As printed in the
January 5, 2002 edition
A column by Patrick B. McGuigan in the Daily
nine years of my life -- every January from 1993 through 2001 -- I pondered
the gap between William Jefferson Clinton of Hope (the image manufactured for
his 1992 paid media campaign) and Boy Clinton of Hot Springs (the lad from the
most "wide open" town west of the Mississippi and east of Reno).
With Clinton's presidency now a fading nightmare, visits to "Hope and Hot Springs" end.
I retain annual visits to rarefied climes of liberal bias through the Media
Research Center's "Notable Quotables" -- a competition
"honoring" outrageous examples of mainstream news and commentary.
The center's judges had near-universal agreement on the Damn Those
Conservatives Award. It went to Bill Maher, host of ABC's "Politically
Incorrect" for this bit of bigotry, uttered July 27:
"I do think, if it turns out that this beautiful young girl is gone, I
think, and he [U.S. Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif.] is responsible in some way,
you have to look to Ken Starr for a little bit of guilt."
Larry King of Cable News Network asked: "Why?" Maher replied,
"Because, you know, Ken Starr made it so that you, in the old days, you
had an affair with somebody, and you know, OK, 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."
In the "damn" category, bashings of Clarence Thomas, the U.S.
Supreme Court justice, got votes from my colleagues. But my second-place vote
went to this dreadful gem from Evan Thomas of Newsweek. Speaking on Aug. 25's
"Inside Washington" about the retirement of U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms,
R-North Carolina, he observed:
"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 Thomas showed strong in 2001, threatening to unseat Bryant
Gumbel as TV's most wonderfully odious commentator/talking head. This exchange
let him set the stage for Jack White of Time magazine, who walked away with
the Nobody Here But Us Apolitical Observers Award for Denying Liberal Bias:
"There is a perception, even among journalists, that the (New York)
Times is going a little bit left, is getting more liberal, and that's
White replied: "There is no liberal bias in the press in the whole. In
fact, if there is a bias, it's on the other side. It's hard to find a person
really, truly, of the liberal persuasion who are making any important
decisions in any important media institutions in this country now. I've looked
for them, I consider myself one, I have very few birds of a like feather
I'm not making it up. He actually said that, during the Sept. 1 show of
"Inside Washington." But my favorite "apolitical" comment
came from a new entrant, Norman Pearlstine, an editor for Time-Warner:
"The New York Times is middle of the road. There is no active,
aggressive, important publication of the left in America. And
so as a consequence, the New York Times when compared to the Wall Street
Journal's editorial page may be considered to the left of it. But to call the
New York Times left-wing is absurd."
Calling the good gray Times liberal or "a little bit left" seems
no more absurd than calling editorials at The Oklahoman or the Wall Street
Journal conservative -- but remember, some who read the Times think the
Columbia Journalism Review is a credible source.
Perhaps Pearlstine felt pressured. He made his claim during C-SPAN's
Washington Journal for May 24, while responding to former CBS reporter Bernard
Goldberg's point that anchor Dan Rather believes the New York Times editorial
page is "middle of the road." Goldberg says Dan Rather is simply
clueless on issues of liberal media bias. Rather is not alone, of course.
For raw and focused hatred of American conservatives and all that they
represent, the Blame America First Award winner was peerless. These words were
the top choice of a plurality of judges, myself included: "Am I angry?
You bet I am. I am an American citizen, and my leaders have taken my money to
fund mass murder. And now my friends have paid the price with their lives.
Keep crying, Mr. Bush. Keep running to Omaha or wherever it is you go while
others die, just as you ran during Vietnam while claiming to be 'on duty' in
the Air National Guard. Nine boys from my high school died in that miserable
war. And now you are asking for 'unity' so you can start another one? Do not
insult me or my country like this! Yes, I, too, will be in church at noon
today, on this national day of mourning. I will pray for you, and us, and the children of New York, and the children of this sad
and ugly world."
That came from leftist filmmaker Michael Moore, so often lionized by the
national press corps and the cultural elite. It was posted on his Web site on
Wes Minter, operations manager and a talk host at KRMG Radio in Tulsa, also
served as a Media Research Center judge this year. Regular contributors to The
Oklahoman were also on the panel of 41 judges, including columnist Brent
Bozell, president of the Media Research Center, Mallard Fillmore
cartoonist Bruce Tinsley, syndicated columnist Cal Thomas and writer/ academic
The annual "Notable Quotables" competition is coordinated by the
staff at the Media Research Center, 325 S Patrick St., Alexandria, VA 22314,
telephone: (800) 672-1423 (website: www.mediaresearch.org).