The liberal media were flagrant supporters of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, as documented in literally thousands of postings here at NewsBusters and detailed research reports over at our parent site, www.MRC.org.
Now along comes former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg with “A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (and Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media.” The book pulls together the evidence of the media’s indisputable tilt, making the case that journalists’ abdication of their professional responsibility to provide fair and balanced coverage does great harm to their profession and the nation:
The grim reaper is knocking on the mainstream media’s door, and they remain gloriously oblivious. They have reached a tipping point but refuse to believe it. The corrosion that is eating away at their credibility had been happening slowly. It’s like acid rain; one day you look around and all the trees are dead. Nobody pays attention until it’s too late.
And when they become so irrelevant that no one listens to them anymore, they undoubtedly will lash out at their critics for poisoning the well. They will remain arrogant and clueless and blame the media bashers for damaging their standing with the public. But their demise won’t come from the outside. It will be an inside job, the result of one too many self-inflicted wounds.
Many of the more laughable examples of media bias that Goldberg writes about in Slobbering were first published here at NewsBusters.org, and he generously reprints the executive summary of MRC’s study, “Obama’s Margin of Victory: The Media,” as an appendix serving as a case study in media activism. It is an important book that every campaign reporter -- or concerned citizen -- should read before the next campaign begins, because the liberal media’s irresponsible conduct in 2008 could undermine the public’s trust in the fairness of our political process.
Here’s a short excerpt from the beginning of A Slobbering Love Affair; I highly recommend buying the book and reading the whole thing:
The media’s crush on Barack Obama began even before his presidential campaign. There was just something about the guy – his personal charisma, his liberalism, and of course, the fact that he is black – that made him irresistible to mainstream journalists. As Politico editor in chief John Harris recalled about his time with the Washington Post, “A couple years ago, you would send a reporter out with Obama, and it was like they needed to go through detox when they came back – ‘Oh, he’s so impressive, he’s so charismatic,’ and we’re kind of like, ‘Down, boy.’”
The intensity of this love affair grew exponentially once Obama began running for president. The media not only gave him extremely favorable coverage, but they also took the only other real contender for the nomination, Hillary Clinton, into the back room and beat her with a rubber hose. There was a simple explanation for this: in liberal media circles, race trumps sex. It was more important, as many journalists saw it, that America get its first black president than its first woman president....
After that, it was a no-brainer: Obama vs. McCain? New vs. old? Liberal vs. (sometimes) conservative? Come on! And this time the mainstream media did more than merely spin the news to help the Democrats; this time, they de facto enlisted in the Obama campaign. And they didn’t give a damn what you or anybody else thought about it....
This was the year the mainstream media finally jumped the shark. They didn’t simply flirt with Obama. They carried on a slobbering love affair with him right out in public.
A journalist I know who helps run a big cable news program told me that for the liberal media, getting Obama elected “was a righteous crusade. It was okay to be biased because the cause was noble.”
During his campaign, Obama may indeed have been a man with an air of detachment, that rare politician who always seems to exude coolness. But journalists were anything but cool and detached. They had the passion of the star-struck crowds that came to hear speak, or just to see in person, The One, as Oprah had called him. An NBC News correspondent even admitted that “it’s almost hard to remain objective” when covering such a towering presence as Barack Obama....
If you didn’t notice the pro-Obama bias during the campaign, you were either dead or in a coma. If you were dead, there’s no reason to continue reading.
Evidence of bias was overwhelming. You couldn’t turn on your TV during the campaign without hearing some slobbering reporter refer to Obama as a “rock star.” McCain, on the other hand, was the old, grumpy, white guy....
For its October cover, the Atlantic magazine hired a photographer who intentionally shot McCain to look like a monster. Turns out she was a self-described “hardcore Democrat.” The magazine didn’t use the “diabolical McCain” picture on its cover, but it did use one that the photographer didn’t bother to touch up. “I left his eyes red and his skin looking bad,” she later admitted, adding, “Maybe it was somewhat irresponsible for [the Atlantic] to hire me.”
You think? Still, some on the Left were arguing that while there indeed was a pro-Obama tilt in the media, it had nothing to do with liberal media bias, which they dismissed as a conservative myth. What was really happening, their argument went, was that Obama was beating McCain in the polls and that perception – of Obama as the winner – was what was driving his favorable news coverage. And while there may be something to that, there was also the tone of the coverage, the fawning, I’m-just-so-thrilled-to-be-in-Obama’s-presence tone – that led many of us inescapably to conclude that a lot of mainstream journalists were not just covering Barack Obama, they were championing him.
There was NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams who showed Obama an issue of Newsweek with Obama on the cover and fawningly asked The One, “How does this feel, all of the honors that have come your way, all of the publicity?...Who does it make you think of? Is there, is there a loved one?”
There was Jeff Glor, one of the rising stars at CBS News, who reported on “Five Things You Should Know About Barack Obama.” Sounding more like Obama’s campaign manager than a network news correspondent, Glor helpfully relayed some really crucial information on the fastest rising star in politics: “In addition to enjoying basketball and cycling during down time, Obama loves to play Scrabble. Obama’s job as a teenager was at a Baskin-Robbins, and to this day he does not like ice cream....This is a man who plays to win. No matter what it is, whether it’s the woman he wants to date or elected office or board games, there is an ambition there. There is a determination.”
You can’t make this crap up!
There was Harry Smith at CBS (who once did a commentary for CBS Morning News in which he compared the United States to South Africa under apartheid), who sounded like he was honored to be in the same area code when Obama delivered his acceptance speech for the Democratic nomination to a packed house at Invesco Field in Denver. “I’m just not so sure I’ve ever witnessed anything like this in all of the politics that I’ve covered, which goes back quite a few years,” Harry gushed. “There were certain points during the speech when the stadium was just so alive, and the ground was almost quaking.”
There was David Gergen (whom Rush Limbaugh calls David Rodham Gergen) on CNN, who managed to make Harry Smith sound (almost) like a real journalist when he rhapsodized that Obama’s Denver speech was so much more than...well...a speech. “In many ways,” Gergen raved, “it was less a speech than a symphony. It moved quickly, it had high tempo, at times inspiring, then it became more intimate, slower....It was a masterpiece.”
The tone was so syrupy you could come down with diabetes just sitting in your living room listening to this stuff....
END of excerpt.
The rest of the book is just as much fun. Other chapters include: “Pansy Ball” (about Chris Matthews), “Good Night and Go” (Keith Olbermann), “White Liberal Guilt,” “PDS,” “Jeremiah Wright and the Media: Don’t Tell, Don’t Ask,” “Joe the Dirty Rotten Bastard” and “Give Me a Break, I Was Only Eight Years Old,” about the media’s reticence to cover Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers.
As Goldberg wrote, "you can't make this crap up."