Best of NQ 2004 Contents
  Blue State Brigade Award
  GI John Award
  Darth Vader vs. “The Sunshine Boy” Award
  The Madness of King George Award
  Bedazzled in Beantown Award
  Bitter in the Big Apple Award
  Captain Dan the Forgery Man Award
  Damn Those Conservatives Award
  Kooky Keith Award
  Media Hero Award
  Bring Back Saddam Award
  Real Reagan Legacy Award
  Debbie Downer Award
  Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award
  Politics of Meaninglessness Award
  Good Morning Morons Award
  Admitting the Obvious Award
  Quote of the Year
  2004 Award Judges

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  Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
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  Dishonors Awards
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Best of NQ 2004

The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting

Blue State Brigade Award
(for Campaign Coverage)

First Place

“He [John Kerry] also could make a virtue, it seems to me, of the so-called flip-flopping. The greatest flip-flop in American history is Lincoln, [who] in his first Inaugural was not for emancipation and then two years later he was. Is that statesmanship or is that a flip-flop?”
Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham during live pre-debate coverage on MSNBC, September 30. [66 points]

Newsweek's Jon Meacham



“Kerry Presidency Seen a Boon for U.S. Markets.”
“If John Kerry wins the Democratic nomination and goes on to be the next U.S. President, experts say it would be good for Wall Street, which likes the way he talks up balancing the budget.”
— Headline and first paragraph of Reuters reporter Chris Sanders’ February 6 article, which was touted as “Recommended Reading” on the news agency’s Web site. [49]

 “It was the all important and perfectly choreographed first glimpse of the Democratic Party’s new dream team. The Kerry and Edwards families posing for pictures, a nervous first date with the American public....Humor from the boss, humanity from his running mate....Team Kerry touched and tickled their way to Ohio, the first stop in a six-state, five-day swing through battleground states....Both partners in this political marriage hope it’s a winning formula....At the moment, star-struck Democrats are willing to believe.”
— CBS’s Byron Pitts on the July 7 Evening News. [45]

CBS's Byron Pitts

“Senator Kerry, the gap between rich and poor is growing wider. More people are dropping into poverty. Yet the minimum wage has been stuck at, what, $5.15 an hour now for about seven years. Is it time to raise it?” 
“Mr. President, said that if Congress would vote to extend the ban on assault weapons, that you’d sign the legislation. But you did nothing to encourage the Congress to extend it. Why not?”
— Questions from CBS’s Bob Schieffer to Kerry and then Bush at the October 13 presidential debate. [32]

“How, why, as a fiscal conservative as you like to call yourself, would you allow a $500 billion deficit and this kind of deficit disaster?...Every President since the Civil War who has gone to war has raised taxes, not cut them.... Why not say, ‘I will not cut taxes any more until we have balanced the budget’? If our situation is so precious and delicate because of the war, why do you keep cutting taxes and draining money from the Treasury?...How about no more tax cuts until the budget is balanced?” 
— NBC’s Tim Russert to President Bush on Meet the Press, February 8. [31]


GI John Award
(for Saluting John Kerry’s Vietnam Record)

First Place

“Okay, time to do morning papers....Stars and Stripes starts it off: ‘U.S. Troops Control Most of Fallujah,’ the headline. ‘U.S. Officials Believe Most Insurgents Have Fled the City.’ Look at this picture here, if you can. ‘Troops’ Bravery Honored in Iraq.’ These are all Purple Heart winners. Someday, one of them will run for President and someone will say they didn’t earn the Purple Heart. Welcome to America.” 
— CNN’s Aaron Brown on the November 10 NewsNight displaying a front-page photo of a line of U.S. troops in Iraq receiving their medals. [63 points]

CNN's Aaron Brown



“Do you think this is a stupid argument that’s been going on from the other side, attacking you for throwing away what you said, or implied, or allowed the people to imply were medals when in fact they were ribbons?” 
“Do you think the people around the President have hoisted themselves on their own petard by bringing up this issue of your service?” 
“Do you think this administration and its political handlers like Karl Rove are capable of recognizing they can’t beat you on the jobs issue, they can’t beat you on foreign policy, so they’re gonna drop this nonsensical stuff [on you]?” 
— Some of Chris Matthews’ questions to Senator John Kerry on MSNBC’s Hardball, April 27. [53]


MSNBC's Chris Matthews

“Speaking of angry, have you ever had any anger about President Bush — who spent his time during the Vietnam War in the National Guard — running, in effect, a campaign that does its best to diminish your service in Vietnam? You have to be at least irritated by that, or have you been?” 
— Dan Rather to Kerry, July 22 CBS Evening News. [48]

CBS's Dan Rather & John Kerry

“Veterans haven’t been a big force in past campaigns... but the Vietnam vets may feel bound together more strongly....It may be too early to know how influential they’ll be in Kerry’s campaign, but they’ve already done one thing: If the Republicans had any hope of casting Kerry as some Michael Dukakis-style effete Eastern liberal, that’s over. The band of brothers stands in his way.” 
— CNN’s Bruce Morton on Inside Politics, January 30. [38]


Darth Vader vs. “The Sunshine Boy” Award

First Place

“One of the obstacles for Dick Cheney tonight is the fact that he has become a dark figure....There are those who believe that Dick Cheney has led this administration and this President down a path of recklessness, that maybe his approach, his dark approach to this constant battle against another civilization, is actually the wrong approach for ultimately keeping America safe.” 
— NBC White House reporter David Gregory during live convention coverage on MSNBC about 8:30pm EDT on September 1, about two hours before Cheney spoke at the Republican convention. [53 points]

NBC's David Gregory



“I read you once took a psychological profile test, and it said the position you’re most suited for is undertaker.”
— ABC’s Claire Shipman to Vice President Cheney in an interview on the August 31 Good Morning America. [50]

ABC's Claire Shipman & Vice President Dick Cheney

“In politics, self-made men seem to fall into two categories: sunny and dark....In the 2004 election, Dick Cheney projects the bleakness of a Wyoming winter, while John Edwards always appears to be strolling in the Carolina sunshine.”
— Story by Newsweek’s Evan Thomas, Susannah Meadows and Arian Campo-Flores as part of a July 19 cover package on Kerry and Edwards, “The Sunshine Boys?” [45]

“Republican [Vice President Dick] Cheney, portrayed by critics as the dark architect of the Iraq war, and Democrat [Senator John] Edwards, the sunny Southerner with the homespun style, meet in a 90-minute televised encounter....Cheney and Edwards are polar opposites as politicians. The bald, bespectacled Cheney, 63, is a dour campaigner with a lengthy government and national security resume, who not too long ago swore at a Democratic Senator on the Senate floor. The energetic and articulate Edwards, 51, is a first-term Senator who was once named People magazine’s sexiest politician and is known for his optimism and populist rhetoric.”
— Reuters political correspondent John Whitesides in an October 4 dispatch previewing the next day’s debate. [45]




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