Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Get Over It Bernie

Former CBS News correspondent Bernie Goldberg is still bitter about the way he was treated by CBS News. A talented writer and skilled broadcaster, he had a severe falling out with former CBS News President Andrew Heyward and anchorman Dan Rather. Even more painful for Goldberg was the fact that 60 Minutes did not want him. He was too volatile, too temperamental and too much of a self-promoter for journalism's greatest news magazine. You see, despite what Goldberg claims, politics didn't enter into any decisions about his career. Now, nearly twenty years later, he continues to bear a grudge against CBS News.

Here are Goldberg's comments from his appearance on the Fox News Channel Monday night: "I worked with these liberal elites for 28 years at CBS News, and they were always throwing around the term white trash, by which they meant poor southerners who didn't go to Harvard. I'm not sure why that makes them trash. As far as the middle of the country is concerned, you know, this was flyover country where people flew the flag on the Fourth of July and went bowling and ate at Red Lobster. You know, they were a bunch of hicks. But even all liberal elites don't think that. So I am saying I was wrong, Jon Stewart is right."

Goldberg's rant was part of a counter attack against Comedy Central anchor Jon Stewart who had earlier surprised Goldberg with an attack on him. Goldberg has very thin skin, so he quickly snapped back at Stewart and dragged CBS News into the argument. Goldberg is a terrific writer; he is clever and witty. But his specialty is anger and hate, and he has made a lot of money off of his bile.

CBS News and elite are not really congruent. The late CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, and dropped out of college to cover World War II. Dan Rather came from a small town in Texas, and attended a nearby teacher's college. CBS Newsman Bob Schieffer is from Ft. Worth. The late former CBS News President Fred Friendly was a Nichols Business College graduate. His successor, the late William Leonard, attended Dartmouth College during the Great Depression and served in the Navy during World War II. Former CBS News President Van Gordon Sauter is a native of Ohio and graduate of Ohio University. Former CBS News President Ed Joyce attended the University of Wyoming. Former CBS News President Sir Howard Stringer came from Wales and Oxford and left CBS News for a while to serve a tour of duty in the U.S. Army in Viet Nam. Former CBS News President David Burke graduated from Tufts, and former CBS News President Eric Ober Yale. Yes, Andrew Heyward is a Harvard graduate.

I met and worked with every one of these men. None of them used the term "white trash." None of them ever disparaged the middle of America or the South. These men were hard working, self-made professionals, who became respected journalists. The fact that Goldberg is not qualified to walk among them does not make them elite.

In fact, CBS News is not made up mostly of "liberal elites." CBS News has always been a collection of Americans from all around the country who are passionate about journalism. Some hail from small Southern towns, some went to Midwestern colleges, some served their country in war. They are Americans, they are parents, they coach little league, many bowl and many even go to the Red Lobster. The many thousands of people who have worked for CBS News over the decades have been motivated by their desire to provide an important public service.

Of course, no institution is perfect and CBS News has made a few mistakes along the way. But its employees have always worked hard to maintain the highest standards of journalism and quality story telling.

Bernie, get over it, please.

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