Interview: Bernard Goldberg Explains Why He’ll Lose No Sleep Over Being Ousted From Fox News
If there was one truth that I could magically make all consumers of media understand, it would be that news is now merely a business whose economic model is quickly fracturing. Consequently, almost all the information which comes out of the broken modern news media machine should be considered at least inherently suspect, if not fundamentally flawed.
There may be no one media figure whose career has represented how the news media has changed more than Bernard Goldberg. Goldberg, a moderate conservative who somehow survived 28 years in the liberal lion’s den as a CBS news correspondent, has written multiple books on the issue of media’s intrinsic flaws, specifically its overt political and commercial biases.
For the past ten years, Goldberg was a fixture as a regular contributor on Fox News Channel. That’s until Fox News let him go, which Goldberg officially announced last week, because, in his view, the network has an extremely low tolerance for criticism of President Donald Trump, especially from people who are known to be conservative.
If Fox News, a network literally built on the concept of combating liberal bias in the news, no longer has as space at all for a Bernard Goldberg (who, for the record, isn’t even a “Never Trump” guy), then there really is a very serious problem. For news junkies, it’s almost like when MTV decided to stop playing music videos.
I have always had a lot of respect for Goldberg, and interviewed him a couple of times in the past, though he had turned me down on multiple occasions after Bill O’Reilly, on whose show Goldberg had been featured, was dethroned as the king of Fox News in 2017. When I heard that he had officially been bounced from Fox News himself, I decided to give Goldberg one more try, and while he didn’t have much time because he is in the process of moving back to the east coast, he agreed to appear on my new “Individual 1” podcast.
In the twenty or so minutes that we had, we covered a lot of ground. Here are some of the highlights:
- We detail the reasons behind his split from Fox News, and why he says his criticism of Trump caused that to happen.
- What role Bill O’Reilly being ousted had in his relationship with Fox News going south.
- How “narrowcasting” explains why recent controversies involving Fox News stars Tucker Carlson and Jeanine Pirro will not result in significant repercussions for them there.
- Whether it is fair to call Fox News “state-run” media.
- What Trump really means when he attacks “Fake News!”
- Why the news media business model breaking is a root cause for why news and journalism are in deep crisis.
To me, the primary point, among many in this interview, is that when news outlets realize that the best way to monetize their audience is to tell them only what they want to hear, the truth, which is usually unpleasant, simply has no shot to survive. Effectively, each modern news outlet’s goal is create their own cult, large enough and with proper demographics to make a profit, and then feed that cult only what they are hungry for, so that they will keep coming back for more.
As Goldberg strongly suggests, our democracy can’t survive for long under that set of circumstances.
If you care about the currently precarious state of news and its very uncertain future, I urge you to check out the entire interview. You can do that at one of these two links…
John Ziegler is a senior columnist for Mediaite. He hosts a weekly podcast focusing on news media issues and is documentary filmmaker. You can follow him on Twitter at @ZigManFreud or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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