CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
| Monday December 31, 2001 (Vol. Six; No. 203) |
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Clinton Enabled Military Win; 2nd Runners-Up in MRC's NQ Awards; Quotes Highlighted on TV and in Columns; A Timely "Top Ten"

1) Thank Bill Clinton for enabling the military victory in Afghanistan, NPR's Nina Totenberg argued. And Eleanor Clift's "Bummest Rap" of the year: "That the Clintons trashed Air Force Two..." Who said anything about Air Force "Two"?

2) The 15 second place runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." Plus, a reprise of the list of the 41 judges who evaluated the quotes.

3) The MRC's awards quotes are highlighted in today's New York Post and were cited over the weekend on FNC's Fox Newswatch. Plus, judges wrote columns about them last week for the Daily Oklahoman and Denver Rocky Mountain News. And earlier for World magazine.

4) Letterman's "Top Ten Signs You're At a Lame New Year's Eve Party."


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Thank Bill Clinton for enabling the military victory in Afghanistan and Eleanor Clift's seeming slip in defending Clinton. Two of the odder comments in defense of Clinton uttered on talk shows aired over the weekend: 

-- On Inside Washington, after columnist Charles Krauthammer referred to how Bill Clinton "was a President for trivial times," Nina Totenberg of National Public Radio countered: "He was, but there are things he did well or even got criticized for. For example, you would have thought a year ago that we had no military under his leadership. Well, it turns out we have a pretty decent military."
Krauthammer's retort: "Even Democrats can't destroy the American military in only eight years." 

-- Over on the McLaughlin Group, asked to name her nomination for the "Bummest Rap" of the year, Newsweek's Eleanor Clift opined: "Bum rap that the Clintons trashed Air Force Two and stole White House furniture as they left office. Totally untrue."

Let's parse that one. "...the Clintons trashed Air Force Two." The allegation was about Air Force One, so was that an inadvertent slip by Clift or was she employing the Clintonian device of misstating facts and then offering a denial linked to the wrong facts. I'd file this one under "non-denial denial."  

(And yes, I realize the "Air Force One" and "Air Force Two" designations are artificial and apply to whatever plane the President or Vice President are aboard.) 

Clift is already looking forward to third and fourth Clinton presidential terms. Her "Best Comeback" of the year: "Hillary Clinton, who started the year on the defensive about pardons and furniture, has now established herself as a serious legislator and potential national candidate."


The second place runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2001 -- actually December 2000 through November 2001. 

The December 27 CyberAlert featured the winning quotes and the December 28 CyberAlert listed the first runners-up. To view the award winners and the top runners-up, as well as RealPlayer video clips for many of the broadcast quotes, go to: 

To determine this year's winners, a panel of 41 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and media observers each selected their choices for the first, second and third best quote from a slate of six to nine quotes in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices two points, with one point for the third place selections. Point totals are listed in the brackets at the end of the attribution for each quote. 

The names of the judges appear after the quotes below. 

Now, the second runners-up quotes in 15 award categories as presented in the December 24 edition of Notable Quotables: 

Swiss Press Corps Award for Remaining Neutral in War Coverage 

"To Western ears, calls for blood-soaked martyrdom are an alien concept, but consider the way things are for millions of Muslims of all ages: If you were born into grinding poverty where upward mobility isn't even a dream, and have little to sustain you in life beyond religion, you too might find yourself screaming for the new Messiah with a $5 million price on his head....Everywhere you go in the world you will hear some version of the words 'we are a freedom-loving people,' but like beauty, freedom is a perception that lies in the eye of the beholder, and we ignore other nations' versions at our peril. The most dangerous perception of all may be that one's own side has an exclusive claim to either the truth or patriotism." 
-- CBS News foreign correspondent Allen Pizzey on CBS's Sunday Morning, October 14. [39 points] 

Media Hero Award 

"Five months into the Great Electricity Crisis of 2001, the aura of impending disaster is receding, at least for now, from Sacramento and the rest of the Golden State. To be sure, [California Governor Gray] Davis still keeps the lights low and the air conditioning tepid in his capital offices, and when I saw him there it was like glimpsing Churchill in Whitehall during the blitz....In a way, the energy crisis is a blessing for a man such as this: a dramatic event that imperiled everyone in the nation's largest state and that called for a detail freak with an iron butt." 
-- Howard Fineman's July 25 "Living Politics" column, posted on Newsweek's section of MSNBC's Web site. [45] 

Pushing Bush to the Left Award

"Last week the Bush administration went beyond condiments, proposing to ax a Clinton administration regulation that forces the meat industry to perform salmonella tests on hamburger served in school cafeterias. Given the heightened interest in the health of cattle right now, the move wasn't exactly well timed.... 
"What happened to the compassion that was supposed to go with Bush's conservatism? The campaign prepared us for some of this -- candidate Bush made plain his intention to drill in the Arctic wildlife refuge, not a bad political calculus given America's preference for SUVs over caribou. But no one thought his team would choose slaughterhouses over schoolchildren, even if only for a day. What connects these decisions is a preference for folks he knows: his oil-field buddies (mirrors of himself), corporate executives and captains of industry, from the Halliburton honcho to the Terminix franchisee." 
-- Margaret Carlson's "Public Eye" column in the April 16 Time magazine. [34] 

Poisoning the Planet Award for Portraying Bush as Destroyer of the Earth 

"Fairly or unfairly, critics of President Bush's environmental policy believe the only green policy he's displayed is the color of big business money. Today the President made moves to change that image, upholding a new rule on industries pumping lead into the environment. So, is the Bush push really getting the lead out, or just blowing smoke?"
-- Dan Rather on the April 17 CBS Evening News. [36] 

Picking the Lockbox Award for Denouncing Bush's Tax Cut 

"On Capitol Hill, the Republican-controlled House voted mostly along party lines tonight to pass President Bush's federal budget blueprint. This includes his big tax cut plan, partly bankrolled, critics say, through cuts in many federal aid programs for children and education."
-- Dan Rather on the March 28 CBS Evening News. [33] 

Carve Clinton Into Mount Rushmore Award 

"Elvis, the first rock star. Clinton, the first rock star President....Clinton had a talent for convincing anyone listening to him that he was speaking only to them, just as Elvis convinced someone in the 100th row that he was singing only to them. Presley drew on black culture for inspiration. Clinton draws on black culture for solace." 
-- CNN political analyst Bill Schneider, prompted by the August "convergence" days apart of Bill Clinton's birthday and the day Elvis died, August 16 Inside Politics. [31] 

Good Morning Morons Award

"So, I'm getting less chips, paying the same amount of money. Is that legal for them to do this?" 
-- CBS's Julie Chen questioning Carol Foreman Tucker of the Consumer Federation of America about companies charging the same price for smaller snack food packages, January 3 Early Show. [38] 

Damn Those Conservatives Award 

"This was an issue about voting rights. Yet, Justice Thomas voted with the conservative majority. His vote could have changed history. But it was not to be. He is firmly entrenched on the Court's right....In five major cases involving civil rights and liberties, he voted against minorities every time, including rulings against job discrimination and voting rights. He's only 52 years old and could conceivably spend another 30 years on the Supreme Court. If, during his tenure, President-elect Bush ends up making a couple of more appointments like Justice Thomas to the Supreme Court, I have heard many women and minorities say, 'God help us.'" 
-- online column by World News Tonight/Sunday anchor Carole Simpson, Dec. 17, 2000, after the Supreme Court's Bush vs. Gore ruling. [34] 

Selected Not Elected Award for Claiming Bush Is an Illegitimate President 

"Nineteen days after the presidential election, Florida's Republican Secretary of State is about to announce the winner -- as she sees it and she decrees it -- of the state's potentially decisive 25 electoral votes....
"The believed certification -- as the Republican Secretary of State sees it -- is coming just hours after a court ordered deadline for counties to submit their hand count and recount totals.... 
"The reason we're on the air right across-the-board nationally right now is because Florida's Secretary of State -- a Republican, as we've mentioned before -- campaigned actively for George Bush, well-connected to Governor Bush's Governor brother Jeb Bush in Florida, but a woman who has consistently said 'I'm trying to do my job, right down to the letter of the law, as best I can'....She will certify -- as she sees it -- who gets Florida's 25 electoral votes.... 
"What's happening here is the certification -- as the Florida Secretary of State sees it and decrees it -- is being signed....After this, it will be, at least in the opinion of the Secretary of State, that the results will be final...." 
-- Dan Rather during a CBS News Special Report on the Nov. 26, 2000 official certification of Florida's vote. [42] 

Department of Injustice Award for Denigrating John Ashcroft 

"What do you think Senator Ashcroft's distortion of your record and tarnishing of your good name says about his character?" 
-- CBS's Bryant Gumbel to Missouri Supreme Court judge Ronnie White, January 19 Early Show. [48] 

Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis 

"You said that the air strikes are deliberately designed not to hit residential centers, but you also say that the Taliban is hiding weapons, stockpiling weapons in residential areas. Have you ruled out the possibility of dropping leaflets days in advance of an air strike to get residents out and saying, 'This could become a military target'? Is that something, without discussing future operations, could you see that possibly coming to fruition?" 
-- Question from an unidentified male reporter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Oct. 30 military briefing. [27] 

Euro-Envy Award for Advocating More Government Spending 

"You know, the U.S. is the only industrialized nation, I didn't know this until today, that doesn't spend federal money promoting tourism. Do you think it should?" 
-- Question from NBC's Katie Couric to Maryland Governor Parris Glendening on the October 1 Today. Glendening, a liberal Democrat, said no. [47] 

Nobody Here But Us Apolitical Observers Award for Denying Liberal Bias 

"The New York Times is middle of the road. There is no active, aggressive, important publication of the left in America. And so as a consequence, The New York Times when compared to The Wall Street Journal's editorial page may be considered to the left of it. But to call The New York Times left-wing is absurd." 
-- Norman Pearlstine, Editor-in-Chief of Time-Warner magazines, on C-SPAN's Washington Journal on May 24, responding to former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg's point that Dan Rather's belief that the Times' editorial page was merely "middle of the road" showed Rather's cluelessness on the issue of liberal media bias. [50] 

Blame America First Award 

"My daughter, who goes to Stuyvesant High School only blocks from the World Trade Center, thinks we should fly an American flag out our window. Definitely not, I say: The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war. She tells me I'm wrong -- the flag means standing together and honoring the dead and saying no to terrorism. In a way we're both right....[The flag] has to bear a wide range of meanings, from simple, dignified sorrow to the violent anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry that has already resulted in murder, vandalism and arson around the country and harassment on New York City streets and campuses." 
-- The Nation's Katha Pollitt in an Oct. 8 column. [43] 

Glimpses of Patriotism Award 

"I have spent this week wiping my eyes and grinding my teeth and wondering why. I've drawn strength from a story about a man I knew, Father Mychal Judge. The chaplain of the New York City Fire Department, a Franciscan, he raced to the World Trade Center after the explosion to comfort the injured. While administering the last rites to a dying rescue worker, he, himself, was killed by flying debris. New York's bravest physically carried Father Mike away....Together, firemen, priests, and brothers wept and sang the prayer of St. Francis, `May the Lord bless and keep you and show his face to you and have mercy on you.' That is the way of New York. That is the spirit of America." 
-- Tim Russert, moderator of NBC's Meet the Press, concluding the September 16 show. [30]

END Reprint of the second runners-up quotes in the MRC's awards for the year's worst reporting. 

And now a reprise of the list of the judges who gave generously of their time to complete our extensive ballot: 

-- Chuck Asay, editorial cartoonist, The Gazette in Colorado Springs 
-- Brent Baker, Editor of MRC's CyberAlert and Notable Quotables 
-- Mark Belling, talk show host, WISN in Milwaukee 
-- L. Brent Bozell III, President of the Media Research Center 
-- David Brudnoy, radio talk show host, WBZ in Boston; journalism professor at Boston University 
-- Priscilla Buckley, Contributing Editor of National Review 
-- Mark Davis, talk show host, ABC Radio and WBAP in Dallas-Ft. Worth; columnist, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram 
-- Midge Decter, author; Trustee for the Heritage Foundation 
-- Jim Eason, KSFO in San Francisco talk show host, emeritus 
-- Barry Farber, radio talk show host 
-- Eric Fettmann, columnist and Associate Editorial Page Editor, New York Post 
-- David Gold, syndicated radio talk show host 
-- Tim Graham, White House correspondent, World magazine 
-- Stephen Hayes, staff writer for The Weekly Standard 
-- Kirk Healy, Executive Producer, WDBO Radio in Orlando 
-- Quin Hillyer, editorial writer, Mobile Register 
-- Marie Kaigler, radio talk show host, Detroit 
-- Cliff Kincaid, commentator 
-- Mark Larson, talk show host and GM at KCBQ/KPRZ in San Diego 
-- Jason Lewis, talk show host, KSTP in Minneapolis/St. Paul 
-- Ross Mackenzie, Editor of the editorial page, Richmond Times-Dispatch 
-- Tony Macrini, talk show host, WNIS in Norfolk, Virginia 
-- Michelle Malkin, syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor 
-- Patrick McGuigan, Editor of the editorial page, TheOklahoman 
-- Jan Mickelson, talk show host, WHO Des Moines/WMT Cedar Rapids 
-- Wes Minter, Operations Manager and talk host, KRMG in Tulsa 
-- Jane Norris, talk show host, WHAS in Louisville 
-- Rich Noyes, Director of Media Analysis for the Media Research Center 
-- Marvin Olasky, Senior Fellow, Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty; Editor of World magazine 
-- Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated radio talk show host 
-- Henry Payne, editorial cartoonist, The Detroit News 
-- Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution 
-- Mike Rosen, talk show host, KOA in Denver; columnist, Denver Rocky Mountain News 
-- Ted J. Smith III, Professor of journalism, Virginia Commonwealth U. 
-- Philip Terzian, nationally syndicated columnist 
-- Bruce Tinsley, Mallard Fillmore cartoonist 
-- Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist; panelist on FNC's Fox Newswatch 
-- Armstrong Williams, nationally syndicated columnist 
-- Dick Williams, columnist; host of Atlanta's Georgia Gang 
-- Walter Williams, Professor of economics, George Mason University 
-- Thomas Winter, Editor-in-Chief of Human Events 

END of list of judges. On Friday, the first runners-up. 


Best of NQ in the news: FNC's Fox Newswatch, New York Post, Daily Oklahoman, Denver Rocky Mountain News and World magazine. 

-- On FNC's Fox Newswatch over the weekend, panelist Cal Thomas, who served as a judge for the MRC awards issue, shared with the audience his favorite quote from the MRC's year-end compilation: Dan Rather, the first runner-up for the "Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis," for saying he considers Bill Clinton to be honest since "I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things." 

-- The entire editorial space in today's New York Post is devoted to the favorite NQ quotes of the paper's editorial writers. To see the choices, those along the East Coast can pickup a copy of the December 31 New York Post. Otherwise, the editorial, titled, "Media Bias: The 2001 Awards," is posted online:

-- KOA Radio host Mike Rosen who, like Thomas, is also one of our dedicated judges, devoted his December 28 column, "2001 Doozies from the Media," to his favorite quotes. Unfortunately, the Denver Rocky Mountain News has yet to post it with Rosen's other columns, but may have by the time you read this:,1299,DRMN_86_114,00.html

The Colorado Springs Gazette also ran his column on Friday and, as of this moment, it's online at:

However, that appears to be an address that will soon be replaced by something else, but since the Gazette Web site is in the midst of a revamping, it may stay up a while (given they have yet to post Saturday or Sunday material). But don't try to get to it via Netscape since they made it so it doesn't work on their site -- and Internet Explorer barely functions on it. -- "On Wing Nuts and Jesus Freaks," a column in the December 26 Daily Oklahoman by Patrick McGuigan, the paper's editorial page editor and one of our judges. To read the quotes he chose to highlight, go to:

-- Marvin Olasky, an awards issue judge who is Editor of World magazine, was first out of the box with a back page essay about the quotes in the December 22 edition of his magazine:

If you see or hear any other citations of the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," please let me know by e-mailing:



From the December 28 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten Signs You're At a Lame New Year's Eve Party." Copyright 2001 by Worldwide Pants, Inc. 

10. To give it a Times Square feel, everyone is groped, fondled and pick-pocketed
9. "Party hats" look suspiciously like stolen traffic cones 
8. "Ball drop" at midnight consists of a trick your Uncle Earl does when he's loaded 
7. "Champagne" really apple juice mixed with Alka Seltzer 
6. You notice a "Happy 1999" tag on the package of shrimp you've been eating all night 
5. The host kicks everyone out at 11:58 so he can go to bed 
4. The only guests are you and Richard Simmons, and guess who wants a New Year's Eve kiss? 
3. The Amish can do many things well, but throwing parties ain't one of them 
2. It's just you and a dozen Mullahs in a cave 
1. It's held in March
-- Brent Baker



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