Bill Steigerwald of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has the first interview with author and former CBS News reporter Bernard Goldberg about his brand new book. You'll love the title: "A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media."
The book goes on sale Monday, and Goldberg named two journalists as the most embarrassing pro-Obama partisans in the media: MSNBC's eternally thrilled Chris Matthews, and The Washington Post's "chiseled pectorals" correspondent, Eli Saslow.
Here's how Goldberg summed the book up: "This is not a book about the same old media bias. This time journalists cross a very bright line. This time they stopped being witnesses to history and they were intent on helping to shape history. They moved from media bias to media activism. In my whole life I have never seen the media get on board for one candidate the way they did this time around and -- this is very important -- they did it without even a hint of embarrassment."
He talked more about Matthews and Saslow:
Q: So is he [Matthews] the most egregious example?
A: Let me give you two. Chris Matthews is the most egregious example of media slobbering I have ever seen. ... Chris Matthews is an embarrassment of the first order. But I'll tell you something else -- and this is the single most embarrassing sentence I have ever seen in the Washington Post. This is a story on Christmas morning, Page 1, Washington Post, about Barack Obama's exercise regimen. I'm going to read you the line and I don't blame you if you think I am making it up. I swear to God I'm not: "The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weight-lifting sessions each week and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games."
Let me tell you something. If there has been a more embarrassing sentence ever published in the Washington Post, please, somebody tell me what it is. You'd read something like this in a romance novel with Fabio on the cover. This is the kind of slobbering I'm talking about. This is not the same old, same old. They jumped the shark this time. They really took sides and they didn't care who knew it. That's different from anything that happened in the past.
Q: You already knew the way the media tilts, so were you just waiting for this to happen, or did it shock even you?
A: That's a very interesting question. It's the latter. I figured it was going to be the same old thing. Of course they were going to root for the Democrat. They always root for the Democrat, the more liberal the better. That I expected. And believe me, I wasn't going to sit down and write a book about that. But the more I looked at it, the more I watched, I said, "I can't actually be seeing what I am seeing. I can't believe I'm reading what I'm reading." What pushed me over the edge in terms of wanting to write a book about it was the incredible lack of concern for what anybody thought. Even Howard Kurtz in today's Washington Post said it's not just conservatives who think the media rolled over for Barack Obama -- and they better change....
Q: Which media institution -- print or electronic -- should be most ashamed of its coverage?
A: Oh that's easy. Thank you. That's a softball. MSNBC. Not even close.
Q: And we all know where Chris Matthews works, right?
A: (Laughs) That's right. By the way, I was asked by Bill O'Reilly a week ago, "Do you think it's a mental disease or do you think it's business?" -- He was actually talking about the general Bush-hating. I immediately said "It's a mental disorder, because don't underestimate the power of insanity. 'Bush-derangement syndrome' is for real." But in the case of MSNBC, it's also business. They have made a conscious business decision to corrupt an entire news organization in order to jump on a liberal bandwagon. That's a journalistic sin. That's not just the old bias. That's a kind of corruption that runs very deep and is hurting the NBC news brand.
Q: A defender of MSNBC might say, "Well, they are just trying to be the liberal version of Fox News."
A: I have heard that, but it's not true and I'll tell you why. If you turn on Fox -- and I recommend this to my liberal friends -- pick a day in the future -- next Sunday, it doesn't matter -- and listen as long as you can. You will hear liberal opinion throughout the day. They have liberals and conservatives on all day long. Even the most conservative show on Fox, Sean Hannity's show, has liberals on all the time. Listen to Keith Olbermann, and you will never hear a conservative voice -- ever. So MSNBC is trying to be a magnet for the Bush-hating left, and in a very, very, very small way it is doing that. But it doesn't even pretend to present a balanced view. Its opinion shows don't have to, I grant you that. But Fox's opinion shows do; MSNBC's don't.
Q: Not counting Fox, were there any honorable exceptions among what we call the liberal mainstream media that did not swoon over Obama?
A: I'll give you a couple from MSNBC, interestingly, to show that I am trying to be fair. Chuck Todd -- the political director for NBC who was on MSNBC every day during the campaign? I thought he was fair. I thought he was reasonable. The morning show on MSNBC -- "Morning Joe"? There are more liberals on it than conservatives, that's for sure. Most of the people who were on there during the campaign wanted Barack Obama to win, but Joe Scarborough injects a little diversity of opinion.
Q: Pat Buchanan was always there, too.
A: Buchanan is one of those conservatives who hates Republicans, in my view. He's a safe Republican. He's been rejected by the voters three times. He's no fan of Republicans. He's safe. I can name a whole bunch of conservatives that would make MSNBC much more interesting, but I'm not in the habit of wasting my breath.
Q: Have you seen any improvement in the coverage of Obama since you finished your book?
A: Absolutely not. If anything, the slobbering has continued. The question when I finished writing my book was, "Will the slobbering continue?" I thought it would. It has. And the best example of the worst kind of slobbering is that line in The Washington Post that said "The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals ..." And this was after he got elected. So the slobbering continues. And by the way, I don't see an end in sight.
Q: Who can we trust to provide us with fair and balanced reporting on the Obama era before us?
A: I know everyone has jobs, everyone is busy. But I think the best thing you could do is read as many sources as you can. If you are going to read a liberal newspaper like the New York Times, check out the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal. If you are going to watch MSNBC, please, do yourself a favor -- watch Fox. And not because Fox is conservative while MSNBC is liberal. But while Fox has a conservative tilt, it presents both points of view all day long. So I would suggest that you watch or read as much as you can and don't get stuck in a niche where you are only reading one thing with one point of view because then you'll never know what's going on in the world.