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CyberAlert -- 12/27/2001 -- Winning Quotes in the MRC's Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting

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Winning Quotes in the MRC's Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting; A Survivor Contestant Denounced the News Media

1) The 15 winning quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2001: The Fourteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." Plus, a list of the 41 judges who picked the winning quotes.

2) Last Thursday on CBS's Survivor: Africa, contestant Frank Garrison denounced gun control advocates and even raised liberal media bias as he lamented "these liberal special interest groups that the media give open market to..." The Early Show's Russ Mitchell chided him: "You went mouthing off about liberals the day of the tribal council. A lot of people saw that and said that's not a good idea."


1

The winning 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.

To view the award winners and the top runners-up, as well as RealPlayer video clips for many of the broadcast quotes, go to where the MRC's Mez Djouadi has posted them: http://secure.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/2001/best2001/bestofnq2001.html

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, as determined by the MRC's Kristina Sewell, are listed in the brackets at the end of the attribution for each quote.

A list of the judges, who were generous with their time, appears after the quotes listed below.

Without further delay, the winning 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

"The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don't have an opinion on that, and it's important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now....I can say the Pentagon got hit, I can say this is what their position is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right or wrong, I mean, that's perhaps for me in my private life, perhaps it's for me dealing with my loved ones, perhaps it's for my minister at church. But as a journalist I feel strongly that's something that I should not be taking a position on. I'm supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be."
-- ABC News President David Westin at a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism event on Oct. 23 shown four days later on C-SPAN. [83 points]

Media Hero Award

"What an exhilarating moment it must have been for her -- the first First Lady in history to be elected to public office. There, for all the nay-sayers to see, was the woman who had finally come into her own, free at last to be smart, outspoken, independent, and provocative, all qualities she had been forced as First Lady, to 'hide under a bushel.' Still she was voted one of America's most admired women. Just wait. You ain't seen nothin' yet."
-- End of "On My Mind" ABCNews.com commentary by ABC anchor Carole Simpson, January 7. [82 points]

Pushing Bush to the Left Award

"Arsenic in the water. Starting up the Cold War. Make as much carbon dioxide as you like. Laugh about it. Bush has set himself up as a huge target. And the arsenic is going to be the equivalent of what your boss [Newt Gingrich] did with cutting school lunches."
-- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, addressing Tony Blankley, on the McLaughlin Group, March 24. [52 points]

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

"Remember when Ronald Reagan tried to save a few pennies on the school lunch program by classifying ketchup as a vegetable? Last week the Bush administration went further, axing a regulation that forced the meat industry to test hamburgers served in school for salmonella. Imagine, Mad Cow Disease among children, K through 12. The day it hit the papers the proposal was quickly withdrawn. [If] the Bush administration keeps trying to kill health and safety regulations at this pace, soon we won't be able to eat, drink or breathe."
-- "Outrage of the Week" from Time magazine's Margaret Carlson, April 7 Capital Gang on CNN. [69 points]

Picking the Lockbox Award for Denouncing Bush's Tax Cut

"Adios, surplus. When retired boomers dine on dog food, will they say thanks for that $600?"
-- Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom" box, assigning President Bush a "down" arrow, Sept. 3 issue. [52 points]

Carve Clinton Into Mount Rushmore Award

"Throughout the eight years that he was in office, President Clinton warned us that the next great menace was international terrorism....He also brought unprecedented prosperity to our nation, and because of that, President [Bush] can use the surplus Mr. Clinton left behind to pay for many of the nation's needs in this time of crisis....This lecture series is about the human spirit. To me and millions of others, President Clinton has always personified that. He is the man from Hope, and that is what he has given us, hope. We miss him. Thank you, Mr. President."
-- Former UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas introducing Clinton at Oct. 9 Greater Washington Society of Association Executives lecture shown on C_SPAN. [80 points]

Good Morning Morons Award

Bryant Gumbel: "At the risk of starting an argument, are you a believer in global warming?"
Mark McEwen: "Absolutely."
Jane Clayson: "Of course."
Julie Chen: "Yeah."
Gumbel: "So am I....And you wonder what it's gonna take. I mean, is it gonna take some kind of a real catastrophe? I mean, does an iceberg have to come floating down the Hudson before somebody stands up and goes, 'Oh, yeah'?"
-- Exchange during CBS Early Show's co-op time at 7:25 am on April 18. [55 points]

Damn Those Conservatives Award

Bill Maher, host of ABC's Politically Incorrect: "I do think, if it turns out that this beautiful young girl is gone, I think, and he [Condit] is responsible in some way, you have to look to Ken Starr for a little bit of guilt."
Larry King: "Why?"
Maher: "Because, you know, Ken Starr made it so that you, in the old days, you had an affair with somebody, and you know, okay, you had an affair. The press didn't report it. They didn't make a political criminal case of it. Now, it's almost like you have to get rid of them."
-- Exchange on CNN's Larry King Live, July 27. [52 points]

Selected Not Elected Award for Claiming Bush Is an Illegitimate President

"If Bush is elected and it's proved on a hand count that Gore actually carried Florida (not to mention the popular vote), what will the country say? 'Ooops' isn't going to cut it....However agreeable and successful he turns out to be, the new President is doomed to be seen by many Americans as a bastard."
-- Jonathan Alter, Dec. 11, 2000 Newsweek. [55 points]

Department of Injustice Award for Denigrating John Ashcroft

"Well, you know, Attorney General is actually an important job. Why can't they buy off the right wing with unimportant jobs? I mean, this is a sop, I assume, to buy off the wing nuts, but it's like giving, I mean, the Attorney General counts, it matters."
-- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, December 23, 2000. [55 points]

Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis

"What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox."
-- CNN founder Ted Turner on Ash Wednesday to CNN employees with ash marks on their foreheads at Bernard Shaw's retirement party, as reported March 6 on FNC's Special Report with Brit Hume. [73 points]

Euro-Envy Award for Advocating More Government Spending

NBC News reporter Keith Miller in Paris: "Break out the band, bring on the drinks. The French are calling it a miracle. A government-mandated 35-hour work week is changing the French way of life. Two years ago, in an effort to create more jobs, the government imposed a shorter work week on large companies, forcing them to hire more workers....Sixty percent of those on the job say their lives have improved. These American women, all working in France, have time for lunch and a life."
Avivah Wittenberg-Cox: "More Americans should be more aware that an economy as successful as the French one managed to be successful without giving up everything else in life."
Katie Couric, following the end of Miller's taped piece: "So great that young mother being able to come home at three every day and spend that time with her child. Isn't that nice? The French, they've got it right, don't they?"
-- NBC's Today, August 1. [78 points]

Nobody Here But Us Apolitical Observers Award for Denying Liberal Bias

Newsweek

's Evan Thomas: "There is a perception, even among journalists, that the [New York] Times is going a little bit left, is getting more liberal, and that's disquieting."
Time magazine's Jack White: "That's a lot of hokum, with all due respect to Evan. There is no liberal bias in the press in the whole. In fact, if there is a bias, it's on the other side. It's hard to find a person really, truly, of the liberal persuasion who are making any important decisions in any important media institutions in this country now. I've looked for them, I consider myself one, I have very few birds of a like feather around."
-- Exchange on the September 1 Inside Washington. [56 points]

Blame America First Award

"Am I angry? You bet I am. I am an American citizen, and my leaders have taken my money to fund mass murder. And now my friends have paid the price with their lives.
"Keep crying, Mr. Bush. Keep running to Omaha or wherever it is you go while others die, just as you ran during Vietnam while claiming to be 'on duty' in the Air National Guard. Nine boys from my high school died in that miserable war. And now you are asking for 'unity' so you can start another one? Do not insult me or my country like this!
"Yes, I, too, will be in church at noon today, on this national day of mourning. I will pray for you, and us, and the children of New York, and the children of this sad and ugly world."
-- Message posted by left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore on his Web site, September 14. [54 points]

Glimpses of Patriotism Award

"For once, let's have no 'grief counselors' standing by with banal consolations, as if the purpose, in the midst of all this, were merely to make everyone feel better as quickly as possible. We shouldn't feel better. For once, let's have no fatuous rhetoric about 'healing.' Healing is inappropriate now, and dangerous. There will be time later for the tears of sorrow. A day cannot live in infamy without the nourishment of rage. Let's have rage....
"As the bodies are counted, into the thousands and thousands, hatred will not, I think, be a difficult emotion to summon. Is the medicine too strong? Call it, rather, a wholesome and intelligent enmity....Anyone who does not loathe the people who did these things, and the people who cheer them on, is too philosophical for decent company....The worst times, as we see, separate the civilized of the world from the uncivilized. This is the moment of clarity. Let the civilized toughen up, and let the uncivilized take their chances in the game they started."
-- Lance Morrow in a special edition of Time published after the September 11 terrorist attacks. [67 points]

END Reprint of winning quotes in the MRC's awards for the year's worst reporting.

Now, the list of the judges who gave generously of their time to complete our extensive ballot and return it to us in under two weeks:

-- 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, The Oklahoman
-- 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.

2

Last Thursday on CBS's Survivor: Africa contestant Frank Garrison denounced gun control advocates and even raised liberal media bias as he lamented "these liberal special interest groups that the media give open market to instead of the average working class American that founded this country."

(That's a different attitude than the one expressed by a contestant in the original Survivor back in 2000, as reported by CyberAlert: "In the June 28 episode of the CBS show about 16 people living on an island with one voted off by the others each week, an older man named Rudy, the former Navy SEAL who gained some publicity on the opening show when he couldn't start a fire, is annoyed by a younger guy named Dirk who reads the Bible: 'It's funny to me that a guy would read the Bible out here. The only reason I'd bring a Bible is if, I mean I'm religious too, if I needed toilet paper.'")

These fresh remarks on the show set in Africa aroused the concern of CBS's Early Show, which began scheduled interviews with Garrison on both Friday and Saturday by playing clips of his comments as hosts asked him to explain how he could have been so foolish just hours before the "tribal council" during which he was voted out. Russ Mitchell chided him: "You went mouthing off about liberals the day of the tribal council. A lot of people saw that and said that's not a good idea."

On the December 20 Survivor: Africa, MRC analyst Patrick Gregory observed, Garrison outlined his political views as he sat outside with a group of other contestants who weren't that interested: "My argument always with the gun activists is that they think that guns kill people and everything, there's like, there's everything else you can kill someone with, you know, a piece of fishing line I can kill somebody with. There are automobiles that kill people every day, drug overdose, malpractice, just everything."

As a female contestant tried to shut him up by pleading "Alright. Okay, enough!" Garrison plowed ahead: "You can't help it, these liberal special interest groups that the media give open market to instead of the average working class American that founded this country."

He also suggested: "The NRA might invite me to their banquet, their convention down there."

The next morning, on the December 21 Early Show, Hollywood Squares host Tom Bergeron, who filled in all week for Bryant Gumbel, set up an interview with Garrison: "Frank Garrison waited nearly four weeks to show his soft side to the remaining competitors on Survivor Africa but it turns out his soft side is, well a little abrasive."

CBS then played clips from Garrison on Survivor: "To be here is just awesome, just loving the outdoors, the animals and wildlife, and people in a way as well."
Garrison amid pleas [female: "Alright. Okay, enough!"] from the other survivors for him to stop: "These little liberal special interest groups that the media give open market to instead of the average working class American that founded this country."
Garrison: "My love for being here grows every day."

Bergeron's first question, as taken down by MRC intern Donald Goodman: "Frank is a telephone technician from Odessa, New York. Now Frank, I'm watching this last night, now that little thing you're doing, you know that rant you went on is on the morning of tribal council. And I'm watching this, and I understand they edit this thing for dramatic effect and not always show you guys the way you feel you should be shown, but I'm thinking as a viewer, 'Somebody took his stupid pills today.' Because I figured you were definitely out after that and it turns out I was right. Was that an accurate representation, were you trying to annoy them?"
Garrison explained: "No, that was an accurate representation, 100 percent, but I can't remember initially how the conversation, I didn't start the conversation; simply my opinion was brought into the circle and my opinion wasn't liked, so."

The next morning, the Saturday Early Show played the same set up clips before host Russ Mitchell scolded him: "You went mouthing off about liberals the day of the tribal council. A lot of people saw that and said that's not a good idea. Why'd you decide to do that -- at that time?"
Garrison: "We were having a conversation that morning and it was my opinion and I just piped in on it. And unfortunately it wasn't accepted by a lot of them..."

For a bio and picture of Garrison, go to:
http://www.cbs.com/primetime/survivor3/survivors/bios/frank.shtml

Another episode of Survivor: Africa airs tonight at 8pm EST/PST, 7pm CST/MST on CBS.

And doesn't CBS have anyone who actually works for CBS News who would like to fill-in as co-host of The Early Show. How seriously can you take a news program which brings in a game show host from Hollywood to serve as co-host? -- Brent Baker