100 People Screwing Up America

A few years back, I had read Bernard Goldberg’s book Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News and I found it to be an interesting read in which he made credible charges of systemic bias in the news media. Given my enjoyment of Bias I figured I’d like his new book, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37) and I wasn’t disappointed.

The book starts out with groups of people that he feels are screwing up America (“America Bashers”, “Hollywood Blowhards”, “TV Schlockmeisters”, “TV Schlockmeisters — News Division”, “I’m Your Pimp, You My Bitch — and Other Great American Love Songs”, “American Jackals”, “I’m Offended, Therefore I Am”, “Racial Enforcers”, “White Collar Thugs”, “Sex Warriors” and “Reading, Writing and Radicals”) that include people from all parts of the political spectrum but is mostly dominated by the left end of it.

I was familiar with about 85-90 of the people on the list at least by name if not by deed but there were a few that were news to me. I was happy to see that the conservative whipping boy and girl (Bill and Hillary Clinton) weren’t on the list as their threat to America is highly exaggerated. However, number one on Goldberg’s list is Michael Moore and I just don’t agree with that. Somewhere on the list? You bet! I think the guy is just plain wrong about most things he rattles on about in but I just don’t think he wields that much power. I am willing to concede that I may be underestimating him.

The style of the book is often tongue-in-cheek and as a result, it’s just hilarious. For example, number 98 on the list was Sheila Jackson-Lee who is in power for one reason. She’s able to see racism everywhere she looks. Goldberg nominates her for actually complaining that hurricane names don’t include enough names of minorities so he imagines this scene with his former boss, Dan Rather, in Jackson-Lee’s desired world:

I can hear Dan Rather now, called out of semi-retirement to chase one more hurricane, in his yellow slicker, blowing around in 135-mile-an-hour winds, hanging on to a telephone pole for dear life, microphone in hand, Dan parallel to the ground several feet below: “This vicious, killer storm — Shaniqua — is barreling through Pensacola at this very moment, destroying everything in sight. I’ll bet you a ten-pound bag of unsalted goobers to a stack of horse feathers that no one in his right mind wants this big bad girl Shaniqua anywhere near where they live.”

Thinking about it still brings a smile to my face because I can easily picture Dan Rather saying that. Goldberg’s closing point about Jackson-Lee and her absurdity is perfectly captured in the quote, “The art of being wise is knowing what to overlook.” Like complaining that the names of destructive forces are “too white”.

100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken Is #37) is a quick and fun read. If you’re at all interested in the effects of politics and media on the culture, you should take a look.


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