Best of NQ 1996 Contents
  Craig Livingstone Award
  Freddy Krueger Award
  Chris Dodd Talking Points Award
  Good Morning Morons Award
  The Contract's Not Done Until Every Child is Dead Award
  Politics of Meaninglessness Award
  I Still Can't Stop Blaming Reagan Award
  I Am Woman Award
  Fear of the Competition Award
  Al Gore Risky Tax Cut Scheme Award
  Damn Those Conservatives Award
  Which Way Is It?
  Media Hero Award
  Timothy McVeigh Award
  Bryant Gumbel Journalism Fellowship Award
  If the Bias Fits, We Won't Admit Award
  What's the Frequency Award
  Quote of the Year
  1996 Award Judges

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  30-Day Archive
  Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
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The Best Notable Quotables of 1996:

The Ninth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting

Media Hero Award

First Place

"How can anyone argue that Bill Clinton has not been a good President? Business should love him. The country has been in a controlled boom since he bludgeoned through by one vote his first economic package....Workers should love him. There are more jobs than ever....Minorities should love him. He has a terrific record of appointing women and minorities to judgeships and high federal posts. He has put civil rights back on the table after 12 years of Republican neglect....
"No, it makes you wonder what the President and his wife could have accomplished these four years if they had not been consumed by these scandals, these lawsuits and these clippings. By almost any measure, the past four years have been spectacular for many Americans. Still, if Bill Clinton had been a full-time President, if Hillary Clinton had been a full-time First Lady...
"Would the poor be a little richer? Would the old be a little healthier? Would the young be a little smarter? Would the nation be a little more prosperous? Would the world be a little less troubled? You wonder. And you wonder if he wonders."
-- Former NBC News President Michael Gartner in his June 11 USA Today column. [71 points]

"I can't bring myself to hate the Unabomber. Quite the opposite; I find his story curiously affecting. The original Unabomber -- the anonymous, hooded fellow, hiding behind aviator glasses -- was uninteresting, a freak, a nobody. But Theodore Kaczynski is someone very interesting indeed...I envy his disobedience....the [manifesto] tells us what we all know: that American society can be a powerfully compromising, deadening, even saddening force....If Kaczynski proves to be the Unabomber, he is nobody's hero, certainly not mine. The bomber murdered three people, and might well have many more, all by design. Coincidentally, Kaczynski invaded our front pages just before Easter Sunday, mute, pathetic and manacled before his captors. But maybe he accomplished what the Unabomber set out to do, to make us think about ourselves, and the society that drove him to madness."
-- Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam, April 10. [58]

"It's likely that your view of Mikhail Gorbachev depends on your point of view. From the perspective of the West, the former President of the Soviet Union of course was a courageous, far-seeing prophet whose reforms set in motion the collapse of the Soviet dictatorship and the end of the Cold War." "We always welcome you in this country, Mikhail Gorbachev. We're especially pleased to have you tonight on InterNight. And we offer our very best, of course, to Raisa Gorbachev and we hope that you'll have a long and happy life. Perhaps one day again we'll see you in political office in Russia. We know that you've devoted your life to peace and to changing your country and those of us who have gotten to know you count ourselves among the privileged."
-- Tom Brokaw opening and closing his October 29 MSNBC InterNight interview with former communist dictator Mikhail Gorbachev. [55]


Timothy McVeigh Award
(for Blaming Conservatives for Violence)

First Place

"The torching of black churches throughout the South punctuates the ugly rhetoric of the Buchanan campaign....In fact, all the conservative Republicans, from Newt Gingrich to Pete Wilson, who have sought political advantage by exploiting white resentment should come and stand in the charred ruins of the New Liberty Baptist Church in Tyler [Alabama]...and wonder if their coded phrases encouraged the arsonists. Over the past 18 months, while Republicans fulminated about welfare and affirmative action, more than 20 churches in Alabama and six other Southern and Border states have been torched....there is already enough evidence to indict the cynical conservatives who build their political careers, George Wallace-style, on a foundation of race-baiting. They may not start fires, but they fan the flames."
-- Time national correspondent Jack E. White, March 18 issue. [130 points]

"But he is worse than oblivious to the political sewage. It is the medium he has chosen to swim in. Sometimes this evil nonsense takes the form of language....In waging the culture wars, he introduces a hateful ethnic dimension. Almost all the 20th century's horrors (the slaughter of the Armenians, Stalin's starvation of the Ukrainian kulaks, the Hitler Holocaust) have begun with a demonization of others. Buchanan has a genius for techniques that bundle his enemies together and subtly satanize them."
-- Time essayist Lance Morrow on Pat Buchanan, March 4. [74]


Bryant Gumbel Journalism Fellowship Award
(for Liberal Advocacy)

First Place

"[Clinton] knows that he is consigning helpless people to terrible hardship, and some to premature burials. He called the press conference to announce that he will sign the bill anyway....Mr. Shumyatsky is in the U.S. legally, but is not a citizen. Thus his SSI checks will cease when the welfare bill becomes law. He will have no money at all. Perhaps he will set up light housekeeping in a park. Maybe he'll curl up on a grate. Maybe he'll do the politicians a favor and just die."
-- Former NBC News reporter Bob Herbert in his New York Times column on the welfare reform bill, August 2. [88 points]

"Let me go to the minimum wage though for a minute...Ten million people would be affected by it. Most of them live at or below the poverty level. And this Congress which is trying to cut the Earned Income Tax Credit, which conservatives used to tell us was the alternative, and refuses to do anything about the minimum wage makes Marie Antoinette look like Mother Teresa. It is just an outrage!"
-- Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt, March 30 edition of CNN's Capital Gang. [72]

"For the fourth time this year Washingtonians were warned to boil the drinking water because more than 10 percent of samples tested positive for bacteria. The warning was lifted late Thursday but not before thousands of people from all over the world, here to see the fireworks in the nation's capital, were treated to water that would embarrass a Third World country and Bob Novak. Maybe this is enough to get your Republicans bent on cutting spending for clean water to reconsider."
-- Time columnist Margaret Carlson, July 6 Capital Gang. [48]



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