Bernie Goldberg Slams 'Rosie O'Donnells of the World' and Wimpy Republicans

Former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg appeared on this morning's Today show to promote his new book and in the process took several jabs at wimpy Republicans who don't stand by conservative principles and the "Rosie O'Donnells of the world," that suffer from "Bush Derangement Syndrome." While Goldberg wasn't a 100 percent conservative -- he criticized the Iraq war and supports embryonic stem cell research -- it was still refreshing to hear a former member of the liberal media criticize libs on their own airwaves.

First up, NBC's Matt Lauer opened the segment by deriding Goldberg's new gig at Fox News as out of the mainstream:

Matt Lauer: "In the world of the media Bernard Goldberg used to bat lefty now he bats righty. He sold millions of books taking swings at liberals in the press. Now a regular on the Fox News Channel, Goldberg used to be a card-carrying member of the mainstream media establishment."

Then in the set-up piece before the interview Lauer took another shot when he identified Goldberg, who works with Bryant Gumbel on HBO's Real Sports, as "more than just a right wing talking head."

However the highlight of the interview came when Lauer prompted him to criticize the GOP:

Lauer: "Then you're, were kind of married to the Republican Party and now by your own definition that marriage is on the rocks. Is this a, a long brewing conflict or one fight that got you sleeping on the couch?"

Goldberg: "You're right, I did start out on the left and I was a liberal like most people and I started noticing things that I didn't like. I mean I didn't like the anger and I didn't like what I called the craziness. The, the, the Rosie O'Donnells of the world who say that radical Christians are as threatening as radical Muslims. I don't even know what radical Christians are."

Lauer: "But there as many crazies on the far right as well."

Goldberg: "Well, you know what, the mainstream liberals and the far left liberals are coming together. There's something called Bush Derangement Syndrome. I go out to dinner with my liberal friends. These are, these people are as normal as you."

Lauer chuckles: "Okay."

Goldberg: "And they're having, we're having a good, well-"

Lauer: "Is that an insult right off the bat?"

Goldberg: "And we're having a good time and we're talking and we're eating and 'how's the kids?' And, and you say George Bush-"

Lauer: "Yeah."

Goldberg: "And they start foaming at the mouth. So these are regular. Now on the right I don't have a problem with conservatives I have a problem with Republicans who don't have the guts to stand up for their conservative principles."

The following is the full segment as it occurred on the April 24th Today show:

Matt Lauer: "In the world of the media Bernard Goldberg used to bat lefty now he bats righty. He sold millions of books taking swings at liberals in the press. Now a regular on the Fox News channel Goldberg used to be a card-carrying member of the mainstream media establishment."

[On screen headline: "Between 2 Parties, Crazies, Wimps and Goldberg"]

Lauer: "He spent almost three decades as a reporter for CBS News winning six Emmy Awards. But these days Bernard Goldberg is better known for his blistering critiques of the news business."

Prof. Robert Thompson, Syracuse University: "There's a street cred that comes from having been on the inside that I think a lot of other people don't have."

Lauer: "In 1996 he wrote an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal accusing network news divisions of promoting a liberal agenda. The fallout from that column eventually led to his leaving CBS News and to his first book, Bias, which became a bestseller. Goldberg followed that up with Arrogance, referring again to the media. And more recently he took aim at a wide range of targets in 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America."

Bernard Goldberg, from August 2005, Today show appearance: "The people in the middle of the country get the central message of the book, that the culture has gotten too angry, too mean and too vulgar."

Thompson: "It looks like he was sent down by central casting to play elite, East Coast media guy. At the same time he then has turned around and every time he opens his mouth he's playing, you know, Mr. Populist against the elitism of the media."

Lauer: "But Goldberg is more than just a right wing talking head. He's distinguished himself with award-winning work on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. As described in the title of his new book, Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right, Goldberg has staked out his own unique perspective on the intersection of media and politics. Bernard Goldberg, Bernie good to see you. Good morning."

Bernard Goldberg: "You know that youtube kid?"

Lauer: "Yeah?"

Goldberg: "I called him and he hung up on me."

Lauer: "He did? You just cost him another 50 cents apparently. You were married to the Democratic Party, that broke up, okay?"

Goldberg: "Right."

Lauer: "Then you're, were kind of married to the Republican Party and now by your own definition that marriage is on the rocks. Is this a, a long brewing conflict or one fight that got you sleeping on the couch?"

Goldberg: "You're right, I did start out on the left and I was a liberal like most people and I started noticing things that I didn't like. I mean I didn't like the anger and I didn't like what I called the craziness. The, the, the Rosie O'Donnells of the world who say that radical Christians are as threatening as radical Muslims. I don't even know what radical Christians are."

Lauer: "But there as many crazies on the far right as well."

Goldberg: "Well, you know what, the mainstream liberals and the far left liberals are coming together. There's something called Bush Derangement Syndrome. I go out to dinner with my liberal friends. These are, these people are as normal as you."

Lauer chuckles: "Okay."

Goldberg: "And they're having, we're having a good, well-"

Lauer: "Is that an insult right off the bat?"

Goldberg: "And we're having a good time and we're talking and we're eating and 'how's the kids?' And, and you say George Bush-"

Lauer: "Yeah."

Goldberg: "And they start foaming at the mouth. So these are regular. Now on the right I don't have a problem with conservatives I have a problem with Republicans who don't have the guts to stand up for their conservative principles."

Lauer: "You're getting increasingly difficult to label, that's for sure because you talk about specifics. For example you say, talking about Republicans, 'They sold out on illegal immigration.' You call them, 'sniveling wimps,' for not opposing affirmative action more strongly-"

Goldberg: "Right."

Lauer: "And yet you think the gay marriage ban, unnecessary. You criticize the Republican Party as a party that panders to fundamentalists who think evolution is a fairy tale. And by the way you're all for embryonic stem cell research. So where are you now?"

Goldberg: "I, I'm, I'm on the right. My friends, my liberal friends say I've gone over to the dark side."

Lauer chuckling: "Yeah."

Goldberg: "You know? They and they actually say to me, 'You're not a conservative.' And I say, why not? They say, 'Well you're not a bigot, you don't drool on yourself, you're not married to your sister.' You know? That's how liberals see conservatives. And I am conservative. Let's put it this way. Maybe my liberal friends moved so far to the left that they just left me on the right. But, but I am conservative. I like conservative ideas. I like the optimism of conservatives. I don't like the wimpiness of Republicans."

Lauer: "And, and you bash Republicans. You also bash some Democrats in the book. Let me talk about the war in Iraq because so many people are talking about it. You were opposed to it from the very beginning."

Goldberg: "Yeah."

Lauer: "You're convinced that no matter what happens Democrats are gonna blame George Bush but about Republicans you say, 'Make no mistake-'

Goldberg: "Yeah."

Lauer: "'-if Bill Clinton had dragged us into this war the same conservatives who impeached him for lying about sex with an intern would have impeached him all over again. This time, this time for being a reckless commander-in-chief who went too far for all the wrong reasons.' So why aren't there stronger conservative voices right now speaking out against George Bush and this war?"

Goldberg: "I think there's a loyalty to a Republican president and it's, it's, this is one of the things wrong with the culture. If I agree with somebody on the left I'm giving ammunition to the enemy and if some liberal gives, agrees with, with somebody on the right they're giving, you know, ammunition to the enemy."

Lauer: "But at what cost loyalty?"

Goldberg: "Oh I think it's gone too far. I think, I think this war is a mess and I think the hypocrisy on both sides is overwhelming. On the right the hypocrisy is they would never support Bill Clinton or Al Gore or John Kerry or Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton if they got us into this mess. And on the left my liberal friends, you know, they're against torture, they're for womens' rights. They can't give George Bush two seconds, just two seconds of visceral, unadulterated joy that he shut down the state-sponsored torture chambers. That kids and their fathers aren't getting shot in the head by, by the government. That women aren't being raped to get information from their husbands. The hypocrisy on the left is pretty bad too. They can't give him just, give him credit for that much, at least."

Lauer: "And by the way you write eloquently and passionately about race in this country, something that's a topic of conversation, again following the whole Imus situation. It's an interesting book Bernie. Always good to have you."

Goldberg: "Matt always a pleasure talking to you, thanks."

Lauer: "Good seeing you. The book is Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right. And you can read some excerpts on our Web site."

Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens
Geoffrey Dickens is the Deputy Research Director at the Media Research Center.