Media Reality Check
  Notable Quotables
  Press Releases
  Media Bias Videos
  30-Day Archive
  The Watchdog
  About the MRC
  MRC in the News
  Support the MRC
  Planned Giving
  What Others Say
  Take Action
  Gala and DisHonors
  Best of NQ Archive
MRC Resources
  Site Search
  Media Addresses
  Contact MRC
  Comic Commentary
  MRC Bookstore
  Job Openings
  News Division
  NewsBusters Blog
  Business & Media Institute
  Culture and Media Institute

Support the MRC


A Liberal Dose of Conservative Humor

A column in the January 20, 2002 Cleveland Plain Dealer

By Tom Brazaitis

     So this is what conservatives do for fun.

     That's what I was thinking as I took a seat in the balcony overlooking a ballroom in the Ronald Reagan Building on Pennsylvania Ave. On the floor below, 800 men and women dined on grilled Angus beef and Atlantic salmon over mushroom risotto and took pride in belonging to what Hillary Clinton once called "the vast right-wing conspiracy."

     They had gathered for the Media Research Center's annual Dishonors Awards, "roasting the most outrageously biased liberal reporters of 2001."

     No one noted the irony that the building named for their idol, Ronald Reagan, the self-anointed slayer of big government, is, at close to $1 billion, the most expensive government building and, at 3.1 million square feet, second in size only to the Pentagon.

     And no one mentioned another noteworthy curiosity: that the list of 39 sponsoring organizations and individuals included not only the Enron Corp., but the Enron Good Government Fund, the Enron Retirement Fund, the Enron IRA Account and the Enron Profit Sharing Account. I wondered whether their checks had cleared.

     After more than two hours of wining and dining, the assembly settled back for what the public relations executive who promoted the event predicted would be "a night of hooting, howling and hollering" at the liberal media.

     After that buildup, I was ready for the 21st-century version of the Roman Colosseum, only to be disappointed by the relative docility of the audience. At one point, David Limbaugh (Rush's brother), who was one of the award presenters, practically begged, "Let's be as insensitive as we can."

     There were some boos and hisses as the nominees for such awards as "flakiest comment of the year" and "hopelessly foolish wartime reporting" were presented in video clips on a giant screen. But the laughter, for the most part, seemed forced, except when it came to mocking CBS news anchor Dan Rather.

     Rather won two of the six "Dishonors Awards" and captured the grand prize, "Most Outrageous Quote of the Year 2001," by audience acclamation. The winning entry was Rather's comment in an interview on the Fox Cable Channel that "Bill Clinton is, at core, an honest person....I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."

     None of the so-called award-winners was present, of course. Accepting for Rather was Katherine Harris, the Florida secretary of state who was a key player in the presidential vote-counting fiasco in that state.

     On an evening of humor that was about as subtle as a wrecking ball, Harris' self-deprecating joking was refreshing. She said of Rather, "In his opinion, he is an honest broker of information. Right, and I forgot to put on my makeup during the recount."

     By contrast, the Wall Street Journal's John Fund, whose editorials, signed columns and frequent television appearances denounced President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, didn't so much as blush while presenting the "Bring Back Bubba Award (for the Best Journalistic Lewinsky)."

     That very morning, the Washington Post had published an account of "the 40-something Fund's strange and stormy romance with 20-something Morgan Pillsbury," who underwent an abortion after becoming pregnant by Fund. To make the story even seamier, Fund had had an intimate affair 20 years earlier with Morgan's mother, Melinda Pillsbury-Foster, the paper reported.

     Without a reference to his own moral morass, Fund ridiculed the national media's "love affair" with Clinton that "continues, if only platonically."

     In closing, L. Brent Bozell III, founder and president of the Media Research Council, lamented that "the liberal media find no humor, none whatsoever, in what we do." He cited published reviews of last year's awards ceremony describing the event as "tasteless," "trading on silly stereotypes," and "an event in which spitefulness and ad hominem personal attacks" pass for humor.

     Undaunted, Bozell said President George W. Bush had asked people to go on with their lives as usual after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, so "it's pretty damn patriotic what we're doing tonight." The liberal media, Bozell said, "deserve every slap upside the head that they get."

     The evening ended, as if apologetically, with a documentary praising the media's coverage of Sept. 11, featuring in positive roles Rather, Jennings, Rivera, Diane Sawyer and others who had just been ridiculed.

     Conservatives sure know how to have fun.

Brazaitis is a senior editor in The Plain Dealer's Washington bureau.

Free RealPlayer plug-in required to watch these clips

Main Menu




























Home | News Division | Bozell Columns | CyberAlerts 
Media Reality Check | Notable Quotables | Contact the MRC | Subscribe

Founded in 1987, the MRC is a 501(c) (3) non-profit research and education foundation
 that does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for office.

Privacy Statement

Media Research Center
325 S. Patrick Street
Alexandria, VA 22314