When former CBS newsman Bernard Goldberg wrote his book Bias last year, my first thought was that, finally someone from the inside of the liberal news media industrial complex was finally being honest about mainstream journalism’s proclivity to be stealth liberals. When Goldberg came to UM to be a guest on Hardball with Chris Matthews, I had a generally favorable opinion of him. For almost the entire hour, my opinion remained unchanged. Right up until the last few minutes of the show. When Chris Matthews asked the crowd of students to declare whether they agreed with Goldberg’s premise, there was a resounding applause. The reaction was much more subdued for those who did not agree with him. One of those that disagreed was UM’s president, Donna Shalala. Matthews pointed this out to Goldberg almost as an afterthought. What happened next was nothing short of uncivil.
There are many ways that a man of Mr. Goldberg’s stature could have handled this. He could have been a gentleman and just agreed to disagree, or he could have just said nothing. Instead, he attacked Dr. Shalala, calling her “way out in left field.” However, the most unprofessional comments on his behalf were when he characterized her confrontation of President Clinton’s handling of the Monica Lewinsky matter as having done “just enough” but no more. I take issue with Mr. Goldberg on this. Now, I must say, I am no fan of President Clinton. Moreover, I was no fan of Dr. Shalala when she was Secretary of Health and Human Services. This is not personal; I am a conservative Republican who believed and still does that their policies were too liberal. I did, however, think it showed tremendous character that Dr. Shalala confronted President Clinton on this, not in the public arena, but in a cabinet meeting. That could not have been easy and she risked nothing by staying quiet like the rest of her colleagues.
She did not. She handled it professionally and with respect for the office of president. She has been a tremendous force for positive change at UM and we’re lucky to have her. Bernard Goldberg treated her unfairly on national television and I think it was completely uncalled for. In the final analysis, all Mr. Goldberg did was prove that he’s biased as well. Biased in favor of being an unmitigated ass.
Scott Wacholtz is a Senior majoring in Political Science. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.