Bernie Goldberg on Monday said the media are constantly using the "conservative" label to make right-leaning people appear "out of the mainstream," "alien," and "dangerous to your mental health."
The Emmy Award-winning political commentator, appearing on Fox News's "The O'Reilly Factor," used a recent Media Research Center study to make his case (video follows with transcript and commentary):
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment tonight, two very hot topics. First of all, there's a new study by the Media Research Center, conservative group, that says there's a huge disparity in the mainstream media using the words "conservative" and "liberal" as descriptions. Also, the big Rangel-Ingraham shootout last week.
Joining us now from North Carolina is the purveyor of BernardGoldberg.com, Mr. Goldberg.
All right. Let's take the study first. What was the point or what is the point of the study?
BERNARD GOLDBERG, BERNARDGOLDBERG.COM: Well, the study found that journalists at ABC, NBC, and CBS identified conservatives in their stories 20 times more often than they identified liberals. So they might say, "Joe Blow, a conservative," but 20 times more often than they said "Joe Smith, a liberal."
This is like when the government puts warning labels on cigarettes that say cigarettes cause cancer. This is a media warning label that says conservatives are dangerous to your mental health. It's the same thing.
But this happened before, Bill, in American journalism up until really about the 1960s, and it involved race and crime. The only time journalists would identify race in a crime story is if the criminal was black. So they'd say, "Johnny Smith, a black man," was arrested last night for whatever. But if Johnny Smith was white, they would simply say "Johnny Smith was arrested last night for breaking into a liquor store."
The reason they identified black people, only black people, was because black people were seen as out of mainstream, as alien, and even as dangerous. Nothing is the same as race, I readily acknowledge that, but this is pretty similar. The reason they identify conservatives is because, to liberal journalists, conservatives are out of the mainstream, are alien, and their views are dangerous. But liberals, Bill, they are the very essence...
O'REILLY: Yes, I remember.
GOLDBERG: ... of mainstream.
O'REILLY: Both Bernie and I have discussed this before. There was a Reuters review, I think, in one of my books -- I can't even remember which one it was -- where in the article the body of the piece, which maybe ran 250 words, they named me as a conservative three times, in case you missed it the first two times. They just couldn't stop doing it.
But I think it's more -- it's more of an annoyance. It's an annoyance.
O'REILLY: Let me make my point. Let me make my point. When a conservative is successful or gaining traction with the folks, the liberal media becomes very annoyed and says, "Don't you realize" -- to themselves - - "Don't you realize this is a conservative? So I have to tell you that," over and over and over. But they don't do that on the left.
GOLDBERG: Yes. But it's more than an annoyance, because it's Exhibit A, proving beyond any doubt that there's a liberal bias in the media. And, if they don't deal with this problem, they will never solve the problem of bias in the media.
O'REILLY: Well, they're never going to solve it anyway. You know that.
GOLDBERG: Because they...
O'REILLY: It's not going to happen. So that's why the FOX News Channel is here, to give a little balance.
In fairness, Goldberg's racism link might be taking this too far.
I realize that he's drawing a comparison, but the race card in 2011 should become part of Godwin's Law: much like Nazi references, the first person to use racism in an argument loses.
As we on the Right are sick and tired of it constantly being thrown at us, we should be extra careful to not behave like those so quick to shout "racist" at the drop of a hat.
On the other hand, Goldberg's point about the use of "conservative" is a valid point.
Unlike liberals, members of the Right are quite proud of their conservatism, and aren't looking for a new term to describe them or their views.
But when a mainstream media member uses "conservative" to describe a politician or pundit, there is an obvious disdain designed to depict the subject as being foreign, alien, and not one of "us."
Isn't it ironic that these same folks are constantly complaining about the Right supposedly trying to characterize President Obama this way?