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The Best Notable Quotables of 2007

The 20th Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting

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Not Biased Enough Award

Winner

“As we saw in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the plantation mentality that governs Washington turned the press corps into sitting ducks for the war party, for government, and neoconservative propaganda and manipulation....What’s happened is not indifference or laziness or incompetence, but the fact that most journalists on the plantation have so internalized conventional wisdom that they simply accept that the system is working as it should. I’m doing a documentary this spring called Buying the War, and I can’t tell you again how many reporters have told me that it just never occurred to them that high officials would manipulate intelligence in order to go to war. Hello?”
— PBS’s Bill Moyers, in a January 12 speech to a conference on “media reform” aired four days later on the left-wing Pacifica network’s Democracy Now. [95 points]



Runners-up:

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“Comedians, such as yourself, Jon Stewart and others, are a valuable supplement, and here’s why: Good journalism at its best frequently speaks truth to power. What’s happened with journalists — again, I don’t except myself from this criticism — in some ways we’ve lost our guts. We need a spine transplant. What’s happened is comedians, in their own way, speak truth to power and fill that vacuum that we in journalism have too often left, particularly post 9/11.”
— Dan Rather to Bill Maher on HBO’s Politically Incorrect, March 16. [78]

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“If the watchdog doesn’t bark, how do you know there’s a burglar in the basement? And the press is supposed to be a watchdog. I’ll put it another way: if you think that the fire department in your neighborhood is in collusion with the arsonist, you want to know about it. And the fact of the matter is, in the build-up to the [Iraq] war the watchdog didn’t bark and the fire department — in this case the press — was in cahoots with the arsonist.”
— Bill Moyers promoting his anti-Bush special Buying the War, on PBS’s Tavis Smiley, April 23. [69]

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“For all the howling on the right, it’s difficult to argue that mainstream news organizations operate with anything approaching Fox’s partisan and ideological agenda. (E-mails: commence now.) But there’s no question many conservatives feel as wronged by elements of the mainstream media as Democrats do by Fox.”
— Longtime Los Angeles Times political reporter Ron Brownstein in a March 16 column. [42]

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