Become a Fan on Facebook          
South Florida's Best and Brightest
Originally published: Sunday, May 1, 2011 (12:02:02 a.m. ET)

Bernie Goldberg
HBO and "The O'Reilly Factor" contributor Bernie Goldberg. (Photo courtesy of Bob Owen/HBO).
Bernie Goldberg
His career has been as long as it has been distinguished. And as sheepish as he becomes when asked about all of the accolades and praise bestowed upon him, Bernie Goldberg has plenty of hardware to show for his four-plus decades of relentless excellence in journalism. A total of 10 Emmys, and he was just nominated for two more. Goldberg also is a multiple New York Times bestselling author, with "A Slobbering Love Affair," being his latest chart-topping tome. His previous works are: "Bias," "100 People Who Are Screwing Up America," and "Crazies to the Left of Me, Wimps to the Right." Goldberg, a 1967 Rutgers University grad, appears Monday evenings on the Fox NEWS network's top-rated "O'Reilly Factor," as well as on HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel." His story for HBO in 2001 about young boys being exploited as camel jockeys in the UAE won him the most prestigious of all TV broadcast news honors, the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

Q: What advice would you give youngsters who want to embark on a career in your industry?
A: I think the biggest single advice I can [impart] is to do what you really, and I mean really, want to do in life. If there's something that really interests you, and you have a great deal of passion for it, pursue it, and pursue it hard.

Q: Of what professional accomplishment are you most proud?
A: I'm proud of my body of work on television which began nationally in 1972. I've always tried to be fair to all sides of the story. I'm also very proud of what my first book, "Bias," accomplished. It took the subject of liberal bias in the so-called mainstream media out of conservative circles and planted it right into the general American landscape. People talked about bias in the news, but mainly in the confines of their living rooms, and some on conservative talk radio. No more. Now it's out there. And "Bias," the book, had a lot to do with that.

Q: What's the most challenging part about your work?
A: I tell this to the younger people with whom I work: You always have to put your personal biases aside when you embark on a story. Because we're all human beings, and we all have opinions, if you have a strong opinion one way or the other, it's important to bend over backwards to see the other guy's point of view.

Q: What did you envision doing for a living when you were growing up?
A: Exactly what I'm doing. Not on television, but I envisioned being a journalist. In junior high school, the teacher, Mr. Stein, went around the room asking all of us what we wanted to be, and I said I wanted to be a journalist. I said that in junior high school. There wasn't an inch of deviation along the way. I always knew I wanted to do something like I'm doing now.

Q: In ten years' time, I will be _________________.
A: Ten years older.

Q: Who are/were your professional role models and why?
A: My main journalistic influences were CBS News correspondents Mike Wallace and Morley Safer and the great CBS News analyst Eric Sevareid. Why? Because they were the best.

Q: If you could do anything else in the world for a living, what would it be?
A: If you had asked me that when I was a 10- or 12-year-old, I would have said I wanted to play second base for the New York Yankees. But now that I'm a grown-up, and I realize that's unrealistic, I'd want to be the point guard for the New York Knicks.

Q: What's the best part about your job?
A: Unlike too many journalists, I have no interest in changing the world. None. I don't embark on a story saying that I'm going to make the world a better place. That's what priests and ministers and social workers do. Too many journalists want to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. Not me. As I say, leave that to the ministers. The best part of my job is looking at a story after it's done and saying, 'That was pretty good; I was fair to the person. It was both entertaining in the best sense of the word, and informative to the viewer.'

Q: What's the worst part about your job?
A: Going through security at the airports and having to deal with a bunch of TSA people who remind me more and more of Barney Fife on the old "Andy Griffith Show." It's a total pain in the ass. You can have a 23-year-old kid from Yemen walking through, singing the al-Qaida national anthem, and they will give him less scrutiny than they give an 85-year-old grandmother from Des Moines, Iowa. I hate it.

Q: What's the one most important thing that experience has taught you?
A: Don't be too sure of yourself. If you're too arrogant, or if you're too sure of yourself, you're almost certainly going to get into trouble, sooner or later. And probably sooner. Be humble because there's a good chance, even if you don't think so at the moment, that the other guy is right and you're wrong.

Q: What's the best career advice anyone has imparted on you?
A: I asked my junior high school English teacher for a recommendation to get into a high school journalism class and he said, 'No, you're not good enough.' That's when I first realized the importance of not being brought down by people like that. If you're passionate about something, pursue it.

Q: What one thing would you do different/better if you could start it all over again?
A: I'm blessed. I went into journalism because I loved it. I didn't think for a second about the money. I've had some success, and for the most part, it's been a fun ride. I would tell a kid: 'Don't think you know more than the boss does. There's a certain arrogance that kids have today that you didn't see 30 or 40 years ago. If you're in an internship, you're there to learn. Make the most of it. Stay in touch with people who've been good to you; they can help you down the road. That's a very practical piece of advice. I don't want to make too broad of a generalization, but I think there are more than a few younger people who think they know more than they do. And they would do well to find a mentor and make the most of that relationship.

Q: What's your favorite South Florida charity?
A: That's one thing I've been asked about before and I just don't talk about. I prefer to keep that private.
Archive: 20 Good Questions
Best & Brightest: June 2011