Best of NQ 2001 Contents
  Swiss Press Corps Award
  Media Hero Award
  Pushing Bush to the Left Award
  Poisoning the Planet Award
  Picking the Lockbox Award
  Carve Clinton Into Mount Rushmore Award
  Good Morning Morons Award
  Damn Those Conservatives Award
  Selected Not Elected Award
  Department of Injustice Award
  Politics of Meaninglessness Award
  Euro-Envy Award
  Nobody Here But Us Apolitical Observers Award
  Blame America First Award
  Glimpses of Patriotism Award
  Too Late for the Ballot
  2001 Award Judges
  Press Coverage

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  Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
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The Best Notable Quotables of 2001:

The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting

Swiss Press Corps Award for Remaining Neutral in War Coverage First Place

First Place

David Westin


"The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that, and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now....I can say the Pentagon got hit, I can say this is what their position is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right or wrong, I mean, that’s perhaps for me in my private life, perhaps it’s for me dealing with my loved ones, perhaps it’s for my minister at church. But as a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be."
– ABC News President David Westin at a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism event on Oct. 23 shown four days later on C-SPAN. [83 points]

"We all know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist....To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack."
– Steven Jukes, global head of news for Reuters News Service, in an internal memo cited by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz in a Sept. 24 article. [67]

"To Western ears, calls for blood-soaked martyrdom are an alien concept, but consider the way things are for millions of Muslims of all ages: If you were born into grinding poverty where upward mobility isn’t even a dream, and have little to sustain you in life beyond religion, you too might find yourself screaming for the new Messiah with a $5 million price on his head....Everywhere you go in the world you will hear some version of the words ‘we are a freedom-loving people,’ but like beauty, freedom is a perception that lies in the eye of the beholder, and we ignore other nations’ versions at our peril. The most dangerous perception of all may be that one’s own side has an exclusive claim to either the truth or patriotism."
– CBS News foreign correspondent Allen Pizzey on CBS’s Sunday Morning, October 14. [39]





Reporter Dan Harris: "According to al-Jazeera, U.S. attacks on a village near Kandahar killed 93 civilians on Tuesday, including 18 members of one family. There has been no independent confirmation. Across the border in the Pakistani town of Quetta, five people arrived today at a hospital with injuries they say they suffered in another U.S. attack....This boy is one of the injured. His uncle says he had heard American radio broadcasts promising civilians wouldn’t be targeted, but he says his village was nowhere near any Taliban positions. Abdul Jabar is the doctor in charge."
Harris to Jabar: "How do you feel when you see these kids?"
Jabar: "I feel very sad."
Harris: "Angry?"
Jabar: "Yes. My sympathies are with the Afghanis."
Harris: "Angry at the United States?"
Jabar: "Yes."
Harris: "Everyone we spoke with at this tiny hospital said the ongoing raids have made the population here and across the border angry at the U.S. and supportive of the Taliban."
– ABC’s World News Tonight, October 23. [28]


Media Hero Award

First Place

"What an exhilarating moment it must have been for her – the first First Lady in history to be elected to public office. There, for all the nay-sayers to see, was the woman who had finally come into her own, free at last to be smart, outspoken, independent, and provocative, all qualities she had been forced as First Lady, to ‘hide under a bushel.’ Still she was voted one of America’s most admired women. Just wait. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet."
– End of "On My Mind" commentary by ABC anchor Carole Simpson, January 7. [82 points]


"He’s only the most important political leader alive in the world today, historically speaking....If you look over the course of our lifetimes, who was the most, well, you go back to Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt....If I look back over my lifetime, who is the world leader who changed things the most, and I don’t actually think it is a close call."
Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter on Mikhail Gorbachev, April 27 Imus in the Morning on MSNBC. [47]

"Five months into the Great Electricity Crisis of 2001, the aura of impending disaster is receding, at least for now, from Sacramento and the rest of the Golden State. To be sure, [California Governor Gray] Davis still keeps the lights low and the air conditioning tepid in his capital offices, and when I saw him there it was like glimpsing Churchill in Whitehall during the blitz....In a way, the energy crisis is a blessing for a man such as this: a dramatic event that imperiled everyone in the nation’s largest state and that called for a detail freak with an iron butt."
– Howard Fineman’s July 25 "Living Politics" column, posted on Newsweek’s section of MSNBC’s Web site. [45]

"Today is the day the Senate may pass that patients’ bill of rights, which would guarantee your right to sue your HMO. When that happens, one big winner out of Washington will be one of the bill’s key Democratic backers, North Carolina’s newcomer John Edwards. He is said to have the combined political skills – are you ready for this? – of Clinton and Kennedy, Kennedy and Clinton together, and also to have a very good shot at the White House."
– Diane Sawyer, Good Morning America, June 29. [24]


Pushing Bush to the Left Award

First Place

"Arsenic in the water. Starting up the Cold War. Make as much carbon dioxide as you like. Laugh about it. Bush has set himself up as a huge target. And the arsenic is going to be the equivalent of what your boss [Newt Gingrich] did with cutting school lunches."
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, addressing Tony Blankley, on the McLaughlin Group, March 24. [52 points]


"George W. Bush was so indifferent to the world that in the years before he became President he made only two overseas trips, both for business, neither for curiosity. No wonder he wants to break the missile treaty, alienate NATO, ignore global warming and reinstall Russia and China as enemies: Those foreign countries scarcely exist in his imagination. Why go to Australia when you have the Outback Steakhouse right here at home?"
– Movie reviewer Roger Ebert in a July 24 Chicago Sun-Times op-ed. [48]

"Last week the Bush administration went beyond condiments, proposing to ax a Clinton administration regulation that forces the meat industry to perform salmonella tests on hamburger served in school cafeterias. Given the heightened interest in the health of cattle right now, the move wasn’t exactly well timed....
"What happened to the compassion that was supposed to go with Bush’s conservatism? The campaign prepared us for some of this – candidate Bush made plain his intention to drill in the Arctic wildlife refuge, not a bad political calculus given America’s preference for SUVs over caribou. But no one thought his team would choose slaughterhouses over schoolchildren, even if only for a day. What connects these decisions is a preference for folks he knows: his oil-field buddies (mirrors of himself), corporate executives and captains of industry, from the Halliburton honcho to the Terminix franchisee."
– Margaret Carlson’s "Public Eye" column in the April 16 Time magazine. [34]

"The Bush White House packaged in its first week an image of the President as a uniter. But Mr. Bush’s message has often been at odds with the mission: The Ashcroft nomination, new restrictions on abortion counseling, plans for school vouchers, an in-your-face attitude that has Democrats reluctant to let down their guard."
– Reporter John Roberts on the CBS Evening News, January 26. [33]

"George W. Bush’s rhetoric is very inclusive. He means to be inclusive, and he’s used very soft rhetoric in trying to reach out to minorities. But the fact is he’s proposed no federal programs for minorities. He hasn’t talked about using the federal government to broaden the safety net."
– ABC News reporter Linda Douglass during the roundtable on This Week, December 23, 2000. [33]




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