Time Praised FDR & Dissed Churchill; First Runners-Up in the Best NQs of '99
1) Time picked Albert Einstein
as "Person of the Century," but managed plenty of room for
admiration of FDR. Walter Isaacson dismissed Churchill because he opposed
women's rights and praised Bill Clinton for restoring "the strength
of Franklin Roosevelt's legacy by reforming welfare and conquering runaway
deficits while still showing how government could help average
2) The first runners-up quotes
in 14 categories in the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 1999: The Twelfth
Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting.
magazine may have made Albert Einstein its Person of the Century, but
Managing Editor Walter Isaacson made sure Franklin Roosevelt got plenty of
admiration in the magazine's oddly Friday-dated December 31 issue.
Roosevelt and Mohandas Gandhi shared "runner-up" status in the
issue, with articles about the attributes of each. Isaacson explained that
Time passed over Winston Churchill, in part, because "He bulldoggedly
opposed the women's-rights movement." But I didn't notice any
consideration of whether fifty years ago Einstein held proper 1999 views
of the role of women.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer may
have revealed a widespread media disappointment with the passing over of
Franklin Roosevelt, as he asked Isaacson on Sunday's Late Edition:
"You know, a lot of people are going to be mighty disappointed that
you didn't pick FDR, given that probably the greatest threat during this
century was Hitler, perhaps the most evil man in history. FDR led the
world, the free world, in the coalition to defeat him and they won."
Isaacson replied by
asserting Roosevelt was a champion of "unfettered free market
capitalism," a theme he also promoted in the pages of the magazine.
He told Blitzer: "Absolutely. And Franklin Roosevelt also took on
capitalism and democracy's other great challenge, which was the Great
Depression, and created a system in which the government helps provide a
social safety net but still allows unfettered free market capitalism to
work. So Roosevelt is a paramount person in this century, and there's long
pieces on him, as I say, by President Clinton and Doris Kearns
Indeed, Time featured a
piece by Bill Clinton titled "Captain Courageous." In his
up-front "To Our Readers" piece, Isaacson praised Clinton for
restoring FDR's legacy by reforming welfare and "conquering runaway
deficits." Isaacson insisted:
"One of President Clinton's accomplishments has
been to restore the strength of Franklin Roosevelt's legacy by reforming
welfare and conquering runaway deficits while still showing how government
could help average citizens. He's written a fascinating piece about what
Roosevelt means today."
If Roosevelt's legacy
was so worthwhile why would it need restoring? And how is that
accomplished by doing anything other than continuing its record of more
government spending programs?
In an overview piece
about the century, "Who Mattered and Why," Isaacson made clear
that Time put modern liberal sensibilities above everything else. While he
applauded Churchill's vigorous resistance of Hitler, Isaacson found
Churchill lacking in the "civil rights" department:
"In his approach to domestic issues, individual
rights and the liberties of colonial subjects, Churchill turned out to be
a romantic refugee from a previous era who ended up on the wrong side of
history. He did not become Prime Minister, he incorrectly proclaimed in
1942, 'to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire,' which
then controlled a quarter of the globe's land. He bulldoggedly opposed the
women's-rights movement, other civil-rights crusades and decolonization,
and he called Mohandas Gandhi 'nauseating' and a 'half- naked fakir.'
"As it turned out, Churchill's tenacity was
powerful enough to defy Hitler, but not as powerful as the resistance
techniques of the half-naked fakir. Gandhi and others who fought for civil
rights turned out to be part of a historic tide, one that Roosevelt and
his wife Eleanor appreciated better than Churchill did."
Indeed, earlier in the
story, Isaacson gushed over Eleanor Roosevelt:
"Roosevelt made another great contribution: he
escorted onto the century's stage a remarkable woman, his wife Eleanor.
She served as his counterpoint: uncompromisingly moral, earnest rather
than devious, she became an icon of feminism and social justice in a
nation just discovering the need to grant rights to women, blacks,
ordinary workers and the poor. She discovered the depth of racial
discrimination while touring New Deal programs (on a visit to Birmingham
in 1938, she refused to sit in the white section of the auditorium), and
subsequently peppered her husband with questions over dinner and memos at
bedtime. Even after her husband's death, she remained one of the century's
most powerful advocates for social fairness."
The latest edition of
the MRC's MagazineWatch, put together this week by one of the few MRC
staffers working this week, Tim Graham, offers more on Time's look at FDR
and Gandhi as well as a U.S. News piece about a subject ignored by much of
the media. The contents list for MagazineWatch, now up on the MRC home
-- Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson explained
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a finalist for "Person of the Century"
honors because he championed "free minds and free markets." Huh?
-- Isaacson added a syrupy tribute for Eleanor
Roosevelt, and noted when it came to human rights, "Roosevelt and his
wife Eleanor appreciated better than Churchill did."
-- Time Chief Foreign Correspondent Johanna McGeary
lauded Gandhi: "Sixties kids like me were his disciples when we went
South in the Freedom Summer to sit in for civil rights and when we paraded
through the streets of America to stop the war in Vietnam."
-- Mining a surprisingly untapped vein for the supposed
free speech-lovers in the national press corps, U.S. News columnist John
Leo reported on the cowardly college presidents who allow politically
incorrect student newspapers to be stolen or destroyed.
To read these items, go
CyberAlert relayed the winning quotes. Today, all 14 of the first
runners-up in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 1999: The Twelfth
Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."
A panel of 44 talk show
hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and media observers
generously gave of their time to select their choices for the first,
second and third best quote from six to eight quotes in each category.
First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices two
points, with one point for the third place selections. (See item #2 in the
December 28 CyberAlert for the list of judges.)
You can read all the
quotes published in the print edition of this special year-end issue, plus
view video clips, in RealPlayer format, of many of the television quotes,
by going to the MRC's home page: http://archive.mrc.org
and then click on the blue box just to the left of the picture.
Or, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/bestofnq1999.html
and click on: "1999 Winners -- Official Version Enhanced for the Web
with Video Clips."
Now, the top runners-up
with the points each earned, in the formula described above, listed in
brackets at the end of the attribution for each quote:
Quote of the Year, first runner-up:
"[W]e are in the middle of a primal
American saga and the important part is yet to come. Bill Clinton may be
merely the prequel, the President of lesser moment -- except, so to speak,
as the horse she rode in on....I think I see a sort of Celtic mist forming
around Hillary as a new archetype (somewhere between Eleanor and Evita,
transcending both) at a moment when the civilization pivots, at last,
decisively -- perhaps for the first time since the advent of Christian
patriarchy two millenniums ago -- toward Woman."
-- Time's Lance Morrow in a July 12 "Viewpoint" piece. [77
The Alec Baldwin Award (for Hate Speech
Against the Presidential Impeachers), first runner-up:
"As she watches Republicans in
Congress push ahead with impeachment proceedings against President
Clinton, Ellen Mendel of Manhattan says she feels the same despair that
she did as a girl in Nazi Germany when the efforts of a stubborn group of
leaders snowballed, crushing the will of the people. 'It is apparent
that the bulldozing campaign by the Republicans will not end,' said Ms.
Mendel, a psychotherapist. And in a moment of self-analysis, she added:
'Their efforts are so abusive that I was beginning to feel a sense of
discouragement. I have been feeling very isolated.'"
-- Opening to a January 25 New York Times story by Ginger Thompson on
liberal Manhattanites enraged by the Republican push for removal. [57
Soft on Crime Award (for Promoting Those
Opposed to Holding Clinton Accountable), first runner-up:
"The Republican managers pushed a case
that was bogus from the beginning. It should have been a vote of censure
in the House and be done with it. And look at the defectors, the
Republican defectors in the Senate: Northeastern Republicans. That's the
aspect of the party that's still in touch with the people."
-- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, February 13 McLaughlin Group. [57 points]
China Syndrome Award (for Dismissing
Nuclear Espionage), first runner-up:
"I heard someone ask rhetorically
today that, 'Look, this is only gonna matter if, God forbid, there is
one dark day that sees the use, the all-out use of thermonuclear weapons
on this planet, and so why worry?'"
-- MSNBC host Brian Williams to House Select Committee on Intelligence
Chairman Porter Goss (R.-Fla.) on The News with Brian Williams, May 25.
I Am Woman Award (for Hillary Rodham
Worshipping), first runner-up:
"Forget the Senate. Over the last 12
days, Hillary Rodham Clinton has looked and sounded more like a candidate
for Secretary of State. There she was in Egypt, gently urging tolerance
for the minority Coptic Christians. There she was in Tunisia, lashing out
at Islamic radicals in other countries who oppress women. And here she was
in Morocco, speaking out on everything from the Middle East peace process
to the NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia.... "But the sight of the First
Lady back on the world stage where she feels so sure-footed brought into
sharp focus the peculiar trade-offs facing her as she decides whether to
run next year....How does a woman who eagerly told an audience this
morning about education and economics in Guatemala and Uganda turn her
attention to the pork-and-potholes issues that arise in places like Utica
and Ithaca? How does a woman whose international profile is so high that
bystanders in Africa two years ago referred to her as 'the queen of the
world' adjust to becoming a low-ranking member of the seniority-conscious
-- Washington Post reporter Peter Baker in an April 1 news story about
Hillary Clinton's trip to Africa. [50 points]
Media Hero Award, first runner-up:
"If his private life is shaped by his
love for children and stepchildren, his public one is still shaped by his
concern for the little guy, the one who parks your car, rings the cash
register at the convenience store, catches the early bus. As he left town
he was trying to expand health care, and when he comes back from burying
his nephew, he will be fighting to raise the minimum wage."
-- Time columnist Margaret Carlson on Ted Kennedy, August 2. [51 points]
Damn Those Conservatives Award, first
"Let's talk a little bit more about the right wing because I know
that's something you feel very strongly about. But this is actually not
necessarily about the right wing, but perhaps a climate that some say has
been established by religious zealots or Christian conservatives. There
have been two recent incidents in the news I think that upset most people
in this country, that is the dragging death of James Byrd Junior and the
beating death of Matthew Shepard. I just would like you to reflect on
whether you feel people in this country are increasingly intolerant,
mean-spirited, etcetera, and what, if anything, can be done about that
because a lot of people get very discouraged when they hear and see this
kind of brutality taking place."
-- Today's Katie Couric to former Texas Governor Ann Richards as she
hosted a 92nd Street Y appearance in New York City on March 3 shown by
C-SPAN April 3. [56 points]
Good Morning Morons Award, first runner-up:
"Bush is using this term
'compassionate conservative' as he campaigns, which is an interesting
juxtaposition of two seemingly contradictory terms."
-- Good Morning America co-host Charlie Gibson to William Safire in
discussing phrases used by presidential candidates in the campaign,
November 18. [49 points]
Littleton Shop of Horrors Award (for
Exploiting a Tragedy to Push Gun Control), first runner-up:
"Perhaps it will take one more school
shooting to move the majority of Americans into a position more powerful
than that of the NRA. Perhaps it will take one more school shooting to
move us from people who support gun control to people who vote it. But as
we continue to let the widows and the wounded do the work, be warned. That
next school may be the one your children attend; the next accident could
be close to home."
-- Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen, Nov. 1. [39 points]
Shooting the Constitution Award (for
Advocating the Banning of Guns), first runner-up:
"Get rid of the guns. We had the
Second Amendment that said you have the right to bear arms. I haven't seen
the British really coming by my house looking for it. And besides, the
right to bear arms is not an absolute right anyway, as New York's Sullivan
Law proves. We talk about ourselves as a violent society, and some of that
is right and some of it is claptrap. But I think if you took away the
guns, and I mean really take away the guns, not what Congress is doing
now, you would see that violent society diminish considerably."
-- PBS NewsHour essayist Roger Rosenblatt, May 20. [61 points]
Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the
Silliest Analysis, first runner-up:
"If you take that penny, for instance,
out of the National Institutes of Health grants, that may be the penny
that cures cancer. Are you willing to do that?"
-- ABC's Sam Donaldson to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay on the proposed
1.4 percent across-the-board non-entitlement spending reduction, October
24 This Week. [43 points]
See No Evil Award (for Burying the Juanita
Broaddrick Rape Charge), first runner-up:
"I don't believe it at all. Anybody
who waits 21 years to surface a charge like this, and has no evidence to
back it up, other than very circumstantial, what she may or may not have
told some of her friends at the time, has sworn in the deposition that it
never happened, and now all of a sudden comes forth with this story, the
story doesn't deserve to be dignified by being broadcast and displayed.
What I find fascinating about this case is that we've sunk so low now that
a charge of this magnitude can be leveled against the President of the
United States with next to no evidence at all. I think that's
-- Time national correspondent Jack E. White, February 27 Inside
Washington. [46 points]
Politics of Personal Destruction Award (for
Geraldo Rivera's Hatemongering), first runner-up:
"Today's Washington Post [editorial]
says...'Mr. Starr should be remembered as a man who, hampered alike by
intensely adverse conditions and by his own missteps, managed to perform a
significant public service,' end quote. Missteps? What would The
Washington Post call the Lincoln assassination? Missteps?"
-- Rivera on CNBC's Rivera Live, October 20. [51 points]
Doris Kearns Goodwin Award (for Campaigning
to Revive the Camelot Myth), first runner-up:
"I would say to conservatives out
there, to Republicans, to anybody watching, whether they loved Ronald
Reagan or Barry Goldwater or Franklin Roosevelt, whatever. What this
family represents is the idea of heroism in politics."
-- Newsweek's Howard Fineman, July 19 Hardball. [56 points]
Back tomorrow with the second and third
-- Brent Baker
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