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Hey, Howard--I'm Supposed to Be Biased!

April 12, 1993|BILL PRESS | Commentator Press was elected this month to head the California Democratic Party. and

Howard Rosenberg: Get thee to a shrink!

In last Monday's Times, Rosenberg first says I'm the best commentator in L.A. Then he says I should be fired, just because I was elected chair of the California Democratic Party ("To Stay or Not to Stay at KCOP?," Calendar, April 5).

Is that schizophrenic, or what?

What's wrong with my being chair of the Democratic Party and a TV news commentator at the same time, Howard?

Are you afraid my bias will show? Where have you been for the last 12 years? After regularly bashing Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Dan Quayle, is there any doubt I'm a Democrat? After speaking out for the environment, for affirmative action, for civil liberties, for choice, for gay rights and against the religious right, is there any doubt I'm a liberal?

You miss the point, Howard. It's the reporter's job, it's the anchor's job, to be objective, not the commentator's. I get paid for being biased!

What's the problem, Howard?

You believe we have to be fair to the Republican Party? If so, how ironic, since it was Ronald Reagan who abolished the Fairness Doctrine.

Speaking of fairness, Howard, what about Rush Limbaugh? Mouthpiece for the Republican Party. Unofficial mouthpiece, maybe. But big mouthpiece nonetheless; George Bush's overnight guest in the White House; centerpiece of the President's box at last summer's Republican National Convention; introduced Bush at campaign rallies; mouths three hours of daily attacks on Bill Clinton from his KFI radio microphone.

Limbaugh's half-hour show is shown twice daily on Channel 13, Howard. I only get three minutes max for my commentary. You want fairness? Give me 57 more minutes!

By the way, just to bend over backward to be fair, KCOP has invited a conservative, Republican commentator to offer a counter-opinion on our newscast. If we can find one with something to say.


So what's the problem, Howard?

You think politics and media don't mix? Pete Wilson has a weekly radio broadcast. State Sen. Quentin Kopp has a weekly talk show on KGO radio in San Francisco. Last I heard, Ted Kennedy and Orin Hatch were dueling it out on CBS. Not to mention Pat Buchanan, Pat Robertson, Ed Koch, Roger Hedgecock, Bruce Hershensohn, Susan Estrich and countless others. I'm hardly the first to stir media and politics together. And besides, it's a good brew.

I still don't get it. What's the problem, Howard?

You don't think I should be actively involved in anything I talk about? Sorry, Howard. You may perch in an ivory tower. I refuse to. I serve on the board of Treepeople and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. I'm chair of the L.A. County Insurance Commission. I read and record books for the Braille Library. I don't just talk about the issues, Howard. I care enough about this community to go out and volunteer my time. And, yes, I'm involved in politics too.

Speaking of volunteer activities, Howard: The position of State Chair pays nothing. So I still have to work for a living. Which I will continue doing, on KCOP-TV and KFI-AM (640).

You may get my attention, Howie baby. But you'll never get my job!

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