Goldberg's 100 People
October 4, 2005
Bernard Goldberg came to my conscious back when he was a reporter for CBS News. To be honest, I didn’t even know his name back then, but I recognized his face as “one of those liberal reporters for CBS (Aren’t they all liberal?).” The word that came to my mind when I saw him was “snarky.”
It surprised me when I put the face of the CBS reporter along with the name of the author of the book that came out back in 2001, Bias. Here was a book from someone on the inside saying what many of us out in the red states had been saying for some time: there is an underlying bias toward liberalism in the national press.
Goldberg has now moved from CBS to HBO. He is a reporter for the program Real Sports. I don’t get HBO, so now I only see him in print and occasionally on the cable news political slugfest shows. While away from CBS, he has not only turned out Bias, but a couple of other books as well: Arrogance (which I have not read) and 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken Is #37).
Recently, a friend of mine asked me to read the later. It only took a couple of days since it is only 304 pages and a very light read. Here is my take on the book.
This book falls in a new genre of book that is prevalent on the market today. I call it the Google genre – or the LexisNexis genre. Liberals do it… conservatives do it… and it is pretty easy to do, but to be successful, you have to have already made a name for yourself. Your name sells the book, Google or LexisNexis does the work.
The majority of 100 People lists these people who are messing up American culture with examples taken from the headlines. Regular readers of the Drudge Report and news junkies will recognize many of these stories. Goldberg does give some interesting new information when he writes about some of the people with whom he has had personal relationships. But for the most part, none of these people come as a surprise and no new information comes our way.
What I found more interesting was the first several chapters of the book where he lays out his foundation for the book. Here we get a glimpse of his cultural philosophy. It tastes pretty good at first but then leaves an aftertaste.
I don’t know Goldberg’s political leanings, but he sure comes across as a libertarian in this book. He complains of what the actions and beliefs of these 100 People are doing to America, but then offers no ideas for a solution. As best I can figure he maintains that the only thing that we can do is hope that these folks will be embarrassed to be listed in his book and will change.
Actually, what the book does – though the author never states this – is indict the people of America. In almost every case, the people listed in this book receive their power of influence because people empower them through purchasing their products, funding their projects, or voting them into positions. The consumer, taxpayer, and voter are the only ones who can keep these people from accomplishing their goals.
The book was a fun read – though the subject matter meant that there was some crass stuff to be dealt with and then Goldberg added plenty more crass stuff on his own. One thing I think would be fun is to do what he suggests in a note to the reader:
As I said in the introduction to this book, there won’t be two people in the whole country who agree with every name on my list of 100. So please tell me who you would put on your list; that is, the one or two or twenty people you think are screwing up America, and – in a few words – why.
… and who knows, your entry may appear in his next book, 100 More People Who Are Screwing Up America.
There’s no reason I should have all the fun.