RUSH: Up next, folks, a little departure here from the normal programming format. We very seldom have guests here. Very seldom have authors. But I want to make an exception today with Bernard Goldberg. We’ve had him on before to talk about previous books. Hi Bernie, welcome back.
GOLDBERG: Rush, thanks for having me.
RUSH: You bet. I want to tell you why. Not just because I really do admire your work and have for a long time — plus, you seem to suffer Bryant Gumbel very well — but I’ve watched you on these shows. I’ve watched the revolving door of cable shows and I’ve been frustrated by some of the questions you’ve not been asked and then the last straw was when you got set up by that guy over on CNBC.
GOLDBERG: That was incredible.
RUSH: I want you to tell people about that. First, the title of the book is: 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. This is, essentially you are exploring the cultural decline and naming some people that might be responsible for it, correct?
GOLDBERG: That is exactly correct, and when you explore the cultural decline, the one thing liberals cannot be, just cannot be, is judgmental — and, so, they watch television during the family hour with their kids and it is one cheap sex joke after another or their kids listen to gangster rap which is vial nasty music and they won’t complain about it the way conservatives will because then they’ll be judgmental, and I’m saying, ‘When did becoming judgmental of trash in the culture become a bad thing?’ You know, I don’t think that is a bad thing. But, what happened last night was an all-time low. It was a totally unimportant show. Most of your listeners, Rush, probably never even heard of ‘Donny Deutch’ or the Big Idea.
RUSH: I gotta tell you, I never heard it. What did he used to do?
GOLDBERG: He’s an advertising guy and he was successful advertising guy, but he knows nothing about broadcasting. I only mention the show to make a bigger point about what has happened on the left, if I may do that.
RUSH: Sure. Go ahead.
GOLDBERG: They invite me on to have a debate about the book. Fine.
RUSH: With who? Just you and Deutch?
GOLDBERG: Well, the first segment was me and Deutch, but then they say they’re going to have four other people on. They tell me that some will be agreeing with me and some will not be agreeing with me. Fine. I don’t usually like these food fights, but fine. So I said okay. I come on and after the segment with Deutch, they have four, not liberals, ‘leftists,’ and Donny Deutch making five. It was a total sandbag. It was a total ambush. They lied to me to get me on and then — it’s okay if you don’t read the book and want to ask me questions. All five, Rush, admitted they never read the book but that didn’t stop them from a non-stop attack.
RUSH: Well that’s because you are being judgmental in your book.
GOLDBERG: But they haven’t read it. They are attacking it.
RUSH: It doesn’t matter.
GOLDBERG: And they stacked the deck in the panel. Five against one.
RUSH: Who was on the panel?
GOLDBERG: These are people you never heard of. The only one you might have heard of is Linda Stassi, who is the resident liberal at the New York Post. She is like the gossip columnist. So, here’s the worst part, it was taped and it ran last night. But what they did, I mean, this is as unethical as it gets. What they did is they took out all of the parts where Donny Deutch, the host, was made to look foolish. You know, at one point I said to him, I said, ‘You need five people? You need five people to try to argue against me, Donny? You’re throwing spit balls at a battleship.’ Well, that didn’t see the light of day. They took a lot of stuff out that embarrassed their host. So, number one, they ambush you. Number two, all five people don’t read the book and are bragging that they haven’t read it while they are attacking. And, they then edit the tape to make their guy look good at my expense. But you know what? It is a totally unimportant show. The big point is that this is what the cultural elite liberals do these days. They can stab you in the back. No problem, because they know what’s best. That’s the problem. This time, they did it to me. Big deal. Big deal. Insignificant show. Big deal. They did the exact same thing, Rush, to Judge Bork. They did the exact same thing to Judge Pickering, the judge from Mississippi who they made out to be soft on cross burners — and they’re going to do it again, Rush, with Judge Roberts, and that’s why Ralph Neas, the head of People for American Way is #10 on the list in this book.
RUSH: Good. I was going to get to some of the names in the book here in just a second. One more thing about this show. CNBC is where it was?
GOLDBERG: It’s on CNBC but I’m telling you, Rush. Trust me. If there were 15 people on the whole planet watching the show, I think I would be surprised.
RUSH: I know. I could ask you why you bothered to go there. But the number one observation that I have after this is, to me, maybe it’s the first time it happened to you, but it’s not new to me. It happened to me the first time I went on Crossfire in ’91 or ’92 with Novak and Kinsley. They asked me and some other talk show host from Chicago to come on to talk about, I forget, some issue of the day. And it wasn’t. It was a sandbag show in which talk radio was attacked as the medium that was going to kill America culturally and so forth. You know, you go through the pre-interview and the pre-book. The pre-interview was not to determine what you can contribute to the program. The pre-interview is to determine what will upset you and irritate you so they make sure they do it.
RUSH: I don’t go on these shows anymore. You cannot trust the people that book them. You cannot trust the people that host them. It’s always, look it, one of you versus five of them. That’s what they call balance.
GOLDBERG: Yeah, but you know what good came out of this? The American people, I think, basically have a sense of fairness. They see something like this and this is why the left is losing the country. This is why the left is losing all of the elections they are losing. Because, this doesn’t bother them. I go a step further and say, they don’t even think what they do is wrong when they do stuff like this.
RUSH: They’re too elitist to believe that.
GOLDBERG: Can I make a point on that?
GOLDBERG: I say in the book, even when I agree with liberals on this issue or that issue from time to time, I no longer want to be seen as part of that group because of precisely what you said. They are elitist. They are snobby. They look down at people, the kind of people who are listening to us now. If they like to eat at Red Lobster, God forbid, or go bowling or if they go to church on a regular basis or fly the American flag on the Fourth of July, they find these people pathetically hopeless, and it’s the elitism and the snobbiness that gets me as much as almost anything else about the left these days. Also, you made a point just yesterday, or the day before, that forgive me for stating the obvious, that was right on the money. The crazy left, this is a crucial point you made. The crazy left has become the mainstream left. That’s the real problem.
RUSH: It’s great. (laughing)
GOLDBERG: Well, yeah. (laughing)
RUSH: They are imploding and it offers boundless opportunities for you to detail it in your book. But the thing that strikes me, you worked with these people in one of their enclave, the media, and arguably you still do when you do some of the stuff you do for HBO. You were at CBS. You were surrounded by it. Was this a slow evolution, the realization you had of what these people were, or did it hit you upside the head one day as a surprise?
GOLDBERG: It was a slow evolution, but I can tell you the time it hit me. I was based in California for CBS — and they got a new anchorman in 1981, Dan Rather, and they brought me to New York to become a national correspondent on the brand new CBS evening news with Dan Rather. Now, I’m going to work and I’m seeing homeless people that look like, you know, they’re talking to spaceships in the sky, and then at 6:30 at night I’m watching the CBS evening news with Dan Rather and the homeless people look like, you know, blonde hair, blue eyed, people out of central casting. I’m looking at the AIDS story and looking every day on the news that AIDS is going to be a heterosexual plague in about ten minutes, and I’m saying: ‘That is a terrible thing. Let me do a little research.’ It just isn’t true. So when I got to New York, I realized that the things I was seeing with my own two eyes, they just didn’t jive with the stuff that I was seeing on the news that night — and that is when I started to say, ‘You know what? You want to have liberal values? I think you’re misguided, but be my guest. But don’t put them on your newscast. Leave it out. We’re not that stupid out here in middle America. We could make up our own minds about what we see.’ But they started championing causes. They didn’t just report stuff. This is right when Ronald Reagan took office. It was right after he was sworn in. I think liberals correctly felt as if they were on the outside looking in. So they stop reporting about stuff and they started championing stuff, but only certain stuff, only the stuff that they agreed with. And then, when I wrote about it, I became — as you well know, I became a pariah — but you know what? My life could not have been better since I wrote about it. Every now and then, maybe even not every now and then, maybe just one once in your life, you have to do something you really believe in and take the consequences. I did, and here I am talking to you about a book about the American culture. And they’re still doing their little minute and a half stories on a program that fewer and few people are watching every day.
RUSH: And you’re still reporting on sports related stories for HBO which is not what anybody would confuse with conservative–
GOLDBERG: It may be the best show on television, Real Sports. It is a serious show about the American culture with a sports angle to it. And, it’s a very serious show. I’m very proud of the stuff I do there.
RUSH: You should be. Bernard Goldberg is our guest. We’re talking about his latest book: ‘100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.’
RUSH: We’re talking with Bernard Goldberg about his new book, ‘100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.’ It’s number three on the non-fiction Amazon list, number four first week on the Wall Street Journal list. It opened at number six in the New York Times. This Sunday it will be number five, next week in the New York Times list. One of the things that has been somewhat frustrating and I know you have to reserve some things to be read when people buy the book. But can you give me some names in this, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. That is enticing. Are there any conservatives on this list? Am I in this book?
GOLDBERG: Rush, Rush, please. Please. But I’ll tell you, they wondered that on that show last night on CNBC. No, of course you’re not on this list because, you know, I live in Miami and it’s a liberal town. A lot of my friends are liberals. Good decent people. But when you hear people saying, ‘I hate Rush Limbaugh.’ They say something nasty like that, I say, ‘And you do listen to him?’ And they say, ‘No,’ and it’s the same thing with the book. I hate what the book stands for, but they haven’t read the book. What is it with the left these days where they jump to these conclusions?
GOLDBERG: They know what they like and don’t like.
RUSH: It’s fear. Bernie, it is fear that world view will be upset by the truth. They have this shield, this boundary that surrounds them. Anything that is actually true gets bounced off of it. Nothing gets them to shape the template or prism for which they are looking at things. That is what your book does.
GOLDBERG: I think you’re absolutely right about that. And, you know, their fear, that is their problem. Because that’s why they are losing elections. That is why they are losing the country. Because they don’t want to confront what so many Americans are confronting and in a sentence, I would say, the culture is getting meaner and angrier and, you know, they don’t want to be judgmental about things like that at their own peril.
RUSH: Keeps them on defense, too. Nobody wants to spend their lives on defense, you want to be on offense, but fear keeps you on defense.
GOLDBERG: You want some names from the list?
RUSH: Yeah, give me some conservatives first, if there are any in this book.
GOLDBERG: There is one. And this is the one I’ve taken the most heat for, but even when I take heat from the right, it is civil and intelligent heat. That is Judge Roy Moore of Alabama. The point I make about judge — he’s the judge of the former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court involved in the Ten Commandments case.
GOLDBERG: A federal judge told him to move the Ten Commandments. And he said, no. I’m not moving it. I make absolutely clear in the book this is not about whether the Ten Commandments should or shouldn’t be at the courthouse. Even the Supreme Court can’t make up their mind about that. So it is not about that. But the point I am making is, that is if conservatives, rightly complain about liberal judicial activists, rightly, you know, liberals not interpreting law but legislating from the bench, then, I don’t know. I’ve got a problem with a conservative judicial activist who refuses to obey a higher court ruling. Now, listen, Rush, you or I or anybody listening to us can go out and commit civil disobedience if we feel strongly enough about a subject and pay the consequences. But when judges start to do that I’m afraid it leads to anarchy.
RUSH: I agree. Hey, this was my point when it happened interesting enough and I did catch some grief for it.
GOLDBERG: I think we were right about that and I think conservatives should really, really understand that.
RUSH: Well, one more conservative. A couple more and then I’ll get some libs. Feel free to launch. Doesn’t matter who it is.
GOLDBERG: No, but the person is in your line of work. That is why I’m hesitating.
RUSH: No, go ahead.
GOLDBERG: There is a conservative radio talk show host that’s on late at night, or at night, named Michael Savage. It isn’t a matter of agreeing or disagreeing with this issue or that issue. You know, I may agree with him on taxes or immigration or whatever but — and I know this is bad radio to compliment the host but you’re going to have to put up with it for ten seconds, Rush. You are immensely civil to people you disagree with. I mean, immensely civil. You don’t have to agree with their argument. You can debate their argument. But, you are very polite and very decent and I’m a listener on a regular basis. I know what I’m talking about.
RUSH: Well thank you. I’ve never heard this guy. He sounds insane from what people tell me about him. I’ve never heard him.
GOLDBERG: Yell about liberal anger and meanness. I just can’t overlook that. But let’s make no mistake about this. There are way, way more liberals on the list than conservatives and the reason is simple. I think they’re screwing up America a lot more than conservatives are.
RUSH: We agree again. You mention Ralph Neas and I’m not going to ask you who number one is. But we got a couple of minutes left here. Just give me some liberal names, you don’t have to elaborate why. People can read the book.
GOLDBERG: Well I’ll tell you what. Let me give you three and four. Number four is Jesse Jackson. I was asked by TIME magazine, ‘Are you afraid you’ll be caused a racist because you wrote about Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?’ I said, ‘Wait a second. I grew up during the civil rights movement. It was the most important and moral movement of my lifetime. Then Martin Luther King gets assassinated and guys like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson take over and turn it into nothing more than a cheap partisan political movement and I have to worry if I’m going to be called a racist?’ I said, ‘I’m not buying that. You can try that with somebody else but I am not going to run away and hide because I’m writing about people who I think have cheapened a very important and very moral movement. Sorry.’ So that’s number four. Number three is Teddy Kennedy. He is, as you know, Rush, a man of conscience. He is the unofficial conscience of the Democratic Party — and he’s not here because he is a liberal Democrat. He is here because as the unofficial conscience of the Democratic Party he was willing to wreck a man’s reputation, Judge Bork, for cheap political gain, and we don’t have to go through what he did to Judge Bork, but I think William F. Buckley nailed it. He said, ‘When Kennedy is on the attack, he is a distillery of meanness.’ By the way, #2 on the list is the publisher of your favorite newspaper, the New York Times.
RUSH: Oh, great. The Little Pinch is #2.
GOLDBERG: He’s #2.
RUSH: Hubba, hubba. Hey, look, I have to thank you for making time. We only got a hold of him this morning, folks, because I didn’t see this Deutch show last night but I heard about it. It makes me mad when these people do this and I wanted to give you a chance to speak without being interrupted and set up and sandbagged by these people because your book deserves that and your work deserves it. And you’re not a mean guy either. You were totally out of place in a cast of characters like that last night. And they’re trying, by virtue of their own behavior, make you look insane to people who watch. I appreciate your making time. I wish you all of the best with the book and stay in touch. Keep writing because they just keep getting better.
GOLDBERG: Rush, I don’t mean this as a cliché, but I can’t thank you enough. You are the cavalry riding to my defense. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.
RUSH: You are more than welcome. Bernard Goldberg, formerly of CBS News, now with HBO’s Real Sports. The book ‘100 People Who Are Screwing Up America.’