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First Runners-Up Quotes in MRC's Awards for the Worst Reporting --12/30/2003


1. First Runners-Up Quotes in MRC's Awards for the Worst Reporting
The first runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2003: The Sixteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."


First Runners-Up Quotes in MRC's Awards
for the Worst Reporting

Monday's CyberAlert featured the winners, and so today the first runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2003: The Sixteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

For the winners, see item #4 in the December 29 CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

And for the names of the 46 judges, see item #5 in the same CyberAlert: www.mediaresearch.org

Or, you can find it all on the MRC Web site in the special section devoted to the awards issue. For the full results, with RealPlayer clips of many of the television quotes, go to: www.mediaresearch.org

For an Adobe Acrobat PDF that matches the eight-page hard copy version: www.mediaresearch.org

For the list of judges, with links to Web pages for each judge, whether his or her own page or a page about their show or work created by their employer, check: www.mediaresearch.org

As explained in the December 29 CyberAlert, to determine this year's winners, a panel of 46 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 five to eight quotes in each category. Each received a paper ballot in late November and returned it within two weeks.

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 "Quote of the Year" denoting the most outrageous quote of 2003.

Now, the first runners-up in 17 award categories:

Damn Those Conservatives Award [first runner-up]:

"Andrea Yates gained national attention when she drowned her five children in a bathtub. Deanna Laney told investigators she beat her three sons with rocks, killing two of them. Both mothers home schooled....It's hard to know how widespread abuse might be because the government doesn't keep track. It doesn't even know how many children are taught at home in this country. In eight states, parents don't have to tell anyone they're home schooling....Not one state requires criminal background checks to see if parents have abuse convictions."
-- CBS's Vince Gonzales in a report on the "dark side" of home schooling, October 14 Evening News. [39]

Baghdad Bob Award for Parroting Enemy Propaganda [first runner-up]:

Tom Brokaw: "NBC News 'In Depth' tonight. In the aftermath of the war on Iraq, new anxieties for some of the country's educated, successful women. Although many may be glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein, many are also worried that a new government could set them back...."
Mike Taibbi in Baghdad: "While the end to the Saddam regime means a return to long-denied freedoms for all Iraqis, it may also mean at least a temporary rollback of some hard-won freedoms for millions of Iraqi women....While Saddam's regime brutalized women -- rape, torture, even beheadings -- his secular government also gave women more rights than their counterparts in many other Islamic countries."
-- NBC Nightly News, April 22. [47]

Dominique de Villepin Snottiness Award for Whining About the War [first runner-up]:

"In the past several weeks, your policy on Iraq has generated opposition from the governments of France, Russia, China, Germany, Turkey, the Arab League, and many other countries; opened a rift at NATO and at the UN; and drawn millions of ordinary citizens around the world into the streets in anti-war protests. May I ask what went wrong that so many governments and peoples around the world now not only disagree with you very strongly, but see the U.S. under your leadership as an arrogant power?"
-- ABC White House correspondent Terry Moran to President Bush at a prime-time press conference, March 6. [43]

The Invisible Liberal Award for Camouflaging Ideology [first runner-up]:

"When the word gets out that Dean isn't liberal -- and in fact is quite conservative -- on fiscal issues, he'll pick up more McCain support....On fiscal issues, he's far to the right of [Ted] Kennedy."
-- Senior Editor Jonathan Alter in an August 6 online chat at the Newsweek Web site. [49]

Media Suck-Up Award [first runner-up]:

"Senator Hillary Clinton is at Ground Zero this morning to attend the September 11th anniversary ceremony, and she joins us now. Good morning, Senator Clinton....You've fought so much for the heroes of 9/11. You have sought money for firefighters, you've taken the EPA to task for toning down their report on air quality at Ground Zero. Has enough been done for the heroes, the people who fought so bravely on that day?"
-- CBS's Hannah Storm to New York Senator Hillary Clinton on The Early Show, September 11. [27]

Pompous Peter Award for Jennings' Arrogant Condescension [first runner-up]:

"The country has been a living archive of man's earliest history, where real connections can be made between then and now, which is why the Pentagon is being so widely criticized for not protecting the history when it captured the capital city....The Pentagon has said, in reply, look, this is war, and stuff happens, the U.S. was fired on from the museum grounds. Not a satisfactory answer for people who say that if the U.S. managed to protect the Ministry of Oil, why not this repository of civilization? Why, they ask, is neglect forgivable?"
-- Jennings on ABC's World News Tonight, April 18. [48]

Romanticizing the Rabble Award for Glorifying Protesters [first runner-up]:

"Across the country, citizens have been coming out to voice their opposition, all calling for the same things. They want government accountability, they want environmental justice, and most of all, they're calling for peace....While protesters like today are a statistical minority, in American history protests like this have been prescient indicators of the national mood. So the government may do well to listen to what's said today."
-- ABC correspondent Chris Cuomo previewing an afternoon protest rally planned for Times Square, on a special five-hour Saturday edition of Good Morning America, March 22, three days after the war began. [70]

Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity [first runner-up]:

"The lie that brought us into war was that Iraq was a threat to us....It was an attempt at a corporate takeover. This was about oil. It wasn't about human rights. It's not about human rights....It is the Bush/Cheney cartel's fault....Team Bush is more radically corrupt than Richard Nixon ever tried to be....It is, in fact, a conspiracy of the 43rd Reich."
-- Left-wing activist/comedienne Janeane Garofalo on CNN's Crossfire August 20, halfway through her week as the show's guest co-host. [59]

Begala & Carville Prize for Demonizing George W. Bush [first runner-up]:

"A friend of mine here at CNN has a theory about the Bush administration. They're convinced that everything Bill Clinton ever did was wicked, bad and awful, and so they want to do the opposite....Clinton wanted to save all that wilderness area in Alaska; and Mr. Bush wants to drill for oil there. Clinton fussed about clean air; this President wants to ease new restrictions on coal-burning power plants.... Clinton, my friend noted, had surpluses. Obviously, the Bush administration thinks those are evil, because what they want is deficits -- big ones, maybe the biggest ever."
-- CNN's Bruce Morton on Late Edition, February 9. [51]

Fruitless Plains of Poverty Award [first runner-up]:

Carole Simpson: "Even though the U.S. spends twice as much per person as any other developed country on health care, the U.S. is the only developed country that fails to provide universal coverage for all its citizens...."
Medical Editor Tim Johnson: "We have a country that wants to believe it is the best in everything, but until all of us embrace the idea that health care should be a right, not a privilege, our system cannot be glibly described as, quote, 'the best in the world.'"
-- ABC's World News Tonight/Sunday, October 19. [58]

Bill Moyers Sanctimony Award [first runner-up]:

"The failure of Democratic politicians and public thinkers to respond to popular discontents...allowed a resurgent conservatism to convert public concern and hostility into a crusade to resurrect social Darwinism as a moral philosophy, multinational corporations as a governing class, and the theology of markets as a transcendental belief system....Their stated and open aim is to change how America is governed -- to strip from government all its functions except those that reward the rich and privileged benefactors....It is the most radical assault on the notion of one nation, indivisible, that has occurred in our lifetime. I'll be frank with you: I simply don't understand it -- or the malice in which it is steeped....And I don't know how to reconfigure democratic politics to fit into an age of sound bites and polling dominated by a media oligarchy whose corporate journalists are neutered and whose right-wing publicists have no shame."
-- Moyers in a June 4 speech at a conference sponsored by the Campaign for America's Future, according to a text version posted on commondreams.org. [58]

Media Millionaires for Higher Taxes Award [first runner-up]:

Peter Jennings: "The President's tax cut is beginning to show up. Will three extra dollars stimulate the national economy?..."
Dean Reynolds: "Lisa Burke, a law librarian from California, who makes $35,000 a year, is getting just $3 more every two weeks....[Scott Linnborn] may use some of his windfall to restore that '57 Chevy in his garage. And at 15 bucks a week, he figures the job would be done in about 20 years."
-- ABC's World News Tonight, July 8. A $15 per week tax cut would save Linnborn $780 each year. [43]

Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis [first runner-up]:

"I'd say the chances are about 50-50 that humanity will be extinct or nearly extinct within 50 years. Weapons of mass destruction, disease, I mean this global warming is scaring the living daylights out of me."
-- CNN founder Ted Turner at an Associated Press Managing Editors seminar Sept. 27, according to an AP story in the September 29 Atlanta Journal-Constitution. [49]

Good Morning Morons Award [first runner-up]:

Bob Schieffer: "I've seen some estimates that it may cost up to $50 billion to fix this. Who's going to pay that?"
Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham: "....ratepayers, obviously, will pay the bill because they're the ones who benefit...."
Schieffer: "Wait, wait, wait. Let's back up. Ratepayers -- that means people who pay in their electric bills. So you're saying the customers are going to have to pay for this?...Excuse me for asking, but, I mean, aren't the companies going to have to bear some of this cost?"
-- Exchange on CBS's Face the Nation, August 17. [44]

Al Franken Cheap Shot Award (for Lambasting Rush Limbaugh) [first runner-up]:

"The man behind the curtain is not the God of Family Values but a childless, twice-divorced, thrice-married schlub whose idea of a good time is to lie on his couch and watch football endlessly. When Rush Limbaugh declared to his radio audience that he was 'your epitome of morality of virtue, a man you could totally trust with your wife, your daughter, and even your son in a Motel 6 overnight,' he was acting....Granted, Limbaugh's act has won over, or fooled, a lot of people. With his heartland pieties and scorn for 'feminazis' and 'commie-symps' like West Wing President Martin Sheen ('Martin Sheenski' to Limbaugh), he is the darling of Red State, Fly-Over America."
-- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas in the October 20 cover story, "The Real Rush." [56]

What Liberal Media? Award [first runner-up]:

"I don't think anybody who looks carefully at us thinks that we are a left-wing or a right-wing organization."
-- Peter Jennings, as quoted by USA Today's Peter Johnson in a September 9 article on Jennings' 20 years as sole anchor of ABC's World News Tonight. [42]

Quote of the Year [first runner-up]:

"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....help those who oppose the war.
"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.
"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 are 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, shown by C-SPAN.

END Rundown of first runners-up quotes

On Wednesday: The second and third runners-up.

# For fresh postings this week, in addition to Monday's CyberAlert, check the MRC's TimesWatch.org site dedicated to documenting and exposing the liberal political agenda of the New York Times: www.timeswatch.org

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-- Brent Baker