First Runners-Up Quotes in MRC's Awards for the Worst Reporting --12/28/2005
Tuesday's CyberAlert listed the winners, and so today the first runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2005: The Eighteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."
The Media Research Center's annual awards issue provides a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2005 (December 2004 through November 2005). To determine this year's winners, a panel of 52 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. Each judge was also asked to choose a "
For an Adobe Acrobat PDF that matches the eight-page hard copy version: www.mrc.org
Now, the first runners-up in the 16 award categories:
"I just want to say: Who are we? We are people who have always been for inspections of prisons, for some degree of human rights, and now we're defending neither.... We have now violated everything that we stand for. It is the first time in my life I have been ashamed of my country." -- NPR's Nina Totenberg, commenting on a front-page Washington Post report that captured terrorists are being held at undisclosed sites, Inside Washington, Nov. 4. 
Reporter Lee Cowan: "The proposed [Bush budget] cuts hit the heartland like a mountain of unwanted news, from the soy bean fields of Iowa, where farmers marched on the capital to voice their disgust at slashing farm subsidies, to large cities like Minneapolis, where block grant programs help the homeless and the hungry....The White House calls the budget 'lean,' proponents call it difficult but brave. But critics charge the people these cuts hit the hardest tend to have the weakest political voice." Robert Greenstein, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: "Cuts in programs for the working poor, low income elderly people, people with disabilities. They tend not to have much in the way of lobbyists. They don't give campaign contributions." Cowan: "....This Dallas health clinic serves only the poorest of patients, but already there is a two-month waiting list. Dr. Maureen Thielen says the President's proposed cuts in Medicaid will only make it worse....Agencies that are already doing the work of the poor now find themselves in the unenviable position of proving that their cause is worth it." -- CBS Evening News, February 7. 
"After meeting with Louisiana officials last week, Reverend Jesse Jackson said, quote, 'Many black people feel that their race, their property conditions and their voting patterns have been a factor in the response.' He continued, quote, 'I'm not saying that myself.' Then I'll say it: If the majority of the hardest hit victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were white people, they would not have gone for days without food and water, forcing many to steal for mere survival. Their bodies would not have been left to float in putrid water....We've repeatedly given tax cuts to the wealthiest and left our most vulnerable American citizens to basically fend for themselves....The President has put himself at risk by visiting the troops in Iraq, but didn't venture anywhere near the Superdome or the convention center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see that he gave a damn." -- Contributor Nancy Giles on CBS's Sunday Morning, September 4. 
"When John G. Roberts Jr. prepared to ghostwrite an article for President Ronald Reagan a little over two decades ago, his pen took a Civil War re-enactment detour....The Indiana native scratched out the words 'Civil War' and replaced them with 'War Between the States.'...Sam McSeveney, a history professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University who specialized in the Civil War, said that Roberts's choice of words was significant. 'Many people who are sympathetic to the Confederate position are more comfortable with the idea of a "War Between the States,"' McSeveney explained. 'People opposed to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s would undoubtedly be more comfortable with the words he chose.'" -- Washington Post reporter Jo Becker, August 26. 
CNN's Jack Cafferty: "What should Karl Rove do if he is indicted?...He might want to, he might want to get measured for one of those extra large orange jump suits, Wolf, because looking at old Karl, I'm not sure that he'd, they'd be able to zip him into the regular size one." CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "He's actually lost some weight. I think he's in pretty good shape." Cafferty: "Oh, well then, maybe just the regular off the shelf large would handle it for him." Blitzer: "But, you know, it's still a big if. It's still a big if." Cafferty: "Oh, I understand. I'm, I'm just hoping, you know. I love, I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me." -- CNN's The Situation Room, October 17. 
"As was the practice in all he did, Dan was meticulously careful to be fair and balanced and accurate. When did we stop believing that this is indeed how we all perform our jobs, or try to? When did we allow those with questionable agendas to take the lead and convince people of something quite the opposite? It's shameful. But I digress." -- MSNBC President and former ABC and CNN news executive Rick Kaplan praising ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather on September 19 as the latter received a lifetime achievement award from the National Television Academy, a ceremony televised on C-SPAN on October 1. 
"I'm Bob Schieffer. It just keeps getting worse in Iraq. The death toll is rising. Tension is growing between Shiites and Sunnis. Is the country sliding toward civil war?" -- Schieffer beginning the May 19 CBS Evening News. 
Actress Jane Fonda: "From an historical point of view, they were defending their country. If we had been invaded and an invading force came into this country and divided us in half at the Mississippi River...we would understand why people were fighting....We should never have been there [in Vietnam]." Chris Matthews: "There were a lot of people, Jane, who....can't imagine slipping out of their American skin, their American soul and becoming so objective, as you just were a minute ago....How do you step out of being an American to make such an objective judgment?" -- Exchange on MSNBC's Hardball on April 15. Fonda was promoting her new book, My Life So Far. 
Rosie O'Donnell: "This President invaded a sovereign nation in defiance of the UN. He is basically a war criminal. Honestly. He should be tried at The Hague. This man lied to the American public about the reasons for invading a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. And as a Democrat, as a member of this democracy...I feel I have a responsibility to speak out, as does every other person who disagrees with this administration. And it's scary in a country that you can say something against the President and then worry about your career. That Dan Rather gets taken off CBS News for writing, for saying a report that essentially was true, that George Bush did not show up'€"" Geraldo Rivera: "Okay, okay, we get it, we get it!" O'Donnell: "Okay, there you go. Anyway, it infuriates me." -- Exchange on FNC's At Large with Geraldo Rivera, April 30. 
Nina Totenberg: "I was very happy to see him [Bush] take responsibility and to not pretend that the buck stops someplace else. But it would have been a great opportunity to say, '€˜Look, I'm for tax cuts, but we need a Katrina tax, we need to really pay, to do this and to pay for it.'" Moderator Gordon Peterson: "You want more taxes." Totenberg: "I want more taxes, yes." -- Inside Washington, September 17. 
"Do I need to be concerned that I'm going to go live with a church family, are they going to proselytize me, are they going to say, 'You better come to church with me or else, I'm, you know, you're not going to get your breakfast this morning'?" -- Co-host Harry Smith asking author/pastor Rick Warren about church families taking in those displaced by Hurricane Katrina, on CBS's Early Show, September 6. 
"CBS News has a culture, has a history that for those of us who work here, is very real -- that we see it as a sort of magical mystical kingdom of journalistic knights -- and I know I can mentally hear people rolling their eyes, that's the way we feel." -- Ex-CBS News anchor Dan Rather on CNBC's Topic [A] with Tina Brown, May 22. 
"Brilliant....Skilled and surprisingly self-destructive.... Despite the scandals and investigations, Bill Clinton was an incredibly popular President who connected with the American people....Under Clinton the economy boomed -- deficits turned into surplus -- and more than 22 million jobs were created. Along with the character flaws and the subpoenas came peace and prosperity." -- Matt Lauer assessing Bill Clinton during the June 5 Discovery Channel special, "Greatest American." 
Host Chris Matthews: "What do you think of this guy [ex-Talon News reporter Jeff Gannon/James Guckert]? You're a real reporter. What do you think of this guy who says he's a, he operates under a different name. He's a blogger, I guess...." Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen Hayes: "Look, at the end of the day, if we're worried about too many conservatives in the White House press briefing room, this is a discussion that's not, that's not going to resonate with the American public." Matthews: "You think it's mostly packed with liberals? Are you saying most of those people who are paid to be journalists in that room are lib-labs, they're liberals?" Hayes: "Yes, of course....I don't think there's any -- is there a debate about that?" Matthews: "Well, there's Helen Thomas, who I would call liberal. But who else is in there? Seriously. There are a lot of straight reporters in that room." Time's Margaret Carlson: "I think they're mostly straight reporters. And I don't think you can keep your job otherwise....Elisabeth Bumiller reports for the New York Times, which has a liberal editorial page, but she plays it straight down the middle." -- Exchange on MSNBC's Hardball, February 25. 
"The elephant in the newsroom is our narrowness. Too often, we wear liberalism on our sleeve and are intolerant of other lifestyles and opinions....We're not very subtle about it at this paper: If you work here, you must be one of us. You must be liberal, progressive, a Democrat. I've been in communal gatherings in The Post, watching election returns, and have been flabbergasted to see my colleagues cheer unabashedly for the Democrats." -- Washington Post "Book World" editor Marie Arana in a September 29 contribution to the Post's "daily in-house electronic critiques," as quoted by Post media reporter Howard Kurtz in an October 3 article. 
Ted Turner: "I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere. There's really no reason for them to cheat [on nukes]....I looked them right in the eyes. And they looked like they meant the truth. You know, just because somebody's done something wrong in the past doesn't mean they can't do right in the future or the present. That happens all the, all the time." Wolf Blitzer: "But this is one of the most despotic regimes and Kim Jong-Il is one of the worst men on Earth. Isn't that a fair assessment?" Turner: "Well, I didn't get to meet him, but he didn't look -- in the pictures that I've seen of him on CNN, he didn't look too much different than most other people." Blitzer: "But, look at the way, look at the way he's, look at the way he's treating his own people." Turner: "Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but'€"" Blitzer: "A lot of those people are starving." Turner: "I didn't see any, I didn't see any brutality...." -- Exchange on CNN's The Situation Room, Sept. 19.
-- Brent Baker