Goldberg Recalls Russert's Call for Newsroom Ideological Diversity

Appearing by phone on Friday's The O'Reilly Factor on FNC, former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg recalled for fill-in host Laura Ingraham how Tim Russert recognized there should be more to newsroom diversity than just diversity by gender and skin tone, that “you need ideological diversity.” Goldberg, who departed CBS News a few years after he pointed out their liberal bias, lamented:
I wish his colleagues understood that part of Tim Russert, too. That he knew that we needed all kinds of people in journalism because if we didn't have it we were going to get one-sided journalism.
Goldberg read aloud to the FNC audience a quote from Russert contained in an interview featured in Goldberg's 2003 book, Arrogance: Rescuing America from the Media Elite:
“I'm all for hiring women in the newsroom and minorities in the newsroom -- I'm all for it. It opens up our eyes and gives us a different perspective. But just as well, let's have people with military experience. Let's have people from all walks of life. People from the top echelon schools, but people from junior colleges and the so-called middling schools -- that's the rich pageantry of America. I'm a great believer in racial diversity and gender diversity, but you need cultural diversity, you need ideological diversity.” And then he emphasized, Laura: “You need it.”
Goldberg's entire recollection from the Friday, June 13 O'Reilly Factor:
He was one of the good guys. But the reason he was one of the good guys isn't simply because he knew his beat better than almost everybody else, he was one of the good guys because he was fair. He was a blue collar guy who understood America and Americans a lot better than a lot of other people who work in journalism. One of the things that he told me -- I did a long interview with him and published an entire -- I didn't want to take snippets out so I published the entire transcript of the interview. Let me read you a short segment here. This was about the need for real diversity in the newsroom that goes beyond the kind we have now. He said:
“I'm all for hiring women in the newsroom and minorities in the newsroom -- I'm all for it. It opens up our eyes and gives us a different perspective. But just as well, let's have people with military experience. Let's have people from all walks of life. People from the top echelon schools, but people from junior colleges and the so-called middling schools -- that's the rich pageantry of America. I'm a great believer in racial diversity and gender diversity, but you need cultural diversity, you need ideological diversity.” And then he emphasized, Laura: “You need it.”
You know, I've spent much of the day listening to his colleagues say wonderful things about Russert and I'm glad for every word. But I wish his colleagues understood that part of Tim Russert, too. That he knew that we needed all kinds of people in journalism because if we didn't have it we were going to get one-sided journalism. We were going to get people who brought their biases to the stories. And he didn't. He didn't. He went out of his way to take a position, to look at a position, and say this is how I feel about it and that is totally irrelevant. That's what made him as important as he was. That he was fair.
[Screen shot from an earlier appearance in February.]
Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center