And the winner is ...
A look back at the worst
media quotes of 1998
The Union Leader
As printed in the
December 31, 1998 edition
in the The Union Leader
As we have for the past two years, we once again present the most outrageous mainstream media quotes of the past 12 months as compiled by our friends at the
Media Research Center.
This year's winners were selected by a nationwide panel of 50 conservative journalists, columnists, radio and TV personalities, media critics and scholars from various think tanks. In other words, the usual suspects from the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. This year's judges again included New Hampshire talk show host Dan Pierce of WGIR Radio and your editorial writer.
-- Richard Lessner
Quote of the Year: "I would be happy to give him (oral sex) 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 theocracy off our backs."
-- Nina Burleigh, former Time magazine reporter, in the New York Observer, July 20.
Runner-up: "Mr. President, we love you, I want to hug you, I want to hug you, please do the right thing. This is nothing, this is nothing. Thomas Jefferson did not have this in mind, I swear to God ... I would give Kenneth Starr the Nobel Peace Prize were he to be man enough not to refer a sex lie to the House for impeachment."
-- Geraldo Rivera on CNBC's Rivera Live, Aug. 6.
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 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 can be destroyed. The next step to that to me, it's a three-step process, and 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 the murder of Matthew Shepard on Inside Washington, Oct. 17.
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 on the CBS show Public Eye, Jan. 28.
Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award for Hating Ken Starr: "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."
-- Keith Olberman on MSNBC's Big Show, Aug. 18.
Good Morning Morons Award: "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?"
-- Lisa McRee on ABC's Good Morning America, Aug. 18.
Move Over Buddy Award for 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."
-- Geraldo Rivera, on CNBC's Rivera Live, July 21.
Politics of Meaninglessness Award for 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."
-- Barbara Ehrenreich, Time magazine columnist, in the Internet magazine Salon, April 30.
Carve Clinton into Mount 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 at his worst moments."
-- Nancy Gibbs, senior editor, Time magazine, Feb. 9.
Everybody But Us Shut Up Award for Promoting Campaign Finance Reform: "For those who worship the constitutional guarantee of the free press and speech, the spectacle of political hustlers like Sen. Mitch McConnell using the First Amendment to justify legalized bribery is offensive."
-- Al Hunt, Wall Street Journal executive Washington editor, March 12.
Runner-up: "It was a bill that was doomed to die. The last time you heard people so eager to claim responsibility for something like this, they were terrorists."
-- Gwen Ifill, NBC reporter, on Washington Week in Review (PBS), Feb. 27.
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 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."
-- Margaret Carlson, Time magazine columnist, Oct. 12.