As NewsBusters reported last Friday, America's trust in the media has fallen to new lows.
Appearing on Fox News's "O'Reilly Factor" Tuesday, political commentator Bernie Goldberg said it was because of the media's love affair with Barack Obama (video follows with transcript and commentary):
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Weekdays with Bernie" segment tonight, a couple of new media polls to tell you all about.
According to Gallup, 55 percent of Americans do not -- do not trust -- the American media. Forty-four percent say they do. One percent apparently don't know what the media is.
Also 47 percent believe the media is biased to the left. Thirteen percent say it's biased to the right. These must be communist people. And 36 percent opine the media is not biased at all.
Another survey, this one by the Pew Research Center. Sixty-six percent of Americans say that TV news is their primary source of information. And preferences break down this way. FOX News Channel leads all TV news outlets with 19 percent of Americans saying they get their news mostly from us. Local news second. Sixteen percent dialed into that. CNN 15 percent. NBC News 10. ABC News 8. CBS 7. At the bottom, MSNBC, 6 percent. All Fidel Castro supporters.
Joining us now from North Carolina to analyze, purveyor of BernardGoldberg.com, Mr. Goldberg.
First of all, what happened to CBS News, your old employer? That used to be the gold standard.
BERNIE GOLDBERG, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The key words are "used to be." [...]
GOLDBERG: Look, CBS News, don't forget, since Walter Cronkite, went through Dan Rather and then Schieffer for a while, and then Katie Couric. I mean, it -- the challenge is to bring CBS News back to where it was.
But on the overall findings of the polls, which don't speak well, as you said, for the American media, the American people have lost faith in a lot of institutions over the years. Notably political institutions like Congress and the media.
I think the reason that the trust level is so low today for the media is because of its relationship with Barack Obama. During the campaign, they fell in love with him. They moved from old-fashioned media bias into something new. Media activism.
GOLDBERG: Just as there's judicial activism, where judges pretty much do whatever they want, the media decided it's OK to take sides without apology, without embarrassment, without any kind of...
O'REILLY: You make a good point. You think that that impacted, and people even -- who favored Barack Obama saw it. And then they're really not interested in giving me legitimate information. They want to promote things, and here you go.
GOLDBERG: Yes, mostly, obviously, mostly it's Republicans. Seventy- five percent, according to Gallup, think the media is too liberal. But get this: 70 -- let me see the exact number. Seventy-seven -- seventy-seven percent of Democrats think the media is just right or too conservative. That tells you all you...
O'REILLY: Well, because they get -- they get favorable treatment. So of course...
GOLDBERG: Exactly. That proves that there is a liberal problem.
But here's the thing. Fifty -- five oh -- percent of independents, 50 percent of independents think the media is too liberal. And that does away with the argument, from the people who run news organizations, that this is only a bunch of crazy right-wingers.
Could I just give you one example that's just too good to pass up?
GOLDBERG: This was on page 1 of the Washington Post, Bill, on Christmas morning right after Barack Obama was elected president, page 1 of the "Washington Post." There's a story about his exercise regimen. I'm going to read you just one sentence.
"The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games." This sounds like the crap you read -- you read in romance novels.
O'REILLY: No, that was -- that's the FOX News bio of me.
GOLDBERG: This is on page 1 of the Washington Post.
O'REILLY: I know.
GOLDBERG: What I'm saying is there's a price the media pays for this kind of thing...
O'REILLY: And they have paid it.
GOLDBERG: ... with their most valuable commodity, their credibility.
O'REILLY: That's right.
With regard to the Christmas Day front page Post article, Goldberg neglected something even more indicative of media bias that day.
As NewsBusters reported at the time, not only was that puff piece on the front page of the Post, the revelation about the Obama transition team's report on contacts with former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was placed on page A3.