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Bernie Goldberg's Analysis of Palin Interview Includes Blatant Racial Stereotyping

Reported by Julie - December 31, 2009 -

On last night's (12/30/09) O'Reilly Factor, Impact Segment, it was a little dull-around-the-holidays rerun of O'Reilly's first round interview of Sarah Palin (gag me . . . but then again, we can thank whatever angel smiled on us and didn't foist Ingraham on us again). Yawn, not gonna rehash that noise. But . . . I can't believe I missed Bernie Goldberg's November 19th assessment of that interview. Mixed in with the “Palin Derangement Syndrome” analysis was stuff like, liberals don't have Down Syndrome babies, we should expect Palin's following to be all white because she's not Lil' Kim or Al Sharpton, pro-choice women are, I don't know, Godless. Wow, and to think I've slept nights with all that floating out there. With video.

Okay, so, I kind of lied, because I can't go through Goldberg's assessment of the interview without talking a little bit about the interview – but I'll try to keep it to a minimum. Overall, Goldberg believed that “people who . . . didn't like Sarah Palin going into the interview are not gonna like her coming out of the interview, and people who were big fans going into the interview are gonna be big fans coming out of the interview.” Sounds reasonable – but then he goes and says something goofy: “She came off to me as immensely likeable.” Only if you're of the former “fan” category, Bernie – only then.

Goldberg talked about Palin's Katie Couric interview and he said that he was glad that Palin “manned up” and admitted that she booted the interview. He went even further, acknowledging that a lot of Palin's interviews “in very friendly conservative places haven't been interviews at all, they've been love-fests, they've been Valentines.” I was getting all excited there for a second, thinking that maybe “fair and balanced” really did exist once a year on Fox, but then he booted it, and went on to say that, though he believed the question, “what newspapers do you read?” was a “fairly easy question and she should have answered it,” he agreed with Sarah Palin that “it was condescending in that the real question was, do you read anything?”

We gotta talk about this whole theme the right-wingers have been running with about the Katie Couric “gotcha” question – you know, the tricky one about what Palin reads. If I ask you what you had for dinner, are you assuming that the sub-text is, ah-hah, you didn't eat dinner? Nah, you'll probably tell me about your pork chops and potatoes. If I ask you what movie you watched, are you gonna refuse to answer and instead wait expectantly for me to scream, “you lie, we all know you don't watch movies?” What is this? Yeah, Goldberg did say Palin should have answered the question, but his solution was for Palin to then flip the script and question Couric about her own reading choices (of which, I'm sure, she could have rattled off a dozen) and then belittle them. Notwithstanding the fact that COURIC was interviewing PALIN, and not the other way around, I fail to see how it could have improved Palin's performance by letting Couric run on for five minutes about what she reads. O'Reilly weighed in with the other right-wing theme, otherwise known as “lie to me, I like it,” which is that Palin just “ran out of patience” with Couric. SMH.

The pair then talked about Palin's Michigan book signing, in which NBC reporter Norah O'Donnell interviewed a young woman later identified as Jackie Seal (not to be confused with Joe the Plumber), who had no clue about Palin's policies but adopted the “don't confuse me with facts, my mind's made up” attitude. O'Reilly and Goldberg were horrified at NBC's (balanced and journalistic) coverage of the event, because O'Donnell actually challenged the young woman about what she knew about Palin's position on the TARP bailout. Later, on Hardball with Chris Matthews, O'Donnell accurately described the crowd as all-white, and O'Reilly ran a clip of Chris Matthews describing the crowd as “white” and “monochromatic.” Goldberg slammed Matthews a little bit, just for kicks, with O'Reilly chuckling in support. As an aside, Goldberg has a little history of slamming Chris Matthews; he once described Matthews as “. . . a journalist hooker putting out for Obama from the moment the senator showed some leg.”

“Now he's [Matthews] enthralled with race,” Goldberg said. “. . . This is a conservative woman from Alaska, this isn't Lil' Kim or Al Sharpton. Why would it surprise you that her followers are white? And while we're on the subject, Chris . . . how many black people do you think are watching your show . . . .?” See, here's the thing, Bernie – just like “regular” people, black people can actually like white people, if they're worth liking. They can even watch television shows with white hosts – even blond ones. Palin just doesn't speak the language of the “everyday American” she so professes to be – well, actually, Palin doesn't speak the language of anybody, really, except the all white, ultra-conservative groupies who hang around at her book signings and have no clue as to her position on anything of substance. It doesn't surprise me that her followers are white – it surprises me that she has any of any color.

And it seems as though, along with the appalling racial stereotyping, there's a little disconnect here. As an esteemed journalist, Goldberg should have recognized and acknowledged that NBC was describing a crowd, based on first-hand, journalistic observations. It is, after all, what real reporters do. Goldberg decided instead to skirt the whole journalism thing and took the position, I guess, that black people can only admire other blacks, and particularly those who are militant (like ultra-liberal activist Al Sharpton) or rappers, like Lil' Kim. And of course, black people could never admire a white conservative woman under any circumstances. In Goldberg's world, the MSB (mainstream blacks) are all liberal, non-religious, rapping fiends. And I have no clue what Goldberg was trying to say about Chris Matthews and black viewers – how do we go from Chris Matthews describing a crowd as all white to his being “enthralled with race?”

So, now we come to Goldberg's comment about “Palin Derangement Syndrome” (“a mental illness that struck millions of liberals”) and what that means to the liberal elite Harvard educated Katie Couric NBC media elite whatever. Goldberg's notion of PDS is the liberal elite detesting her. Here's my example of Palin Derangement Syndrome: “. . . [W]hat does this woman have against a young girl that looks up to Sarah Palin!? She’s a brilliant role model and no liberal could deny that without sounding like an idiot.”

Anyway, O'Reilly noted that Jon Stewart “took a shot” at Goldberg for saying that Down Syndrome babies “wouldn't really be welcome in many liberal precincts.”

“She has five kids, liberals don't have five kids,” Goldberg Derangement Syndrome began. “One of them has Down Syndrome, liberals certainly don't . . . allow that to happen . . . .” Showing a clip of Jon Stewart telling Goldberg to go f**k himself, Goldberg started defending himself by fabricating a twisted version of liberal women – you know, Godless women for whom religion has no meaning, who lack compassion, and who will ruthlessly slaughter any fetus that doesn't meet our standards of perfection.

Spewed Goldberg, “. . . Who do you think is more likely to willingly and knowingly have a baby with Down Syndrome, a pro-choice woman or a pro-life woman, a woman for whom religion isn't terribly important or a woman for whom religion is important, a liberal woman or a conservative woman? The odds are that it's the pro-life religious conservative woman that would make such a compassionate decision, and . . . he [Stewart] like most liberals think they have a monopoly on compassion and she showed that they don't.”

So the only thing you have to do in life to demonstrate compassion is give birth to a special needs child? So that's the conservative standard? This will come as quite a shock to Bernie, but many liberal women are very spiritual and very religious – and then there's conservative Laura Ingraham, who wears her crucifix like a neon sign but wouldn't know a Christian attitude if it leaped up and bit her in the ass. I know some liberals who have special needs children (well, Goldberg would probably say they're closet conservatives), and then there's Sarah Palin who made the “compassionate” choice to have a special needs child, then used that child as a stage prop. I know Catholic women who are pro-choice and I know women with no particular religious beliefs who are pro-life.

I even knew one liberal, once, who had compassion.