February 22nd, 2009
01:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Media critic blasts Chris Matthews' 'man crush' on Obama


Goldberg takes issue with media coverage of President Obama.

(CNN) - It has become one of MSNBC host Chris Matthew's most infamous lines of the 2008 presidential election:

"I felt this thrill going up my leg," Matthews said the night Obama resoundingly defeated rival Hillary Clinton in the Virginia and Maryland Democratic primaries.

And former CBS News Correspondent Bernard Goldberg, who has long alleged liberal bias in the media, highlighted that line as indicative of the media's "slobbering" press coverage of candidate Obama during his campaign for the White House.

"That's not commentary, that's a man-crush," Goldberg declared on CNN's Reliable Sources Sunday.

Goldberg, the author of the new book “A Slobbering Love Affair,” credits the media coverage of the 2008 presidential election for ultimately resulting in Barack Obama's victory.

He specifically faulted coverage of the prolonged Democratic primary campaign, during which two historic candidates contentiously squared off.

"I think in elite liberal circles, certainly inside the media, race trumps gender, and that's why they slobbered over Barack Obama, and took Hillary Clinton to the back room and beat her with a rubber hose,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg also faulted political journalists for not digging up controversial sermons of the president's longtime pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, until Obama had already effectively captured his party's nomination.

"These tapes were available, you didn't have to be Woodward or Bernstein to dig them up," Goldberg said. "If those tapes had come out six months earlier, certainly a year earlier, I don't think Barack Obama would have been the nominee.

"I think Hillary Clinton would have been. And I think she would have been the president today," he continued. "And in that sense, she's the biggest loser in all of this."

soundoff (607 Responses)
  1. Pappy

    Right wing fools. Get over it & stop hating.

    February 22, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Flex

    I thought it was Obama's talent and charisma that attracts everyone too him. It is something that the entire religious fascist bigot, GOP totally lacks!

    February 22, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  3. Yoli

    Bernie get over it, it's too late. Your opinion does not matter now, you are just trying to sell a book.

    February 22, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. MSNBC News

    It's not just Matthews; our motto over here at our studio's is "who needs Viagra, as long as we got Obama"!

    February 22, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Ray, Houston TX

    Media bias is nothing new, it just that the losing media claims it, I saw many instances of the media blasting the President to be Barack Obama. The media did what it was suppose to do, I never hear all of the media complaining about FOX news and their pro Bush or for that matter McCain press. Time would more wisely be spent with the news commenting and writing on the real wrongs, such as high pay for politician and low pay for the military, and countless other topics that deserve more press.

    February 22, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Jack

    Wow...is Bernie Goldberg not the CREEPIEST dude ever? Every time I hear him interviewed, he's defending ANYTHING neo-con, bible thumping, anti-science, etc... I'd say he's about even with a John Gibson, or Mike Church on the "power"-rankings. All HACK !

    February 22, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Too many casted stones

    this is talk about nothing.

    February 22, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  8. Travis

    We (republicans) didn't want RINO McCain. The media fooled us into thinking he was our only hope.
    Many Democrats wanted Hillary, but the media used serious trickery in making it look like she had no chance.
    Good Job Media, you won this election. I have to admit that it is sad to see republicans acting like the whiney democrats that we've seen for the last 4 years (they were decent the first 4).
    Nancy P., you've set a precedent of whining and backstabbing that will not stop until there is a revolution against political crooks in both parties.

    February 22, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  9. Major Minor

    Wah, wah, wah, Bush cheated. What proof do you have of that? As opposed to ACORN cheating, of which there is a MOUNTAIN of evidence – even some criminal convictions – and yet liberals blithely ignore it.

    February 22, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  10. Pete

    Sounds like conservative efforts to divide and conquer: pit moderate women against ethnic minorities in an effort to win over more women for the GOP. Nice, but transparent.

    February 22, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. tigerfan6317

    Lol, this guy is a joke. He's on O'Reily and Hannity's show all the time riding their nuts. Why can't people just let it go, and that McCain/FAILin lost. Obama will get things right. You can't judge a man off of a month's work...jesus

    February 22, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. John Harrison

    Wet slobber mouth Chris Matthews probably does get a bit turned by President Obama now and then. So what?

    February 22, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Joseph M

    you could fill a Library Full Of Books with the things Goldberg does NOT Know about the media, politics and the U.S.A.

    Joseph from Boston

    February 22, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. bohio

    When did Republicans become such whiners, Cry in your pillow show some dignity. You have Fox sewed up, its the most biased pack of liars since Rush. Wha wha wha Losers.

    February 22, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. CARLOS

    I have to agree. While I'll do my best to support Obama, I don't think the media did their job in any way shape or form. So much so that I stopped watching Mathews and Olberman the night I heard mathews talk about the "thrilling thing up his leg"

    Done with the media in that regard. I thought Journalists were supposed to keep their opinions to themselves –

    February 22, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Getoverit

    Oh, my goodness! "Shameful" comments by Chris Matthews? Get over it! What a stupid "take" on this. If this country weren't so darned overwhelmed with "indecency", this would never have even come up, for cryinoutloud. The holy motherland is tired of the religious right!

    Anybody who was "through" with Washington the way it HAS BEEN RUNNING for over 7 years, felt thrills when it became "possible" that the era of truly SHAMELESS AND SHAMEFUL government was coming to an end! Does that make us all "shameful"? Good grief.

    February 22, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  17. Jeffrey


    February 22, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Adam Guerra

    Sounds like Bernard is just sour grapes 'cause Hillary lost, and his letting his bias show through! Or does he have a crush on Hillary instead? What a whiner!!

    February 22, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. Ingrid

    I know Chris Matthews but who is Bernard Goldberg? HA! Sorry Sore losers, Obama won. Get over it.

    February 22, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. case

    "And I think she would have been president today"
    Oh well, to bad. Looser.

    February 22, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Arnold Reaganator

    Oh give us a break… These NeoCon-men are just jealous that for the first time since Kennedy, the Dems have a president with genuine charisma. These same people wanted to run Arnold for president for -- sake, just as they did the other actor from Hollywood, Ronald Reagan. (until they found out Arnold was pro-environment - oops)

    Seriously, give us a break - Ronnie Reagan would say anything and people would jump up and down: "Mr. Gorbachev, bla-bla-bla-bla - The bombers are on their bla - there you bla again... Win one for the bla-er..."

    What a sad joke Reagan was. ...All bla and no brains. His Alzheimer’s clearly started in his first term. (as his Iran-Contra scandal testimony later showed.) –Ironically, he might have been cured, if his admin. hadn't slashed the research budgets for research at NIH.
    At least Barack Obama speaks well and is intelligent.

    So just sit back and stop trying to obstruct America and the Obama revolution…

    February 22, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Shannon

    You know what's funny... Everyone keeps saying Obama is "fresh" and "change.." blah blah blah. Guess what, Guantanamo is still here... and probably will be for a while. Oh, and insurgents caught in Afghanistan, guess what, do NOT get the same rights as U.S citizens, regardless of what some left-wing organizations were pushing for. all I see is someone backing down from alot of the promises made during a campaign. Once you get in the office and see ALL the information, there are alot of things that you see that everyone else doesn't get too see. It's always easier to criticize when you only have a few pieces of the puzzle.

    February 22, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  23. Teri

    Chris Matthews has often appeared to be auditioning for the job of Obama's press secretary. Robert Gibbs needs to watch his back. Nina, the 2000 election wasn't rigged, nor was the 2004 election. It might make you feel better to say that, but it isn't factual. "The truth is, Obama has been treated WORSE by the mainstream media than any other candidate/president in recent history." Ravi, you must never watch MSM news to say that. Any gaffes or misstatements by Obama or Biden were ignored or explained away. They wanted him to win and they got it. Unfortunately, charisma and being a good speaker don't necessarily translate into leadership.

    February 22, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  24. Dwayne

    Nina D–Cheney rigged the Florida ballots in 2000?

    I gotta say I never heard that claim before, not even the most ardent of GWB haters.

    February 22, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Justmyopinion

    Many of you people are lumping "news" programs with "political opinion" programs. A "news" program has an obligation to report information in a factual and unbiased ways. When political candidates are the topic of investigation, "news" programs are obligated to examine candidates on each side with equal scrutiny. This is why they are called "news" programs – not "opinion" programs. Newspapers have long recognized this distinction by clearly labeling and segregating "Op-Ed" and "Editorial" content.

    General "news" programs such as those on major networks failed to scrutinize the Obama and McCain campaigns in balanced ways. Mainstream media failed to dig into almost anything negative in Obama's campaign and background. We STILL don't know for sure whether Obama meets the definition of a "natural born citizen" required by the Constitution for the office of President! Biden and Palin were treated in astonishingly different ways by the major networks. We haven't had a tongue-tied, factually-challenged Vice Presidential candidate like Biden since Dan Quayle – yet Biden's gaffes were almost completely ignored. In contrast, every single aspect of Palin's personal and public life was dissected into microscopic pieces, and used to destroy her fresh appeal to voters.

    Both Fox and CNN are inherently slanted in their "news" coverage – Fox is conservative, and CNN liberal. However, both Fox and CNN attempt to provide balance by inviting commentators from both sides of the political spectrum to provide their insights on the issues. MSNBC used to do the same, but in recent years has veered increasingly and unreservedly to the left.

    Talk radio is inherently different. These shows are commercial "opinion" shows that make no attempt to be balanced, and are not considered primary sources of "news" even by their listeners. Conservative talk radio arose because there was simply no mainstream media recognition of conservative views. Fox has embraced some of those commentators – Hannity, Beck, etc. – but in an "opinion" format. Hannity isn't reading "news". If liberals wanted to listen to talk radio, they would have supported "Air America". The simple fact is that liberals have no need to do so, because mainsteam media already represents their ideas.

    Some "news" programs like "Meet The Press" skirt the "news/opinion" border. They try to remain unbiased, with varying success. Tim Russert did an excellent job, though it remains to be seen if the far more liberal David Gregory will do the same.

    This brings me back to Chris Matthews and his "tingly" statement. While the comment was inherently distasteful, let's remember that Chris's show is not "news" – "Firing Line" is an "opinion" show. Chris should more clearly label his program as a liberal "opinion" instead of pretending it is an alternative to "Meet The Press". As such, Chris is as entitled to express his opinions as Sean Hannity, even if they happen to be awfully tacky.

    It is intellectually incoherent to equate the bias of major network news organizations that provide the source of supposedly "factual" information for the majority of Americans with the bias of talk radio hosts whose philosophies are transparent and supported by specialized audiences who tune in to their programs. The possibilities for manipulating public opinion in subtle ways are endless for major network "news" media. They failed miserably in providing balanced coverage in the 2008 Presidential campaign, and succeeded in advancing their own internal political agenda. Saying that Rush Limbaugh and Brian Williams are providing the same information to the public is just plain stupid.

    February 22, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
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