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July 20, 2005
Donnybrook (Updates)

So I watched the Donny Deutsch show, The Big Idea, featuring the appearance by Bernard Goldberg discussing his book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37).

What a joke.

The first segment got contentious but remained professional, but Deutsch obviously didn't like the book. He immediately jumped into the list and began to debate entries like Barbara Walters, and obviously had not read what Goldberg wrote about her and others. The argument proceeded like any number of cable-channel bickerfests, with the host and guest talking over each other, but nothing bitter or mean -- just a disagreement. One would presume, however, that an professional interviewer would have at least reviewed the material in some depth and have prepared factual support for their questions and points before the show.

The next two segments should embarrass CNBC and everyone associated with the show. Deutsch invited four other people onto what supposedly passed for a panel discussion, none of whom had read the book before criticizing it. I'm sorry to say that one of these 'experts' was a blogger for whom I have enormous respect: Jeff Jarvis of Buzzmachine. You can read his take here, but be sure to read the comments on the post. His readers weren't fooled. This was an unprofessional ambush. Did Goldberg get riled up? Yes he did, but he tried to rein it in, which is more than I can say for the five people who did nothing but try to suck up as much microphone time belittling him as possible.

Another guest had actually counted how many times Goldberg appeared on Fox News Channel (eight appearances since the book's release) and declared that to be proof of an agenda. Stasi then jumped in and asked why he wouldn't appear on the other networks. Goldberg could barely fit in his reply that he would have gladly appeared on other shows had they asked him to come. Do television critics know that people don't just walk onto a set and force their way onto talk shows?

And then Deutsch compared Goldberg to Joe McCarthy on an exit to break, when Goldberg couldn't respond to it. Yikes.

Jeff links to my earlier post, dismissing the information in it by claiming I spoke to someone "masquerading" as a source. Well, if that's true, they did a damned fine job of conjuring up the truth. I think that you're normally brilliant, Jeff, I really do, but you got used and you don't even know it.

I have no problem with people who don't like the idea of list books, or who don't like conservative politics, or who don't like cultural criticism. However, professional talk shows don't set up ambushes 5-1 on guests they don't like. That Deutsch and his producers have to rely on those tactics tells me all I need to know about his abilities as an interviewer and a journalist.

Addendum: Just to clear up a minor point in Jeff's post, the response from the show's producers came from an inquiry which I sent them prior to posting. They did not respond to the post; they responded to the e-mail I sent the producers, giving them the opportunity to have their response included in the article. I don't think Jeff meant any ill will in how he phrased it in his post; perhaps my post wasn't clear on that sequence.

Note: You can read my interview with Goldberg here and here, to get a better sense of what Goldberg might have said had he been given a better chance to speak.

UPDATE: Jeff responds to his critics here, and once again the commenters take him to the woodshed. I'm sorry that Jeff continues to justify the unjustifiable, but I give him at least one thumbs up for keeping his comments sections open on both posts.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 20, 2005 10:05 PM

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» Jeff Jarvis (Buzzmachine) participated in CNBC ambush of Bernie Goldberg from Clown Posse
Jarvis knows better, and needs to be called on this, especially since he's continuing to offer up a series of lame excuses and rationalizations that he did no wrong by participating. [Read More]

Tracked on July 21, 2005 4:45 PM

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