oh, Afghan
civilians being hurt, Afghan civilians.’ Meanwhile, you see what
happened after the Taliban fell. We discovered the Afghan civilians were
praying for another ration of B-52s to destroy this regime and once it was
destroyed they felt enormously liberated."
Friedman didn’t have to read the Arab or
European press for that angle. He could have just watched ABC News.
-- The message from destroying al Qaeda:
"You’ve also sent an important signal. The signal you’ve sent is
that you kill 4,000 Americans on our shore and we will hunt you down if we
have to look in every cave in Afghanistan. You know, people say ‘war
doesn’t solve anything.’ Well guess what-" [cut off by applause]
People say to me often, ‘war doesn’t solve anything.’ To which I
say, ‘guess what, neither does social work.’ Okay, this is not about
solving anything, alright. This about deterrence. It’s about sending the
message. And even if it will not deter another one. But anyone who thinks
about this again has to know exactly what we will do."
Dan Rather realizes whose lives are really on the line. Rather arrived in
Kabul late last week and opened the CBS Evening News on Friday and Sunday
In a Saturday, December 1 Washington Post
story, Howard Kurtz relayed Rather’s response when asked about the
danger facing journalists: "On some days in some ways, danger is my
business. But let me underscore in italics, all caps: Whatever danger
journalists are in is nothing to compare with the moment-by-moment danger
faced by young people in uniform."
I think Rather is pretty safe. U.S. troops see
him as a celebrity. Sunday’s CBS Evening News ended with video of Rather
posing for a picture with a group of U.S. Army soldiers.
Eleanor Clift mouthed the official Democratic/liberal line on the
McLaughlin Group as she blamed tax cuts for the recession: "President
Bush gambled on a tax cut that largely rewards better-off people in this
country." She held him "responsible for a lot of the absence of
money as we look ten years out. He is going to finance this war on
terrorism the same way Ronald Reagan got to finance the Cold War."
At least that means Bush is following a
Suggesting the Democratic spin is
"totally illogical," on Fox News Sunday Fred Barnes suggested
"it’s up to the media and public figures get things right" by
explaining how Democrats "have a totally illogical argument."
But instead doing that, ABC’s Cokie Roberts advised Democrats how they
could be more effective as she said "they should have taken a lesson
from Bill Clinton’s book."
On the McLaughlin Group aired over the
weekend, Clift opined:
"Look, what happened to this country is the
equivalent of a family being struck by a catastrophic disease. You spend
what it takes to get well. So I don’t begrudge the money here. But we
should not blame all of the declining funds on 9/11. In fact, the economy
was moving into recession before 9/11, it’s been officially declared in
recession since March. And President Bush gambled on a tax cut that
largely rewards better-off people in this country."
John McLaughlin: "$1.3 trillion."
Clift: "That’s right and that is
responsible for a lot of the absence of money as we look ten years out. He
is going to finance this war on terrorism the same way Ronald Reagan got
to finance the Cold War. And it worked for Ronald Reagan but it’s
incredibly cynical because it passes a tax onto generations X, Y and Z.
and the administration compounds the error by now not wanting to spend the
money it’s going to take to stockpile vaccines, to do the kind of
security measures that we need in this country."
On Fox News Sunday, during the roundtable
segment, Fred Barnes took on the Democratic spin:
"It’s up to the media and public figures
get things right and not make charges that are totally illogical. I mean,
Democrats can’t explain, we have this recession, how Bush caused it.
Daschle seems to say these tax cuts caused it, but only one point has gone
into effect. Clearly they didn’t cause it. Or, it’s these projected
deficits, that’s what Nita Lowey, the House Democratic leader seems to
think, the deficits that haven’t even happened yet have caused the
recession now. They have a totally illogical argument and it’s up to
people like you and me and the press and national leaders to explain how
illogical that is so people will understand it."
Instead of challenging its connection to
reality, during the roundtable portion of ABC’s This Week Cokie Roberts
suggested how Democrats could have been more effective as she lamented
their strategic error:
"They have ads out to attack ‘the Bush
recession.’ I personally think it’s a big mistake for them to have
announced these ads. They should have taken a lesson from Bill Clinton’s
book, which was in the year 1995, after the Republicans took the Congress,
he went out under the radar screen, had ads out promoting him in cities
where we weren’t, in the national press, paying much attention. The
Democrats could be doing that; this way they’re just attracting
attention to themselves and the Republicans are going to fall all over
What is Roberts admitting here? Deliberate
ignorance on the part of the Washington press corps? Fool me once, shame
on you, but fool me twice....
Gumbel should get an A for effort. On Friday’s Early Show he tried to
link President Bush to the collapse of Enron, but his guest wouldn’t buy
Gumbel set up the November 30 segment by
explaining: "It is being called one the worst corporate collapse in
U.S. history. Enron, widely viewed as America's leading energy company
just a year ago, has seen its stock price fall from $85 a share just a
year ago, to 36 cents a share at the close of yesterday's
trading....Current and former employees have seen their retirement money
After interviewing an attorney representing
some employees, Gumbel turned to Business Week economics editor Peter Coy.
Gumbel asserted: "They were George Bush's biggest campaign
contributor. Does any of this reflect on the President at all?"
Gumbel pleaded: "No way, none, none
Coy: "He bears no responsibility. It's just
Gumbel didn’t want to hear any more, cutting
off Coy to move on: "Who gains when Enron collapses?"
stereotypes are true, like the New York Times as run by a smug, insular
man. New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. gave credence to that
stereotype in an appearance Friday morning during C-SPAN’s live
broadcast from the New York Times building.
Sulzberger conceded: "I don’t read any
other newspaper on a regular basis." Asked about how the media care
more about military tribunals than the public which overwhelmingly
supports Bush’s proposal, Sulzberger was befuddled -- even though just
such a poll finding ran the day before on the front page of the Washington
Post. A flummoxed Sulzberger averred: "I don’t know, I don’t know
if that’s true or not true. I suspect it’s not, I don’t know where
those numbers came from."
Later, Executive Editor Howell Raines,
defending himself against the charge that as editorial page editor he had
savaged Bill Clinton for ethical lapses, pointed out how the Times stuck
with him on liberal policies: "We’d editorially supported virtually
every aspect of his program, and were particularly evangelical I would say
about his medical care reform package."
On C-SPAN’s November 30 Washington Journal,
host Brian Lamb asked Sulzberger, as transcribed by MRC analyst Patrick
Gregory: "What do you read in the morning besides the New York
Times?" Sulzberger replied: "I’d love to tell you that reading
the New York Times, it takes up a morning. What I also read is the Wall
Street Journal, and I’ll check in and out of a variety of other
newspapers, but I don’t read any other newspaper on a regular
A caller, who echoed the theme of Friday’s
CyberAlert, raised military tribunals: "It used to be when things
were controversial with the administration, and if there was any slight
advantage against the Bush administration, hours a day would be spent on
polls showing them on national TV. On this particular issue, 90 percent of
the country is in favor of what the President is doing, 25 to 30 percent
of the people don’t think he’s going far enough. And yet we hear all
last night on national network we hear how all of a sudden there’s this
great controversy against the President’s decision. You people just
don’t get it."
Lamb summarized the caller’s view: "I
think he’s suggesting that the newspapers and the media care more about
this tribunal issue than the public at large." Though the caller’s
point was accurate, his numbers were a bit off, but Sulzberger didn’t
know enough to counter the numbers as passed along a liberal caricature of
the tribunal idea:
"I don’t know if that’s true or not
true. I suspect it’s not, I don’t know where those numbers came from,
90 percent. The issue of polling is of course a tricky one, because as we
all know, polls can be manipulated in extraordinarily easy ways, and
unless your polling organization is committed to producing honest and fair
polls, you can skew it any you want just by the way you phrase the
question. So when I hear a number like 90 percent this, I’m making an
assumption that was not a fair poll. This is a complex issue, and it gets
to the very nature of our democracy, and the issue of rule by law. This is
not to prejudge the outcome. It’s to say that there are values that we
have inherent in our structure as a country, and in cases like this,
there’s real value in having the discussion and the debate. And I
don’t think the President would disagree with that. Our story in
today’s paper is about the President engaging in that discussion and
debate, and we’re reporting it. So I hear what the caller has said, as a
former President would say, ‘I feel your anger,’ but as angry as we
are, and I share that anger in a very, very fundamental way, as angry as
we are, there’s a reason that we have trial by jury in this country and
not summary execution."
For the Washington Post numbers that
Sulzberger missed, which found 59 percent approval for military tribunals,
go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20011130.asp#1
Later in the show, Lamb asked Howell Raines,
Executive Editor since September, about how "Democrats who supported
Bill Clinton and are mad about you because of the policy about Bill
Clinton" espoused in Times editorials during his previous position as
editorial page editor. Raines replied:
"In the case of President Clinton, whom
I’d known since the late 70s, we’d editorially supported virtually
every aspect of his program, and were particularly evangelical I would say
about his medical care reform package. But there were other aspects of the
administration, and financial matters, Whitewater, so forth, that I felt
it was wrong to put the integrity of the New York Times behind, even
though we supported him on policy. There were ways of operating in the
White House that I felt were very deleterious. For example, the firing of
the White House travel office staff, and then getting the FBI to issue a
statement that they were being investigated for financial malfeasance,
when in fact they simply were being dumped politically because they wanted
to put new players in. Whitewater, the Clinton administration made the
decision not to go public with the financial details of that. I felt that
was a mistake and we said so."
Recall how Raines once complained that "reporting on President Reagan's success in
making life harder for citizens who were not born rich, white, and healthy
-- saddened me." During a TV interview he whined: "The Reagan
years oppressed me..." For full quotes and a RealPlayer clip, go to: http://www.mrc.org/cyberalerts/2001/cyb20010522.asp#3
November 30 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Questions on
the Application for Doorman at Osama Bin Laden's Cave Complex."
Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. Do you have references from maniacal terrorists you've worked for?
9. Mind signing for exploding packages?
8. You're not taking this job so you can kill Osama and get the $25
million, are you?
7. Do you mind being drugged, knocked out, blindfolded and driven 200
miles to and from work every day?
6. List three references who can vouch for your beard
5. Can you make balloon animals? Osama loves balloon animals
4. Will you contribute to the 401(k) even though there's not a chance in
hell you'll see 65?
3. Are you okay with some light typing and filing?
2. List the schools where you received your fanatical, hate-filled
1. May we pay you in sand?