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Story which appeared in the December 13, 1999 Washington Times:

'Dishonors Awards' Give Payback to Media 

by Clarence Williams

Paybacks are hell -- and the most liberal members of the media took their turns getting paid back last Thursday night.

A chance to gang up on the liberal media elite was a clarion call for the 500 supporters of the Media Research Center who gathered at the Washington Monarch Hotel to recognize the most biased coverage by reporters of the '90s, and to "honor" the decade's worst reporting.

"I would not have missed this for all the campaign contributions in China," said M. Stanton Evans, president of the National Journalism Center and the master of ceremonies for the evening's "Dishonors Awards."

"No liberals," he noted, "were actually injured in the production of this program."

Conservatives got the chance to slap their knees, yuck it up and let their hair down -- all at their liberal colleagues' expense.

Among them Oliver North, Justice Clarence Thomas, pundit William F. Buckley Jr. and Michael Reagan, former President Ronald Reagan's eldest son, who said he was only "trying to change the world" by converting "one liberal at a time."

For $125 a plate, guests got the chance to digest a host of quotes -- displayed on large projection screens -- along with their mixed salad greens.

The event played out like a celebrity roast -- only the celebrities weren't around to have their feet held to the fire. As the award winners weren't invited to personally accept their prizes, certain high-profile conservatives were called to the podium to accept the glass awards for them.

Awards were given out in bizarre categories such as "The Presidential Kneepad Award (For the Best Journalistic Lewinksy Impression)" which the Wall Street Journal's John Fund accepted for Time magazine's Nina Burleigh (who coined the "kneepad" allusion to presidential peccadillos in a piece in the New York Observer).

"This is the lowest form of satire -- quoting a journalist with his own work," quipped R. Emmett Tyrrell, editor of the American Spectator. "As a journalist, a serious journalist, I'm embarrassed to be here," Mr. Tyrrell joked, before picking up the "The Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (For Impugning The Character of President Clinton's Adversaries)" on behalf of Newsweek's Evan Thomas.

"Indeed this award is appropriate -- I can see through it," said former Reagan Administration Attorney General Edwin Meese, who claimed "The How Do I Hate the Gipper? Let Me Count the Ways Award," for TV critic John Leonard.

"The media can't seem to get over Ronald Reagan - I hope they never do," Michael Reagan said.

Several journalists found themselves nominated in multiple categories, notably "Today" show host Bryant Gumbel, who shared honors for the "Most Biased Quote of the Decade Award" after a live vote by the audience.

President Bill Clinton ended up being the butt of much of the humor, although Geraldo Rivera also got more than his share of ribbing.

"Geraldo Rivera is to journalism, what Bill Clinton is to statesmanship," said Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and TV talk show host.

Organizers proclaimed the Dishonors a huge success. They want to host the event on an annual basis, to continue to cast light on the "egregious offenses" of the media. "Clearly it's a target-rich environment," Mr. Evans said.

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