I've made up my mind. I don't like Bernie Goldberg. Matter of fact, I hate him.
Who does this man think he is? I've spent the better part of two decades exposing the outrages of the liberal media, and during most of that time Bernie Goldberg was earning a comfortable living in that very industry. Along the way I'd thought about writing a book about media bias, but before I could do that, Goldberg decided there was a problem with bias and decided to write a book about it, and "Bias" shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. I wanted to dismiss Goldberg's good fortune as just the luck of the Irish, except Bernie Goldberg is Jewish. And to prove his success was no fluke, Goldberg followed-up with "Arrogance" - another Times bestseller.
Now he's done it to me again. Have you ever found yourself ruminating to yourself, about a certain public personality and arriving at a certain pithy observation, thought: "Memo to self: Write that down"? Now, take that process a step further. Collect those thoughts, expand on them a bit, and what could you deliver? If done well, a whale of a summertime beach read. It's a simple formula, so simple anyone could think of it. Except I didn't. And Bernie Goldberg did.
"100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is #37)" is out, and it's a wonderful read for anyone not on that list.
It's easy to presume that this is the conservatives' answer to recent published tirades against the right by leftists like Al Franken and Michael Moore, but there are important distinctions. First, Goldberg doesn't limit the list to those on the left. Jimmy Swaggart makes the list as does Michael Savage. Many in the religious right will quarrel with his selection of Judge Roy Moore. All should applaud his choice of David Duke ("proof that you can take the boy out of the neo-Nazi brown shirt, but you can't take the neo-Nazi out of the boy").
Which leads me to the second reason you can't compare Goldberg to Al Franken and Michael Moore. They are left-wing radicals but I don't know that Goldberg is even a conservative. I say this because a couple of years ago, I spent an evening plying him with liquor in a bar, and still couldn't get his tongue wagging. Goldberg doesn't go after liberals for being liberal. He goes after those liberals, like Al Gore, Robert Byrd, Maxine Waters, George Soros, Jimmy Carter, Jesse Jackson, and Ted Kennedy who have gone over the edge and become world-class crackpots.
When Goldberg first went public with his complaints about journalists abusing their positions in furtherance of a political agenda, the response from his peers was immediate, and vicious. Now he gets even, and does so with unshackled brio. Former CBS colleague Dan Rather "is disingenuous at best and delusional at worst." Former CBS producer Mary Mapes "is mainstream journalism's worst nightmare: someone so zealous that her actions lend weight to every question about fairness that has been raised about the entire news industry." Bill Moyers's commentaries are "enough to make you choke on your Brie and spit up your Chablis."
Goldberg really unleashes on the low-brows of entertainment. God help them. The Jerry Springer Show is "the television equivalent of a churning mass of maggots devouring rotten meat." Maury Povich "actually makes Jerry Springer appear decent." Howard Stern is "a form of pollution, a kind of sludge that runs through our culture today." Phil Donahue "has made the world safe for emotion masquerading as thought." Kitty Kelley is a "sleaze merchant extraordinaire...this low-rent hack."
And then there are society's bottom feeders, beginning with Paris Hilton and her parents, of whom Goldberg writes, "If they gave Nobel Prizes for the mom and dad who raised the most vapid, empty-headed, inane, hollow, vain, tasteless, self-centered, useless twerp in the entire country - maybe in the entire world - Rick and Kathy Hilton would be on their way to Stockholm to pick up the medal." On "gangsta" rapper Ludacris: "If a bunch of white racists got together and tried to come up with a way to make young black guys look really dumb...first they'd invent gangsta rap, and then they'd invent somebody just like Ludacris." Of useless rocker/druggie/convicted felon Courtney Love, Goldberg's entire essay is... "HO."
On and on it goes. Publishers, university professors, feminist icons, political consultants, civil rights leaders, Hollywood producers - there isn't a pillar of political or cultural elitism not sent crashing to the ground by an author who certainly giggled while writing these pages just as certainly as readers will chuckle while leafing through them.
And for the record, this would have been my idea, eventually.