There are many shades of rightwing punditry in our country. Among the shadiest is Jonah Goldberg.
With arrogance seemingly matched only by his ignorance, Goldberg was just being Goldberg when he offered this wager two years ago:
make a bet. I predict that
two-year period comes due Thursday, Feb 8. Even Goldberg now realizes his
prediction was totally wrong -- with poll after poll showing most
Americans do not “agree that the war was worth it.” (Not to mention what
Iraqis think of the war or Goldberg’s boast that “
So shouldn’t Goldberg -- or somebody -- pay off the $1,000?
bet was offered near the end of an overheated blogo-debate between
Goldberg (at National Review Online) and
Dr. Juan Cole,
Cole reacted to the proposed bet with disgust -- calling it symbolic of “the neo-imperial American Right. They are making their own fortunes with a wager on the fates of others, whom they are treating like ants.” Wrote Cole: “Here we have a prominent American media star . . . betting on Iraqis as though they are greyhounds in a race.”
Just before Goldberg proposed his bet to Cole, the professor had fumed: “Goldberg is just a dime-a-dozen pundit. Cranky rich people hire sharp-tongued and relatively uninformed young people all the time and put them on the mass media to badmouth the poor, spread bigotry, exalt mindless militarism, promote anti-intellectualism, and ensure that rightwing views come to predominate.”
“Relatively uninformed” seemed accurate to me, but I wondered about the
“mindless militarism” charge -- although I knew Goldberg was one of dozens
of pundits who mindlessly cheered on the
weeks prior to the war to liberate
Since Goldberg felt compelled to tell us -- as he gallantly offered the $1,000 bet -- that it was money he “can hardly spare right now,” you may wonder about his ability to pay. A look at his bio shows that Goldberg has had a high-flying career in mainstream media -- from CNN contributor to PBS producer to “USA Today Board of Contributors.” (Full disclosure: In 2000, he and I wrote relatively-friendly point/counterpoint columns for Brill’s Content.) One would think he could easily afford $1,000, especially for a charity like the USO.
But who knows -- maybe Goldberg has racked up huge gambling debts from ignorant wagers like the one tendered to Cole.
have a solution. Let the Tribune media conglomerate pay the $1,000. Not
only does Tribune syndicate Goldberg’s column, it was Tribune’s Los
Angeles Times that added the analytically-impaired Goldberg to its
columnist roster in November 2005 . . . at the same time it fired renowned
columnist Robert Scheer, whose
Despite financial upheavals, the highly-profitable Tribune Company has plenty of money, as it lays off journalists en masse and squeezes the life out once proud newspapers like the L.A. Times.
Professor Cole may be right to dismiss Jonah Goldberg as a “dime-a-dozen pundit.” But it’s time to hold media corporations like Tribune responsible for elevating the Goldbergs and their reckless predictions -- as they strangle newspapers and silence serious journalists like Bob Scheer.
Jeff Cohen is a media critic, former TV pundit and author of Cable News Confidential: My Misadventures in Corporate Media. He worked for the Kucinich campaign in 2003. He consults for Progressive Democrats of America. Visit his website at: http://jeffcohen.org/. The views here are his alone.
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