Best of NQ 2002 Contents
  Media Hero Award
  General Phil “Cheap Shot” Donahue Award
  Fourth Reich Award
  Ashamed of the Red, White & Blue Award
  Give Appeasement a Chance Award
  Begala & Carville War Room Award
  Media Millionaires for Smaller Paychecks Award
  Blame America First Award
  Bill Moyers (Subsidized) Sanctimony Award
  Carve Clinton into Mount Rushmore Award
  Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award
  Mount St. Helen Award
  Good Morning Morons Award
  Damn Those Conservatives Award
  Politics of Meaninglessness Award
  See No Liberal Media Bias Award
  Quote of the Year
  2002 Award Judges

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  Notable Quotables
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Best of NQ 2002

The Fifteenth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting

Media Hero Award

First Place

Barbara Walters“For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent.” 
– Barbara Walters narrating her interview with Fidel Castro on ABC’s 20/20, October 11. [73 points]


Katie Couric“[Senator] Jim Jeffords is the personification of one man, one vote, and his story a classic of American politics. What Jim Jeffords did simply was turn Washington on its ear. In the months following President Bush’s inauguration in January, the 67-year-old Jeffords found himself increasingly at odds with the GOP on Capitol Hill and the White House over issues ranging from education, to the environment, to the size of the tax cut, all of which forced him to examine his core beliefs....Jeffords knew and agonized that a political switch at this time in his career would affect not only him, but Republican colleagues, and his staff and family....But flying to Vermont in May, Jeffords knew he’d made the right decision....Today, Jeffords is a man at peace with himself, enjoying work on his Vermont farm, splitting logs, saving a few pennies with some inventive repair work on a wheelbarrow.”
– NBC’s Katie Couric introducing a December 17, 2001 Today show interview with Jeffords. [53]

Brian WilliamsBrian Williams: “Is it fair to call him [Jimmy Carter] the best former President in, at minimum, modern American history, and perhaps, well, I guess, the last 200 years?”
Historian Marshall Frady: “Which embraces all presidencies, I think. Absolutely.”
– Exchange on CNBC’s The News with Brian Williams, October 11. [45]

“He is the last of the liberal lions, roaring on behalf of the voiceless....The 30-year-old with nothing but a name to run on turned 70 as one of the premier legislators of the 20th century....He has championed civil rights, pushed for improved education and better health care. His name is on hundreds, probably thousands, of bills....He is an undiluted, undeterrable liberal, but a closet pragmatist. He prefers half a loaf to none, something to nothing, results over rhetoric.”
– CNN’s Candy Crowley, noting the 70th birthday of Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, on the February 22 Inside Politics. [33]

“I leave my friends behind and rush the stage to try to dance with [former Attorney General Janet] Reno, only to find myself in a small crowd of men living the same fantasy. When I finally push my way past them, she is gone.”
Time staff writer Joel Stein, recounting Reno’s dance party fundraiser for her campaign for Florida Governor, in the magazine’s July 29 issue. [27]


General Phil “Cheap Shot” Donahue Award
(for Swipes at the War on Terrorism)

First Place

“This is interesting news that we get now, and it may put the President under a lot of heat today as the public learns that he knew, through his daily CIA intelligence briefings, that bin Laden had potential terror attack plans under way....It also calls into question what happened when Andy Card, Andrew Card, the White House chief of staff, that morning went and whispered in the President’s ear, as the President was talking to a group of school students in Florida [on Sept. 11, 2001]. Was the President really surprised?”
– Charles Gibson’s introduction and question to White House correspondent Terry Moran on ABC’s Good Morning America, May 16. [79 points]

Charles Gibson
Video Part 1
Video Part 2


Judy Woodruff“We begin with the news from the White House that President Bush knew that al Qaeda was planning to hijack a U.S. airliner and he knew it before September the 11th.”
– Judy Woodruff on CNN’s NewsNight, May 15. [74]

“Recovery and debris removal work continues at the site of the World Trade Center known as ‘ground zero’ in New York, March 25, 2002. Human rights around the world have been a casualty of the U.S. ‘war on terror’ since September 11.” 
– Reuters News Service caption for a photo of the destroyed World Trade Center site which was distributed with a September 3 story by Richard Waddington headlined, “Rights the first victim of ‘war on terror.’” [53]

Katie Couric“Good morning. What did he know and when did he know it? The Bush administration admits the President was warned in an intelligence briefing last summer of the possibility that Osama bin Laden’s terrorist network might hijack American planes, raising more questions about whether the attacks on America could have been prevented.”
– NBC’s Katie Couric introducing the May 16 Today. [45]


Fourth Reich Award
(for Portraying John Ashcroft as a Fascist)

First Place

Newsweek's Evan Thomas“One of the interesting things about this German story that’s coming out is they had like 90 pages of particulars of this cell and it makes you think – they were leaving trails and clues all over the place – if we’d really been watching and paying attention we could have headed off 9/11. But the German prosecutorial system was pretty laid back and didn’t want to be John Ashcroft, you know, they didn’t want to be the SS, they had that worry there, no Gestapos. And so it was a great place for terrorists to operate.”
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on the August 31 Inside Washington, referring to German surveillance of an al Qaeda group before 9/11. [88 points]



“We have an Attorney General that is, I don’t know, how would you describe him, demented? We have an Attorney General who doesn’t seem to understand the law.”
New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh to the Chicago Headliner Club, as quoted by Steve Rhodes in Chicago, May 2. [81]

Bruce Morton“‘Send me,’ it says on the Statue of Liberty, ‘your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.’ Well, some of them maybe. If they have visas and are from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria, they now pose national security concerns and must be fingerprinted and photographed. This registration system, Attorney General Ashcroft said, would eventually be expanded to other visitors who posed a security concern. What would the standards for that be? Well, they’d be secret, that’s what. It’s a little like the search for communists in the government after World War II. There were some, of course. But a lot of innocent people had their names blackened and their careers damaged during the hunt.”
– Bruce Morton in his “Last Word” commentary on CNN’s Late Edition, June 9. [48]

“Increasingly, there are important questions that need to be asked....For example, the Attorney General of the United States before, just before September 11th, started inexplicably taking private aircraft to places where normally the Attorney General wouldn’t take private aircraft, you know, government planes. Well, that would indicate that somebody somewhere was getting pretty worried, but if you’re going to share that with the Attorney General, you know, why wasn’t it shared with the public at large?” 
– CBS’s Dan Rather on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning radio show, May 22. According to NBC’s Jim Miklaszewski: “It was determined that since John Ashcroft is such a polarizing figure, that the threat assessment against him would be high,” so shortly after taking office “he started taking government planes all the time....It had nothing at all to do with any terrorist threat.” [35]




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