Inside the Beltway

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What’s the big idea?

Talk about appearing blindfolded before a kangaroo court.

Then again, CBS newsman-turned-author Bernard Goldberg might not have recalled before appearing last night on CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” that the host was a lead member of the Clinton/Gore communications team in 1992.

“I’ve been doing this a long, long time, and I have never, ever, ever, never — I could say never and ever 10 more times — experienced what I just went through,” Mr. Goldberg told Inside the Beltway late yesterday after he taped the show, which is to air tonight, from Miami.

“Deutsch disagreed with everything, and that is just fine,” said Mr. Goldberg, the best-selling author of “Bias” who has written the new book “100 People Who Are Screwing Up America (And Al Franken is No. 37).”

“But then, unbeknownst to me, they brought on a panel of five, plus Donny, all of whom took the other side. And it’s not like they just respectfully disagreed; there was name-calling, ganging up; it was unbelievable. And not one of them even read the book. They admitted it.

“It was more than an ambush,” he said. “It was the most cynical, dishonest thing I have ever been lassoed into. They misled me.”

Immediately after the taping, Mr. Goldberg said, he told the show’s producer, Marilyn Cutler, that Mr. Deutsch had been “dishonest.”

“I told her that she should be ashamed,” he said. “A short time later, she called back, crying like a baby. She said, ‘I am resigning.’ And I told her, ‘You should resign.’ It was one big setup. And they used her to get me into it. They wanted to kick my [expletive] on national television — six people, all basically calling me an idiot.”

Reached at press time yesterday, Ms. Cutler said she had yet to speak to her boss, but as for resigning, she confirmed: “I am thinking about it very seriously.”

New Jersey-based CNBC said last night, “We treat all of our guests, including Mr. Goldberg, with nothing but the utmost respect and courtesy.”

The network said, “At certain points during the segment, Mr. Goldberg, the panelists and Donny did not always agree. We felt that it was a healthy and robust conversation.”

Total surveillance

“Under a brooding portrait of Lincoln, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay took his seat a few tables away from the president.”

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