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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  Notable Quotables
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Quotables: The
Media’s Worst

Daily Oklahoman

As printed in the December 29, 1999 edition


Column by Patrick B. McGuigan in the Daily Oklahoman

The Media Research Center of Alexandria, Va., has continued its time-honored (12 years, now) tradition by "honoring" 1999's "Notable Quotables" -- recognizing the worst reporting and commentary by mainstream television and print news media.

I served as a judge again and the field was impressive -- if that’s the right word for methodical, repetitive and outrageous elevation of political liberals, and parallel abuse of conservatives by alleged journalists.

The "Media Hero Award" went to Adam Clymer of the New York Times for this encomium to Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., in a forthcoming biography of the senator from Chappaquiddick:

"Yet his achievements as a Senator have towered over his time, changing the lives of far more Americans than remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne ... He deserves recognition not just as the leading senator of his time but also as one of the greats in the history of this singular institution, wise in its workings, especially its demand that a senator be more than partisan to accomplish much."

Clymer’s comments reach the championship level. But my own first choice in this category was this tribute, on Oct. 3, from Barry Peterson of CBS’s "Sunday Morning" show: "As for Mao, he's still considered the George Washington of the new China by some." This remarkable comparison of the noblest American, our first president, with the 20th Century's greatest mass murderer, the late mainland Chinese dictator, is sickening.

"The Alec Baldwin Award (for Hate Speech Against the Presidential Impeachers)" is named for the Hollywood actor, recognized in a previous competition, who declared during a national TV appearance that Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., should be stoned to death for leading the impeachment investigation of William Jefferson Clinton.

In this category, my own first choice coincided with the majority of other judges - such worthies as columnists Don Feder and Cal Thomas, National Review's Kate O’Beirne and Priscilla Buckley, and the editors of Human Events and the American Spectator. Conservative journalists were echoed by "on-line" voters who joined in rating the best of the worst.

The winner, Newsweek magazine’s Eleanor Clift, spoke on the Jan. 9 broadcast of the McLaughlin Group: "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... 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."

Clift rose to the top for comparing U.S. senators who thought Clinton should obey the law with the Ku Klux Klan - whose members place themselves above the law. Clift reflects the increasing trend to "objectify" and marginalize conservatives who oppose in meaningful ways the "mainstream" news media and its liberal political allies.

A perennial favorite of MRC fans is the "Good Morning Morons Award ," recognizing particularly ridiculous comments from morning TV’s talking heads. This category just wasn't the same during the brief retirement of the champion conservative-hater, Bryant Gumbel.

Now Bryant’s back -- and on top. CNBC’s Tim Russert asked, "Is it hard holding your own views in check?" Gumbel replied, no doubt to gales of laughter at breakfast tables across the land: "You know what? In terms of my political views, I hold them in check. I don’t think that someone who watches is inclined to think that I'm one way or the other."

Gumbel couldn’t outdo himself, but he tried with this gem, during an interview with Oklahoma’s own Rep. J.C. Watts, the Norman Republican. The discussion concerned efforts by pro-lifers to end U.S. funding of abortions through the United Nations: "But are you comfortable with our national obligations, our national prestige, being held hostage by the most conservative wing of your party?" Watts nobly defended efforts to defund international abortionists.

In our next episode (Friday’s column), more of the liberal media’s "greatest" hits -- and the Quote of the Year. Be there!

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