The 1,683rd CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996
Friday March 19, 2004 (Vol. Nine; No. 46)
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1. Rush Limbaugh & Sam Donaldson Appear at MRC’s “DisHonors Awards” A rundown of the MRC’s “DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2003,” as presented on Thursday night before an audience of more than 850 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. Two surprise appearances: Sam Donaldson and then, outdoing that, Rush Limbaugh.

2. The Judges Who Selected the Winning Quotes
List of the 13 judges who evaluated the quotes and picked the winners.

3. Audience Awarded the “Quote of the Year” to Charles Pierce The “Quote of the Year,” as chosen via the cheering, clapping, hooting and Dean-like screams from the audience.


Rush Limbaugh & Sam Donaldson Appear
at MRC’s “DisHonors Awards”

     Rush Limbaugh and Sam Donaldson made surprise appearances at the MRC’s “DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporters of 2003,” which were presented on Thursday night, March 18, before an audience of about 850 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

     Following the presentation of the awards, as MRC President L. Brent Bozell III made closing remarks and thanked those who made the evening possible, he was interrupted by ABC News veteran Sam Donaldson, who bound on stage in mock anger, railing at Bozell and the MRC for the attack on the news media.

     Bozell soon resumed thanking staff members, only to have the evening’s producer, Leesa Kelly, interrupt him a second time to tell him there was someone else who wished to come on stage to make some comments. When Bozell acceded to her request, the theme music to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show began to play and an astonished audience quickly comprehended what that meant just as Rush Limbaugh strode on stage, prompting a lengthy standing ovation. Limbaugh proceeded to deliver remarks for about 15 minutes, covering a wide range of topics from the power of the news media to how liberals are afraid of being seen as liberal to the hostility toward him by the local Florida media in covering the prosecutor’s case against him.

     On Friday, as soon as we are able to obtain the tape of the event, we will post RealPlayer video of both Donaldson and Limbaugh. When it is posted, you’ll be able to view it here:

     If it isn’t up yet when you check, try later. Though I’m writing this at about 3:45am EST, I’m delaying sending this e-mail until 10:30am in the hope that by then the MRC’s Mez Djouadi will have had adequate time and access to the tape in order to get the videos online, with a priority on Limbaugh.

     I’d expect Limbaugh to comment on his radio show today about his appearance, which I believe may well have been his first public appearance since his drug rehabilitation last fall. So tune in to hear that.

     Now, on to an explanation of how the award winners were picked and a rundown of the program which took place before Donaldson and Limbaugh surprised the audience:

     Winners were selected by a distinguished panel of 13 leading media observers who served as judges -- including Cal Thomas, Steve Forbes, Ann Coulter, John Fund, Kate O’Beirne, Lucianne Goldberg, Walter E. Williams, Thomas Winter and R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr. For the list of judges, see item #2 below.

     Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and host of FNC's After Hours with Cal Thomas, served as Master of Ceremonies. Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, was the first presenter, followed by nationally syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin and then Jonah Goldberg, a CNN commentator, syndicated columnist and contributing editor to National Review Online. In place of the journalist who won each award, a conservative accepted it in jest.

     Those standing in for the winners: Former U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Jeanne Kirkpatrick; President of the Catholic League, Bill Donohue; American Spectator Publisher Al Regnery; conservative direct mail innovator Richard Viguerie; and national radio talk show host Laura Ingraham.

     The evening began with welcoming remarks from Cal Thomas, an invocation by Reverend Vincent Rigdon, the Pledge of Allegiance led by Thomas and John Butler singing the National Anthem.

     Following the dinner (filet mignon), Thomas opened the festivities by playing his favorite stupid media quotes from 2003, starting with this question from an unidentified reporter at the Pentagon briefing shown live on all major news channels early in the afternoon of March 21, 2003 just days into the war:
     “It seems to me that we’re moving relatively freely toward Baghdad -- you, General Myers, talked about we’re 100 miles inside -- there’s reports of surrenders and that, with the attack on Wednesday, that we degraded Saddam’s capability of communicating with his commanders. Yet, we keep talking about this overwhelming force that we’re prepared to use. I’m wondering, are you concerned at all that we will be seen as a bully?”

     Next, Thomas highlighted this comment from CBS’s Bob Simon uttered on March 24, as U.S. tanks roared toward Baghdad:
     “Saddam has done remarkably well right now. In fact, the most remarkable achievement of the Bush administration so far has been creating quite a bit of worldwide sympathy for Saddam Hussein.”

     Thomas’ third and last humorously stupid video selection, this exchange on ABC’s World News Tonight between John McWethy and Peter Jennings just a few days before Baghdad fell:
     John McWethy at Pentagon: “As the U.S. begins to really squeeze Baghdad, U.S. intelligence sources are saying that some of Saddam Hussein’s toughest security forces are now apparently digging in, apparently willing to defend their city block by block. This could be, Peter, a long war.”
     Peter Jennings: “As many people had anticipated.”

     Thomas then introduced Scarborough, the first of three presenters.

     For all five “DisHonors Awards” categories, the top three quotes in each category were played in random order followed by the announcement of the winner. Throughout the night Thomas, the presenters and acceptors entertained the audience with humorous comments about current events, mocking the pretentiousness displayed in the nominated quotes and the poor journalism of those being highlighted.

     In between the third and fourth categories, the audience enjoyed a musical interlude from the Capitol Steps with a series of parody songs featuring characters playing Arianna Huffington, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, as well as John Kerry and suitors for his vice presidential nod: Joe Lieberman, John Edwards, Wesley Clark and Howard Dean.

     Following the five awards, the audience, through its cheering and clapping, picked the “Quote of the Year.” (See #3 below for the winner.)

     To get the full flavor of the humorous atmosphere of the evening, you’ll need to watch video of the event. The MRC's Mez Djouadi has already posted RealPlayer videos of each nominated quote, but through the day Friday he’ll be adding video segments of Cal Thomas introducing the presenters, the presentations of the awards and the remarks of those accepting them. So, as the hours pass, check back with this address to see what has been added since you last checked:

     Below are the top runners-up in each award category as picked by the judges, followed by the winner and the name of the conservative who accepted the award in jest:

* Baghdad Bob Award for Parroting Enemy Propaganda Presented by Joe Scarborough


     “Within the United States, there is growing challenge to President Bush about the conduct of the war and also opposition to the war. So our reports about civilian casualties here, about he resistance of the Iraqi forces are going back to the United States. It helps those who oppose the war and it challenges the policy to develop their arguments.
“One other point, I’ve been mainly in Baghdad in the past few weeks, but clearly this is a city that is disciplined, the population is responsive to the government’s requirements of discipline and my Iraqi friends tell me there’s a growing sense of nationalism and resistance to what the United States and Britain is doing....
“Clearly, the American war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces. And I personally do not understand how that happened, because I’ve been here many times and in my commentaries on television I would tell the Americans about the determination of the Iraqi forces, the determination of the government, and the willingness to fight for their country. But me, and others who felt the same way, were not listened to by the Bush administration.
“That is why now America is re-appraising the battlefield, delaying the war, maybe a week, and re-writing the war plan. The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance; now they’re trying to write another war plan.”
-- Then-NBC/MSNBC/National Geographic Explorer correspondent Peter Arnett’s comments on Iraq’s state-controlled television network, March 30, 2003 shown by C-SPAN.

     “There’s not a good deal for Iraqis to be happy about at the moment. Life is still very chaotic, beset by violence in many cases, huge shortages. In some respects, Iraqis keep telling us life is not as stable for them as it was when Saddam Hussein was in power.”
-- ABC’s Peter Jennings during a prime-time special on December 14, 2003 the day Saddam’s capture by American forces was announced.

And the winner is:

     Diane Sawyer: “I read this morning that he’s [Saddam Hussein] also said the love that the Iraqis have for him is so much greater than anything Americans feel for their President because he’s been loved for 35 years, he says, the whole 35 years.”
     Dan Harris in Baghdad: “He is one to point out quite frequently that he is part of a historical trend in this country of restoring Iraq to its greatness, its historical greatness. He points out frequently that he was elected with a hundred percent margin recently.”
-- ABC’s Good Morning America, March 7, 2003.

     Accepting for Diane Sawyer and Dan Harris....Jeanne Kirkpatrick

* The I’m Not a Geopolitical Genius But I Play One on TV Award

Presented by Joe Scarborough


     Left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore: “What happened to the search for Osama bin Laden?”
     Bob Costas: “Obviously they’re pursuing Osama bin Laden as we speak.”
     Moore: “Really? You believe that?”
     Costas: “Yes.”
     Moore: “You do believe that?”
     Costas: “Sure. And if they could find him, and perhaps they eventually will, they’d be gratified by that.”
     Moore: “You don’t think they [the U.S. government] know where he is, huh?”
     Bob Costas (astonished): “You think they know where Osama bin Laden is and it’s hands off?”
     Moore: “Absolutely, absolutely.”
     Costas: “Why?”
     Moore: “Because he’s funded by their friends in Saudi Arabia! He’s back living with his sponsors, his benefactors. Do you think that Osama bin Laden planned 9/11 from a cave in Afghanistan? I can’t get a cell signal from here to Queens! Alright, I mean, come on, let’s get real about this. The guy has been on dialysis for two years. He’s got failing kidneys. He wasn’t in a cave in Afghanistan-”
     Costas: “You think he’s in Saudi Arabia?”
     Moore: “Absolutely.”
     Costas: “Not Afghanistan, not Pakistan?”
     Moore: “Well, could be Pakistan but it’s, he’s under the protective watch of those who have said put stop to this because-”
     Costas: “Including, at least by extension, the United States? He’s under the protective watch of the United States?”
     Moore: “I think no, I think the United States, I think our government knows where he is and I don’t think we’re going to be capturing him or killing him any time soon.”
-- Exchange on HBO’s On the Record with Bob Costas, May 9, 2003.

     “Can I say one last thing? I haven’t even been drinking, at all. But, you know, being a man, I’ve got to say that we’ve got this guy in the White House who thinks he is a man, you know, who projects himself as a man because he has a certain masculinity, and he’s a good old boy, and he used to drink, and he knows how to shoot a gun and how to drive a pickup truck, et cetera, like that. That’s not the definition of a man, God dammit!”
-- Actor Ed Harris speaking at a January 21, 2003 NARAL Pro-Choice America banquet shown on C-SPAN.

And the winner is:

     MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle: “Who do you regard as a bigger threat to world peace: George Bush, or Saddam Hussein?”
     Comedienne/Activist Janeane Garofalo: “I say at this point, for different reasons, they are both very threatening to world peace and to deny that is to be incredibly naive. Right now, we are on the brink of global catastrophe....This is a manufactured war at this point. There has been a war on the people of Iraq since 1990.”
-- Exchange on MSNBC’s Nachman, which Barnicle was guest-hosting, February 20, 2003.

     And accepting for Janeane Garofalo....Bill Donohue

* Media Know It All Award

Presented by Michelle Malkin


     Lesley Stahl: “The Powell Doctrine in military terms is that you throw a massive force, if you’re going to go to war, make it huge. There are now criticisms, we’re beginning to hear, that this force isn’t massive enough.”
     Colin Powell: “It’s nonsense....The United States armed forces, with our coalition partners -- the British, principally, and the Australians -- have gone 300 miles deep into Iraq in a period of five days. That is a heck of an achievement.”
     Stahl: “Yeah, but our, the rear is exposed.”
     Powell: “It’s not. Exposed to what? Exposed to small-“
     Stahl: “Exposed to Fedayeen, exposed-”
     Powell: “Fine. So? We’ll get them in due course...”
     Stahl: “Are you saying you’re not worried or concerned about guerilla warfare?”
     Powell: “Of course we are and that, and we’re trained to handle this. But this chatter for the last 24 hours that everything is coming apart because on Sunday we took a few casualties. The casualties for this operation have been low. You don’t want to slow your advance to go into a particular city and spend all your time routing out people that you will get in due course. They are not threatening the advance.”
     Stahl: “But you can’t get your supplies, well you can’t-”
     Powell: “Who says?”
     Stahl: “-can’t get the humanitarian-”
     Powell: “Who says?”
     Stahl: “-well you can’t get the humanitarian aid in there.”
     Powell: “...The situation will change rapidly.”
     Stahl: “How did we get to a place where much of the world thinks that George Bush is more evil than Saddam Hussein?”
-- Exchange on CBS’s 48 Hours, March 25, 2003 the 6th day of the war.

     “The President’s tax cut is beginning to show up. Will three extra dollars stimulate the national economy?”
-- Peter Jennings teasing a July 8, 2003 story on ABC’s World News Tonight about he supposed average size of the tax cut.

And the winner is:

“Our greatest accomplishment as a profession is the development since World War II of a news reporting craft that is truly non-partisan, and non-ideological, and that strives to be independent of undue commercial or governmental influence....But we don’t wear the political collar of our owners or the government or any political party. It is that legacy we must protect with our diligent stewardship. To do so means we must be aware of the energetic effort that is now underway to convince our readers that we are ideologues. It is an exercise of, in disinformation, of alarming proportions, this attempt to convince the audience of the world’s most ideology-free newspapers that they’re being subjected to agenda-driven news reflecting a liberal bias.”
-- Then-New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines accepting the “George Beveridge Editor of the Year Award” at a National Press Foundation dinner shown live on C-SPAN2, February 20, 2003.

     And accepting for Howell Raines....Al Regnery

* I Hate You #!*#! Conservatives Award

Presented by Jonah Goldberg


“What must it be like to live in Rush Limbaugh’s world? A world where when anyone other than conservative, white men attempts to do anything or enter any profession, be it business, politics, art or sports, the only reason they’re allowed entry or, incredibly, attain excellence is because the standard was lowered. Be they liberals, people of color, women, the poor or anyone with an accent. So as Rush’s world has steadily crumbled, it’s no wonder he allegedly had to turn to prescription pain killers....Edgy, controversial, brilliant. What a way to shake up intelligent sports commentary. Hitler would have killed in talk radio. He was edgy, too.”
-- CBS Sunday Morning contributor Nancy Giles on October 5, 2003.

     Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan: “I think the media and the Democratic Party spent the 1990s saying, ‘None of this matters. You can do anything to women. We’ll beat ‘em up, we’ll put private eyes on them-’”
     Time columnist Joe Klein: “Wait a second!...You can beat ‘em up?”
     Noonan: “As a matter of fact Bill Clinton was literally charged with that. He was charged with worse things than, than Arnold [Schwarzenegger].”
     Klein: “He was charged with those things by lunatics. He was never legally charged with that.”
     Noonan: “Whoa! He was charged by Juanita Broaddrick. I don’t think that it’s fair to call her a lunatic.”
     Klein: “That? Yes, I do think that she was an extremist.”
-- Exchange on the October 12, 2003 Chris Matthews Show.

And the winner is:

“I decided to put on my flag pin tonight -- first time. Until now I haven’t thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see....I put it on to take it back. The flag’s been hijacked and turned into a logo – the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval and during the State of the Union did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration’s patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error.
“When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao’s Little Red Book on every official’s desk, omnipresent and unread. But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American....I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us.”
-- Bill Moyers on PBS’s Now, February 28, 2003.

     Accepting for Bill Moyers....Richard Viguerie

* Ozzy Osbourne Award (for the Wackiest Comment)

Presented by Joe Scarborough


     Host Cal Thomas: “Many conservatives and religious people in this country feel that much of the media, especially the broadcast media, is biased or at least insensitive to their points of view...”
     CBS’s Lesley Stahl: “I’m going to attack the premise of the question, because I think today you have broadcast journalists who are avowedly conservative....The voices that are being heard in broadcast media today, are far more -- the ones who are being heard -- are far more likely to be on the right and avowedly so, and therefore, more -- almost stridently so, than what you’re talking about.”
     Thomas: “Can you name a conservative journalist at CBS News?”
     Stahl: “Well, I don’t know of anybody’s political bias at CBS News. I really think we try very hard to get any opinion that we have out of our stories, and most of our stories are balanced.”
-- Exchange on Fox News Channel’s After Hours with Cal Thomas, January 18, 2003.

     “I know you keep a running log of your every waking activity. There’s an article in the Style section of the Washington Post this morning. It says you’ve logged 26 years of personal minutiae, filling 4,400 two-by-three inch notebooks, color-coded by season. An example: ‘12:17' -- this is when you made the announcement -- ‘Ascend stage, stumble, regain balance; 12:18: Applause, ‘Where the Streets Have No Name,’ plays (U2); 12:19: Clap, wave; 12:20: Adjust tie (red, white stripes); 12:21: Double thumbs up; 12:22: Sing along with National Anthem, right hand on heart.’ What, what do you do this for?!”
-- Katie Couric to Senator Bob Graham on Today, May 7, 2003 apparently unaware the article she quoted from was a spoof of the presidential candidate’s diary.

And the winner is:

“If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”
-- Charles Pierce in a January 5, 2003 Boston Globe Magazine article. Kopechne drowned while trapped in Kennedy’s submerged car off Chappaquiddick Island in July 1969, an accident Kennedy did not report for several hours. (Audio of Ted Kennedy impersonator reading this quote.)

     Accepting for Charles Pierce....Laura Ingraham


The Judges Who Selected the Winning

     The Judges: To select the winners of the MRC's “DisHonors Awards: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased Liberal Reporting of 2003,” a distinguished panel of 13 leading observers of the liberal media in action generously gave of their time to serve as our judges. They reviewed three to five quotes in each of five award categories. For each set of quotes the judges picked first and second place choices. First place selections earned two points, second choices were allocated one point. The MRC's Kristina Sewell tabulated the ballots.

- L. Brent Bozell III, President of the Media Research Center

- Ann Coulter, syndicated columnist and author of Treason: Liberal Treachery from the Cold War to the War on Terrorism

- Steve Forbes, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes magazine

- John Fund, conservative commentator and featured writer for the Political Diary e-mail report for the Wall Street Journal's

- Lucianne Goldberg, radio talk show host and publisher of

- Kate O’Beirne, Washington Editor of National Review and a panelist on CNN’s Capital Gang

- Michelle Malkin, syndicated columnist, Fox News Channel contributor and author of Invasion: How America Still Welcomes Terrorists Criminals & Other Foreign Menaces to Our Shores

- Al Regnery, Publisher of The American Spectator

- William Rusher, Distinguished Fellow at the Claremont Institute

- Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist, host of FNC’s Saturday night After Hours with Cal Thomas and panelist on FNC’s Fox Newswatch

- R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., syndicated columnist, Editor-in-Chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House

- Walter E. Williams, syndicated columnist and professor of economics at George Mason University

- Thomas Winter, Editor-in-Chief of Human Events


Audience Awarded the “Quote of the Year”
to Charles Pierce

     Quote of the Year. Following the presentation of the awards, attendees saw replays of the four winning quotes uttered by members of the news media: Diane Sawyer and Dan Harris on Saddam Hussein’s popularity, Howell Raines on the assault against “ideology-free” newspapers, Bill Moyers complaining about the threat posed by flag pins and how the U.S. did to Iraq what al-Qaeda did to the U.S., and the Boston Globe’s Charles Pierce on how Ted Kennedy’s policies would have brought “comfort” in “her old age” to Mary Jo Kopechne. (See item #1 above for the quotes in full.)

     Then, as a picture of each nominee was displayed, audience members were asked by MRC President L. Brent Bozell to hoot, holler and do their best Dean scream impersonation to indicate their preference so that he, along with Cal Thomas, Michelle Malkin, Jonah Goldberg and Laura Ingraham could decipher the audience's preference. (Joe Scarborough had departed to do his 10pm EST show live on MSNBC.)

     Without question, Pierce’s quote generated the most reaction and thus won the “Quote of the Year” dishonor. Since as a print quote we had no video for it, as Pierce’s words scrolled on screen, those in attendance heard Ted Kennedy-like voice reading the quote. Our uncredited Kennedy impersonator: Rich Noyes, the MRC’s Director of Research.

     The quote, from Pierce in a January 5, 2003 profile of Kennedy in the Boston Globe magazine: “If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”

     For a picture of Pierce, as posted on his own Web site:

     Here's the paragraph in full in which the sentence appeared:
     “And that's the key. That's how you survive what he's survived. That's how you move forward, one step after another, even though your name is Edward Moore Kennedy. You work, always, as though your name were Edward Moore. If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”

     “Kennedy Unbound” read the headline over the profile. The fawning subhead: “After 40 years in the U.S. Senate, Edward M. Kennedy has transcended the family mythology and become his own man.”

     # Funniest line of the evening: Sam Donaldson ended his surprise appearance by saying that while he’s been off of TV, he’s been keeping busy writing under a pen name: Charles Pierce.

     # I’ll send an update later today when we have RealPlayer video clips up on our Web site of most, if not all, of the event. Remember, tune in to Rush Limbaugh’s radio show on Friday to hear his comments about his appearance at the MRC awards dinner.

-- Brent Baker


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