Inside Look @ Bias by Bernard Goldberg


Mike & Amy Nappa


Test everything. Hold on to the good."

—1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NIV)


Bias is a New York Times #1 best-selling book by former CBS News veteran, Bernard Goldberg. It charges that major television networks present a deliberately unfair reporting of the news.



After releasing from Regnery Publishing in December of 2001, Bias by Bernard Goldberg immediately raced to the top of the best-seller lists and was even seen being carried (and assumedly read) by President George W. Bush. In this book, Goldberg asserts that America’s news industry operates under a pervasive liberal bias that excludes, attacks, and ridicules people and organizations that promote conservative viewpoints.

While those charges are nothing new, the fact that Goldberg—a self-described liberal, multiple Emmy Award winner, and 28-year veteran of CBS News—put them forth caused a backlash of jeers, cheers, and yawns.

Those who jeered the book, understandably, were media professionals who felt targeted, betrayed and even angered by Goldberg’s accusations. Among the book’s critics were heavyweights like Dan Rather (a former colleague of Goldberg’s), Peter Jennings, and Tom Brokaw. All flatly rejected charges of liberal bias in their reporting, and attacked Goldberg as simply a vindictive ex-employee making baseless claims because of a personal feud with his previous bosses at CBS.

As expected, those who cheered the book were conservative pundits and politicos who, while disagreeing with Goldberg’s liberal views, applauded that he was willing to admit—and even document—bias in reporting. Their assessment was that Bias is a well-researched, long overdue exposé of abuses of power by “media elites” within the journalism industry. That news powerbrokers immediately made Goldberg a pariah and shunned him as a “whistle blower” only bolstered this view.

A third group responded to Bias’ claims with a collective shrug. For these people, slanted news has been a foregone conclusion for decades. A book declaring that “media elites” like Rather and the rest regularly prejudice their reporting was simply a statement of the obvious.

In the end, however, regardless of the response to it, Goldberg’s Bias did accomplish what the author says he set out to do: Get mainstream America talking about the issue of fairness in the news.


WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT Bias by Bernard Goldberg:

“[Bernard Goldberg is] a lying weasel, except that he's right about the networks. [He] personally attacks Rather, Schieffer, and Heyward revealing himself to be a backstabbing little punk. But it doesn't mean he isn't right, he IS right.”

—Don Imus, MSNBC


Bias, by former CBS newsman Bernard Goldberg, is long on name-calling and vitriol, but short on substance... The only claim Goldberg makes that has real documentation behind it is about the elite mentality of big-time journalists.

Steve Rendall and Peter Hart, Arizona Republic


“The fact is everybody knows that Dan Rather is an egomaniacal liberal. Everybody knows that the major news networks lean to the left…[and] are extremely intolerant and dismissive of outside criticism (sadly, they are even harsher on internal dissent, which is why Bernie Goldberg is being called a ‘traitor’ — and will be called far worse…)”

—Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online


“ I am not going to be cowed by anybody’s special political agenda, inside, outside, upside, downside.”

—Dan Rather, reacting to Bernard Goldberg’s claims of bias in the news


“ Bias has caused a frenzy among the media elite. At first they scrambled to discover the contents of the book, now they are attacking the author. If Bernie were a whistle blower inside a big tobacco company, he would be lauded as a true hero by the same people who are attempting to vilify him now.”

—Alfred Regnery, president Regnery Publishing



Use these questions to spark family discussion about Bias:

---Do you believe there is a liberal bias in the daily news? And if so, is that a healthy or unhealthy thing? Explain your answer.

---What would you suggest is an appropriate family response when viewing biased media coverage, whether liberal or conservative?

---If you were a network executive, how would you ensure a fair reporting of the news?



If members of your family are interested Bias, then you may want to check out:

---Circle of Seven by Clay Jacobsen (Broadman & Holman).

This thriller novel explores what might happen if national media organizations weren’t simply biased, but under a sinister influence as well. Circle of Seven follows the suspense-filled life of Mark Taylor, an investigative journalist who uncovers a secret society that is manipulating political polls and the press to enact their own power-hungry goals.

A work of fiction written by a television director with more than 20 years in the business, Circle of Seven plays the “what if…?” game well, creating a story that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking at the same time.


--- Ebert’s Bigger Little Movie Glossary by Roger Ebert (Andrews McMeel Publishers).

Focusing on filmmakers’ bad habits, venerable movie critic, Roger Ebert, delivers a wealth of humor and insight into just what kinds of attitudes and manipulative tactics influence the big screen. The book promises a “compendium of movie clichés, stereotypes, obligatory scenes, hackneyed formulas, shopworn conventions, and outdated archetypes”—and it delivers all that and more.

Though light reading, it’s so perceptive that discerning media consumers in your family will never be manipulated by movies the same way again.



[BIO LINE] Mike & Amy Nappa are renowned cultural commentators, best-selling and award-winning authors, and creators of the Internet magazine for families,