Best of NQ 1999 Contents
  The Alec Baldwin Award
  Soft on Crime Award
  China Syndrome Award
  I Am Woman Award
  Media Hero Award
  Damn Those Conservatives Award
  Good Morning Morons Award
  Littleton Shop of Horrors Award
  Shooting the Constitution Award
  Politics of Meaninglessness Award
  See No Evil Award
  Politics of Personal Destruction Award
  Doris Kearns Goodwin Award
  Too Late for the Ballot
  Quote of the Year
  1999 Award Judges
  Press Coverage

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  30-Day Archive
  Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
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The Best Notable Quotables of 1999:

The Twelfth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting

The Alec Baldwin Award
(for Hate Speech Against the
Presidential Impeachers)

First Place

Eleanor Clift "I think there are real questions about separation of powers and I don’t think he [Clinton] should go up there [appear before the Senate]. And second of all, that herd of managers from the House, I mean frankly all they were missing was white sheets. They’re like night riders going over. This is bigger than Bill Clinton."
-- Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, January 9 McLaughlin Group. [67]

"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]

"Her [White House lawyer Cheryl Mills] rhetoric wasn’t fancy, but it was on target. The G.O.P. is a party, after all, that owes its post-Barry Goldwater resurgence to opposition to civil rights. And while its leaders from time to time proclaim their belief in racial justice, their pledges have been mostly lip service. They’re too genteel for a sheet-wearing bigot like David Duke but all too willing to embrace bigotry if it’s dressed in a suit and tie. Mills, 33, is just the sort of hard-nosed advocate to drag such hypocrisy to the surface."
-- Time national correspondent Jack E. White, February 1 "Dividing Line" column. [54]

"Senator, when you talk to other Senators, particularly older Senators -- those who’ve been around for a bit -- is or is there not some concern of the public, concern in some quarters, not all of them Democratic, that this is in fact a kind of effort at a quote ‘coup,’ that is you have a twice elected, popularly elected President of the United States and so those that you mentioned in the Republican Party who dislike him and what he stands for, having been unable to beat him at the polls, have found another way to get him out of office." 
-- Dan Rather to former Senator Warren Rudman (R) during CBS coverage of the swearing in of Senators for the impeachment trial, January 7. [44]

"I can’t think of anything that would be better for the American Republic than to see some of the Republicans who brought this bogus, inflated case and have put the country through all this turmoil for the last, almost a year than for them to be sent packing and to be replaced by someone who can put this in somewhat better perspective."
-- Time national correspondent Jack E. White on MSNBC’s McLaughlin Special Report prime time show, February 10. [20]


Soft on Crime Award
(for Promoting Those Opposed to
Holding Clinton Accountable)

First Place

Al Hunt

"You know who the hero of this whole thing is, it’s that guy, what was his name, Richard Llamas, the guy who stood up in the Senate gallery last week and said, ‘Good God vote and get over with this, will you.’ If they had stretched this out for another two or three weeks, which if they would have had the kind of witnesses Bob [Novak] wanted to have, I want to tell you something, I think the people may have stormed the United States Capitol."
-- Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt on a special edition of CNN’s Capital Gang, February 11. [66]

"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]

"Didn’t I say to you that we are marching off the cliff? Reason tells you we should stop this and get on with the business of governance. But there is precious little. I mean, I spent most of today and yesterday half on the phone while I was covering this thing, with Senators Republican and Democratic, and at the moment everybody’s fondest hope is that the two-week hiatus, between now and the new year, in that period impeachment will sink in and sanity will prevail and we’ll avoid a trial. But there are a lot of people that don’t want that to happen." 
-- National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg, December 19, 1998 Inside Washington, the day of the House vote. [52]

"Good evening. We begin tonight with the voice of the people heard from the Senate gallery today during yet another procedural vote at the President’s impeachment trial....’God almighty,’ the man said, ‘take the vote and get it over with.’ He was arrested. That’s him in the beard, slightly balding, on the right. He may think it was worth it, speaking as he does for so many Americans, whether they believe the President should be convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice or not. The best that we can say tonight is they are getting there."
-- Peter Jennings, February 4 World News Tonight. [49]


China Syndrome Award
(for Dismissing Nuclear Espionage)

First Place

"Where have you gone, Joe McCarthy, oh, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you....Yes folks, Republican efforts to warn Americans of the danger of fuzzy liberals in charge of the nation’s political system -- and its nuclear secrets -- are about to go into overdrive."
-- May 24 Time Daily online story by Tony Karon. [53]


"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. [45]

"The rollout to this rivaled The Phantom Menace, with Chris Cox in the role of Luke Skywalker. But the facts don’t bear up. First of all, this notion of Richard Shelby yelling for Janet Reno’s head -- you know, Sandy Berger was briefed. So was Richard Shelby....There is no evidence they are building anything; they are deploying anything. It will take them at least ten years to do anything. This is hysteria to try to create a new Red Menace."
-- Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift on the release of the Cox Report, May 29 McLaughlin Group. [41]
Part 1     Part 2

"The Cox Report says China uncovered the secrets of seven U.S. nuclear warheads, but the intelligence evidence is unclear. It may be as low as four, two of which are obsolete. Amidst all the voices raised in alarm there is a bottom line: Unlike many of the things in the Cox Report there’s no argument here. Number of strategic nuclear weapons? U.S.: six thousand, China: less than two dozen."
-- "Reality Check" by Eric Engberg, May 27 CBS Evening News. [30]

"There’s a lot of concern now in this China issue, but the fact is China has 24 long-range nuclear missiles that could hit the United States. Russia 7,000. Yet the whole arms control process with Russia over START has collapsed. That was something started by Republicans. I don’t hear anything coming out of Republicans complaining about that, wanting to drive that agenda. What’s happened? When I listen to the Republicans in Congress on foreign policy, there’s such an ‘I’m stupid and proud of it’ attitude."
-- New York Times columnist and ex-reporter Tom Friedman to John McCain, March 14 Face the Nation. [28]




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