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. terry

    Goldberg is complaining about Matthews and a man crush, maybe he's just jealous..... hey Goldberg, how about the poor folks in Kentucky who were murdered for the things you represent....

    February 22, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. MZ

    WOW !!! You mean to tell me the media is in love with Obama ? !!!!
    If we're all lucky, their marriage will be on the rocks by 2010, and ENDED by 2012 !!! Or, atleast in the same condition ( more in touch with " reality " ) that most marriages are by that time !!! 😉

    February 22, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. usualone

    Corrected comment:

    Maybe the press likes "brains" and someone willing to take on the task with legitimate proposals. Optomism, with a touch of reality, is also a nice thing to hear in this time of gloom and doom. Obama gave and gives clear directions of where he is going. His opponent only criticised and continued (and continues) to keep America divisive, when we need to work together to get us back on track.

    February 22, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. Buzz Daly

    Also–nobody cares what Bush, OR Palin said. They are both history, and, if Sarah Palin is the hope of the GOP, you folks are in real trouble.

    February 22, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. Former Republican in Pittsburgh

    This is the reason I left the GOP after almost 30 years as a registered Republican. They just don't get it. Obama won because he had more to offer the American people – and his values were in sync with the majority of "regular Americans". It's that simple.

    The GOP risks becoming extinct if it does not remove its head from the sand.

    February 22, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Sonia

    I actually agree with him for the most part. And I'm a Democrat who went into this election (my first where I was able to vote) with an open mind. I consistently saw favorable bias reporting towards Obama, which made me so mad. To top it all off, it felt that the vast majority of the people I talked to who supported Obama had no idea his view on policies or his ideas on how to make things like the economy, the health care system, college tuition costs, etc "better". Hillary Clinton supporters, on the other hand, were so "in the know"... they knew what her platforms were, her take on policies, etc. It was almost like a high school election where the cool kid with the popular slogan won over the other kid who spent time waxing the actual details of what they planned to do.

    I don't think President Obama will fail spectacularly or anything (and I voted for him based on that belief), but that doesn't excuse the unprofessional coverage of his campaign. I listened to CNN commentary extensively throughout the campaign, and I had distinct impressions of how each person was going to vote in the primary/ election. Perhaps that's ok with commentators, but when I get impressions on how the anchors, the analysts, and the reporters would vote... that's when a problem exists.

    And while I was too young in 2000 to understand how that election really played out, from what I've heard (and I might be wrong), people voted for the more likeable guy who was from outside Washington... someone who brought in new perspective and a change from the Clinton Administration. Eight years later, Obama ran on the same idea as Bush did... which makes sense. I don't think he would have won on the idea of experience = better President. So, while I don't think that President Obama doesn't have a clear agenda and solid policy ideas, his campaign rarely was more substantial (in the primary, anyway) than "Change we can believe in". But I understand that this is politics, and games are played... but I just wish people would realize that this might have happened... and next time, they might be more willing to question the media coverage.

    February 22, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. Kristina, Seattle

    Bev – more than 300 electoral votes constitutes an electoral vote landslide in the U.S. As for the popular vote, your "a little over half" was 8 MILLION votes.

    These bitter repubs need to just get over it, and start pulling their weight by offering up some creative solutions to the mess we're in. At least we have a leader now who is actually LEADING. If you don't like the direction he's taking us - then let's see your better solution. And quickly.

    February 22, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Blank

    "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."

    That's not true, I've read the book. He specifically states the media did NOT elect Obama, but George Bush, Palin's inability to attract independent and democratic voters, and especially the economic crisis cost McCain the election.

    Please correct this.

    February 22, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. i have "woman-crush" on goldbug, ooops, goldburg!


    my friends and i stopped watching corporate media

    because of these ugly conscience-free faces of AIPAC and neo-cons

    that keep popping up as "experts" and "pundits"

    February 22, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. sunoverla

    The entire media has a bad case of what director spike lee calls "Jungle Fever".

    February 22, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. tomrev

    This is the first story right on the money!. The media took this campaign to the next level and convinced people in everywhere America that Obama was it. The Obama campaign , early on, realized that and rode with it to the White House. The biggest losers were the American people. they only heard on side of the story

    February 22, 2009 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  12. Nina D

    Many angry people are commenting this stating that "the liberal media won this election." There will always be bias in the news, just look at Fox. Even if Obama had won because of media influence, at least his victory was legal, unlike Bush's 2000 victory when Cheney rigged Florida's ballots to get Bush the winning votes.

    February 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Blank


    It's not a man crush because Sarah Palin is not a man.

    At any rate, the difference between Hannity and Matthews is that Hannity wasn't anchoring during the major events. Matthews and Keith Olbermann were.

    February 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. craig

    I think that Goldberg is right, MSNBC did seem like Obama headquarters during the campagain. Some anchors more than others, and this is coming form a Obama supporter.

    That being said, FOX news was the complete opposite. If listen to them Obama had no right to run for president. The only reason they might have looked "fair and balanced" is because they did not like McCain. He was simply the lesser of two evils. Anbody that does not think the media plays a role in our electoral process is just plain naive.

    February 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. Bob in Austin, TX.

    It's kind of like sports... I turn on the home town radio station when I'm listening to games because if I'm going to hear a spin then I want to hear it spun my teams way. Politics... not much different... After years of Faux news (more like editorials), I find it refreshing to hear it spun my way... Didn't hear the repugs complaining when nobody but o'reilly and hannity and rush and coulter, etc. were all you could see on TV... So., do like I used to... tune in your own opinion and shut the hell up.

    February 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  16. Mike in NYC


    A 7% popular margin may be solid, but it's certainly not "huge." BO lost among whites, both men and women, by margins that were just as solid, if not greater. Chalk it up to "racism," if that makes you feel better. Considering what typically comes out of the mouths of black politicians, you really can't blame them.

    You might not think the popular vote means anything, but you were probably singing a different tune back in November 2000.

    February 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Dendes

    The truth is some ppl are still unable to come to terms with the fact that Obama won resoundingl and that he is OUR PRESIDENT. Period.

    February 22, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  18. Garrett

    The Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism – an independent, nonpartisan research organization – found that 35% of media reports focused on Obama were positive in content, 35% were neutral and 30% were negative. Reports focused on McCain were 60% negative, 30% neutral, and only 10% positive. So there is a case for saying the coverage of Obama was fair, but the real travesty is how McCain was handled.

    February 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  19. mary

    Who cares what this guy thinks? Isn't he the conservative elite? Besides, it is absurd to not acknowledge that the bulk of cable coverage is dominated by the ideology of the right. Yes, there are liberal elites as there are conservative elites, but I'm not sure I buy into the idea that the left is prevalent in mainstream media. That's a claim made by the right, but how credible is that?

    February 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. DeeDee

    This is so stupid. The media was also responsible for George H. Bush victory. Just ask FOX news and their number two fans – Dick Cheney and Karl Rove What is wrong with these gray headed foxes who are over 50 and write these surreal articles.

    Obama won because at all his rally people listen to him and appreciated what he had to say.

    This comment is so out of touch. There was a big difference from John and Barrack as well as Sarah and Joe

    Go take a shot of bourbon and puff on the magic cigar!

    And leave Chris Matthews alone! He's fair in his comments.

    February 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Larry from RI

    He said all that while coming up for one breath of air after pulling your head out of Rush's or Hannity's butt?

    February 22, 2009 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. kathy Lambert

    Get over this liberal media lie. Most of if not all the media is owned by Republicans. So get over it. We have problems in this country and all the Republicans at least the good old boys can do is complain. I am liberal and it is hard to find anyone who I think is liberal on t.v. I think every since Reagan the majority of the press has been conservative or nothing at all. This bantering of this side and that side with no stating of facts just opinions. And all of this just going along with the White House end in the mess we have now. Believe if I want facts I do not get them from t.v. news. It is all censored by what they leave out and to many opinions like yours.

    February 22, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. Tex, Dallas Tx

    This man is another profit seeker of the President Image. He is selling a book. OK. You wasted a precious air time with this opportunist.

    February 22, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. McGriff

    Liberal bias in the media is a myth. Up until this past election, this country has had a Republican president for 20 of the last 28 years and a Republican controlled Congress, both House and Senate, for 12 of the last 14 years. If the press is liberal it certainly has had no effect on the elections. In fact, it has had the opposite effect. So all you Goldberg idiots out there need to pay closer attention to reality.

    February 22, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. bluto

    Where was the "liberal " media when Bush and his traitors were lying us into an unneccessary war? Where was this media when Bush was shredding our constitutional rights?
    And I suggest that all of you knuckle dragging thugs go to school and learn to do arithmetic as what constitutes an electoral landslide!

    February 22, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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