CBS veteran Bob Schieffer and former White House correspondent Helen Thomas spoke Monday at the CityClub luncheon at the downtown Seattle Sheraton, reported Andrea James on seattlepi.com. Perhaps out of perpetual loyalty to Dan Rather or perpetual denial about the daily CBS product, Schieffer smacked Bernard Goldberg.
From the audience, John Hamer of the Washington News Council asked about liberal media bias, citing specifically Goldberg’s books Bias and A Slobbering Love Affair.
"Is he right?" Hamer asked. "To what degree is he right?"
Schieffer rejected the criticism: "I don't think he's right. I never thought he's right. He's found a way to make a living by criticizing CBS news and journalism as a whole."
...After the event, Hamer said that he was disappointed by the answers.
"I thought it was an inadequate response," said Hamer, who bills himself as a moderate slightly to the right of center. "I wondered if Bob Schieffer had read either of the books."
Hamer was also offered the opportunity to question Helen Thomas:
Hamer's question for Thomas focused on Thomas' 2007 column about The Reagan Diaries. Hamer asked whether she thought that the White House Press Corps didn't really get to know Ronald Reagan.
Thomas gave a one-word reply: "Baloney."
Baloney? Perhaps she should have reread her own copy. Hamer was on to something. Here's part of Helen's column on the Diaries:
The diaries -- written daily from 1981 until President Reagan left office in 1989 -- reveal him to be much more involved in the nitty gritty of national and world affairs than many White House reporters thought. He had often been portrayed as a detached "chairman of the board" kind of president.
The diaries show that Reagan had something to say about everything and everybody; his thoughts were often summarized in one handwritten sentence. His notations mixed the profound with the trivial.
Reagan comes across as deeper, funnier, more religious and more humble than he seemed when he was striding across the world stage.
Helen even ended: "As a reporter having covered him for eight years in the White House, I am sure the media could have done a better job if we had known the real Ronald Reagan." Where's the baloney?
Back to the Andrea James post on the Q&A session:
Later, though, Thomas did reveal her bias in response to another question. An audience member asked what she thought of media barons such as Rupert Murdoch gaining control over the news.
Thomas responded that it was "terrible."
"I'm a liberal and I can't stand these people," she said, to laughter from the audience. "I hate the domination of the ultra-right in all of our opinions."
There was one Obama critique:
Both lamented the loss of spontaneity under President Obama, whose staff notifies reporters beforehand that they will be called upon. "I like pandemonium," Thomas said.