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December 16, 2004
Tim Scheiderer at (703) 683-5004

Dan Rather Headlines
The Best Notable Quotables of 2004 With
Worst Quote of the Year

The 17th Annual Awards for the Year’s
Worst Reporting Released Today

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     ALEXANDRIA, Va. --- Outgoing CBS Evening News Anchor Dan Rather took home top “honors” by winning the Quote of the Year award, headlining today’s release of The Best Notable Quotables of 2004, the 17th Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting. Rather was actually the big winner this year, taking home three awards in three different categories. The awards were determined by a panel of 43 judges made up of editorial writers, syndicated columnists, radio talk show hosts and political commentators. To see all the award winning quotes, visit www.mrc.org.

Highlights from the Best Notable Quotables of 2004

Quote of the Year: “What drives American civilians to risk death in Iraq? In this economy it may be, for some, the only job they can find.” — Dan Rather, teasing a report on the CBS Evening News on March 31, the day four American civilians were killed and mutilated in Fallujah, Iraq.

Media Hero Award: “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.” — Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales, in a January 21 Style section review of the State of the Union address.

Blue State Brigade Award (for campaign coverage): “He [John Kerry] also could make a virtue, it seems to me, of the so-called flip-flopping. The greatest flip-flop in American history is Lincoln, [who] in his first Inaugural was not for emancipation and then two years later he was. Is that statesmanship or is that a flip-flop?” — Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham, during live pre-debate coverage on MSNBC, September 30.

Bring Back Saddam Award: “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.

Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award (for Celebrity Vapidity): “People don’t realize that by voting Republican, they voted against themselves....I worry that some people are entertained by the idea of this war. They don’t know anything about the Iraqis, but they’re angry and frustrated in their own lives. It’s like Germany, before Hitler took over. The economy was bad and people felt kicked around. They looked for a scapegoat. Now we’ve got a new bunch of Hitlers.” — Singer Linda Ronstadt, as quoted by USA Today reporter Elysa Gardner in a November 17 profile.

Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis): “When you tell me, ‘Let the states decide,’ that scares me, okay? I’ve got a little map here of [the] pre-Civil War [United States], free versus slave states. I wish you could see it in color and large. But if you look at it, the red states are all down in the South, and you have the Nebraska Territories, the New Mexico Territories, and the Kansas Territories. But the Pacific Northwest and California were not slave states. The Northeast was not. It looks like the [Electoral College] map of 2004.” — Former World News Tonight/Sunday anchor Carole Simpson, who travels the country for ABC News to talk to high schoolers about how to consume news, at a November 8 National Press Club forum shown on C-SPAN.

Captain Dan the Forgery Man Award: “The story is true. The story is true....I appreciate the sources who took risks to authenticate our story. So, one, there is no internal investigation. Two, somebody may be shell-shocked, but it is not I, and it is not anybody at CBS News. Now, you can tell who is shell-shocked by the ferocity of the people who are spreading these rumors.” — Dan Rather, in a September 10 sidewalk exchange with reporters, denying rumors that CBS would investigate whether or not the "memos" were forged.

Good Morning Morons Award: Katie Couric:Time magazine’s Person of the Year issue hits news stands today and this year it honors the American soldier. Jim Kelly is Time’s Managing Editor and veteran war photographer James Nachtwey was embedded with the Army’s First Armored Division in Baghdad and took the remarkable images in this week’s issue. He was also wounded while on assignment. Gentlemen, welcome, good morning, nice to have you both. I was so, I have to say, just personally, I was so pleased to see this....Tell me why you all decided to honor the American soldier? Wondering why there’s no woman on the cover, too?” 
Time’s Jim Kelly, pointing to cover: “This is a woman.” 
Couric: “Oh, there you go, oh sorry....I couldn’t tell because of her helmet.” — Discussing a Time cover showing three U.S. soldiers in combat gear, NBC’s Today, December 22, 2003.

Related Item:
The Best Notable Quotables of 2004



To schedule interviews with a Media Research Center spokesperson contact
Tim Scheiderer at (703)-683-5004, ext. 126. To see all the winning
quotes visit www.mrc.org.





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