It hasn’t been a great time to be a Goldberg lately. Goldberg the wrestler got canned by Donald Trump; Whoopi Goldberg boiled over on The View and called media oddity Kate Gosselin “an angry bitch.” But it’s been an especially rough few days for Bernard “Bernie” Goldberg, the stuffy correspondent on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, who doubles as a conservative commentator for Fox News.
Perhaps you’ve heard that lately Bern’s been butting heads with Jon Stewart over that longtime straw man, media elitism. The contretemps began last Thursday (April 15), when The Daily Show host told Fox News en masse to “Go fuck yourselves!” after delivering a takedown of Goldberg’s thesis that some cable news channels—gasp!—boil everything down to generalizations (implying, of course, that Fox News is innocent of such activity).
Stewart was stunned to find himself agreeing with Goldberg’s general point, and then provided plenty of Fox News clips demonstrating how this was an instance of the elephant mocking the donkey for his ears.
Stewart agrees with Goldberg at around 6:10 in the following clip, before leading up to his epiphany.
On Monday (April 19), Goldberg appeared on The O'Reilly Factor to basically agree that Stewart was right.
“Does Stewart have a point here?” O'Reilly asked. “Are we being hypocritical by generalizing about some people?"
“He does. I am pleading guilty. And that’s a sincere plea of guilty,” Goldberg replied. “I said that liberals think people who live in the middle of the country are a bunch of jerks, and obviously all liberals don’t think that .... So I am saying I was wrong, Jon Stewart is right.”
Agreement again! But Bernie wasn’t quite done with the matter. Addressing Stewart, he said: “If you just want to be a funny man, who talks to an audience that will laugh at anything you say, that’s okay with me, no problem. But if clearly you want to be a social commentator, more than just a comedian and if you want to be a good one, you better find some guts ... when you had Frank Rich on your show, who generalizes all the time about conservatives and Republicans being bigots, you didn’t ask him a single tough question. You gave him a lap dance. You practically had your tongue down his throat.”
And so, last night, Stewart backed down brought on a gospel choir to sing a hymn to Bernie, as you can see at about the 7:40 mark of this clip (the entire segment is basically a refutation of Goldberg):
Does Stewart go for the easy frat-boy laugh of having his “fucks” bleeped way too often on TDS? I think that even he would agree that he does (not that he’ll stop anytime soon). He also falls back on the “But we’re just a fake news show” routine a few times too often for my taste; if you’re truly looking to engage in a philosophical battle of wits you can’t just retreat behind a “Just kidding, folks!” smokescreen when the going gets tough.
But it’s hard to feel much sympathy for the even more dishonest Goldberg, author of such weighty tomes as Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News and 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (almost none of whom, you’ll be shocked to learn, were Republicans). He comes off as a fairly humorless guy, though it’s hard to believe that even he kept a straight face when listing the likes of Latrell Sprewell and Cameron Diaz as those who were “screwing up” the country.
Maybe Bernie will reload on O’Reilly tonight with a thoughtful, penetrating look at both sides of this issue. Or maybe the Goldbergs are, momentarily at least, down for the count.
Or we may just have to wait for Adam Goldberg to redeem the name, when his movie Miss Nobody opens later this year.