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 CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
 Monday December 28, 1998 (Vol. Three; No. 204) 


Best Notable Quotables of 1998: Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting

1) The winners in 14 categories in "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

2) The names and affiliations of the 50 judges who assessed each vote and picked the winners.


cyberno1.gif (1096 bytes) Here are the winning quotes in 14 award categories in "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." To pick the winners the MRC sent ballots to 50 media observers who picked a first, second and third best quote in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices got two points and third place picks were assigned one point. Point totals are listed after each quote. See item #2 for the list of judges.

     Today you'll see the winning quotes. CyberAlerts later this week will feature the runners-up. To read all the quotes and see and hear the broadcast television ones via RealPlayer as compiled by MRC research associate Kristina Sewell and Webmaster Sean Henry, go to: http://www.mrc.org/bestofnq1998.html or directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html

     Below is the "Quote of the Year," followed by the "Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best Lewinsky Impression)" through the "Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award" with the "Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for Hating Ken Starr)" amongst those in between.

Quote of the Year

"I would be happy to give him [Clinton] a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs."
-- Time contributor and former reporter Nina Burleigh recalling what she told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz about her feeling toward Bill Clinton, as recounted by Burleigh in the July 20 New York Observer. [121 points]

Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best Lewinsky Impression)

"The ironies for a President not given to irony are endless. Consider this: the best chance for Clinton to shine in history might be for Congress to force him to pay the price for lying about sex. In the unlikely event he is pushed from office, it would take only weeks, maybe just days, before a vast national remorse set in. We destroyed our lovable rogue prince of prosperity over this? Clinton would become a martyr to a legal system run amok. His defeat would mean victory over not just sheet-sniffing prosecutors but all those who would criminalize politics with endless investigations. As legacies go, balancing the budget might look puny by comparison."
-- Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter in the August 24 issue. [63 points]

Wired Wicked Witch Award (for Loathing Linda Tripp)

"If there were an Ig-Nobel Peace Prize, who would win it?

0 Slobodan Milosevic
0 Osama bin Ladin
0 Saddam Hussein
0 Linda Tripp"
-- "What do you think?" question of the day on the abcnews.com home page, October 15. [94 points]

Hallucinating Hillary Award (for Promoting the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy)

"Where does Lewinsky fit into this conspiracy theory? Is she victimizing the President or is she too a victim?"
-- Bryant Gumbel to James Carville, January 28 Public Eye on CBS. [66 points]

Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for Hating Ken Starr)

"Can Ken Starr ignore the apparent breadth of the sympathetic response to the President's speech? Facially, it finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler, including the glasses. If he now pursues the President of the United States, who, however flawed his apology was, came out and invoked God, family, his daughter, a political conspiracy and everything but the kitchen sink, would not there be some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?"
-- Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Big Show, to Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief James Warren, August 18. [91 points]

Steve Brill Media Masochism Award (for Bemoaning Monicagate's Impact on Clinton)

"I think we can now safely conclude that this whole notion that the liberal media elite is coddling Bill Clinton and always plays to the Democrats is absurd. I mean the fact is who's been the undoing of Bill Clinton: Newsweek and The Washington Post, those raging conservative publications..."
-- Former New York Times and U.S. News reporter Steve Roberts on CNN's Late Edition, February 1. [82 points]

Media McCarthyism Award (for Tying Conservatives to Murder)

"The Christian Right per se and some particular members on Capitol Hill have helped inflame the air so that the air that these bad people breathed that night was filled, filled with the idea that somehow gays are different, and not only are they different in that difference, they're bad and not only are they bad, they are evil and therefore evil can be destroyed. The next step to that to me, it's a three-step process, and that ends in destruction. I don't say that they were told to do that, they certainly weren't part of any plan to do that, but again, what air are they breathing now? It's the air filled with that hate....I mentioned Trent Lott, Jesse Helms and Dick Armey particularly. The Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council and the Concerned Women for America."
-- Deborah Mathis of Gannett News Service on who inspired the murder of Matthew Shepard, October 17 Inside Washington. [88 points]

The Everybody But Us Shut Up Award (for Promoting Campaign Finance Reform)

"For those of us who worship the constitutional guarantee of free press and speech, the spectacle of political hustlers like Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) using the First Amendment to justify legalized bribery is offensive."
-- Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt, March 12 column. [82 points]

Starr Behind Bars Award

"Coming out on to the White House driveway on the day after he had violated all norms of privacy, he jauntily gave his trademark wave and his patented grin, one that doesn't involve eye movement, carrying himself as if he were President and as if there were a crowd of well-wishers rather than a ravenous camera crew awaiting him, as if he were on some high horse instead of on some low road. 'You cannot defile the temple of justice,' he has said in explaining his relentless pursuit of Clinton. But Starr did. As much as Clinton stained the dress, Starr stained the country to nail him for it. And his party goes on and on."
-- Time magazine's Margaret Carlson in an October 12 "Public Eye" column. [60 points]

Good Morning Morons Award (for Foolishness in the Morning)

"Women who've been polled seem to put it behind them as well, and are willing to move on and forget about it. Is that because Bill Clinton's been such a great President whom they elected in great part, or is there something I want to say almost sexy about a man who can get away with things over and over again?"
-- Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee to Deborah Tannen, August 18. [73 points]

Move Over Buddy Award (for Geraldo Rivera's Pro-Clinton Lapdoggery)

"Twinkle, twinkle Kenneth Starr, now we see how crude you are / Up above your jury high, like the judge up in the sky/Twinkle, twinkle little Starr, now we see how wrong you are/When you drag the agents in, when you bully moms and kin/then you kiss the treacherous Tripp, twinkle, twinkle DC drip/Twinkle, twinkle little Starr, now we see how small you are."
-- NBC News reporter Geraldo Rivera singing his version of Twinkle Little Star after playing video of U.S. Representative Mike Pappas (R-NJ) on the House floor singing his version in a birthday tribute to Kenneth Starr, July 21 Rivera Live on CNBC. [71 points]

Damn Those Conservatives Award

"The stock market crashed in October 1987, another setback for Reagan. Black Monday raised doubts about the soundness of Reagan's economic policies. On Reagan's watch tax revenues would double, but they never kept up with spending. The national debt nearly tripled. Although most Americans benefited, the gap between the richest and poorest became a chasm. Donald Trump and the new billionaires of the 1980s recalled the extravagance of the captains of industry in the 1880s. There were losers. Cuts in social programs created a homeless population that grew to exceed that of Atlanta. AIDS became an epidemic in the 1980s, nearly 50,000 died. Reagan largely ignored it."
-- Narrator of PBS American Experience profile of Ronald Reagan, February 24. [63 points]

Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis)

"The Communist Manifesto is well worth the $12 that Verso is asking. Despite the hype, its message is a timeless one that bears repeating every century or so: The meek shall triumph and the mighty shall fall; the hungry and exhausted will get restless and someday -- someday! -- rise up against their oppressors. The prophet Isaiah said something like this, and so, a little more recently, did Jesus."
-- Time columnist Barbara Ehrenreich in an April 30 book review for the Web site Salon. [62 points]

Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award

"He invited his exhausted audience to take a holiday from Lewinsky and spend a refreshing hour and 12 minutes feeling like a country again. For once the talk on the screen was not of oral sex, but of our lives and fortunes and sacred happiness. He had become all human nature, the best and the worst, standing there naked in a sharp, dark suit, behind the TelePrompTer. That which does not kill him only makes him stronger, and his poll numbers went through the roof....That may have been a miracle, but it was no accident: Americans are less puritanical and more forgiving than the cartoon version suggests, and this President is never better than in his worst moments."
-- Time magazine Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, February 9 issue. [104 points]


cyberno2.gif (1451 bytes) The list of the panel of 50 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and other leading media observers who generously gave of their time as judges to evaluate quotes in 14 award categories.

Mark Belling, talk show host, WISN in Milwaukee
Neal Boortz, talk show host, WSB in Atlanta
L. Brent Bozell III, Chairman, the Media Research Center
David Brudnoy, talk host, WBZ; Boston U. communications prof.
Priscilla Buckley, Senior Editor of National Review
Tucker Carlson, staff writer, The Weekly Standard
Mark Davis, talk host, WBAP; columnist, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram
Midge Decter, author, New York City
Jim Eason, talk show host, KSFO in San Francisco
Barry Farber, nationally syndicated talk show host
Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis, Media Research Center
Kirk Healy, Executive Producer, Cox Radio, Orlando
Arianna Huffington, nationally syndicated columnist
Marie Kaigler, radio talk show host and broadcaster, Detroit
Cliff Kincaid, media analyst
Paul Koloski, Editorial Editor, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Tim Lamer, Director, Free Market Project; Editor, MediaNomics
Mark Larson, talk host and general manager, KPRZ in San Diego
Richard Lessner, Editorial Page Director, The Union Leader (NH)
Jason Lewis, talk show host, KSTP in Minneapolis/St. Paul
Ross Mackenzie, Editor, editorial pg, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Tony Macrini, Program Director, WTAR/WNIS in Norfolk, Virginia
Marlin Maddoux, host, Point of View radio talk show
Don Markwell, radio talk show host, WACV in Montgomery
Tom Marr, radio talk show host, WCBM in Baltimore
Patrick McGuigan, Editor, editorial page, The Daily Oklahoman
Jan Mickelson, talk show host, WHO in Des Moines
Gary Nolan, national radio talk show host, Radio America
M. Jane Norris, WAVE-TV host, WHAS talk radio host, Louisville
Robert D. Novak, Chicago Sun-Times columnist; CNN commentator
Kate O'Beirne, Washington Editor for National Review
Marvin Olasky, professor of journalism, U. of Texas at Austin
Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated radio talk show host
Henry Payne, editorial cartoonist, Scripps Howard News Service
Dan Pierce, talk host, WGIR Action News Network, Manchester, NH
Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Executive Editor, American Spectator
Michael Reagan, nationally syndicated radio talk show host
Mike Rosen, talk show host, KOA; columnist, Denver Post
William Rusher, Distinguished Fellow, Claremont Institute
Melanie Scarborough, Associate Editor, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Ron Smith, talk show host, WBAL in Baltimore
Ted J. Smith III, journalism professor, Virginia Commonwealth U.
Philip Terzian, nationally syndicated columnist
Cal Thomas, nationally syndicated columnist
R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., Editor-in-Chief of The American Spectator
Armstrong Williams, nationally syndicated columnist
Dick Williams, syndicated columnist; host of The Georgia Gang
Walter Williams, Professor of economics, George Mason University
Thomas Winter, Editor-in-Chief of Human Events

That's 49. Plus me makes 50. -- Brent Baker


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