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CyberAlert. Tracking Media Bias Since 1996
| Thursday December 28, 2000 (Vol. Five; No. 276) |

"Proud" of New Yorkers for Electing Hillary; A CBS News Christmas: Getting High; 2nd Runners-Up in the MRC's Annual Awards

1) Actress Uma Thurman told David Letterman she's "awfully proud" of Bill Clinton and thinks that if he'd been on the ballot he would have won. As for Hillary, she considers her "incredible" and proclaimed: "I'm so proud of New York for electing her."

2) Christmas days of yesteryear at CBS News: Andy Rooney and Harry Reasoner getting high on joints received as a gift.

3) Second runners-up in the MRC's "The Best Notable Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

     >>> CyberAlert Countdown Calendar to the 1,000th edition. Today's is the 997th numbered issue, so 3 more to go. <<<


Uma Thurman, booster of Bill and Hill. Catching up on an item from last Friday, on the December 22 Late Show with David Letterman, actress Uma Thurman extolled how she's "awfully proud" of Bill Clinton and thinks that if he'd been on the ballot he would have won again. As for Hillary, she considers her "incredible" and proclaimed: "I'm so proud of New York for electing her." Thurman appeared to plug a new movie titled, I think, The Tell, or something like that.

    She recounted for Letterman how she attended an election night party with Bill and Hillary. Thurman declared of Bill Clinton: "He's done a very, very good job. I'm awfully proud of him." Of Hillary: "I think she's so incredible. I'm so proud of New York for electing her."

    When Letterman wondered if Gore was hurt by Bill "and his activities with the intern," she held up both her hands as a stop signal to Letterman as she turned her head away from him. As Letterman suggested the intern situation led Gore to distance himself from Clinton, Thurman chimed in: "That was a bad decision." She predicted: "I think that if Clinton could have been on that ballot as well as those two I think he would win again, intern or no intern."

    He certainly would have with Hollywood stars.


Christmas days of yesteryear: CBS Newsmen Andy and Harry getting high on joints received as a Christmas gift.

Last Sunday's Boston Globe asked a bunch of Massachusetts writers and media figures to recall "their favorite holiday gift ever. Who gave it to them? What made it so special? Do they still have it?" Here's the response in the December 24 Globe from Emily Rooney, host of WGBH-TV's Greater Boston show, a former News Director at the ABC affiliate, WCVB-TV, and most relevantly, daughter of Andy Rooney:
    "How 'bout the favorite gift I gave? When I was in college (some 30-plus years ago), I wrapped two joints and gave them to my dad, Andy Rooney, who took them to the office and smoked them with his pal Harry Reasoner. The two claimed they'd never tried it before. If I recall, they were underwhelmed."

    What a touching tale of the true meaning of the Christmas season. Maybe they didn't inhale.


On Tuesday the winning quotes, yesterday the first runners-up and today the second runners-up in the MRC's "The Best Notable Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." The annual end of the year special 8-page edition of NQ is based upon the votes of 46 judges -- radio talk show hosts, columnists, editorial writers, magazine editors and media observers -- who evaluated and ranked quotes in 18 award categories. For a list of the judges, refer back to item #3 in the December 26 CyberAlert or go to:

    To view all the winning quotes as well as the two or three top runners-up and, thanks to Webmaster Andy Szul, RealPlayer video clips for over two dozen of the quotes from TV shows, go to:

    To see the 8-page issue typeset as snail mail subscribers saw the newsletter, access the Adobe Acrobat PDF version. Go to: http://archive.mrc.org/news/nq/pdf/bestofnq2000.pdf

    Below are the second runners-up quotes. Point totals are in brackets after each quote. First place picks by the 46 judges were assigned three points, second place choices were given two points and third place selections were allocated one point. Here are the results, starting with the "Quote of the Year" second runner-up:

Quote of the Year, second runner-up

Linda Chavez, Center for Equal Opportunity: "If you're someone like me, who lives out in a rural area -- if someone breaks into my house and wants to murder or rape me or steal all of my property, it'll take half an hour for a policeman to get to me....Thousands of lives are saved by people being able to protect themselves."

Bonnie Erbe, host and former NBC Radio/Mutual reporter: "And if you look at the statistics, I would bet that you have a greater chance of being struck by lightning, Linda, than living where you live, and at your age, being raped. Sorry."
-- Argument about using a gun for self-protection, PBS's To the Contrary, May 13. [48 points]

Aiding & Abetting in an Election Theft Award, second runner-up

"Secretary of State Katherine Harris in Florida. As you know she's a Republican, a Bush supporter. Warren Christopher said yesterday that her, her decision on this five o'clock deadline has the look of trying to produce a certain result in the election. Do you think, and to use a rather crude term, that her decision does not pass the smell test?"
-- Matt Lauer to Gore campaign's Bill Daley, Nov. 14. [35]

Kiss Me, Too, Al Award (for Gore Gushing), second runner-up

"You've spent a quarter century in public service and have worked on a lot of these issues, obviously have mastered a lot of the details of them. When you look across the stage, are you frustrated at all?"
-- ABC's Terry Moran to Al Gore after the third debate, October 18 Good Morning America. [36]

Kosher Kiss-Up Award (for Lauding Lieberman), second runner-up

"Today Joe Lieberman had to go before the Black Caucus because there were members of that caucus, the Congressional Caucus, who had some reservations about his social conservatism. Did he persuade you and the others that he's the right kind of vice presidential running mate for this ticket?"
-- Tom Brokaw to U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. during MSNBC's Democratic convention coverage, August 15. [31]

I Am Woman Award (for Hillary Rodham Worshiping), second runner-up

"When your husband ran for President eight years ago, it was often said you get two for the price of one, meaning if you elected him, they got your expertise. Does the same now apply? Do we get two for the price of one? If we vote for you, do we get his expertise?"
-- Bryant Gumbel to Hillary Clinton on CBS's The Early Show, June 28. [39]

Carve Clinton into Mount Rushmore Award, second runner-up

"It's not unlike watching a BMW, fully loaded, the sunroof back, the heated seats, the Blaupunkt speakers blasting. No curves, no spin, a 180-kilometer-an-hour purity of performance. It's December and a press conference in the bowels of the cement box that is the State Department, and up there on the stage, hand jauntily in pocket and press corps in the palm of his hand, the President is wowing 'em again. So you have again the fractured promise of William Jefferson Clinton. Oxford Bill with the political skill set of a veteran Chicago ward heeler. More intellectually supple than Al Gore without the rent-a-wreck personality. More politically attuned than George W. Bush, and he really reads the books."
-- Washington Post reporter Michael Powell in a December 9, 1999 "Style" section story the day after a Clinton press conference. [35]

Media Hero Award, second runner-up

"I think the American public really got a taste of the degree to which not only Elian had been, in my view, you know kidnapped by these people [Cuban-Americans], but American policy on Cuba has been kidnapped by a very active, vociferous minority.... "I just came from a trip from Venezuela to Bogota, Colombia to Moscow. I got to tell you, what people in Bogota, Colombia would give for five minutes of Janet Reno. What people in Russia today in these lawless, no rule of law societies, would give for five minutes of Janet Reno."
-- New York Times columnist and ex-reporter Thomas Friedman, PBS's Washington Week in Review, Apr. 28. [52]

The Real Reagan Legacy Award, second runner-up

"We went through that whole period, get government off our backs. Remember the Competitive Council? Let the corporations voluntarily regulate themselves and come up with safety standards, so that the Carter administration could come up with new standards for tires, the Reagan administration came in and cut them out, abolished them and cut the budget of that very agency, that the Republicans are now criticizing, by 50 percent. And it's never come back. It's never come back."
-- Time's Margaret Carlson holding Reagan accountable for bad Firestone tires, Sept. 9 CNN Capital Gang. [47]

Flirting with Disaster Award (for Proximity to Conservatives), second runner-up

"You said you ended up with a more conservative platform than you originally drafted. How disappointed are you?"
-- NBC's Maria Shriver to platform committee chairman Tommy Thompson, during MSNBC Republican convention coverage, July 31. [32]

The Galloping Ghost of Gingrich Award (for Chiding Cheney), second runner-up

"I have to ask you, as an African-American, if you have any difficulty supporting a man who voted against releasing Nelson Mandela from prison....Is that kind of vote acceptable under any circumstance?"
-- Jane Clayson to Republican Congressman J.C. Watts on CBS's The Early Show, July 31. [34]

W is for Woeful Award (for Bashing Bush), second runner-up

"A new poll shows that nearly 60 percent of Texans believe the state has, at some point, executed the innocent. No matter. These voters apparently view state-sanctioned murder as a fair price to pay for maintaining the status quo. A real leader would try to take his people to a better place. Will Bush? I have reasonable doubt."
-- Jonathan Alter in Newsweek, July 3. [39]

If He Didn't Sink, Send Him Back to the Clink Award (for Portraying a Cuban Paradise Awaiting Elian), second runner-up

"Good evening. In Miami today, immigration officials met with the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez again and once again the government has failed to get the kind of cooperation from the relatives that might allow the case of this young boy to end in a civilized manner that is best for him."
-- Peter Jennings opening ABC's World News Tonight, March 28. [45]

Little Havana Banana Republic Award, second runner-up

"Cuban-Americans, Ms. Falk, have been quick to point fingers at Castro for exploiting the little boy. Are their actions any less reprehensible?"
-- Bryant Gumbel to CBS News consultant Pam Falk, April 14 The Early Show. [51]

Semper Fidel Award (for Jim Avila's Admiration of Fidel Castro), second runner-up

"Why did she [Elian's mother, a maid] do it? What was she escaping? By all accounts this quiet, serious young woman, who loved to dance the salsa, was living the good life, as good as it gets for a citizen in Cuba....In today's Cuba a maid, where dollar tips are to be had, is a prestigious job. Elian's life relatively easy by Cuban standards, living with Mom and maternal grandparents half of the week, in Dad's well-furnished home the rest of the time. Both Mom and Dad friendly to each other and caring towards their only child....An extended family destroyed by a mother's decision to start a new life in a new country, a decision that now leaves a little boy estranged from his father and forever separated from her."
-- Jim Avila from Havana on NBC Nightly News, April 8. [59]

Bring Back the Iron Curtain Award (for Admiring Communism), second runner-up

"We missed the death of a notable American this week, so we want to catch up. Gus Hall actually died on Friday. The son of a Minnesota miner became head of the U.S. Communist Party at the height of anti-communist McCarthyism in the late '40s and '50s. He spent eight years in prison and a lifetime in the political wilderness for his views here, but he was a dignitory, dignitary in the Soviet Union. Even after his friends there abandoned the cause, Hall never wavered and he was 90."
-- ABC's Peter Jennings, October 17 World News Tonight. [40]

Damn Those Conservatives Award, second runner-up

"Howard, who are the Republicans who are not happy with the way this event looked tonight and similar groupings of these six, meaning, and it's red meat for conservatives, the positions rather strident tonight: anti-gay, pro-Jesus, and anti-abortion and no gray matter in between?"
-- Brian Williams, after a debate amongst Republican presidential candidates, to Newsweek's Howard Fineman, Jan. 6 MSNBC's The News with Brian Williams. [32]

Good Morning Morons Award, second runner-up

Matt Lauer: "Let's say I come down to your dealership, I buy a car tomorrow, I get my voucher, I go out and get my gun and then in a week or so I decide that I don't want it, what's to stop me from selling it to anyone I want to sell it to?...."
"And so if then the person that buys that gun from me goes out and commits a crime with it, or God forbid takes a life with it, how are you going to feel at your auto dealership?"

Tennessee car dealer Greg Lambert, who gave free gun to car buyers: "I'm not responsible for the actions of other people...what we need is crime control, not gun control."

Lauer: "Yeah, but why not take away the possibility? If you give someone a CD player, they can't go out and kill someone with it....From what I understand, Mr. Lambert, you're taking the promotion a little bit further. Even children who come to your dealership are going to get a free water pistol, and some people say that's just going too far."
-- August 25 Today interview. [46]

Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis), second runner-up

"The larger point here is how awful SUVs are. It amazes me that no one contemplates getting rid of them, in a serious way, getting rid of the things. They're gas guzzlers in a big way that are going to hurt us -- our long-term dependence on foreign energy. They're very unsafe. They roll over. If you're in a small car, they'll crunch you. Everything about them is bad, yet Americans gleefully buy them and nobody talks about banning them."
-- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, September 9. [31]

    END Reprint of second runners-up in the MRC's "The Best Notable Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

    On Friday, the last CyberAlert of the millennium will feature the third runners-up. -- Brent Baker


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