The Bernie Goldberg Story

he 25-year CBS News veteran reporter Bernie Goldberg had an unusual opportunity (not available to, or certainly not pursued by, most others in the profession) to see his profession from a very different worldview. He had, because of Hurricane Andrew, developed a friendship with a small businessman in Florida. One evening his friend called, irate, and asked him to look at a piece that had aired that evening, on CBS Evening News “Reality Check”, about the Flat Tax proposal being promoted by Presidential Candidate Steve Forbes. Bernie reviewed the tape, and began seeing the piece for what it truly was, in his words “junk journalism.” The reporter described the plan as a “scheme” and “elixir”, he interviewed three tax experts, all of whom ridiculed the plan (and no tax experts who supported the plan, although there were several, including two Nobel Prize winners), and he did a David Letterman Top Ten list recital, including “Forbes Number One Wackiest Flat-Tax Promise” to give parents more time to spend with their families. Goldberg goes on to say

“Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, a network news reporter calling Hillary Clinton’s health care plan ‘wacky’? Can you imagine Dan Rather or any other major American news anchorman allowing it? …Eric Engberg ended his little vaudeville act thus: ‘The fact remains: The flat tax is a giant, untested theory. One economist suggested, before we put it in, we should test it out someplace – like Albania.”

Goldberg decided that something should be done, and since previous attempts to raise the issue (of journalistic bias) inside CBS News had been stonewalled, he went public. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he said:

“There are lots of reasons fewer people are watching network news, and one of them, I’m more convinced than ever, is that our viewers simply don’t trust us. And for good reason.
“The old argument that the networks and other ‘media elites’ have a liberal bias is so blatantly true that it’s hardly worth discussing anymore. No, we don’t sit around in dark corners and plan strategies on how we’re going to slant the news. We don’t have to. It comes naturally to most reporters.”
As a result of these remarks, and the subsequent book BIAS, A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, Goldberg was fired and ostracized by the mainstream media.

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