Conservative media critic Bernard Goldberg may have a point -- for once
I felt that way after reading the former CBS News reporter's first book allegedly documenting enormous media bias toward liberals, Bias -- which felt a bit more like a series of bitter justifications for why he wasn't a bigger star at the network news division.
I think one of his biggest faults is to take individual mistakes made by journalists and weave them into a grand conspiracy or large-scale movement. Nevermind that the most-watched cable news network, most-watched cable news personality and most-listened to talk radio personality are all conservative-leaning (Fox News Channel, Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh)
If there's a liberal media conspiracy afoot, it's working about as well FEMA's Hurricane Katrina plans.
BUT - One claim in Goldberg's new book, A Slobbering Love Affair: The True (And Pathetic) Story of the Torrid Romance Between Barack Obama and the Mainstream Media, actually makes a bit of sense.
In the books' first chapter, he complains about a fluffy segment last June on the CBS Early Show titled Five Things You Should Know About Barack Obama, noting that the report was loaded with trivia about Obama. Liberal-oriented watchdog Web site Media Matters counters that CBS also did a similar segment about John McCain. But look at the difference between the five things:
Obama: 5) Obama dated wife Michelle when she was his supervisor as an intern at a law firm; 4) Obama loves to play Scrabble; 3) Conservative students made the difference in Obama's election as first black person to lead Harvard Law Review; 2) He buys suits off the rack at Nordstrom's and Bloomingdales; 1) He got elected to the state Senate by successfully challenging his opponent's nominating petitions.
McCain: 5) McCain was not born in the 50 U.S. States but on a military base overseas; 4) McCain's nickname in school was The Punk; 3) The plane crash which landed him in North Vietnamese custody was his third; 2) The North Vietnamese called him "The Crown Prince" when he was a POW; 1) He was called a carpetbagger when he first ran for Congress in Arizona, because he moved there to run. In conversation after the segment, the report also noted McCain was an avid bird watcher and loved the movie Borat.
McCain's five things certainly seem less complimentary and more hard-hitting than Obama's. But I chalk that up to lazy reporting, not a liberal conspiracy... See the Obama segment here and the McCain segment here to judge for yourself.
Click below to read response from Media Matters for America:
This post is getting way more attention than i expected; here's a statement emailed to me this morning from Media Matters:
Response from Media Matters for America: Goldberg himself suggested to MediaBistro.com's TVNewser blog that CBS' McCain segment was more negative than its Obama segment in that it noted that McCain "finished fifth from the bottom of his class at the Naval Academy, that he crashed his plane not once, not twice, but three times, that his high school nickname was 'the punk,' and that he was called a carpetbagger when he ran for the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona." In fact, CBS presented most of these factoids as evidence of McCain being a "maverick" -- a term McCain has frequently used to describe himself -- and repeatedly featured McCain ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) praising McCain in response to them. Moreover, correspondent Jeff Glor's "takeaway" from the segment was: "I would say with John McCain's it's a commitment to country, the idea of service. I mean, this is a man who's done everything, been everywhere all over the world and still there's this desire, I'm not done yet." In short, the CBS segment on McCain reinforced the notion that the Arizona Senator was a “maverick” and a youthful rebel – hardly a contention the McCain camp would find objectionable since they’ve spent years advancing it themselves. This is just one of the many problems we found in Goldberg’s Slobbering – a more complete accounting of which can be found in the extensive review of his book by Media Matters senior fellow Karl Frisch.