Best of NQ 2003 Contents
  Damn Those Conservatives Award
  Baghdad Bob Award for Parroting Enemy Propaganda
  Dominique de Villepin Snottiness Award for Whining About the War
  The Invisible Liberal Award for Camouflaging Ideology
  Media Suck-Up Award
  Pompous Peter Award for Jennings’ Arrogant Condescension
  Romanticizing the Rabble Award for Glorifying Protesters
  Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity
  Begala & Carville Prize for Demonizing George W. Bush
  Fruitless Plains of Poverty Award
  Bill Moyers Sanctimony Award
  Media Millionaires for Higher Taxes Award
  Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis
  Good Morning Morons Award
  Al Franken Cheap Shot Award
  What Liberal Media? Award
  Quote of the Year
  2003 Award Judges

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  Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
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  Dishonors Awards
  Best of NQ Archive
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  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
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Best of NQ 2003

The Sixteenth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting

Fruitless Plains of Poverty Award

First Place

“We are about to show you bread lines in America that you may find hard to believe. With the recession there has been a sudden leap in the number of people on emergency food assistance. The lines we found looked like they’d been taken from the pages of the Great Depression. It’s not just the unemployed. We found plenty of people working full-time, but still not able to earn enough to keep hunger out of the house. If you think you have a good idea of who’s hungry in America today, come join the line. You’d never guess who you’d meet there....Almost half the people fed by these lines are kids. The Agriculture Department figures one out of six children in America faces hunger; that’s more than 12 million kids. Nationwide, children have the highest poverty rate. Preschoolers come here with their parents and play in boxes as empty as the day’s want ads.”
– CBS’s Scott Pelley’s report from a food line in Marietta, Ohio, on the January 8 60 Minutes II. [74 points]
CBS's Scott Pelley
Video Part 1
Video Part 2


Carole Simpson: “Even though the U.S. spends twice as much per person as any other developed country on health care, the U.S. is the only developed country that fails to provide universal coverage for all its citizens....”
Medical Editor Tim Johnson: “We have a country that wants to believe it is the best in everything, but until all of us embrace the idea that health care should be a right, not a privilege, our system cannot be glibly described as, quote, ‘the best in the world.’”
– ABC’s World News Tonight/Sunday, October 19. [58]

“Today in San Diego, the supercarrier USS Abraham Lincoln finally docked after nearly 10 months at sea. We’ll have more on the reunion with eager loved ones in just a moment, but these soldiers, of course, are coming home to a sober reality as well: an economy that, if anything, is struggling more than it was when they set sail. The government said today the unemployment rate is up to six percent. More than half a million jobs were lost in the last three months.”
– ABC’s Claire Shipman anchoring World News Tonight on May 2. [46]

“Tonight, we’re going to show you a new true face of homelessness in America. Today’s homeless are families, and the families you will meet have done everything right and yet there’s no place for them. Still, they struggle to find a home....There are more families homeless in New York City now than at any in the last 20 numbers, it’s estimated, not seen since the Great Depression.”
– NBC’s John Hockenberry on the July 4 Dateline. [31]


Bill Moyers Sanctimony Award

First Place

PBS's Bill Moyers“I decided to put on my flag pin tonight – first time. Until now I haven’t thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see....I put it on to take it back. The flag’s been hijacked and turned into a logo – the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism....
“When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao’s Little Red Book on every official’s desk, omnipresent and unread. But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American....I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks, or argue that sacrifice is good as long as they don’t have to make it....I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us.”
– Bill Moyers on PBS’s Now, February 28. [83 points]



“The failure of Democratic politicians and public thinkers to respond to popular discontents...allowed a resurgent conservatism to convert public concern and hostility into a crusade to resurrect social Darwinism as a moral philosophy, multinational corporations as a governing class, and the theology of markets as a transcendental belief system....Their stated and open aim is to change how America is governed – to strip from government all its functions except those that reward the rich and privileged benefactors....It is the most radical assault on the notion of one nation, indivisible, that has occurred in our lifetime. I’ll be frank with you: I simply don’t understand it – or the malice in which it is steeped....And I don’t know how to reconfigure democratic politics to fit into an age of sound bites and polling dominated by a media oligarchy whose corporate journalists are neutered and whose right-wing publicists have no shame.” 
– Moyers in a June 4 speech at a conference sponsored by the Campaign for America’s Future, according to a text version posted on [58]

“It’s the richest Americans – the top one percent – who get the lion’s share of the tax cuts, people like Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, [and] Vice President Dick Cheney....Eleven million children in families with incomes roughly between $10,000 and $26,000 a year will not be getting the check that was supposed to be in the mail this summer. Eleven million children punished for being poor, even as the rich are rewarded for being rich.”
– Moyers on his PBS newsmagazine Now, May 30. [54]


Media Millionaires for Higher Taxes Award

First Place

Time's Karen Tumulty“While these arguments we’re having here in Washington over tax cuts may look sort of abstract to most people in America, it is not abstract when your kid’s teacher gets laid off....Libraries are closing, teachers are getting laid off. Gray Davis is in the position of having to decide whether he should deny prosthetic limbs to poor people.”
Time’s Karen Tumulty on CBS’s Face the Nation, May 11. The Cato Institute found California’s state spending grew from $39.5 billion in fiscal year 1994 to $78.1 billion in fiscal year 2001, a 98 percent increase. [50 points]



Peter Jennings: “The President’s tax cut is beginning to show up. Will three extra dollars stimulate the national economy?...”
Dean Reynolds: “Lisa Burke, a law librarian from California, who makes $35,000 a year, is getting just $3 more every two weeks....[Scott Linnborn] may use some of his windfall to restore that ‘57 Chevy in his garage. And at 15 bucks a week, he figures the job would be done in about 20 years.”
– ABC’s World News Tonight, July 8. A $15 per week tax cut would save Linnborn $780 each year. [43]
ABC's Peter Jennings

Video Part 1
Video Part 2

“Something got screwed up in terms of your priorities if you think it’s more important to get rid of the dividend tax than it is to take care of 11 million kids.” 
Washington Post reporter and columnist David Broder on NBC’s Meet the Press, June 1, referring to conservative resistance to extending the larger child tax credit to parents who don’t pay any income tax. [41]

“It seems to me that instead of cutting taxes, we ought to be increasing the taxes to pay off the deficit, rather than let that thing build up to the point where our grandchildren’s grandchildren are going to be paying for our period of time and our years at the helm.”
– Former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite on CNN’s NewsNight with Aaron Brown, June 18. [36]

“He [Treasury Secretary-designate John Snow] is said to be in favor of further tax cuts but against deficits. Doesn’t one lead to the other?”
– ABC’s Peter Jennings to George Stephanopoulos on World News Tonight, December 9, 2002. [35]




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