Bernard Goldberg says members of the mainstream media have “disgraced themselves as a group.”
Betrayed “all of us.”
As President Barack Obama settles into office, the former longtime CBS News correspondent is out with a new book analyzing the media’s objectivity during the 2008 Presidential campaign.
A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media asserts, as you might guess, that journalists — not all, but many — became cheerleaders for a favored candidate.
And that, Goldberg tells TVNewser, has cost the media its credibility. “It is very, very dangerous in a free country like ours,” he explains, “where the press is the only institution that is supposed to keep an eye on government, when just about nobody trusts the press anymore.”
Slobbering, Goldberg says, is “not an anti-Obama book. It’s an anti-media book.”
TVNewser: In an earlier book, Bias, you contended that many journalists have a liberal bias. In your new book, you say bias evolved into a “righteous crusade.” What do you mean by that?
Goldberg: This is a book about how media bias morphed into media activism…in that, without a hint of embarrassment, they took sides in this race…because [Obama] was young, he was cool, he was black, and he was liberal…
That’s why they picked the candidate they picked — otherwise, they would have picked Hillary Clinton…her views weren’t that different.
TVNewser: Why do you believe objectivity was tossed aside during this particular election year?
Goldberg: Because [journalists] weren’t content this time around simply with being witnesses to history. This time, they felt that they had to help shape history.
And they felt that way mainly for one reason: because Barack Obama is black.
Now, I understand our racial history. And I understand the excitement many people, black and white, have that we’ve elected our first black president…but does anybody really think that there would be all of this excitement, and that journalists would be saying how wonderful this was, if the first black president was a Conservative Republican? No way.
…It isn’t simply that [Obama] is black, it’s that he’s black and he’s liberal. And [the media] wanted to shape history. And [Obama] was their vehicle for showing how good they were, that they could fix America…
TVNewser: It’s conceivable that some may write off the book as “sour grapes,” wondering if you didn’t support Obama and are upset he won. What would you say in response to that?
Goldberg: There may very well be a knee-jerk reaction that, because the book is about how the media slobbered over Barack Obama, that somehow, it’s anti-Barack Obama.
…This book has nothing to do with Barack Obama. At best, it’s only tangentially about Barack Obama. It’s about how slobbering the media were over Barack Obama. That’s a very, very important distinction.
TVNewser: Who are some individuals and networks you feel were media activists during Campaign ’08?
Goldberg: If you wanted to just go to one place and say, “What is the worst place in the media landscape?”, it would be MSNBC.
Now, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann are entitled to their liberal opinions. And I mean that — I’m not saying that with a smirk on my face.
…But NBC News — which runs MSNBC — was going to have these two partisan yahoos handle Election Night coverage. And the fact that they had those two, and Rachel Maddow, and liberal columnist Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post, anchor Inauguration coverage, tells me MSNBC cannot ever again be taken seriously as a news organization.
TVNewser: Any TVNewsers you feel were objective during the campaign?
Goldberg: [NBC’s]Chuck Todd always struck me as fair.
I think Fox — and I’m noting that I’m a Fox News analyst, but I’m not a staff member, and I would criticize them if I felt like it — but I thought their political correspondents Major Garrett and Carl Cameron were very good on the campaign.
TVNewser: In addition to Fox News Channel, are any of the networks having you on to discuss your book?
Goldberg: I am told I am going to be on with [CNN’s] Lou Dobbs…and I’m told I’m going to be on Morning Joe on MSNBC. Let’s see. Stay tuned…
I also asked specifically to be on Night Talk with Mike Schneider on Bloomberg…and they said yes. I’m really looking forward to that one.[This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]