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Bernard Goldberg’s Laughable Or Pathetic Response To Jon Stewart

Reported by Ellen - April 20, 2010 -

Let me say I respect Bernard Goldberg. I don’t often agree with him, I don’t usually like what he says or how he says it but I think he’s an honest guy and one of the more reasonable ones on Fox News. But watching him twist himself into a pretzel trying to defend the hypocritical attacks against liberals that Jon Stewart nailed him on was either laughable or pathetic or both. I’m still not sure which. First, Goldberg pled guilty, then he tried to justify his comments by saying he meant to attack “liberal elites,” not all liberals, then he took a swipe at Stewart and his guests, by employing the “They did it, too!” excuse – and he even played the race card. Yet in all that spinning, Goldberg completely overlooked the gist of The Daily Show segment that so effectively lampooned him and Fox. With video.

What made Stewart’s segment (which we posted here) so funny was not simply that he caught Goldberg and others attacking liberals for generalizing about Tea Party members and then generalizing, themselves, about liberals. It was how Stewart exposed what I call the “Heads, liberals are the villains; Tails, conservatives are victims of liberals” meme that is so pervasive on Fox News. What Stewart highlighted was that the self-righteous outrage of Fox News conservatives is often nothing more than a comically transparent cover up for yet another excuse to hate monger against the left.

But Goldberg never seemed to see beyond the “we said one thing and did another” level on which the segment also operated.

So, first, Goldberg suggested that when he had attacked liberals as a whole, what he really meant was “liberal elites.” Liberal elites, according to Goldberg, “were always throwing around the term ‘white trash,’ by which they meant poor southerners who didn’t go to Harvard.” I could almost see Stewart's snarky astonishment at Goldberg's "distinction."

Then, Goldberg asked to “speak directly” to Stewart – in order to take a few swipes at him. “If you just want to be a funny man, who talks to an audience that will laugh at anything you say, that’s OK with me… But if, clearly, you want to be a social commentator, more than just a comedian, and if you want to be a good one, you’d better find some guts. Because even though you criticize liberals as well as conservatives… when you had Frank Rich on your show, who generalizes all the time about conservatives and Republicans being bigots, you didn’t ask him a single tough question. You gave him a lap dance. You practically had your tongue down his throat… And how about those black columnists who play the race card?... Why don’t you go after them by name?”

Yes, it was the old “They do it, too!” excuse. The same one Neil Cavuto used last week when he responded to Sen. Tom Coburn’s criticisms of Fox.

But remind me again, Mr. Goldberg: Which network is it that brags about being "fair and balanced?" Is it Fox News or Comedy Central?

Goldberg continued addressing Stewart. “You’re just a safe Jay Leno, with a much smaller audience, but you get to say the F bomb, which gives your incredibly unsophisticated audience the illusion, the illusion that you’re courageous and a renegade, but it’s only an illusion.”

After “incredibly unsophisticated,” O’Reilly broke in, laughing, to say, "You’re generalizing.”

Then it was back to liberals vs. liberal elites. “While ALL liberals don’t think a certain way,” Goldberg allowed, “enough of them do, at least the liberal elites… so that you could make a generalization. The fact is, we all speak in generalizations to one degree or another… and if the overall sentiment is correct…”

“Is Jon technically correct? Yes, he is,” Goldberg conceded, before adding, “But he knows what I meant… that generally speaking liberals have a certain world view and that world view, as I say, looks down their nose at certain kinds of people.”

Yes, I’d say Stewart knew exactly what Goldberg meant. But I really doubt that Goldberg knew what Stewart meant.

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