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

Publications & Analysis
  30-Day Archive
  Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
Media Bias Videos
Bozell Columns
MRC Divisions
  Free Market Project
MRC Information
  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
  What Others Say
  Site Search
  Media Addresses
Contact the MRC
Planned Giving

Support the MRC


Free RealPlayer plug-in required to watch video clips.

Get Acrobat

Free Adobe Acrobat Reader software required to view PDF files.


On Wing Nuts and
Jesus Freaks
Daily Oklahoman

As printed in the December 26, 2001 edition


Column by Patrick B. McGuigan in the Daily Oklahoman

Certain things don't change, i.e., that childlike longing for Christmas morning, the dash to open gifts, the anxiety as you begin to suspect that what you want isn't there. It brings to mind the story about the kid digging around torn wrapping paper and empty boxes, muttering, "I just know there's a pony under this tree, somewhere."

As for Christmas traditions, few are now as cherished for me as helping to decide the Media Research Center's "Notable Quotables" competition -- a task sometimes amusing, oft-times infuriating. Of the program's 14 years, I've judged 12. Reviewing bias in the "mainstream" television and print media, as compiled by the center's outstanding staff, made my blood boil all over again.

The Swiss Press Corps Award for Remaining Neutral in War Coverage went to David Westin, president of ABC News, for Oct. 27 comments on C-SPAN. Answering a question, he observed, "The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don't have an opinion on that, and it's important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now....I can say the Pentagon got hit, I can say this is what their position is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right or wrong, I mean, that's perhaps for me in my private life, perhaps it's for me dealing with my loved ones, perhaps it's for my minister at church. But as a journalist I feel strongly that's something that I should not be taking a position on. ..." Westin was also my first choice -- but my next two picks were also worthy.

Steven Jukes, global head for Reuters News Service, sent instructions to reporters after Sept. 11: "We all know that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist....To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack." To be frank, the comment was reported by the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz, a liberal who deserves credit for frequently reporting news media excesses.

My third place "Swiss" finisher was another ABC gem. Michele Norris, on "World News Tonight" for Oct. 12, assessed President Bush's noble appeal for U.S. children to contribute $1 each to help children in Afghanistan: "Behind the scenes there are quiet grumblings about this dollar drive. There are concerns that American children are being used in a propaganda campaign. But school officials said they wouldn't dare air those concerns publicly, not when America appears to be swept up by symbolism." Was the food delivered over there also symbolic? And what "scenes" did Norris check behind?

Newsweek's Assistant Managing editor Evan Thomas won the Department of Injustice Award for Denigrating John Ashcroft, for this hateful screed, no doubt uttered this week: "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." Oh wait, that wasn't this week, it was Dec. 23, 2000 on WUSA-TV's "Inside Washington."

Thomas actually got my fourth-place vote. I much preferred Al Hunt, the left-wing Washington editor at the Wall Street Journal, speaking on CNN's "Capital Gang" -- also on Dec. 23, 2000: "I would quickly say that John Ashcroft across the board, I think ... has been mean-spirited. He's a guy who led fights against special education funds....I think Frank Keating, who I would have disagreed with strongly, would have brought charm."

I have credentials here. Keating was my first choice for attorney general. I know both Ashcroft and Keating. Hunt would have found as many ways to trash our current governor as he has the former senator from Missouri. (This despite Keating's well-known ability to charm liberal journalists -- contact Tulsa World editorial writers for clarification).

Ted Turner, founder of Cable News Network, won the Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis. As CNN employees arrived at a retirement party for anchor Bernard Shaw, the king of tolerance said to CNN employees who bore ashes on their foreheads in observance of Ash Wednesday: "What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox." My thanks to Brit Hume, of Fox News, for reporting Turner's comments on March 6.

MRC's awards are great fun, of course -- but it's scary to recall that most of these "winners" insist "liberal media bias" is nothing but a myth propagated by "right-wing nuts."

Back to Top




Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314