The Last CyberAlert of the Millennium
Clinton Outsmarted Racist GOP; MRC More a "Guard Dog" Than a "Watch Dog"; 3rd Runners-Up in the Awards for the Worst Reporting
1) ABC and CBS portrayed Clinton's recess appointment of a black judge as a virtuous act to overcome racist Republicans. CBS's John Roberts effused about how Clinton "moved to make the federal court system more reflective of the population," as "for five years Mr. Clinton has attempted to appoint a minority judge to the Fourth Circuit, but was blocked by the Republican-led Senate."
2) FNC's Fox News Watch discussed the MRC's nominations for the year's worst reporting. FNC's Eric Burns observed: The MRC is "not really a 'watchdog' group so much as it is a 'guard dog' group....The MRC does not bark; it bites, and the sounds that catch its attention, although often disguised as innocent, often have deeper meaning."
>>> CyberAlert Countdown Calendar to the 1,000th edition. Today's is the 998th numbered issue, so 2 more to go.
Correction: The December 28 CyberAlert reported that actress Uma Thurman appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman "to plug a new movie titled, I think, The Tell, or something like that." I've since learned the name of the movie is "Vatel."
Clinton's recess appointment painted as a virtuous act to overcome racist Republicans. Wednesday night, in describing President Clinton's move to put a black judge onto the Fourth Circuit bench, CBS and ABC didn't bother with any mention of why Senate Republicans had opposed the confirmation of the judge, such his liberal views or lack of qualifications. Instead, they left the clear impression conservatives opposed the nomination of this and previous candidates just because they were black.
CBS Evening News anchor John Roberts effused about how "President Clinton today moved to make the federal court system more reflective of the population it serves," but Roberts intoned, "for five years Mr. Clinton has attempted to appoint a minority judge to the Fourth Circuit, but was blocked by the Republican-led Senate." ABC anchor Aaron Brown reflected the same assumptions: "The President has nominated four African-Americans to the Fourth Circuit, but Republicans in Congress would not hold confirmation hearings."
MRC analyst Jessica Anderson reviewed the December 27 ABC, CBS and NBC evening shows and determined that NBC didn't touch the subject while CBS and ABC ran short items. Here they are in full:
-- CBS Evening
News. Anchor John Roberts: "President Clinton today moved to make the
federal court system more reflective of the population it serves. With the
106th Congress adjourned, Mr. Clinton took the dramatic step of a recess
appointment today to name Virginia attorney Roger Gregory to the Fourth
District U.S. Court of Appeals. Serving the Virginias, Maryland and the
Carolinas, the Fourth Circuit encompasses the largest minority population
in the country, yet Gregory will become just the first African-American in
the court's history to sit on the bench."
-- ABC's World News Tonight. Anchor Aaron Brown: "At the White House today, President Clinton bypassed Congress and appointed lawyer Roger Gregory to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Mr. Gregory will be the first African-American on the court. The President has nominated four African-Americans to the Fourth Circuit, but Republicans in Congress would not hold confirmation hearings. Now that Congress is not in session, Mr. Clinton used his powers to make what's called a recess appointment."
With this kind of reporting, which assumed racism was behind the Republican position, no wonder fewer than ten percent of blacks voted for George W. Bush.2
Last weekend, thanks to a topic idea suggested by panelist Cal Thomas, FNC's Fox News Watch devoted a few minutes to discussing the MRC's "Thirteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." (The December 22 CyberAlert noted that the show "normally airs three times over the weekend on the Fox News Channel." The key word was "normally" since special holiday programs replaced its usual two repeat airing, but it did run at 7pm ET on Saturday.)
Host Eric Burns also wrote an online column this week in which he maintained the MRC is "not really a 'watchdog' group so much as it is a 'guard dog' group."
Burns introduced the December 23 FNC show segment: "The Media Research Center, a right of center media watchdog group has picked its worst moments in journalism for the year 2000. So have two associates at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting...."
Picking up on the conflict between two Lesley Stahl quotes, Burns read them. First, the Stahl quote which won the "I Am Woman Award (for Hillary Rodham Worshiping)": "I'm endlessly fascinated by her....She's so smart. Virtually every time I've seen her perform, she has knocked my socks off." Second, her quote uttered a couple of months later which won the "Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis)": "I had my opinions surgically removed when I became a network correspondent."
Burns quipped: "Apparently the surgery was a failure."
Panelist Jim Pinkerton brought up a recent NQ in which NBC's Andrea Mitchell claimed Hillary's life story reflected "a modern fairy tale," before Cal Thomas told viewers his favorite quote was Margaret Carlson's complaint the day after the election, before overseas ballots from the military had been counted, that because Florida has no income tax, "here we will have possibly a bunch of tax dodgers deciding the election." The comment won the "Aiding and Abetting in an Election Theft Award."
Burns next highlighted the first runner-up in the "Good Morning Morons" category, Bryant Gumbel telling Hadassah Lieberman how "family values...as you know, was a code word for intolerance." That prompted Pinkerton to recall what won Gumbel the "Damn Those Conservatives Award," saying to "a fellow from the Family Research Council" that he was "a bleeping idiot."
+++ Watch this segment via RealPlayer. Thanks to the MRC's Kristina Sewell and Andy Szul, a just under three minute-long clip from the show was posted Thursday on the MRC home page. Go to: http://www.mrc.org
Eric Burns also
pens a weekly online column for the Fox News Channel Web site. This week's
entry took up the MRC's awards issue quotes as Burns offered some kind
words for the MRC's efforts:
To read his entire
online column, go to:
On Tuesday the winning quotes, on Wednesday the first runners-up, on Thursday the second runners-up and today the third runners-up in the MRC's "The Best Notable Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." The annual end of the year special 8-page edition of NQ is based upon the votes of 46 judges -- radio talk show hosts, columnists, editorial writers, magazine editors and media observers -- who evaluated and ranked quotes in 18 award categories. A list of the judges appears below after the third runners-up.
To view all the winning quotes as well as the two or three top runners-up and, thanks to Webmaster Andy Szul, RealPlayer video clips for over two dozen of the quotes from TV shows, go to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/bestofnq2000.html
To see the 8-page
issue typeset as snail mail subscribers saw the newsletter, access the
Adobe Acrobat PDF version. Go to:
Below are the third runners-up quotes, as well as some fourth runners-up. The printed issue did not have room for a third runner-up in all categories while space allowed for or close (or tie) votes required a fourth runner-up in a few categories. Point totals are in brackets after each quote. First place picks by the 46 judges were assigned three points, second place choices were given two points and third place selections were allocated one point.
Quote of the Year, third and fourth runners-up
"Communism Still Looms as Evil to
"Al Gore must stand and deliver here
tonight as the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. And now Gore must
do so against the backdrop of a potentially damaging, carefully
orchestrated story leak about President Clinton. The story is that
Republican-backed special prosecutor Robert Ray, Ken Starr's successor,
has a new grand jury looking into possible criminal charges against the
President growing out of Mr. Clinton's sex life."
Aiding & Abetting in an Election Theft Award, third runner-up
"There is no question, or very little
question, that Al Gore won the votes cast in the state of Florida. The
question is: Will he win the votes counted? Look at the statistics. In the
rest of the state of Palm Beach County [that's what he said, strike
"of Palm Beach County" to make sentence accurate] Buchanan was
strongest in the precincts where Bush was strongest. In Palm Beach he was
strongest where Gore was strongest because they were right next to each
other on the ballot. Even more important, in the rest of the state
Buchanan got the same percentage of votes on the ballots as he did in
absentees, in Palm Beach County he got four times more votes on this
butterfly ballot than he did on absentees. Listen, if this race is counted
fairly, Al Gore won more votes in Florida."
Kiss Me, Too, Al Award (for Gore Gushing), third runner-up
"This one [Winnie Skinner] was
spontaneous and wow, is it resonating. It was a very powerful moment in
that room and if you thought Tipper got the kiss treatment from the Vice
President at the convention, she got five from the Vice President! And it
wasn't just political. I think most of us in the room thought that he and
the entire room really were moved by her very compelling story. There have
been a lot of people we've seen out there who really struggle to pay for
their prescription drugs, but her story really resonates."
Kosher Kiss-Up Award (for Lauding Lieberman), SECOND runner-up (The December 28 CyberAlert erroneously ran the third runner-up instead of the second runner-up quote)
"Lieberman is a true centrist, a
moderate who can build coalitions. You know how the Republicans in
Philadelphia kept trying to show how moderate they were? Well, this trumps
anything the Republicans had to say."
I Am Woman Award (for Hillary Rodham Worshiping), third runner-up
"I think a lot of women will read that
and see an underlying sexism to that, to that tone....And I think this
serves Hillary Clinton well. That, 'see, these guys don't want a, don't
like powerful women. They don't like to see someone like me who challenges
Media Hero Award, third runner-up
"We all know now that you can be, rest
assured that will be the bookend on Janet Reno's tenure as Attorney
General, that and Waco on the other end. It is appalling from her
perspective because of the true compassion she has for children. If you've
ever seen her around children, you know how much she truly cares for them,
and this has got to be tearing at her."
Flirting with Disaster Award (for Proximity to Conservatives), third and fourth runners-up
"How does that broaden the appeal of
the party? You're talking here tonight about being more inclusive, yet 59
percent of the people here describe themselves as conservative."
"Well, you put Tom Ridge out there for
example, the Governor of Pennsylvania, big and important state, a guy with
a great record, pro-choice, immediately the Catholic Church and Jesse
Helms said no way."
The Galloping Ghost of Gingrich Award (for Chiding Cheney), third, fourth and fifth runners-up
"Cheney's politics are of the
hard-right variety. He's opposed to abortion and gun control and favors
both capital punishment and school prayer."
"But Bush is portraying himself as a
compassionate conservative. If he's running with somebody who voted for
all the Reagan budget cuts, for example, wouldn't that prove a bit of a
"[T]he official announcement and first
photo-op today of Republican George Bush and his running mate Richard
Cheney. Democrats were quick to portray the ticket as quote 'two Texas
oilmen' because Cheney was chief of a big Dallas-based oil supply
conglomerate. They also blast Cheney's voting record in Congress as again
quote, 'outside the American mainstream' because of Cheney's votes against
the Equal Rights for Women Amendment, against a woman's right to choose
abortion -- against abortion as Cheney prefers to put it -- and Cheney's
votes against gun control. Republicans see it all differently, most of
them hailing Bush's choice and Cheney's experience."
W is for Woeful Award (for Bashing Bush), third runner-up
"On one bit of campaign meanness and
nastiness in particular, George Bush now says he's sorry his gutter
language and personal attack was picked up by a microphone at a campaign
stop yesterday, but he refuses to apologize for the substance of his
comment. Bush's remark was about Adam Clymer, a New York Times reporter
whose coverage he doesn't like."
If He Didn't Sink, Send Him Back to the Clink Award (for Portraying a Cuban Paradise Awaiting Elian), third runner-up
"Part of what the children talked
about was their fear of the United States and how they felt they didn't
want to come to the United States because it was a place where they kidnap
children, a direct reference, of course, to Elian Gonzalez. The children
also said that the United States was just a place where there was money
and money wasn't what was most important. I should mention, Peter, that,
you know, as you talk about the global community, Cuba is a place, because
of the small number of computers here -- in the classrooms we visited
yesterday there was certainly no computers and almost no paper that we
could see -- this is a place where the children's role models and their
idols are not the baseball players or Madonna or pop stars. Their role
models are engineers and teachers and librarians."
Little Havana Banana Republic Award, third runner-up
"Elian and his family will spend the
next three weeks in a seaside Havana house....ostensibly to let Elian get
caught up in school so he can enter the second grade in September. But
critics in the U.S. warn that the quarantine is meant to deprogram Elian.
(If so, he'll be used to it: the private school he attended in Miami,
owned by a right-wing Cuban-exile leader, was just as dogmatic)."
Damn Those Conservatives Award, third runner-up
"No matter what George Curry
accomplishes during the remainder of his journalistic career, he will be
remembered for one thing: he was the editor who slapped a portrait of
Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt Jemima-style handkerchief on a 1993 cover
of Emerge magazine. That shocking image outraged Thomas supporters, of
course, but it crystallized the disgust that many African-Americans had
begun to feel about the ultraconservative legal philosophy of the U.S.
Supreme Court's only black member....That's the uncompromising voice that
made Emerge the nation's best black news magazine for the past seven
Good Morning Morons Award, third runner-up
"Americans are working more and
getting less vacation time than people in any other industrialized
nation....I feel strange saying, I never stopped to think about the fact
there is no official U.S. policy on vacation time."
Politics of Meaninglessness Award (for the Silliest Analysis), third and fourth runners-up
"You may want to note that Cheney is
referring to Clinton Gore, not Clinton and Gore, in effect making Clinton
Al Gore's first name: Clinton Gore."
"We begin by going right to the hotel
that houses the winner of the Iowa poll tonight. Governor George W. Bush
of Texas, and with him is his lovely wife Laura. George is on the right.
Laura is on the left."
END Reprint of third runners-up in the MRC's "The Best Notable Quotables of 2000: The Thirteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."
Now, a reprise of 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
END list of judges.4
From the December 27 Late Show with David Letterman, the "Top Ten George W. Bush Vacation Fun Tips." Copyright 2000 by Worldwide Pants, Inc.
10. When grilling, discarded Gore ballots
make handy charcoal-starters
Adios until the next millennium. -- Brent Baker
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