Veteran broadcast journalist Bernard Goldberg has revealed that he quietly departed HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel after 22 years out of concern over the show’s ‘far-left’ politics.
Goldberg, a 14-time Emmy winner who previously spent nearly three decades as a correspondent for CBS News, told Bill O’Reilly that he quit over ‘cowardice’ at the HBO show.
‘I have no problem with anybody’s personal politics, but when it intrudes on the integrity of journalism, I have a problem. I had enough, I said that’s it, I’m gone,’ Goldberg said.
‘The other six [correspondents] on the show range from liberal to far-left,’ he said. ‘You are looking at diversity on the show, I literally am diversity.’
Goldberg, 75, said that he grew fed up with Real Sports after several clashes with producers.
In once instance, he proposed a profile of Jason Whitlock, the conservative black sportswriter who has become an outspoken critic of the left, but the idea was quickly shot down.
In another case, Goldberg says that an in-depth report on the controversy surrounding transgender student athletes was spiked on the eve of publication out of fear of a possible ‘hashtag campaign’.
‘That transgender story was an example of down the middle, both sides of the story, nuanced, fair play journalism,’ said Goldberg.
Goldberg said that the night before the piece was supposed to run, one of the primary subjects, a transgender woman track star, contacted the show and demanded that the segment not air.
‘There were no grounds for a lawsuit,’ said Goldberg. ‘Cowardice led the people who run the show to say, we don’t want to run this because it may cause us trouble.’
‘Seventeen and 18-year-olds stormed the beach at Normandy when Germans were firing machine gun bullets at them, and these guys are worried about a hashtag campaign, because the transgender community decided they didn’t want us to run the story,’ said Goldberg.
In one of Goldberg’s final appearances on Real Sports, he participated in a roundtable discussion on Sacramento Kings announcer Grant Napear, who resigned after he controversially tweeted ‘ALL LIVES MATTER’ in response to posts about the Black Lives Matter movement.
Goldberg was the lone panelist to argue that Napear should not have lost his job over the tweet.
‘I wasn’t asking Bryant about the sensitivity of what he said, the timing of what he said. My question to Bryant Gumbel was ‘Do you think he should have lost his job over that?” Goldberg recalled.
‘Bryant Gumbel, who has an opinion about everything, said ‘I can’t say.’ And I’m thinking, you can’t say whether a person who tweeted ‘all lives matter’ should lose his job? I can say, he should not lose his job,’ said Goldberg.
‘I’m all for an honest discussion about anything, but to lose your job over that?’ he added.
Gumbel, best known for his 15 years co-hosting NBC’s Today show, has hosted the HBO Real Sports series since 1995.
The show has won praise for its investigative pieces, which often range outside the scope of major professional sports.
During his tenure with Real Sports, Goldberg won eight Emmys, including for his investigation into corrupt Major League Baseball recruiting practices in the Dominican Republic.
He was also awarded for a 2005 investigation into the illegal use of children in the Saudi Arabian camel racing industry.
Goldberg previously spent 28 years as a correspondent for CBS News before quitting and writing the 2001 book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.
He is a longtime critic of journalistic practices in the U.S. and formerly described himself as ‘an old-fashioned liberal’.
Goldberg has more recently admitted that he has come to view himself as a conservative, explaining on his website: ‘Now, even when I agree with liberals on this issue or that, I no longer want to be on their team.’
‘I not only don’t accept their new left wing politics, it’s also their holier than thou elitism that annoys me. I no longer see myself as a liberal,’ he explained.
‘They left me, not the other way around. Now, I’m a conservative. Not a right-wing nut, just a conservative with libertarian tendencies.’