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Gilligan Award 
(for the Flakiest Comment of the Year)

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"[Senator Jim Jeffords] sings country music with Trent Lott and other conservatives, but voted against impeachment and for Hillary Clinton’s health care plan. It’s a record perfectly suited for Vermont — the first state to outlaw slavery, elect a socialist to Congress, produce politically correct ice cream, and legalize same-sex unions. Vermonters say they’re not liberal or conservative, just socially conscious."
— NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, May 24, 2001 Nightly News.


"After pepperoni pizza and banana milkshakes once, I dreamed about Bill Clinton."
— ABC’s Diane Sawyer talking with her Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson about a study which claimed that Republicans have three times as many nightmares while they sleep as do Democrats, July 10, 2001.


Diane Sawyer: "Watching you and watching you cover the news over the past year, you are so much about passion for politics, and it doesn’t matter to you, I mean — I really mean this."
George Stephanopoulos: "Thank you."
Sawyer: "You’ve been completely non-partisan in covering the news."
— Exchange on ABC’s Good Morning America, July 24, 2001.

And the winner is:

Bill O’Reilly: "I want to ask you flat out, do you think President Clinton’s an honest man?"
Dan Rather: "Yes, I think he’s an honest man."
O’Reilly: "Do you, really?"
Rather: "I do."
O’Reilly: "Even though he lied to Jim Lehrer’s face about the Lewinsky case?"
Rather: "Who among us has not lied about something?"
O’Reilly: "Well, I didn’t lie to anybody’s face on national television. I don’t think you have, have you?"
Rather: "I don’t think I ever have. I hope I never have. But, look, it’s one thing – "
O’Reilly: "How can you say he’s an honest guy then?"
Rather: "Well, because I think he is. I think at core he’s an honest person. I know that you have a different view. 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."
— Exchange on Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, May 15, 2001.

Accepting for Dan Rather...."Dan Rather"

Roast attendees heard an interview between Kate O’Beirne and Dan Rather made possible by the editing of audio clips of actual past Rather comments:


O’Beirne: "Good afternoon, Mr. Rather, and thank you for making time for us. Let me ask you first, straight out: Is there or isn’t there a liberal bias in the media, and where exactly do you fall in the equation?"

Rather: "I’m all news, all the time. Full power, tall tower. I want to break in when the news breaks out. That’s my agenda. Now very respectfully, when you start talking about a liberal agenda and all the, quote, liberal bias in the media, I quite frankly, and I say this respectfully but candidly to you, I don’t know what you’re talking about."

O’Beirne: "That reminds me, what do you think about winning this year’s Gilligan Award for the Flakiest Comment of the Year?"

Rather: "I wouldn’t touch that line with a 12-foot pole, which as you know is the pole I reserve for those things that I certainly wouldn’t touch with an 11-foot pole."

O’Beirne: "Mr. Rather, I hate to tell you, but you’re losing me. You’re also losing your audience, by the millions, to Fox. Why should conservatives stick with CBS News?"

Rather: "Stay with CBS now for more news, including: Is there a pall over the mall as holiday shoppers think small?"

O’Beirne: "I’ll pass that along, yes I will. One final question for you: most journalists are loathe to admit an error. Do You ever make mistakes, and if so, why?"

Rather: "Where I come out with this, look, we’ve made mistakes in the past. Somebody wrote in the paper the other day that I was, quote, ‘boneheaded.’ Well, of course, it’s a matter of record I’m boneheaded, said, ‘well, this is bizarre.’

O’Beirne: "Hold it a minute. Did I hear you correctly? Are you saying you’re bizarre?"

Rather: "Well, of course I’m bizarre, you know, we’ve known that for a long time...Somebody, I don’t know if he put it exactly this way, but he said, ‘well, you know, it’s a dumb-ass thing he’s doing. ‘Well, you know, I’ve been a dumb-ass all my life."

O’Beirne: "Okay. Thank you for your time, Mr. Rather."

Rather: "I’ll see you along the trail."


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