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


Good Morning Morons Award

First Place

Bryant Gumbel:
"At the risk of starting an argument, are you a believer in global warming?"
Mark McEwen: "Absolutely."
Jane Clayson: "Of course."
Julie Chen: "Yeah."
Gumbel: "So am I....And you wonder what it’s gonna take. I mean, is it gonna take some kind of a real catastrophe? I mean, does an iceberg have to come floating down the Hudson before somebody stands up and goes, ‘Oh, yeah’?"
– Exchange during CBS Early Show’s co-op time at 7:25 am on April 18. [55 points]

Charles Gibson:
"Have you ever – it just occurred to me – have you ever, in the first hundred days, consulted or called former President Clinton?"
President Bush: "No, I haven’t."
Gibson: "To talk to him?"
President Bush: "No, I have not."
Gibson: "Don’t feel the need?"
– Exchange during taped interview aired on the April 25 Good Morning America. [47]

"So, I’m getting less chips, paying the same amount of money. Is that legal for them to do this?"
– CBS’s Julie Chen questioning Carol Foreman Tucker of the Consumer Federation of America about companies charging the same price for smaller snack food packages, January 3 Early Show. [38]

"You and I are fortunate enough to be basically laughing about this right now, about pennies right now, but isn’t it somewhat elitist to claim pennies have out-lived their usefulness when so many are struggling to make ends meet and we argue about pennies on the minimum wage?"
The Early Show’s Bryant Gumbel to Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe, who wants to eliminate the penny, July 17. [32]

Diane Sawyer
"After pepperoni pizza and banana milkshakes once, I dreamed about Bill Clinton."
– Diane Sawyer talking with her Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson about a study which claimed that Republicans have three times as many nightmares while they sleep as do Democrats, July 10. [27]

"The American Civil Liberties Union is very concerned about your resolution. They are saying basically that those young people who choose not to participate are targeted for harassment. And the New York City school system has a lot of people, a lot of students and perhaps even teachers who are not American citizens, isn’t that correct?"
"But part of the thinking behind some of the criticism is that perhaps maybe an addendum to a renewing of, of a symbol of patriotism that perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance?"
– Questions from NBC’s Ann Curry to school board head Ninfa Segarra, about having the Pledge of Allegiance recited in New York City public schools, Oct. 19 Today. [24]


Damn Those Conservatives Award

First Place

Bill Maher

Bill Maher, host of ABC’s Politically Incorrect: "I do think, if it turns out that this beautiful young girl is gone, I think, and he [Condit] is responsible in some way, you have to look to Ken Starr for a little bit of guilt."
Larry King: "Why?"
Maher: "Because, you know, Ken Starr made it so that you, in the old days, you had an affair with somebody, and you know, okay, you had an affair. The press didn’t report it. They didn’t make a political criminal case of it. Now, it’s almost like you have to get rid of them."
– Exchange on CNN’s Larry King Live, July 27. [52 points]

Bryant Gumbel

"And we can’t let Justice Thomas pass on this. There’s no opinion of his in here, he doesn’t ask questions in court. Does he do anything besides vote and rubber stamp Scalia?"
– Bryant Gumbel to CBS legal analyst Jonathan Turley on Bush vs. Gore, Dec. 13, 2000 The Early Show. [38]


"This was an issue about voting rights. Yet, Justice Thomas voted with the conservative majority. His vote could have changed history. But it was not to be. He is firmly entrenched on the Court’s right....In five major cases involving civil rights and liberties, he voted against minorities every time, including rulings against job discrimination and voting rights. He’s only 52 years old and could conceivably spend another 30 years on the Supreme Court. If, during his tenure, President-elect Bush ends up making a couple of more appointments like Justice Thomas to the Supreme Court, I have heard many women and minorities say, ‘God help us.’"
– online column by World News Tonight/Sunday anchor Carole Simpson, Dec. 17, 2000, after the Supreme Court’s Bush vs. Gore ruling. [34]

"The squeamishness of much of the press in characterizing Helms for what he is suggests an unwillingness to confront the reality of race in our national life....What is unique about Helms – and from my viewpoint, unforgivable – is his willingness to pick at the scab of the great wound of American history, the legacy of slavery and segregation, and to inflame racial resentment against African Americans."
Washington Post reporter David Broder, in an August 29 op-ed headlined, "Jesse Helms, White Racist." [34]

"It seems to me that the modern Republican Party and its moderate wing are in a sort of, to use the psychobabble of the era, in an abusive relationship...and the moderates are the enablers and the conservatives are the abusers and they just got used to doing it that way and suddenly one member said, ‘I’m not going to take it anymore.’"
– NPR’s Nina Totenberg on the defection of Senator Jim Jeffords, May 26 Inside Washington. [33]

"Liberals are going to miss him, he was so wonderfully odious. Remember that old Time magazine that had him on the cover with the dark shadows under the eyes and he’s this dark and menacing figure? And it was very comforting to the East Coast media establishment to know that there was an evil guy out there that you could really fear."
Newsweek’s Evan Thomas discussing Senator Jesse Helms’s retirement, August 25 Inside Washington. [27]


Selected Not Elected Award for Claiming Bush Is an Illegitimate President

First Place

"If Bush is elected and it’s proved on a hand count that Gore actually carried Florida (not to mention the popular vote), what will the country say? ‘Ooops’ isn’t going to cut it....However agreeable and successful he turns out to be, the new President is doomed to be seen by many Americans as a bastard."
– Jonathan Alter, Dec. 11, 2000 Newsweek. [55 points]


Geraldo Rivera

"Should five of our nation’s nine Supreme Court Justices be imprisoned? That’s the opinion of famed former prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi. He says the Justices who supported George W. Bush in the election dispute are almost treasonous white-collar criminals. He’ll explain why."
"It is a scathing indictment of the high court of the United States, at least these five conservative Justices. And I really, really, I urge law students especially, but anyone who’s interested in the machinations of the Court, to check this out: Vincent Bugliosi’s The Betrayal of America."
– Beginning and end of Geraldo Rivera’s interview with Bugliosi, CNBC’s Rivera Live, June 25. [50]






"Nineteen days after the presidential election, Florida’s Republican Secretary of State is about to announce the winner – as she sees it and she decrees it – of the state’s potentially decisive 25 electoral votes....
"The believed certification – as the Republican Secretary of State sees it – is coming just hours after a court ordered deadline for counties to submit their hand count and recount totals....
"The reason we’re on the air right across-the-board nationally right now is because Florida’s Secretary of State – a Republican, as we’ve mentioned before – campaigned actively for George Bush, well-connected to Governor Bush’s Governor brother Jeb Bush in Florida, but a woman who has consistently said ‘I’m trying to do my job, right down to the letter of the law, as best I can’....She will certify – as she sees it – who gets Florida’s 25 electoral votes....
"What’s happening here is the certification – as the Florida Secretary of State sees it and decrees it – is being signed....After this, it will be, at least in the opinion of the Secretary of State, that the results will be final...."
– Dan Rather during a CBS News Special Report on the Nov. 26, 2000 official certification of Florida’s vote. [42]

"As everyone knows, George Bush was ahead by only a few hundred votes. At the request of Al Gore, some counties were launching hand recounts which were gaining votes for him. So what did she do? Well, from Day One she seemed completely inflexible, insisting on the narrow letter of the law. She enforced strict deadlines even when one county asked for just two hours more, and she tried to block the hand recount of those punched but disputed ballots. The Bush team was thrilled, the Gore team was outraged."
– ABC’s Diane Sawyer in a January 11 Prime Time Thursday interview with Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris. [27]




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