Bernard Goldberg, the retired CBS News correspondent who infuriated Dan Rather, Don Hewitt and many others at CBS by showing how their liberal bias colors their reporting, has written a fascinating book that tells how he, a died-in-the-wool liberal from New York City, came to write a column that made him the unforgivable enemy of nearly everyone at CBS News. His offense was telling the truth in a column in the Wall Street Journal that made the case that news reporting should be objective, fair and balanced.
He correctly notes in his book “Bias,” that what he said in that column would have been brushed off by his colleagues if it had been written by a well-known conservative like William F. Buckley, Jr. But coming from him, a trusted member of the liberal fraternity, his boss, Andrew Heyward, accused him of “an act of disloyalty” and “a betrayal of trust.” Goldberg says that a few years earlier Heyward had told him, “Of course there’s a liberal bias in the news. All the networks tilt left,” adding, “If you repeat any of this, I’ll deny it.” He says that when he reminded Heyward that he hadn’t used that quote in his column, he screamed, “That would have been like raping my wife and kidnaping my kids.”
Those words reflect the intensity of Heyward’s feeling of betrayal by a colleague who shared his liberal views. Goldberg makes no bones about his own liberalism, saying he defends abortion and gay rights, for example, but he parts company with most liberals on some other social issues. He has a chapter on this that is intriguingly titled “The Most Important Story You Never Saw on TV.”
That story, he says, is “the terrible things that are happening to America’s children.” He cites an article published by the conservative Heritage Foundation that put much of the blame for rising rates of child suicides, sexual activity, venereal disease, and poor academic performance on the great increase in the number of working mothers. This, he says, has resulted in an increase in the number of day-care and latchkey kids who don’t get enough parental supervision. He overlooked the hundreds of polls and studies showing that the messages kids get from the entertainment industry, dominated by the same liberal mentality as the news media, bear a large share of the blame for the increased violence, sex, drug-use, crimes and suicides among American children.
He cited the lack of enthusiasm displayed by the television news coverage of a recent study that found that 17 percent of the children left in day care for over 30 hours a week “argue a lot, demand a lot of attention, act cruelly, show explosive behavior, talk too much and get into lots of fights.” He pointed out that this was reported by the networks as a “controversial” study, indicating that it was one with which the reporter did not agree. He attributes their enthusiasm for more federal funding for day care, and their lack of concern about its possible harmful effects, on the fact that so many of them are working couples who depend heavily on day care.
These stories are important, but it is not just bias that keeps them from leading the evening news. Like crumbling bridges, they are not breaking news. The most important breaking news story that has been suppressed in recent times is the murder of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr. in 1993, a story that even Goldberg probably doesn’t know. A leading Republican senator said seven years ago that the reason they were not investigating Foster’s death is that if he did not kill himself, the president was somehow involved and the democratic process could not survive such a disclosure. The media seem to share that view, because no major news organization has ever investigated or reported the flaws in the official investigations.
The U.S. Park Police told another law enforcement agency they were saddled with the investigation because of its sensitive nature. When they saw the gun in Foster’s hand they decided it was a suicide. This was later confirmed by Robert Fiske and Kenneth Starr, independent counsels whose agents concealed all the evidence pointing to murder.
We have given Bob Woodward of the Washington Post irrefutable evidence that Foster was murdered. He promised to read it and respond. When he failed to respond, we told him that we would take his silence as an admission that he couldn’t refute the evidence. He remained silent. That means the Washington Post can’t refute the proof but it won’t report it. That is suppression of important news.