This year's worst:
As printed in the December 31, 2000 edition
Column by Patrick B. McGuigan in the Daily
The "mainstream" national news media's leading lights - those
who regularly tell conservatives to "get over" one thing or another - cannot accept the enduring significance of the most
recent two-term Republican president. That's why the Media
Research Center of Alexandria, Va., distilling "the year's worst reporting," retains an award for those liberals who believe they
have found "the real Reagan legacy."
This year's winner was Bryant Gumbel of the "Early Show" on CBS.
In a Presidents Day discussion of a survey listing the nation's great presidents, one commentator speculated that Ronald Reagan
could be ranked first. Reacting, Gumbel dropped his pen and sneered, "No! Reagan wasn't even in the top 10. Abraham Lincoln
(was first). Perhaps you've heard of him." (That survey of the nation's 42 presidents did rank Reagan 11th, reflecting a steady
rise for the affable conservative in the estimation of professional historians, another notoriously liberal group.)
Also in the "legacy" category, Margaret Carlson of Time magazine, whose bad works were a steady thread throughout this
year's awards, gained recognition for her assertion, in a Sept. 9 episode of CNN's "Capitol Gang," that Reagan was responsible for
recent problems with Firestone tires.
One of the most distressing volunteer jobs I face, even though it has its own rewards, is reading material gathered by the
center's staff. I absorb, perhaps too seriously, these examples of the imbalanced journalism which reflect a pervasive hatred for
American conservatives and traditions in the nation's press corps.
For "News Media Hero," I supported another rambling discourse from Gumbel, a ridiculous paean before his interview with Mikhail
Gorbachev, the former Soviet dictator. But weighted votes from distinguished colleagues on the panel of 46 judges (print,
television and radio journalists, along with a sprinkling of academics and conservatives based at think tanks) didn't even put
Gumbel's missive in the top four!
Perhaps I'm having trouble getting over the end of the Cold War?
In any case, Gumbel remained a champion in other parts of the competition, as noted above and Wednesday.
Still, the "Media Hero" winner was worthy. Carlson of Time magazine garnered the most votes for a psycho-analysis of Al Gore's
relationship with his late father. She concluded "Gore is fully grown. Unlike the breezy George W. Bush, who was on a career
respirator much of his adult life, Gore has worked up a sweat getting to where he is."
Right. Gore has spent nearly his entire adult life on the government payroll. Yet he has worked up more of "a sweat" than a
fellow who only came to politics after years of work in the private sector? Hmmm.
Beyond awards reported today and Wednesday, the Best Notable Quotables for 2000 featured these categories: Kiss Me, Too, Al (for
Gore Gushing); I Am Woman (for Hillary Rodham Worshipping); Carve Clinton Into Mount Rushmore; Bring Back the Iron Curtain (for
Admiring Communism); Good Morning Morons, Politics of Meaninglessness (for Silliest Analysis); categories related to poor little Elian Gonzalez; and Flirting with Disaster (for Proximity to Conservatives).
That last category was dominated by journalists who consider it bad form for Republican politicians to agree with the policy views of most members of the Grand Old Party.
Then there was Quote of the Year - a meandering missive from Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, in which he cheered the shocking photographic image of a heavily armed U.S. marshal pointing his rifle at the terrified Cuban holding young Gonzalez.
Introducing the 2000 compilation, the center's staff included this: "We conducted an automatic recount, followed by a hand count. But each time... elections officer Kristina Sewell got the same results. However, she did not count dimpled ballots and avoided trying to divine the intent of judges if any quotes were not clearly marked."
I will not protest even in those rare contests (some noted Wednesday and today) where my first choice "lost." There's more than enough liberal news media bias to go around.