Pass the Tissues: The Slobbering Love Affair Between Obama and the Press

Anyone who doesn't believe the media fix was in for Barack Obama during the last presidential campaign doesn't need a book by Bernard Goldberg to convince them.

They need an honesty transplant.

But Goldberg is back all the same with a new tome encapsulating the media love-in that cushioned Obama's ascent to the Oval Office.

Goldberg, the former CBS newsman turned media bias detector, gives us A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media.

The slim volume (173 pages) serves as a compilation of everything conservatives have gleaned over the last six months from Newsbusters.org and other top-shelf blogs. Goldberg leans on the conservative Media Research Center and a few recent surveys to underline his points. But putting it all together in one highly readable package provides a service all the same, especially for those who don't necessarily trust a right-leaning blog for the skinny on media bias.

The bestselling author isn't Ann Coulter, nor should he be dismissed by those on the left who would gleefully lump him in with that mini-skirted maiden. He's a news man first, and he doesn't go out of his way to score ideological points like books written by more openly right wing authors.

Goldberg often inserts corny jokes into the text for levity, but underneath it all is a sadness, a sense that a profession he once was proud to call his own is less than a shell of its old self.

And he's not just bemoaning an industry's self-induced collapse. He's afraid of what an ineffective press means for the country. What if President Obama turns out to be a fumbler in chief? Will the media tell us about his miscues? And at this point would the public even believe it, given how reporters have sullied the image of journalism in recent years?

The book's introduction tells you all you really need to know about the sorry state of the media today. Goldberg recalls speaking to a journalism class at American University and getting little but derision from the students forced to read his first book, Bias.

The professor offered his two cents into the debate:

"Isn't it the role of the media to effect change in society?" he asked innocently.

Goldberg shot back -- "Your change or mine?"

Silence.

Slobbering quickly gets to the heart of the matter, recalling the outrageously positive spin put on Sen. Obama's campaign, the dirt thrown at Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain and just how differently each was treated.

Goldberg takes specific delight in mocking Hardball host Chris Matthews. Commentators are allowed to be biased, he says. But when they describe the thrill going up their legs at the mere sight of one candidate, clearly a line has been crossed.

The chapter on white liberal guilt reminds conservatives of another cultural truism. When liberal black officials rise to the top it's deemed historic by Brokaw, Couric, and co. That isn't the case when the black politician in question, be it Michael Steele or Lynn Swann, hail from the right side of the aisle.

Slobbering takes a break mid-book for a Q&A with radio titan Rush Limbaugh, but then it's back to the business at hand -- documenting time and time again where the media cast its own collective vote for Obama.

Goldberg spends too much time with the Olbermanns and Matthews of the media scene. Liberal talking heads aren't expected to be fair and balanced. And the hapless denizens of The View aren't worthy of comment at this point. But the author has more than enough ammo here to sink any charges the media was on its best behavior during this crucial election.

Slobbering also reminds us how the media investigated poor Joe the Plumber with alacrity during his 15 minutes of fame, but couldn't spare the same brass knuckle reportage when it came to Sen. Obama.

Perhaps the most damning evidence Goldberg compiles here involves the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, the hateful pastor who played an important role in Obama's development.

The media's unwillingness to investigate and report on Wright's behavior, and then its subsequent apologies or selective quoting on the pastor's behalf, ensured Obama wouldn't be seriously hurt by any revelations.

The book also assaults those who finally spoke truth to power -- after the election. The Washington Post's ombudsman Deborah Howell, for one, admitted to the media bias in her own paper -- but only after the media's cherished candidate had emerged victorious.

Great timing.

Frankly, any journalist who won't cop to the media's role in Obama's election is clearly beyond reach. It's hard for even the most stubborn journalist not to hang his or her head in shame after reading Goldberg's latest.

Then again, if reporters had any shame then Goldberg wouldn't have had to write another book about media bias.