Time Praised FDR & Dissed Churchill; First Runners-Up in the Best NQs of '99
1) Time picked Albert Einstein as "Person of the Century," but managed plenty of room for admiration of FDR. Walter Isaacson dismissed Churchill because he opposed women's rights and praised Bill Clinton for restoring "the strength of Franklin Roosevelt's legacy by reforming welfare and conquering runaway deficits while still showing how government could help average citizens."
Time magazine may have made Albert Einstein its Person of the Century, but Managing Editor Walter Isaacson made sure Franklin Roosevelt got plenty of admiration in the magazine's oddly Friday-dated December 31 issue. Roosevelt and Mohandas Gandhi shared "runner-up" status in the issue, with articles about the attributes of each. Isaacson explained that Time passed over Winston Churchill, in part, because "He bulldoggedly opposed the women's-rights movement." But I didn't notice any consideration of whether fifty years ago Einstein held proper 1999 views of the role of women.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer may have revealed a widespread media disappointment with the passing over of Franklin Roosevelt, as he asked Isaacson on Sunday's Late Edition: "You know, a lot of people are going to be mighty disappointed that you didn't pick FDR, given that probably the greatest threat during this century was Hitler, perhaps the most evil man in history. FDR led the world, the free world, in the coalition to defeat him and they won."
Isaacson replied by asserting Roosevelt was a champion of "unfettered free market capitalism," a theme he also promoted in the pages of the magazine. He told Blitzer: "Absolutely. And Franklin Roosevelt also took on capitalism and democracy's other great challenge, which was the Great Depression, and created a system in which the government helps provide a social safety net but still allows unfettered free market capitalism to work. So Roosevelt is a paramount person in this century, and there's long pieces on him, as I say, by President Clinton and Doris Kearns Goodwin."
Indeed, Time featured a
piece by Bill Clinton titled "Captain Courageous." In his
up-front "To Our Readers" piece, Isaacson praised Clinton for
restoring FDR's legacy by reforming welfare and "conquering runaway
deficits." Isaacson insisted:
If Roosevelt's legacy was so worthwhile why would it need restoring? And how is that accomplished by doing anything other than continuing its record of more government spending programs?
In an overview piece
about the century, "Who Mattered and Why," Isaacson made clear
that Time put modern liberal sensibilities above everything else. While he
applauded Churchill's vigorous resistance of Hitler, Isaacson found
Churchill lacking in the "civil rights" department:
Indeed, earlier in the
story, Isaacson gushed over Eleanor Roosevelt:
The latest edition of
the MRC's MagazineWatch, put together this week by one of the few MRC
staffers working this week, Tim Graham, offers more on Time's look at FDR
and Gandhi as well as a U.S. News piece about a subject ignored by much of
the media. The contents list for MagazineWatch, now up on the MRC home
To read these items, go
Tuesday's CyberAlert relayed the winning quotes. Today, all 14 of the first runners-up in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 1999: The Twelfth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."
A panel of 44 talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and media observers generously gave of their time to select their choices for the first, second and third best quote from six to eight quotes in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices two points, with one point for the third place selections. (See item #2 in the December 28 CyberAlert for the list of judges.)
You can read all the quotes published in the print edition of this special year-end issue, plus view video clips, in RealPlayer format, of many of the television quotes, by going to the MRC's home page: http://www.mrc.org and then click on the blue box just to the left of the picture.
Or, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/bestofnq1999.html and click on: "1999 Winners -- Official Version Enhanced for the Web with Video Clips."
Now, the top runners-up
with the points each earned, in the formula described above, listed in
brackets at the end of the attribution for each quote:
Quote of the Year, first runner-up:
"[W]e are in the middle of a primal
American saga and the important part is yet to come. Bill Clinton may be
merely the prequel, the President of lesser moment -- except, so to speak,
as the horse she rode in on....I think I see a sort of Celtic mist forming
around Hillary as a new archetype (somewhere between Eleanor and Evita,
transcending both) at a moment when the civilization pivots, at last,
decisively -- perhaps for the first time since the advent of Christian
patriarchy two millenniums ago -- toward Woman."
The Alec Baldwin Award (for Hate Speech Against the Presidential Impeachers), first runner-up:
"As she watches Republicans in
Congress push ahead with impeachment proceedings against President
Clinton, Ellen Mendel of Manhattan says she feels the same despair that
she did as a girl in Nazi Germany when the efforts of a stubborn group of
leaders snowballed, crushing the will of the people. 'It is apparent
that the bulldozing campaign by the Republicans will not end,' said Ms.
Mendel, a psychotherapist. And in a moment of self-analysis, she added:
'Their efforts are so abusive that I was beginning to feel a sense of
discouragement. I have been feeling very isolated.'"
Soft on Crime Award (for Promoting Those Opposed to Holding Clinton Accountable), first runner-up:
"The Republican managers pushed a case
that was bogus from the beginning. It should have been a vote of censure
in the House and be done with it. And look at the defectors, the
Republican defectors in the Senate: Northeastern Republicans. That's the
aspect of the party that's still in touch with the people."
China Syndrome Award (for Dismissing Nuclear Espionage), first runner-up:
"I heard someone ask rhetorically
today that, 'Look, this is only gonna matter if, God forbid, there is
one dark day that sees the use, the all-out use of thermonuclear weapons
on this planet, and so why worry?'"
I Am Woman Award (for Hillary Rodham Worshipping), first runner-up:
"Forget the Senate. Over the last 12
days, Hillary Rodham Clinton has looked and sounded more like a candidate
for Secretary of State. There she was in Egypt, gently urging tolerance
for the minority Coptic Christians. There she was in Tunisia, lashing out
at Islamic radicals in other countries who oppress women. And here she was
in Morocco, speaking out on everything from the Middle East peace process
to the NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia.... "But the sight of the First
Lady back on the world stage where she feels so sure-footed brought into
sharp focus the peculiar trade-offs facing her as she decides whether to
run next year....How does a woman who eagerly told an audience this
morning about education and economics in Guatemala and Uganda turn her
attention to the pork-and-potholes issues that arise in places like Utica
and Ithaca? How does a woman whose international profile is so high that
bystanders in Africa two years ago referred to her as 'the queen of the
world' adjust to becoming a low-ranking member of the seniority-conscious
Media Hero Award, first runner-up:
"If his private life is shaped by his
love for children and stepchildren, his public one is still shaped by his
concern for the little guy, the one who parks your car, rings the cash
register at the convenience store, catches the early bus. As he left town
he was trying to expand health care, and when he comes back from burying
his nephew, he will be fighting to raise the minimum wage."
Damn Those Conservatives Award, first
Good Morning Morons Award, first runner-up:
"Bush is using this term
'compassionate conservative' as he campaigns, which is an interesting
juxtaposition of two seemingly contradictory terms."
Littleton Shop of Horrors Award (for Exploiting a Tragedy to Push Gun Control), first runner-up:
"Perhaps it will take one more school
shooting to move the majority of Americans into a position more powerful
than that of the NRA. Perhaps it will take one more school shooting to
move us from people who support gun control to people who vote it. But as
we continue to let the widows and the wounded do the work, be warned. That
next school may be the one your children attend; the next accident could
be close to home."
Shooting the Constitution Award (for Advocating the Banning of Guns), first runner-up:
"Get rid of the guns. We had the
Second Amendment that said you have the right to bear arms. I haven't seen
the British really coming by my house looking for it. And besides, the
right to bear arms is not an absolute right anyway, as New York's Sullivan
Law proves. We talk about ourselves as a violent society, and some of that
is right and some of it is claptrap. But I think if you took away the
guns, and I mean really take away the guns, not what Congress is doing
now, you would see that violent society diminish considerably."
Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis, first runner-up:
"If you take that penny, for instance,
out of the National Institutes of Health grants, that may be the penny
that cures cancer. Are you willing to do that?"
See No Evil Award (for Burying the Juanita Broaddrick Rape Charge), first runner-up:
"I don't believe it at all. Anybody
who waits 21 years to surface a charge like this, and has no evidence to
back it up, other than very circumstantial, what she may or may not have
told some of her friends at the time, has sworn in the deposition that it
never happened, and now all of a sudden comes forth with this story, the
story doesn't deserve to be dignified by being broadcast and displayed.
What I find fascinating about this case is that we've sunk so low now that
a charge of this magnitude can be leveled against the President of the
United States with next to no evidence at all. I think that's
Politics of Personal Destruction Award (for Geraldo Rivera's Hatemongering), first runner-up:
"Today's Washington Post [editorial]
says...'Mr. Starr should be remembered as a man who, hampered alike by
intensely adverse conditions and by his own missteps, managed to perform a
significant public service,' end quote. Missteps? What would The
Washington Post call the Lincoln assassination? Missteps?"
Doris Kearns Goodwin Award (for Campaigning to Revive the Camelot Myth), first runner-up:
"I would say to conservatives out
there, to Republicans, to anybody watching, whether they loved Ronald
Reagan or Barry Goldwater or Franklin Roosevelt, whatever. What this
family represents is the idea of heroism in politics."
Back tomorrow with the second and third runners-up.
-- Brent Baker
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