Erik Wemple, media blogger for WaPo, was called out last night on the “O’Reilly Factor” by author and media critic Bernie Goldberg. The topic: media bias. Goldberg was responding to a short post by Wemple questioning the conclusion reached by FNC’s Bill O’Reilly and Goldberg that “media bias doesn’t matter.”
“Last week Bernie and I were talking about media bias and organizations that are in business not to inform anymore, they’re just pushing an agenda,” O’Reilly said on last night’s show. “The Washington Post weighed in on their blog and you [Goldberg] want to say something about that?”
Goldberg cocked his gun.
“Erik Wemple… this fella ended his piece by saying ‘if the impact of media bias is so trivial, why do these guys’– you and me– ‘why do these guys harp on it each week?’ Well first of all, we don’t harp on it. We talk about it.”
“Secondly there are many smart, thoughtful, serious people who write about the media,” Goldberg continued, “but Erik Wemple, sadly, is not one of them.”
Goldberg went on to lecture Wemple and “everybody else” why media bias does matter.
“Those words really hurt,” Wemple told FBDC in an email last night shortly after the segment ended. “After all, not long ago I’d credited Bernie for raising an interesting point about the NYT, one that I had followed up with my own reporting. In the case of the media-bias thing, I do believe that both Goldberg and O’Reilly on that [previous] program glibly dismissed the impact of alleged media bias and I am glad that Goldberg finished out his argument [in tonight’s edition].”
In a follow-up post this morning Wemple wrote:
“It’s fine that Goldberg thinks something I wrote was dumb, less fine that his rebuttal rests on insulting my intelligence. Though I have criticized Goldberg in the past, I have also credited him. What I hope is consistent across all my mentions of Goldberg is an unwillingness to reach conclusions about where his opinions situate him along the continuum of media-critic IQs. That doesn’t seem relevant to anything.”
If nothing else, Wemple can be grateful that Fox News producers used a photo of him looking kind of bad ass. Maybe even a little dangerous.