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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The Best Notable Quotables of 2001:

The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting


Department of Injustice Award
for Denigrating John Ashcroft

First Place

"Well, you know, Attorney General is actually an important job. Why can’t they buy off the right wing with unimportant jobs? I mean, this is a sop, I assume, to buy off the wing nuts, but it’s like giving, I mean, the Attorney General counts, it matters."
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, December 23, 2000. [55 points]

"In John Ashcroft’s America, he said in 1999, ‘We have no king but Jesus.’ But President-elect George W. Bush has nominated Ashcroft to the position of Attorney General of the United States. In the venerable halls of the Justice Department, where he will work, it is the Constitution that is king....Ashcroft will need to assure the nation that he can enforce the Constitution and the laws of Congress when they run contrary to the laws of Jesus, as they surely will. A larger question, spoken or unspoken, will be: Can a deeply religious person be Attorney General?"
– Opening of Jan. 16 USA Today op-ed piece by former USA Today Supreme Court reporter Tony Mauro. [51]

Bryant Gumbel

"What do you think Senator Ashcroft’s distortion of your record and tarnishing of your good name says about his character?"
– CBS’s Bryant Gumbel to Missouri Supreme Court judge Ronnie White, January 19 Early Show. [48]


Tom Brokaw

"Good evening on this Martin Luther King holiday, a prelude to what begins tomorrow in Washington: The confirmation hearings for John Ashcroft, the former Missouri Senator who is George W. Bush’s choice to be Attorney General. Race will be a major issue in the contentious hearings, especially since Ashcroft defended the Confederate agenda of Robert E. Lee in an interview with the Southern Partisan, a magazine promoting the culture of the Old South."
– Tom Brokaw, January 15 NBC Nightly News. [36]


Politics of Meaninglessness Award
for the Silliest Analysis

First Place

"What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox."
– CNN founder Ted Turner on Ash Wednesday to CNN employees with ash marks on their foreheads at Bernard Shaw’s retirement party, as reported March 6 on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume. [73 points]

Dan Rather





Bill O’Reilly:
"I want to ask you flat out, do you think President Clinton’s an honest man?"
Dan Rather: "Yes, I think he’s an honest man."
O’Reilly: "Do you, really?"
Rather: "I do."
O’Reilly: "Even though he lied to Jim Lehrer’s face about the Lewinsky case?"
Rather: "Who among us has not lied about something?"
O’Reilly: "Well, I didn’t lie to anybody’s face on national television. I don’t think you have, have you?"
Rather: "I don’t think I ever have. I hope I never have. But, look, it’s one thing-"
O’Reilly: "How can you say he’s an honest guy then?"
Rather: "Well, because I think he is. I think at core he’s an honest person. I know that you have a different view. I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."
– Exchange on Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, May 15. [64]

"You said that the air strikes are deliberately designed not to hit residential centers, but you also say that the Taliban is hiding weapons, stockpiling weapons in residential areas. Have you ruled out the possibility of dropping leaflets days in advance of an air strike to get residents out and saying, ‘This could become a military target’? Is that something, without discussing future operations, could you see that possibly coming to fruition?"
– Question from an unidentified male reporter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Oct. 30 military briefing. [27]

"People send me e-mails full of dopey attacks – ‘I bet you’ve never written anything positive about a Republican in your whole life’ – obviously never having read any of the columns I wrote praising John McCain during the campaign."
Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter, quoted by Washington Post media writer Howard Kurtz, June 4. [25]


Euro-Envy Award for Advocating More Government Spending

First Place

NBC News reporter Keith Miller in Paris: "Break out the band, bring on the drinks. The French are calling it a miracle. A government-mandated 35-hour work week is changing the French way of life. Two years ago, in an effort to create more jobs, the government imposed a shorter work week on large companies, forcing them to hire more workers....Sixty percent of those on the job say their lives have improved. These American women, all working in France, have time for lunch and a life."
Avivah Wittenberg-Cox: "More Americans should be more aware that an economy as successful as the French one managed to be successful without giving up everything else in life."
Katie Couric, following the end of Miller’s taped piece: "So great that young mother being able to come home at three every day and spend that time with her child. Isn’t that nice? The French, they’ve got it right, don’t they?"
– NBC’s Today, August 1. [78 points]


"The U.S. is actually the least generous of the industrialized nations. In Sweden, a new mother gets 18 months of maternity and parental leave, and she gets 80 percent of her salary for the first year. Mother or father can take the parental leave any time until a child is eight. England gives 18 weeks maternity leave. For the first six weeks, a mother gets 90 percent of her salary from the government and $86 a week thereafter. German women get two months of fully paid leave after giving birth. The government and the company kick in, and either parent has the option of three full years in parental leave with some of their salary paid and their jobs protected."
– Peter Jennings, April 19 World News Tonight, following a story on a study showing more aggression in children who attend day care. [73]

"You know, the U.S. is the only industrialized nation, I didn’t know this until today, that doesn’t spend federal money promoting tourism. Do you think it should?"
– Question from NBC’s Katie Couric to Maryland Governor Parris Glendening on the October 1 Today. Glendening, a liberal Democrat, said no. [47]

"More trouble at the nation’s amusement parks, two dozen people injured. Why won’t Congress let the government regulate those parks?"
– ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, previewing an upcoming story on the July 31 World News Tonight. [44]




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