100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (ISBN 0-06-076128-8) is a book by Bernard Goldberg that was published in 2005.
The book's central idea is to name and blame a long list of specific individuals for making the United States a "far more selfish, vulgar, and cynical place."
Goldberg's book denounces people, mostly celebrities, politicians and newscasters, and takes umbrage at high-profile incidents like Janet Jackson exposing herself "in front of one-fifth of all the kids in America under age eleven" during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show (p. vi). It decries as "Hollywood blowhards" actors who call American politicians "Nazis" while praising "dictators like Fidel Castro". (pp. vii-ix) Goldberg's chapter for Courtney Love is simply the word "ho."
The book takes aim at "liberals [who are] snooty, snobby know-it-alls, who have gotten angrier and angrier in recent years and who think they're not only smarter, but also better than everyone else, especially everyone else who lives in a 'red state' - a population they see as hopelessly dumb and pathetically religious." (p. x)
In 2006, Goldberg updated his book, releasing 110 People Who Are Screwing Up America, in which he adds 10 more entries to his list.
(no relation), editor of National Review
, said the following of the book:
Goldberg is no down-the-line conservative, and you are certain to disagree with some of his choices and rankings -- and probably also with his often salty language. Nevertheless, 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (and Al Franken is #37) is a rollicking and revealing look at 100 of the most egregious obstacles on the path of our nation's return to glory.
A review by Brent Bozell, President of the conservative Media Research Center, also offered praise for the book:
100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is No. 37) is out, and it's a wonderful read for anyone not on that list.
It's easy to presume that this is the conservatives' answer to recent published tirades against the Right by leftists like Franken and Michael Moore, but there are important distinctions. First, Goldberg doesn't limit the list to those on the Left. Jimmy Swaggart makes the list, as does Michael Savage. Many in the religious Right will quarrel with his selection of Judge Roy Moore. All should applaud his choice of David Duke.
Conservative vs. liberal selections
, whom Goldberg praised in the book for her criticism of radical feminism, has argued that the conservatives on Goldberg's list are either "safe" targets who are not powerful or influential in conservative circles, or "tokens" inserted to create the appearance that Goldberg is not being partisan. She suggests that discredited televangelist Jimmy Swaggart
, for instance, is a "safe" alternative to Pat Robertson
, who is still a fixture on the Christian right. Responding to Goldberg's assertions that he is not taking political sides, Young questions why his criticisms of "haters" who "demonize" their opponents extends to multiple individuals on the left, but only a single conservative, talk radio host Michael Savage
on the right. Young suggests that Ann Coulter
would belong on the list, but Goldberg only mentions her by way of making a favorable comparison to Savage. Young also suggests that Goldberg employs a double standard in defending Coulter because she offers invective "with a twinkle in her eye", while simultaneously dismissing the notion that some of Al Franken's statements should be taken less seriously because he is engaging in satire.
The other conservative targets on the list are Judge Roy Moore (no. 21) the Alabama judge who flouted a court order in not removing a monument to the Ten Commandments from his courthouse, and disgraced former New York state senator Guy Velella (no. 94).
Jon Stewart criticism
On July 13 2005
, Goldberg appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
to promote the book. Stewart
criticized the list for suggesting that liberals who do not hold positions of power, such as Barbara Streisand
, were responsible for problems in America, while conservatives who held powerful positions in the Bush Administration or Republican Congress were not held responsible for anything. Goldberg agreed that the list included more liberals than conservatives but responded that his book dealt with cultural issues. Stewart also argued that the book focused on a "culture war
" he sees as largely "fabricated", and that declining rates of homicide and teen drug use suggest that, in fact, American culture is not as troubled as Goldberg suggests. Stewart argued that people who "say a bad word on television" don't affect people's lives, while government officials do. "I wish smart guys like you spent less time worrying about Barbra Streisand
and more time worrying about Richard Perle
or Karl Rove
, or whoever the Democrats had in those positions during the Clinton
years," Stewart said. Goldberg argued in response that the culture is important and that he intended the book to raise the public discourse because many of the people on his list had turned public debate into bickering and name-calling.
In a review in the New York Times, Richard Brookhiser said, "Such books are part of the puppet theater of modern political discourse" and that "any clever and combative person could write 80 percent of this book, or its mirror image, in a weekend." Regarding the premise of the book, Brookhiser said, "For my money, America may be screwed up, but not very much."
Some of those included on the list have responded to the book humorously. Cartoonists Jeff Danziger
and Ted Rall
both said it was "an honor" to be included on the list, with the latter adding "Not only am I grouped with many people whom I admire for their achievements and patriotism, I'm being demonized by McCarthyite thugs I despise.Entrepreneur Todd Goldman
quipped that he "hope[s] to be ranked higher next year.
Goldberg's book prompted a response from Jack Huberman, who wrote 101 People Who Are Really Screwing America (and Bernard Goldberg is Only #73)
Howard Stern was confused by his inclusion on the list before reading the entry. After reading the entry, he said he remained confused. He also defended Michael Moore, listed as number one, an occasional guest on his show.
Matt Kunitz (Executive Producer of Fear Factor and #69 in Goldberg's book) told the Los Angeles Times, "I look at my company; I think Michael Moore was No 1. I don't mind being in that group of people.
Ten new entries were added in Goldberg's 2006 update, 110 People Who Are Screwing Up America. Among these were the white nationalist vocal group Prussian Blue, anti-homosexual preacher Fred Phelps, Jeremy Jaynes and several Supreme Court Justices.
- "Here's the problem, as far as I'm concerned: Over the years, as we became less closed-minded and more tolerant of all the right things, like civil rights, somehow, we became indiscriminately tolerant. 'You're so judgmental' became a major-league put-down in Anything Goes America – as if being judgmental of crap in the culture is a bad thing." (p. viii)
- "If I have to explain it to you, you shouldn't be reading this book!" – referring to Michael Jackson.