The book Bias by Bernard Goldberg is statement by its author that network news (CBS, NBC, ABC, and CNN), has failed in its mission by presenting the liberal position on issues as the baseline, of reasonableness and that any variation from that position is controversial or a deviation from should be. Reasonable minds, in other words, do not differ.
The book asserts the claim that the News is packed with the views of liberal advocacy groups and rarely includes the views of conservative thinkers. In his nearly thirty years at CBS News, Emmy Award- winner Bernard Goldberg earned a reputation as one of the finest reporters in television news. When he looked at his own business, however, he saw that the media far too often ignored their primary mission: objective, disinterested reporting.
Time and time over and over he saw that they slanted the news to the left. For years Goldberg appealed to reporters, producers, and network executives for more balanced reporting, but no one listened. The liberal bias has continued for some time. Now, in BIAS, he blows the whistle on the news business, showing exactly how the media slant their reporting while insisting that they’re just giving the basic facts (Regency, 2001).
One of the main points in the book deals with how CBS Evening News dealt with the flat tax proposal of the Republican presidential candidate Steve Forbes. The story as reported by Eric Engberg was one-sided. There was no time given to flat tax supporters. In point of fact, the report was actually a mocking of Steve Forbes’ plan. The only critics were a small number of right-of-center sources.
In the book Goldberg shows:
· how media bias has twisted the facts of some of the biggest stories of the last two decades,
· the facts that prove that conservatives and liberals in politics are treated radically different by the news media,
· how the news is knowingly “manufactured,”
· why certain key facts are omitted from news stories if they make a case a or a cause seem less compelling
· that the news media feels free to heap criticism on just about anyone or anything but is absolutely intolerant of any criticism of its own work, and
· a behind-the-camera tour to witness scenes of jaw-dropping arrogance and “spin-cycle” journalism (Regency Publishing, 2001)
The resulting furor was all started by an editorial published on February 13, 1996 by Goldberg in The Wall Street Journal entitled “Networks Need a Reality Check.” The premise of the editorial was 1) there was a liberal bias on the part of television news reporters that 2) got in the way of their reporting.
This was not an earthshaking revelation, in that most people knew of this, without being told. However, this had not been stated or published before by an admitted liberal. For that exactly what Goldberg had thought of him as. But, he was also then a typical network newsman.
Another example of liberal bias is during the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings, NBC News actually brought Catherine MacKinnon in as an ‘expert’ to bring perspective to the hearings. MacKinnon is the feminist who famously implied that all sexual intercourse is rape (Wilson, 2001).
This editorial was a very public announcement of the unpardonable sin of publicly mentioning the issue of the liberal bias in the media. In the editorial, Goldberg called the offending reporter and his own network employer to task (Hartlaub, 2001).
The resulting outcry from reporters and anchors on all three networks including cold shoulders from coworkers help to confirm his suspicions that bias in the new media was real.
That editorial, as well as subsequent ones printed on February 15, 1996 and May 24, 2001 all caused extensive, but revealing problems for Goldberg. It was a reaction not to the comments, whether they were true or false, but to the fact that the statements were made at all.