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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News Media Mainstream:

Daily Oklahoman

As printed in the January 5, 2002 edition


A column by Patrick B. McGuigan in the Daily Oklahoman

For 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 disquieting."

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 around."

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 Sept. 14.

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 Walter Williams.

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:

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