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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  Notable Quotables
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Best of NQ 2004

The Seventeenth Annual Awards for the
Year’s Worst Reporting

Media Hero Award

First Place

Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales“The best reaction shots were those of Ted Kennedy, whose stature seems to grow right along with his nose year after year after year. Kennedy has now reached a grand moment in the life of a Senator; he looks like Hollywood itself cast him in the role. Seriously....Kennedy looked great, like he was ready to take his place next to Jefferson on Mount Rushmore. He gives off the kind of venerable vibes that some of us got from an Everett Dirksen way back when.”
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales in a January 21 Style section review of the State of the Union address. [69 points]


“Somewhere along the way, the redneck son of a mill worker from rural North Carolina morphed into an almost-perfect candidate....The America that [John] Edwards dreams of is a place where there’s no crime, no poverty and no pushing. That place, of course, just happens to be John Kerry’s America....It’s as if Edwards’s main message is his positivity. He loves the crowd, and the crowd loves him. He smiles at the crowd, and they smile at him. He speaks to the crowd, and they speak to him.”
Newsweek reporter Richard Wolffe in a “Web-exclusive commentary” posted on July 14. [57]


“Hillary Clinton, who has presidential ambitions obviously as a Senator from New York, is the first Senator from New York to seek a position on the Armed Services Committee....She’s done it effectively. I’ve got to tell you, the rank-and-file military are really happy with her.” 
— NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell during MSNBC’s live coverage of the Republican convention, August 30. [40]


NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell

“There’s a good chance that Fidel Castro, who marks his 78th birthday today, could keep going for another 40 years, the Cuban leader’s personal physician says....Cuban officials say the same revolutionary zeal that has driven nearly five decades of socialism can overcome the ravages of time....At least 40 different Cuban research groups are said to be at work unlocking the secrets of aging. The research ranges from studying special diets to basic research on genetics.”
— Reporter Eric Sabo in an August 13 USA Today story headlined, “Cuba pursues a 120-year-old future.” [33]


Bring Back Saddam Award

First Place

“The Sami sisters, ages 17, 15 and 11, listen to Madonna and Britney Spears. They read Agatha Christie novels and watch movies starring Russell Crowe. They also rarely venture outside their upscale home in central Baghdad out of fear of explosions and violence....Their teenage world was simpler when Saddam Hussein was in power. Back then, they said, they hung out with friends at the Pharmacists Club, a swanky place with a swimming pool to which their father, the vice president of Iraq’s Pharmacists Union, belonged....Iraq’s new freedom — or chaos, depending on your point of view — has imprisoned the girls.”
Chicago Tribune’s Deborah Horan, May 24. [59 points]



“The tyrant has fallen. But for some, he’s a fallen hero.... Iraqis are much like abused children: scarred by the man who was both father figure and enforcer. His rules were simple. Obey, and he would provide jobs, food rations, electricity and security. Rebel, and punishment was merciless. But Saddam Hussein also gave Iraqis dignity and pride. He became a symbol of defiance across the Arab world, never backing down from a fight....Those who loved him and those who hated him still can’t separate the man from the country in their minds. For many, his humiliation is their own.”
— Kimberly Dozier in a December 16, 2003 CBS Evening News story about Iraqi reaction to Saddam’s capture. [57]


CBS's Kimberly Dozier

“There’s not a good deal for Iraqis to be happy about at the moment. Life is still very chaotic, beset by violence in many cases, huge shortages. In some respects, Iraqis keep telling us, life is not as stable for them as it was when Saddam Hussein was in power.”
— ABC’s Peter Jennings on December 14, 2003, the day that Saddam’s capture was announced. [45]


ABC's Peter Jennings

“This is not, in my estimation, a good war....I don’t know how we got into a position where our present Commander-in-Chief and the people around him had the guts to take our kids and send them on what seems to be — it sure is not a noble enterprise.” 
— CBS’s Mike Wallace at a May 28 “National World War II Reunion” event shown later that day on C-SPAN. [41]



Real Reagan Legacy Award

First Place

“Before Reagan, people sleeping in the street were so rare that, outside of skid rows, they were almost a curiosity. After eight years of Reaganomics — and the slashes in low-income housing and social welfare programs that went along with it — they were seemingly everywhere. And America had a new household term: ‘The homeless.’” 
— Reporter Kevin Fagan in the San Francisco Chronicle on June 10, five days after Reagan’s death. [69 points]



“I used to say I thought if you were down on your luck and you got through the Secret Service, got in the Oval Office and said, ‘Mr. President, I’m down on my luck,’ he would literally give you the shirt off his back. And then he’d sit down in his undershirt and he’d sign legislation throwing your kids off school lunch program, maybe your parents off Social Security, and of course the Welfare Queen off of welfare.”
— Sam Donaldson, ABC’s White House reporter during the 1980s, on Good Morning America, June 11. [47]


Former ABC White House reporter Sam Donaldson

“Most of those who are physically, economically or otherwise disadvantaged, deeply resented and still resent his insistence that government is the problem, not the solution. Severe and continuing cutbacks in government services to the poor and vulnerable resulted, and the gulf dividing rich from poor widened.” 
— Former New York Times Washington Bureau Chief R. W. “Johnny” Apple in a June 11 “news analysis.” [30]




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