The Best Notable Quotables of 2001:
The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting
Morning Morons Award
"At the risk of starting an argument, are you a believer in
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]
"Have you ever – it just occurred to me – have you
ever, in the first hundred days, consulted or called former
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. 
"So, I’m getting less chips,
paying the same amount of money. Is that legal for them to do
– 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
"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. 
|"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. 
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
"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
– 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. 
Damn Those Conservatives
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
"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. 
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.’"
– ABCNews.com online column by World News Tonight/Sunday
anchor Carole Simpson, Dec. 17, 2000, after the Supreme Court’s
Bush vs. Gore ruling. 
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
"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. 
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
– Newsweek’s Evan Thomas discussing Senator Jesse
Helms’s retirement, August 25 Inside Washington. 
Selected Not Elected Award
for Claiming Bush Is an Illegitimate President
|"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
"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
"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. 
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
"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. 
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
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