Sitting at the bar in Paolo’s Restaurant at 92nd Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan Saturday afternoon, December 10th, I was shocked by the tone the conversation with my old ABC News colleague Lowell Bergman had taken. He was heading to London and had urgently requested that we get together before his afternoon flight from JFK.
I remembered Lowell as a brave, competent, but hugely self-righteous old school investigative reporter, who famously produced the Mike Wallace expose of the major tobacco companies for ’60 Minutes.’ Al Pacino played him in the movie version of the saga, ‘The Insider.’
Although I hadn’t seen the now 60-year old veteran reporter since he parted ways with ABC back in 1982, I recognized him immediately. …
He explained that his investigative reporting program at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism, in association with reporters from ProPublica are probing our corporate parent, News Corp’s U.S. properties; specifically the New York Post, the Wall Street Journal and Fox News.
The expose is due to run on PBS’ ‘Frontline,’ “in the next few months,” he told me in an ominous tone. …
When I told him I was still not interested, and that I was going to report everything he had said to my superiors, his frustrated tone turned threatening, “I’ve got all these journalism students at Berkeley straining at the bit to contact every reporter working for Fox News.”
Now glaring back at the indefatigable Mr. Bergman, I asked, “Are you threatening me?” which he denied, then I said, “Let me get this straight. You are the most left-wing reporter in television news, a Berkley professor no less, and you’re working with ProPublica, the most hard-left reporters’ group in the business, and you’re going to air your documentary on Public Television, and you expect me to convince my colleagues at Fox News that you’re going to give us a fair-shake? Give me a break.”
The confrontation over, he gave me his card. We shook hands, and he went off to London to complete the British side of his tax-payer subsidized smack-down. That was exactly a month ago. Today a van from PBS’ “Frontline” is parked outside our office. I hope they’re not hacking my phone.
Full story here.