Best of NQ 1997 Contents
  Clinton Camelot Award
  The Harold Ickes "System Made Me Do It" Award
  Lanny Davis No Controlling Legal Authority Award
  Evil Elephant Empire Award
  Che Guevara Award
  John Glenn Award
  Good Morning Morons Award
  Satan of the South Award
  Bryant Gumbel Journalism Fellowship Award
  The Paul Wellstone Award
  Damn Those Conservatives Award
  Politics of Meaningless Award
  Media Hero Award
  If The Bias Fits We Won't Admit Award
  Which Way Is It?
  Quote of the Year
  1997 Award Judges

Publications & Analysis
  30-Day Archive
  Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
Media Bias Videos
Bozell Columns
MRC Divisions
  Free Market Project
MRC Information
  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
  What Others Say
  Site Search
  Media Addresses
Contact the MRC
  MRC Bookstore
Planned Giving


Free RealPlayer plug-in required to watch video clips.

Get Acrobat

Free Adobe Acrobat Reader software required to view PDF files.



The Best Notable Quotables of 1997:

The Tenth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting

Clinton Camelot Award
(for Creating a Clinton-Gore Mythology)

First Place

"His sturdy jaw precedes him. He smiles from sea to shining sea. Is this President a candidatefor Mt. Rushmore or what?...In fact, when it comes to influencing the public, a single medley of expressions from Clinton may be worth much more, to much of America, than every ugly accusation Paula Jones can muster."
-- Los Angeles Times television writer Howard Rosenberg reviewing Clinton's Inaugural address, Jan. 22. [112 points]

"Still their shared needs and mutual admiration cover an essential difference between the two men. Both think deep thoughts about saving the world, but they approach the task quite differently. Clinton is often roundabout, if not waffling. Gore is a plunger who thinks and acts in a straight line. Because Gore has been a reserved politician, his sometimes messianic zeal has been overlooked. The Vice President has written that his call to save the environment began with the shock of a near-fatal car accident to his son, Albert III. Characteristically, Gore felt it wasn't enough to save one child; he wanted to save all the world's children. By the same token, he has said privately that his absorption with arms control in the 1980s began with dreams that he could not rescue his family from nuclear war."
-- Newsweek's Evan Thomas, January 27. [74]

"Gore's commitment to the world of big ideas is no pose. Unlike John F. Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson, who became darlings of the highbrow set without fully earning the honor, Gore is truly engaged in the life of the mind...Had the younger Gore not become a Congressman at 28, a Senator at 36, and Vice President at 44, he might have become the sort of essayist who aspires to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters."
-- U.S. News Senior Writer Timothy Noah, January 27 issue. [57]

"As he begins his second term you may lament that President Clinton leaves little eloquence. But in an age of focus groups and consultants saying, 'Keep it short. Don't take sides,' few politicians do. He faces personal charges about his conduct in a motel bedroom. And ethical allegations about opening the Lincoln bedroom to the highest contributor. But you come back to the fact that if Bill Clinton isn't always trusted he has twice been entrusted by the largest responsibility we have to bestow by voters who can have few illusions. Instead they seem to trust that as President Clinton displays his own excesses and frailties he forgives and accepts ours, too."
-- NPR weekend anchor Scott Simon, January 19 NBC Today. [47]


The Harold Ickes
"System Made Me Do It" Award 

First Place

"In fact, Senator Specter, as Senator Torricelli mentioned, two votes have left campaign finance reform legislation pretty much DOA. Do you think that prompts the American people to wonder about the sincerity of Congress to really enact change and suspect that perhaps this is an intentional effort to embarrass the Democratic Party?"
"But it's so ridiculous, you know people watching this just think that reform is necessary. They can't understand why you guys can't get your acts together!"
-- Katie Couric to Senator Arlen Specter, Oct. 8 Today. [77]

"We begin tonight with stalemate in the Senate. The majority thwarted. Politics prevails. Campaign finance reform, which the public wants, dead as a doornail, all of the above. After many months of talking about it, the first real effort to reform how campaigns for federal office are financed, the push to get some of the big money out of election campaigns has gone nowhere."
-- ABC's Peter Jennings, October 7. [56]

"Your hearings clearly reinforced the public's already low opinion of politicians and politics. Beyond that, what did it accomplish?....At the same time you were criticizing the misdeeds of the Clinton administration, leaders of your own party were opposing changes in the law to outlaw these huge contributions that helped create this scandal. Do you think that undercut your credibility with the public?"
-- Questions from NBC's Lisa Myers to Senator Fred Thompson, November 7 Today. [54]

"At times it will seem as if an individual, or a presidential campaign, or a political party is being investigated. That's only partly true. What's really in the dock beginning today isn't any politician but the system that politicians built. What's important beginning today isn't what one party can show about the other, but what the campaign-finance system shows about our political system....The hearings that begin this morning aren't really about John Huang and Charlie Trie or Abraham Lincoln's bedroom but about the political loophole -- unregulated 'soft-money' contributions to the parties, not to the candidates -- that makes them important. Soft money exploded in 1996..."
-- Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief David Shribman, July 8 "newsanalysis." [50]


Lanny Davis No Controlling Legal Authority
Award (for Clinton Scandal Denial)

First Place

"So a couple of White House aides helped Webster Hubbell find work, and he did find work, some of it with Democratic donors. It may not look good, but is there any proof anything was done wrong?...All right, similar kind of question about Jorge Cabrera, a convicted drug smuggler who gave $20,000 to the DNC, wound up at a fancy dinner with Al Gore, wound up at a White House Christmas party with Hillary Clinton. But they gave the money back when they found out about his background. It may not look good, but is there any proof that anything was done wrong?"
-- NBC weekend Today co-host Jodi Applegate to Tim Russert, April 19. [59 points]


"President Nixon was investigated for obstruction of justice. President Reagan was investigated for not telling investigators what he knew of the Iran-Contra scandal. President Clinton is being investigated for making telephone calls from the wrong room in the White House."
-- New York Times Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Adam Clymer opening Oct. 15 analysis of Janet Reno's decision to further probe Clinton's calls. [54]

"All right. So what if we made this case -- OK, he's pretty tough with fundraising. But there's no proof that the Chinese had any in, except they gave money. He did a bad deal for you. And he has turned on his friends maybe a little. But nobody made big money in Whitewater. It was years ago. He was in Arkansas. He's a good President. I am happy. No boy is dying overseas. Country seems to be coming around. Supreme Court is pretty good. Are you better off than you were four years ago? Yes. What I if I made that case?"
-- Larry King to Jim McDougal, April 21 CNN Larry King Live. [52]

"What we've done is, we've got a face on a corrupt system and we're doubting the probity --who would ever have thought that you would doubt the probity of Vice President Al Gore and three nuns? So it seems to me you've got to look at the system when the system is corrupting people that you would not otherwise think."
-- Time columnist Margaret Carlson on CNN's Capital Gang, September 6. [51]



[Free RealPlayer plug-in required to watch video clips]

[Free Adobe Acrobat Reader software required to view PDF version.]



Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314