Sean Hannity marks 2008 as the year journalism died. But it could just as easily be the year journalism felt a thrill going up its leg. That Chris Matthews announcement in February, that a Barack Obama speech caused him a mild ecstasy, represented the everyday "mainstream" media view. Reporters didn't so much produce "news" during this election year as they tried to make a sale. Every story seemed to say, "You know you want Obama."
Chris Matthews won the "Quote of the Year" for 2008 in the Media Research Center's annual tally of the year's worst reporting, or "The Best of Notable Quotables." The only quote that came close to Matthews in summing up the year in liberal tilt was this bizarre post-election headline from the Reuters wire service: "Media bias largely unseen in U.S. presidential race."
The "Obamagasm Award" went to Nancy Gibbs, Time's senior writer in charge of obsequious fawning, for using her post-election cover story to compare Obama to Jesus Christ, only better: "Some princes are born in palaces. Some are born in mangers. But a few are born in the imagination, out of scraps of history and hope."
A Kool-Aid-abstaining Obama critic might see in that line a reference to how Obama's memoirs are a melange of biographical fact and self-serving literary invention, as authors from David Freddoso to Jerome Corsi have revealed. But no, Gibbs was celebrating the Obama victory as a massive crusade to save America: "He won because in a very dangerous moment in the life of a still young country, more people than ever spoken before came together to try to save it."
Even anchormen couldn't resist the urge to "save the country" by selling Obama. NBC's Brian Williams won the "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award" for soft and cuddly interviews for trying to help Michelle Obama identify the worst Republican lie about her husband: "What of the attacks has busted through to you? What makes you angriest at John McCain, the Republicans? What's being said about your husband that you want to shout from the mountain tops is not true?"
Do you remember Cindi McCain being asked claptrap like that?