Tom Brokaw reacted with anger to Bernard Goldberg’s Wall Street Journal piece naming him as guilty of not knowing “what liberal bias is.” Asked about the piece by C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb on Thursday morning’s Washington Journal, Brokaw insisted “the idea that we would set out, consciously or unconsciously, to put some kind of an ideological framework over what we’re doing is nonsense.”
Brokaw directed his fire at Goldberg: “We anger liberals as much as we do conservatives. And the fact is, Mr. Goldberg, that I’ve heard a lot more, on a regular basis, from liberals complaining about the kind of coverage that they’ve gotten than I have from conservatives.” A bitter Brokaw related how he knows Goldberg has “had an ongoing feud with Dan, I wish he would confine it to that, frankly.”
Brokaw appeared on C-SPAN to plug his new book of life stories from World War II vets, but Lamb asked him about Goldberg’s piece, reciting a lengthy excerpt, concluding with the line: “Liberal bias is the result of how they see the world.”
Brokaw was not pleased, responding:
“I was, uh, I guess, uh, bemused is the appropriate word by that column. I now know the meaning of the word strawman is, I’ve been set up and knocked down by Bernard Goldberg without any specific references to anything that I’ve done, that I know about. We haven’t used the phrase, ‘right-wing,’ or ‘left-wing,’ in a long time. Occasionally we will say that someone is conservative or a liberal. I think, can’t rewind the tape completely, but when Tim Russert and I were talking last night about the changes in Washington, we did talk about conservative chairman being replaced by liberal chairman, for example, as we identified some of them. Pat Leahy is certainly more liberal than Orrin Hatch, who is a conservative is the chair of the judiciary committee. Look, everyday we struggle with the business of trying to give an accurate reflection of what is going on in this country, across the board. It is a complex culture that we cover. The idea that we would set out, consciously or unconsciously, to put some kind of an ideological framework over what we’re doing is nonsense, it’s also self-destructive. People believe that we’ve got a liberal bias, do you think this country, which has a lot of conservatives in it, would turn in any regard to what’re doing? We anger liberals as much as we do conservatives. And the fact is, Mr. Goldberg, that I’ve heard a lot more, on a regular basis, from liberals complaining about the kind of coverage that they’ve gotten than I have from conservatives. I only know him a little bit professionally. I know that he’s had an ongoing feud with Dan, I wish he would confine it to that, frankly.”
In the hours after Goldberg’s op-ed appeared, Brokaw did employ some liberal labels. On Thursday’s NBC Nightly News he noted: “Today’s change in control puts a liberal Democrat in charge of the Senate Judiciary Committee.” On CBS’s Late Show, taped an hour before, he told David Letterman how “Pat Leahy, a much more liberal Senator from Vermont,” would assume the Judiciary Committee chairmanship.
(This report courtesy of the Media Research Center.)