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Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News (2002)

by Bernard Goldberg

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9161316,557 (3.54)15
In his nearly thirty years at CBS News, Emmy Award winner Bernard Goldberg earned a reputation as one of the preeminent reporters in the television news business. When he looked at his own industry, however, he saw that the media far too often ignored their primary mission: to provide objective, disinterested reporting. Again and again he saw that the news slanted to the left. For years, Goldberg appealed to reporters, producers, and network executives for more balanced reporting, but no one listened. The liberal bias continued. Now, breaking ranks and naming names, he reveals a corporate news culture in which the closed-mindedness is breathtaking and in which entertainment wins over hard news every time.… (more)
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No matter where you stand politically, this is worth a read. Goldberg backs up his words with hard facts. For instance, the homeless crisis: if you went to jr high or hs during the Reagan/Bush era, chances are good you wrote a paper on the homeless. The story was everywhere. Goldberg tells you just how prevalent the story was, by documenting the number of times it was reported on by The Big 3 & the major newspapers. Then he looks at the same sources after Clinton took office, and documents the story's presence then. The story of the homeless all but disappeared, but the homeless themselves didn't.
So what happened? Why the drop? It's up to you to read it & decide if/how much you buy it. But it's worth considering & keeping in mind as you peruse the news.
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
Bernard Goldberg’s Bias starts with a harsh, over-the-top comparison of the major TV news outlets to the gangsters of the Godfather movies. He says that he was given a set of cement footwear for breaking their code of silence and talking publicly about inside secrets that many in the business are aware of, but simply agree not to discuss.

While this comparison is undoubtedly hyperbole (he has had, as far as I know, no attempts on his life) his treatment after he dared accuse his own colleagues of a clear and consistent liberal bias is completely out of proportion, especially considering the media’s pride in defending freedom of speech.

Continuing a stand that began with a Wall Street Journal editorial in February of 1996, Goldberg describes the pervasive and generally unconscious liberal bias in the major TV news networks, CBS, NBC, and ABC. The pernicious nature of this bias, he says, is largely due to the sheltered circles the media elites travel in; they rarely encounter people who don’t share their political views, and thus soon grow to think that their views are simply what all reasonable intelligent people believe.

Goldberg gives a detailed account of the results of this bias in several areas. The problem of homelessness was drastically exaggerated during the Reagan era, as well as being “prettified” for the consumption of the average viewer. If you rely unquestioningly accept the word of the Big Three, homelessness magically disappeared during Clinton’s presidency, only to suddenly reappear when the Bush was elected in 2000. AIDS in America never reached anything like the epidemic proportions the major networks would have had us believe. To those not in clearly defined high risk groups (hemophiliacs, IV drug users, gays) it simply was not a threat. But this was not the picture we were repeatedly presented with.

More intellectual dishonesty can be found in the media’s selection and presentation of valid targets. Men, and especially white men, can be demonized and persecuted with an unholy venom. Natlie Angier of the New York Times can even question whether we today even need men, whether the sex, as a whole, is “worth the trouble”, and instead of being regarded as a vicious lunatic is considered reasonable and intelligent. Is 50% of our species “necessary” and “worth the trouble”? If this kind of question were applied to any other group, the writer would instantly become a pariah in liberal circles.

Along similar lines, politicians, scholars, and other public figures are not given a balanced presentation, even in a simple introduction. Any Republican politician is consistently introduced as “conservative so-and-so from Ohio.” Any representative of a conservative think tank or activism group is clearly labeled as conservative when being introduced or even discussed. No such labeling appears necessary for liberals, though. It is as if those with liberal inclinations are simply people, while those with conservative views are some dangerous, alien creatures, and must be clearly labeled as such.

Regardless of the political inclinations, the reader should worry about the impact of such a clear and consistent liberal bias on the public debate. This narrowing of permissible viewpoints is, in the most meaningful sense, the direct opposite of liberalism, which, translated to common English, means simply “freedom”. ( )
  Zaklog | Mar 16, 2011 |
For me, this was the first book to really lay out the bias in the news media. I consider it the godfather of the raft of such books that came out in the years immediately following it. It opened the floodgates and led the way to a conservative activism that in turn led to the tea parties. ( )
1 vote br77rino | Feb 26, 2010 |
Nothing Rush hasn't pointed out already, but now it's an ''insider'' saying it, so people are listening. ( )
  JCO123 | Jan 29, 2010 |
Bernie's best book, he outlines the reasons he left CBS and I can see why he didn't want to hang around. ( )
  tmstimbert | Sep 6, 2008 |
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In his nearly thirty years at CBS News, Emmy Award winner Bernard Goldberg earned a reputation as one of the preeminent reporters in the television news business. When he looked at his own industry, however, he saw that the media far too often ignored their primary mission: to provide objective, disinterested reporting. Again and again he saw that the news slanted to the left. For years, Goldberg appealed to reporters, producers, and network executives for more balanced reporting, but no one listened. The liberal bias continued. Now, breaking ranks and naming names, he reveals a corporate news culture in which the closed-mindedness is breathtaking and in which entertainment wins over hard news every time.

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