Bias: A C.B.S. Insider Exposes how the Media Distort the News
by Bernard Goldberg
Washington D.C.: Regnery, 2002, pp. 232.
The liberal bias in the media in Western democracies has long been evident. Nearly all political journalists in Australia are pro-Labor, and nearly all in the United States are pro-Democrat. In America the respective histories of Presidents Nixon and Clinton tell their story. The conservative Nixon was attacked remorselessly by the Democrat media and fell; Clinton was supported by the Democrat media and survived, even although his actions included the very serious crime of perjury.
This liberal bias is consistently denied by the media, partly through dishonesty and partly because prejudiced people often do not perceive the fact that they are prejudiced.
Hence “Bias” is a very signficant book, because in it a C.B.S. insider reveals clearly the pervasive bias that has long existed.
On 13 February 1996 Goldberg committed what liberal emements in the media regarded as his “unpardonable sin” by writing an exposé in The Wall Street Journal:
“I said out loud what millions of T.V. viewers all over America know and have been complaining about for years: that too often Dan [Dan Rather, the powerful C.B.S. news anchor-man] and Peter and Tom and a lot of their foot solders don’t deliver the news straight, that they have a liberal bias, and that no matter how often the network stars deny it, it is true.”
In fact, Goldberg, an experienced television newsman, wrote in The Wall Street Journal that there are “lots of reasons” fewer people are watching network news, and one of them is that “our viewers simply don’t trust us”, “for good reason” – that the networks and the “media elites” have a liberal bias is “so blatantly true that it’s hardly worth discussing anymore . . . It comes naturally to most reporters.”
Goldberg provides example of the stratagems that are used by the liberal media. For example, Dan Rather and Eric Engberg presented a piece on Mr. Steve Forbes’ (conservative) tax proposals. The proposals were described offensively, and tax “experts” were produced who unanimously opposed the proposals. Experts who favoured it were ignored and not produced.
Another very common vice on the part of the liberal media is to present two “experts” to comment upon an issue. The liberal-leftish “expert” is described as “noted” or “well-qualified”, and the non-liberal is described as “controversial” or “conservative”, or by other terms likely to cause prejudice against him in the minds of certain readers or viewers.
After his exposé in The Wall Street Journal Dan Rather, Eric Engberg and many other C.B.S. staffers refused to talk to Goldberg again. Rather attempted to belittle him by describing him as a “political activist”. This was despite the fact that previously Andrew Heyward, the C.B.S. News president had said to Goldberg, “[O]f course there’s a liberal bias in the news. All the networks tilt left”; but Heywood had added, “If you repeat any of this, I’ll deny it.”
“Bias” is a bestseller in the United States and has been bought by many who have long worried about media bias and have been frustrated by media denials. It is important in Australia for similar reasons. Pro-Labor bias on the A.B.C. is denied by that organisation, and the Canberra press corps disseminates, but does not admit to, pro-Labor propaganda. “Bias” is hence a book that should be purchased. The lessons that it sets out apply in Australia.R.M. Pearce
National Observer No. 52 - Autumn 2002