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NBC Promotes Vanity Fair's 'Good Riddance' Story on Team Bush --12/31/2008


1. NBC Promotes Vanity Fair's 'Good Riddance' Story on Team Bush
On December 15, NBC's Today invited Time editor Richard Stengel to promote who might become their Person of the Year, which allowed Stengel to boast: "Obviously, Barack Obama is a titanic figure on the world and American stage now. I mean, he may already be a transformational figure in American politics." (Stengel returned two days later to publicize Obama's selection.) By contrast, on December 29, Today promoted the liberal magazine Vanity Fair and its new "Farewell to All That" good-riddance piece on the Bush administration. Co-host Meredith Vieira plucked out what liberals would find to be the most insulting lines: "One of Colin Powell's former aides actually called Bush a Sarah Palin-like President."

2. Parade's Campaign 2008 Highs and Lows: Decided by Liberal Pundits
Sunday's edition of Parade magazine (an insert in numerous American newspapers, including The Washington Post) carried a cover photo of Gov. Sarah Palin with the words "The Best & Worst 2008," although the cover didn't specify which she was. (In the picture, Palin is pointing at the reader, looking like she's laughing at them.) Inside, a tiny article said whether Palin was best or worst was "a matter of opinion," as she "appalled some and energized others. With her eye on 2012, Palin could become the future of the Republican Party -- or just a blip on the national memory." Right below that, they praised Hillary Clinton: "Her smarts and toughness won over former rival Barack Obama, who offered her the job of Secretary of State." For the list of "Campaign Highs & Lows," Parade brought in a panel of experts, one of them right-leaning (Bill O'Reilly), and the rest left-leaning (Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, pop historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and former New York Times columnist Les Gelb). Only O'Reilly didn't see the year through Obama goggles.

3. Globe's Carroll Dreams Obama Can Match Gorbachev's 'Greatness'
Taking adulation of Barack Obama on a looney left trip through idolization of Mikhail Gorbachev (Obamagasm + Gorbasm = Obamagorbagasm?), far-left Boston Globe columnist James Carroll dreamed that Obama will fulfill Gorbachev's 1988 pledge to achieve "the demilitarization of international relations" and change the world "from an economy of armament to an economy of disarmament." In his Monday column, "Gorbachev's model for Obama," Carroll, who fully credited Gorbachev with the fall of the Berlin Wall and dismantling of the Soviet Union, trumpeted Obama's opportunity: "By the grace of God, it is not too late to match the greatness with which Gorbachev acted 20 years ago, an overdue acceptance of his historic invitation."

4. ABC's David Muir: Caroline Kennedy 'Opening Up'...About Her iPod
ABC correspondent David Muir offered an admiring "window into Camelot" on Monday's Good Morning America as he reported on U.S. Senate aspirant Caroline Kennedy's interviews with New York media over the past weekend: "Caroline Kennedy, opening up, calling herself an unconventional choice, offering personal reflections, knowing the political fight that lies ahead." However, instead of focusing on any political details relevant to the federal office she seeks, Muir focused on her entertainment preferences: "Kennedy calls herself a Yankees fan, whose last movie was 'Slumdog Millionaire'....Kennedy, who grew up in the 70s, says the music of that era still fuels her. Her iPod is filled with Al Green, Grateful Dead, and Bob Marley."

5. WashPost Editor: Kennedy 'One of the Greatest Legislators' Ever
While appearing Tuesday morning on MSNBC to comment on Caroline Kennedy's bid to be appointed the United States Senate, Washington Post news editor Vincent Bzdek hyperbolically lauded Caroline's uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, as "one of the greatest legislators in the history of the country." Anchor Norah O'Donnell also read from a New York Daily News column harshly attacking Caroline Kennedy as unqualified. She then defended, "Is that really fair? Is that a little bit tough?" In a follow-up question to Bzdek, O'Donnell gushed at the legacy of the Kennedy family: "The Kennedys have long been known for their eloquence. Of course, Ted Kennedy, the lion of the U.S. Senate, a great speechmaker, in terms of delivering on policy." Wondering if Caroline could live up to such standards, she queried the Washington Post editor, "Is she being compared unfairly to her uncle?" Bzdek, who has written "The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled," a yet-to-be released book on the Kennedys, saw parallels between uncle and niece. He explained, "...When Ted Kennedy first ran for the Senate in '62 when his brother was president, the same criticisms were made of him, that he was just running on his name and that he didn't have much to offer."

6. 2nd Runners-Up Quotes in MRC's Annual Awards for Worst Reporting
The second runner-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." Monday's CyberAlert featured the winners, Tuesday's had the first runners-up; today the third place quotes. (Today's New York Post editorial page features several of the quotes.)

7. List of the 44 Judges Who Selected the Winning Worst Quotes
In recognition of their time and effort, a listing of the names and affiliations of the judges for the "Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."


NBC Promotes Vanity Fair's 'Good Riddance'
Story on Team Bush

On December 15, NBC's Today invited Time editor Richard Stengel to promote who might become their Person of the Year, which allowed Stengel to boast: "Obviously, Barack Obama is a titanic figure on the world and American stage now. I mean, he may already be a transformational figure in American politics." (Stengel returned two days later to publicize Obama's selection.)

By contrast, on December 29, Today promoted the liberal magazine Vanity Fair and its new "Farewell to All That" good-riddance piece on the Bush administration. Co-host Meredith Vieira plucked out what liberals would find to be the most insulting lines: "One of Colin Powell's former aides actually called Bush a Sarah Palin-like President." Vieira's only nod to conservatives came in defending Vanity Fair's reputation against viewers at home she suggested might say, "Well, Vanity Fair, of course, this is a liberal magazine, so they're going to take pot shots at the president," but she noted they also talked to Bush-friendly sources.

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Tuesday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

The guest was Vanity Fair's Todd Purdum, a former New York Times White House reporter in the Clinton years who was friendly enough with the Clintons to marry press secretary Dee Dee Myers in 1997. That didn't come up in his introduction:

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Looking back at the last eight years, Todd, we had 9/11, Iraq, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Hurricane Katrina, the rise of Iran, global warming, economic disaster, so many challenges that this administration had to deal with, and yet, Matthew Dowd, Bush's pollster and a chief strategist, summed up the Bush presidency in two words: missed opportunity. What did he mean when he said that to you?
TODD PURDUM: I think he meant that there was a period after 9/11 especially when President Bush had the country and in some ways, the world in the palm of his hand, and a great potential to be maybe a kind of transformative leader who could have unified the country. And in some way, that never happened. And of course, quick on the heels of that came the foray into Iraq, which was very controversial, divided the country, and divided the world. And somehow, President Bush's ambitions when he came to Washington have changed the tone, to be a kind of uniter, not a divider. That never came to pass, and I think many people who worked for him regret that.
VIEIRA: You know, Todd, several people -- and I want to point out to our audience that you interviewed more than 50 insiders for this story, or folks who were policymakers or politicians -- several of them said to you that this notion of him as somebody who would unite rather than divide in 2000, that went out the window with the recount. What happened?
PURDUM: Yes, I think that's true. I mean, he obviously came to Washington with almost half the country not thinking he was the legitimate president, but as Matthew Dowd pointed out, it's not like "Star Trek" where some room makes you do something. He still had the potential to adopt a different tone. And from the very beginning, it seems pretty clear they were sort of hunkered down. There's a wonderful scene we have where just after Tom Daschle became the majority leader of the Senate, when the Democrats took over in 2001, the White House communications advisers had a big debate about whether the president should call and congratulate him. And Margaret Tutwiler, who was a veteran of the first Bush administration, said you absolutely have to call and congratulate him.

Purdum here is simply rewriting history. In the early months of 2001, President Bush aggressively worked to make friends with Ted Kennedy and other Democrats, to a degree that made some Republicans sick. He let Kennedy rewrite his education bill and had him over to the White House to watch the movie "Thirteen Days." Even after 9/11, Bush was boasting of his friendship. "I told the folks at a coffee shop in Crawford, Texas that Ted Kennedy was all right. They nearly fell out." Then the discussion turned to that "damaging" story of Iraq:

VIEIRA: You know, you spoke to many of these folks who are Bush loyalists about the legacy of the war in Iraq. What did most of them feel about that?
PURDUM: I think most of them felt that because weapons of mass destruction were ultimately not discovered and because the rationale for the war seemed to change as time went on, that there was a certain lack of trust in the whole enterprise, and in some ways, that it has really torn American credibility around the world in dealing with other problems, whatever they may be, because foreign governments say to us, why should we trust you? You got it so wrong on Iraq. So I think that's a big -- a big damaging thing for him.
VIEIRA: Were you surprised at some of the candor from these folks that you spoke to? One of the gentlemen that you interviewed, one of Colin Powell's former aides, actually called Bush a Sarah Palin-like president, lacking experience, particularly in international affairs.
PURDUM: I was surprised at the degree of candor, and I think, frankly, at this point, the candor springs from regret. A lot of people who worked on this enterprise in these two terms were themselves very disappointed because they thought President Bush was going to do different things than he turned out to have done. So I think at some point, when you look back, as the presidency's coming to an end, there might -- this might be an occasion for some stock-taking. But yes, I was very surprised at the degree of candor.

If there had been a non-liberal in this discussion, they might suggest "candor" isn't the best word. For people like Matthew Dowd, now working for ABC, or aides to Colin Powell, who endorsed Obama for president, it might be called "slamming your old boss in liberal circles to improve your own image among the elites." Then came the Vanity Fair defense section:

VIEIRA: You know, there are some people at home who might say, 'Well, Vanity Fair, of course, this is a liberal magazine, so they're going to take pot shots at the president,' but in fact, you did interview people who spoke about the president's kindness, his effort to combat AIDS in Africa and also education reform in this country. Will those be remembered as part of his legacy?
PURDUM: I think they will be remembered. And one of the striking qualities of this president -- and we do quote people talking about this -- is his personal loyalty to the people who work for him and their loyalty to him in return, and the kind of human qualities that he had. I think some of the people who were disappointed were disappointed that he had not been able to communicate those qualities better to the public and to the world at large and that the George Bush they know isn't the one the public has gotten to know over the past eight years.

Surely, there are Bush loyalists who felt he didn't communicate well enough, but there's also that massive roadblock known as the liberal media to mangle (or ignore) your communications efforts. That notion only seems to emerge for the media to disparage: "Some say you'd take pot shots at Bush." As if media pot shots aren't one constant feature of the Bush era?

In fairness, it should be noted that Purdum's last appearance on Today came earlier this year on June 2, to discuss a "searing" piece he's written on Bill Clinton called "The Comeback Id." They didn't speak of the title on NBC (it did appear briefly on screen as Lauer read a quote from the article.)

In fact, Matt Lauer's introduction of Purdum came with Clinton rebuttal. "Clinton's office calls it 'a tawdry, anonymous, quote-filled attack piece,' and 'journalism of destruction at its worst.' Vanity Fair's national editor Todd Purdum wrote the article. He should -- we should mention, is married to Dee Dee Myers, President Clinton's first White House press secretary." Lauer didn't defend Vanity Fair's honor like Vieira, he pressed Purdum to defend his sleazy attack journalism:

LAUER: And let me get into -- you know -- and this is a difficult area, Todd. I mean, these whispers of womanizing. I mean, this is a -- this is something we have to tread very lightly on. Do you have any concrete evidence that it has actually happened?

PURDUM: I say emphatically there is no concrete evidence, and I don't know of anybody that has concrete evidence.
LAUER: So, why bring it up?
PURDUM: Because what happened was that several of his aides told me that one former aide was so concerned about the rumors he was hearing from prominent Democrats around the country that he wanted to let the president know this was a topic of discussion. And that's all I say, and that's all, as far as I know, that anyone can say.
LAUER: Yeah. Actually, I just want to make sure I read it correctly from the article: "Nor, indeed, is there any proof of post-presidential sexual indiscretions on Clinton's part, despite a steady stream of tabloid speculation and Internet intimations that the big dog might be up to his old tricks. On any given visit to London," you write, "for example, Clinton is as apt to dine with Tony Blair or Kevin Spacey as anyone who might raise an eyebrow." You've heard this quote and this statement from the Clinton side that says it's "a tawdry, anonymous, quote-filled attack piece, repeats many past attacks on him, breaks no new ground. It is, in short, journalism of personal destruction at its worst." Is this fair?
PURDUM: Well, I don't think it's fair at all. They spent five pages complaining about the piece, but they don't say that there's anything factually wrong about it.

This sounds like the defense the New York Times used when it claimed John McCain had an affair with a lobbyist -- we can't prove it, we only found aides who thought it might be happening. All Vanity Fair can fall back on is the notion that with Bill Clinton's past history, the idea that he's still committing adultery doesn't sound implausible to the public. Their big obstacle is the liberal media having the decency (or the same old protective and partisan impulses) to let the "big dog" run free.

Parade's Campaign 2008 Highs and Lows:
Decided by Liberal Pundits

Sunday's edition of Parade magazine (an insert in numerous American newspapers, including The Washington Post) carried a cover photo of Gov. Sarah Palin with the words "The Best & Worst 2008," although the cover didn't specify which she was. (In the picture, Palin is pointing at the reader, looking like she's laughing at them.) Inside, a tiny article said whether Palin was best or worst was "a matter of opinion," as she "appalled some and energized others. With her eye on 2012, Palin could become the future of the Republican Party -- or just a blip on the national memory."

Right below that, they praised Hillary Clinton: "Her smarts and toughness won over former rival Barack Obama, who offered her the job of Secretary of State."

[This item, by the MRC's Tim Graham, was posted Monday morning on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

For the list of "Campaign Highs & Lows," Parade brought in a panel of experts, one of them right-leaning (Bill O'Reilly), and the rest left-leaning (Newsweek's Jonathan Alter, ABC's George Stephanopoulos, pop historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, and former New York Times columnist Les Gelb). Only O'Reilly didn't see the year through Obama goggles.

The online posting of the list: www.parade.com

Here's the left-tilting list:

HIGH: Obama's win in the Iowa caucuses. This early triumph showed that an overwhelmingly white state was ready to vote for an African-American for President. As Obama said in his victory speech, "At this defining moment in history" you have done what cynics said we couldn't do." -- Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of "Team of Rivals"

LOW: People shouting, "Terrorist!" and "Kill him!" when Obama's name was mentioned at some John Mc-Cain-Sarah Palin rallies. While this was neither McCain's nor Palin's fault, it revealed the thin membrane separating civility from mob rule in politics today. -- Jonathan Alter, NBC News analyst and author of "Between the Lines"

HIGH: The third McCain-Obama debate. Both candidates went out of their way to speak respectfully about the other. That's what politics should be. -- Bill O'Reilly, Fox News Channel anchor and author of "A Bold, Fresh Piece of Humanity"

HIGH: Some 3.2 million Americans gave to Obama's campaign, with an average donation of less than $90. Whatever one thinks about Obama, that's a good thing for democracy. -- Jonathan Alter

HIGH: Obama's speech on race. He gave a candid, calming explanation of his relationship with Rev. Wright, embedding it in a larger discussion about racial anxiety in America. His speech reassured supporters and quieted critics. -- George Stephanopoulos, ABC News chief Washington correspondent
LOW: McCain repeated his boilerplate talking points -- "The fundamentals of the economy are strong" -- after financial markets collapsed on Sept. 15. He appeared out of touch, and a tied race became a rout. -- George Stephanopoulos

HIGH: McCain's concession speech. With his gracious words and sincere pledge to work with his opponent, he reminded Americans why we all admire him so much. -- Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations

END of Excerpt

Needless to say, conservatives don't agree on most of these. Obama's rallies surely featured people who yelled horrible things against McCain-Palin or President Bush (and if not, consult a left-wing blog), but the liberal media wanted to imply that conservatives were savages. Millions of Americans gave small donations to Obama, most of whose names were never disclosed, and several of them were exposed as utterly fraudulent.

Perhaps worst of all is the persistent praise of Obama's "race speech," which should be seen as an embarrassment for Obama, his first broken "Read My Lips" pledge, when he said he could not abandon the wrong Reverend Wright -- and then dropped him and left the church he'd attended for decades for political expediency.

Globe's Carroll Dreams Obama Can Match
Gorbachev's 'Greatness'

Taking adulation of Barack Obama on a looney left trip through idolization of Mikhail Gorbachev (Obamagasm + Gorbasm = Obamagorbagasm?), far-left Boston Globe columnist James Carroll dreamed that Obama will fulfill Gorbachev's 1988 pledge to achieve "the demilitarization of international relations" and change the world "from an economy of armament to an economy of disarmament." In his Monday column, "Gorbachev's model for Obama," Carroll, who fully credited Gorbachev with the fall of the Berlin Wall and dismantling of the Soviet Union, trumpeted Obama's opportunity: "By the grace of God, it is not too late to match the greatness with which Gorbachev acted 20 years ago, an overdue acceptance of his historic invitation."

Fretting about America's "refusal to dismantle its Cold War military economy," Carroll yearned for "yes we can" responses: "Is it too much to expect Barack Obama to change history? Make peace? Transform an economic system? Rescue the Earth? Build a political program around the truth? Restore a great nation's decency?" Justifying his faith in Obama, Carroll recalled: "On the cusp of this decisive year, it will do Americans well to recall that just such a transformation took place once before, even if we declined to respond with transformation of our own."

(Just below Carroll's column, in the newspaper owned by the New York Times, readers were treated to an op-ed piece that carried a Tripoli dateline and the byline of "the leader of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya" -- yes, that would be Muammar Gaddafi -- titled "Provoking Russia" and which began: "Once again, the West's policy toward Russia and its addiction to interfering in the affairs of other countries is having dangerous effects on the rest of the world." See: www.boston.com )

[This item, by the MRC's Brent Baker, was posted late Monday night on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Carroll is no admirer of the U.S. The July 7, 2005 MRC CyberAlert item, "Boston Globe Columnist: U.S. Not Worthy of July 4th Celebrations," recounted:

Happy birthday America, you suck. That seemed to be the sentiment of National Book Award winner James Carroll in a July 5 Boston Globe column. "After the fireworks, the music, the rhetoric of freedom -- what then? The party is over. Can we think about what, exactly, we were celebrating?" Carroll asked. "Today's date puts the question of how high-flown American ideals square with the quotidian reality of what the nation is becoming." Carroll ended by wondering: "What kind of nation does our flag fly over now?" He answered: "Not a less innocent one, because American innocence was never the truth. Not one less reluctant to go to war without a good reason, because we have foolishly credited bad reasons in the past. But now the nation lacks even that. As our President demonstrated last week, we have become a people who wage unending war -- killing and maiming our young ones and theirs -- without being remotely able to say why." In between, he declared: "The American fighters of the Pacific War were not heroes."

More on that column: www.mediaresearch.org

The American Empire Project's bio of Carroll: www.americanempireproject.com

From the end of Carroll's December 29 column quoting Gorbachev's December of 1988 speech to the UN:

....Only weeks after the Berlin Wall was peacefully breached by Gorbachev-licensed dancers instead of tanks, the new American president ordered tens of thousands of US troops to invade Panama -- Operation Just Cause. That wholly unjustified action amounted to America's answer to Gorbachev, a declaration that this nation was a long way from the "demilitarization of international relations." Other unnecessary American wars would follow, and so would Washington's refusal to dismantle its Cold War military economy.

The "decisive year" for which Gorbachev called two decades ago may now be here -- for our side. Americans stand today, as the last Soviet dictator put it then, "on the threshold of a year from which all of us expect so much. One would like to believe that our joint efforts to put an end to the era of wars, confrontation and regional conflicts, aggression against nature, the terror of hunger and poverty, as well as political terrorism, will be comparable with our hopes."

Is it too much to expect Barack Obama to change history? Make peace? Transform an economic system? Rescue the Earth? Build a political program around the truth? Restore a great nation's decency? Are we kidding ourselves to place such hopes in him?

On the cusp of this decisive year, it will do Americans well to recall that just such a transformation took place once before, even if we declined to respond with transformation of our own. By the grace of God, it is not too late to match the greatness with which Gorbachev acted 20 years ago, an overdue acceptance of his historic invitation. "This is our common goal," he concluded, "and it is only by acting together that we may attain it. Thank you."

END of Excerpt

Carroll's column in full: www.boston.com

ABC's David Muir: Caroline Kennedy 'Opening
Up'...About Her iPod

ABC correspondent David Muir offered an admiring "window into Camelot" on Monday's Good Morning America as he reported on U.S. Senate aspirant Caroline Kennedy's interviews with New York media over the past weekend: "Caroline Kennedy, opening up, calling herself an unconventional choice, offering personal reflections, knowing the political fight that lies ahead." However, instead of focusing on any political details relevant to the federal office she seeks, Muir focused on her entertainment preferences: "Kennedy calls herself a Yankees fan, whose last movie was 'Slumdog Millionaire'....Kennedy, who grew up in the 70s, says the music of that era still fuels her. Her iPod is filled with Al Green, Grateful Dead, and Bob Marley."

Muir's report, which aired 15 minutes into the 7 am Eastern hour of the ABC morning program, began with anchor Robin Roberts introducing the "Camelot" theme of the report, which the media too often conjures up when covering the Kennedy family: "The daughter of JFK did a series of weekend interviews, giving us a rare glimpse inside of Camelot." The correspondent then began with a saccharine introduction of the famous First Daughter: "For decades, Caroline Kennedy was seen far more than she was heard....'Shy Caroline,' as she was sometimes called, is shy no longer." He also continued the "Camelot" theme throughout the report by including old family photos and home video of when Kennedy was a child.

[This item, by the MRC's Matthew Balan, was posted Monday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

After playing a clip from one of Kennedy's recent interviews, Muir then reported on the more "personal side" of the potential heir to Hillary Clinton's senate seat:

CAROLINE KENNEDY: I come as this as -- you know, a mother. I've raised three kids. I'm a lawyer. I've written books on the Constitution --
MUIR: Such is her argument to be the next senator from New York, as she now begins to open up to reporters -- so far, offering more about her personal side than her political one. Kennedy calls herself a Yankees fan, whose last movie was 'Slumdog Millionaire.' Of her marriage to Edwin Schlossberg, Kennedy says, 'Falling in love with my husband was by far the best thing that's ever happened to me.' Kennedy, who grew up in the 70s, says the music of that era still fuels her. Her iPod is filled with Al Green, Grateful Dead, and Bob Marley. And asked if she ever did illegal drugs, she answered, 'I grew up in the 70s, so I'd say I was a typical member of that generation.'

Before concluding his report with his "opening up" line about Kennedy, Muir played another clip from one of her interviews, which focused on the loss of her brother, JFK Jr.

Roberts emphasized this apparent "opening up" after Muir's report concluded, and substitute anchor Bill Weir couldn't wait to agree:

ROBERTS (on-camera): Learning so much more about her -- normally, a very private person, but, of course, all that will change.
BILL WEIR: Right, absolutely, and good to see she's taking questions. For a while, a little reticent.
ROBERTS: That's true. That's true. But she has to do that.
WEIR: Got to face the music.

WashPost Editor: Kennedy 'One of the
Greatest Legislators' Ever

While appearing Tuesday morning on MSNBC to comment on Caroline Kennedy's bid to be appointed the United States Senate, Washington Post news editor Vincent Bzdek hyperbolically lauded Caroline's uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, as "one of the greatest legislators in the history of the country."

Anchor Norah O'Donnell also read from a New York Daily News column harshly attacking Caroline Kennedy as unqualified. She then defended, "Is that really fair? Is that a little bit tough?" In a follow-up question to Bzdek, O'Donnell gushed at the legacy of the Kennedy family: "The Kennedys have long been known for their eloquence. Of course, Ted Kennedy, the lion of the U.S. Senate, a great speechmaker, in terms of delivering on policy." Wondering if Caroline could live up to such standards, she queried the Washington Post editor, "Is she being compared unfairly to her uncle?"

[This item, by the MRC's Scott Whitlock, was posted Tuesday afternoon on the MRC's blog, NewsBusters.org: newsbusters.org ]

Bzdek, who has written "The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled," a yet-to-be released book on the Kennedys, saw parallels between uncle and niece. He explained, "...When Ted Kennedy first ran for the Senate in '62 when his brother was president, the same criticisms were made of him, that he was just running on his name and that he didn't have much to offer."

Based on the product description on Amazon.com, Bzdek's book sounds like a love letter to the liberal clan. It will apparently answer these questions: "How did the brothers [John, Bobby and Ted Kennedy] pass the torch to each other? What have the three brothers left us collectively? And who carries the torch forward now?" The newspaper editor has also written a biography of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. According to a review in the Washington Post, that book is "a rather admiring picture of its subject." See Amazon.com: www.amazon.com

A transcript of the December 30 segment, which aired at 10:32am EDT on MSNBC, follows:

NORAH O'DONNELL: Caroline Kennedy, that's who we're talking about, has endured a lot of criticism about how she is handling her bid for the Senate seat. And the shots keep on coming today, like this one from the New York Daily News. Michael Goodwin writes, quote, "A strange thing is happening on the way to the coronation. The wheels of the bandwagon are coming off. Fantasy is giving way to inescapable truth. That truth is that Kennedy is not ready for the job and doesn't deserve it. Somebody who loves her should tell her. Her quest is becoming a cringe-inducing experience, as painful to watch as it must be to endure." Joining us from the Washington Post news room is news editor and author Vincent Bzdek. His book, "The Kennedy Legacy," is going to come out in April. All right, Vincent, thanks so much for joining us.
VINCENT BZDEK (Washington Post news editor): Thanks for having me, Norah.
O'DONNELL: Cringe-inducing? Is that really fair? Is that a little bit tough?
BZDEK: They have been tough. You know, I think we have to remember that this is mostly a media campaign. This is really an appointment not a campaign. And I'm not sure what I know of Governor Paterson that he is paying that much attention to what is said in the media. What I think is the more- the bigger question is what he thinks of what Obama has to say about it. Because Obama has been a big supporter of Caroline and Caroline, of course, was head of his vice presidential search committee. So, I think that's the real question is what kind of influence does Obama have on Governor Paterson?
O'DONNELL: Let's listen to this recent interview that Caroline Kennedy gave where some are making light of or criticizing her for using the phrase "you know" a lot.
CAROLINE KENNEDY: You know, in our family, my family in particular I think, you know- You know, we have to work twice as hard. Because, you know, people have this perception that, you know- But I think that's a question of what do you do with that opportunity?
O'DONNELL: The Kennedys have long been known for their eloquence. Of course, Ted Kennedy, the lion of the U.S. Senate, a great speechmaker, in terms of delivering on policy. Is she being compared unfairly to her uncle?
BZDEK: You know, it's interesting, because when Ted Kennedy first ran for the Senate in '62 when his brother was president, the same criticisms were made of him, that he was just running on his name and that he didn't have much to offer. And he really didn't. He didn't have much legislative experience. So, there's a lot of parallels and he's proven to be, you know, one of the greatest legislators in the history of the country. So, I think it's really early, too early, judge, especially judge her by a few verbal ticks. She's been quite eloquent in the past and was quite eloquent at the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer.
O'DONNELL: No doubt. And we look forward to your new book coming out in April on the Kennedys. Vincent Bzdek, thank you so much.

2nd Runners-Up Quotes in MRC's Annual
Awards for Worst Reporting

The second runner-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." Monday's CyberAlert featured the winners, Tuesday's had the first runners-up; today the third place quotes. For all the winners and runners-up, many posted with video and audio: www.mrc.org

(Today's New York Post editorial page features several of the quotes: "Since 1987, the Media Research Center has been compiling its list of notable quotables, providing a clear window into the leftist mindset that pervades most of America's large news organizations. At the end of the year, the center and a panel of judges choose the best examples. As usual, this year's crop reveals the media's perennial contempt for all things conservative." For "HOIST ON THEIR OWN PETARD," check: www.nypost.com )

The Media Research Center's annual awards issue provides a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2008 (December 2007 through November 2008). To determine this year's winners, a panel of 44 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and expert 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. 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.

A list of the judges, who were generous with their time, appears in item #7 below. Or, you can see them online here: www.mrc.org

The MRC's Michelle Humphrey, Kristine Lawrence and Melissa Lopez distributed and counted the ballots, then produced the numerous audio and video clips that accompany the Web-posted version. Rich Noyes assembled this issue and Stu James posted the entire package, with dozens of Flash videos, on the MRC's Web site.

The direct address for the issue online where it's posted with audio/video (click-and-play Flash video, as well as downloadable Windows Media video and MP3 audio clips), a PDF and downloadable text (Word, WordPerfect and OpenOffice): www.mrc.org

Direct address for the Adobe Acrobat PDF that matches the eight-page hard copy version: www.mrc.org

Now, the second runner-up quotes in the 18 award categories:

The Obamagasm Award [second runner-up]

"There is no getting around it, this man who emerged triumphant from the Iowa caucuses is something unusual in American politics. He has that close-cropped hair and the high-school-smooth face with that deep saxophone of a voice. His borrowings, rhetorical and intellectual, are dizzying. One minute he recalls the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his pacing and aching, staccato repetitions. The next minute he is updating John F. Kennedy with his 'Ask not what America can do for you' riff on idealism and hope....Such words mine a vein of American history that leaves more than a few listeners misty-eyed."

-- New York Times reporter Michael Powell in a January 5 news story about Barack Obama campaigning in New Hampshire. [35]



The Half-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin [second runner-up]

"You know, the one thing that I don't think anybody's said yet is that she's very mean to animals, this woman. Why does she have it in for these poor polar bear and the caribou and she aerial kills wolves? That's a very mean thing to do. I think that that's an important point."

-- ABC The View co-host Joy Behar explaining her opposition to Palin, CNN's Larry King Live, September 9. [41]



Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Soft & Cuddly Interviews [second runner-up]

"Many of the attacks that have come from John McCain's campaign have been, quite frankly, condescending. Are you surprised by that? Does it anger you?"

-- CBS's Harry Smith to Democratic candidate Barack Obama on The Early Show, August 22. [33]



Damn Those Conservatives Award [second runner-up]

"I'm sorry it's necessary to say this, and I wanted to separate myself from the others on the air about this. If, at this late date, any television network had of its own accord showed that much videotape, and that much graphic videotape of 9/11, and I speak as somebody who lost a few friends there, it, we, would be rightly eviscerated at all quarters, perhaps by the Republican Party itself, for exploiting the memories of the dead and perhaps even for trying to evoke that pain again. If you reacted to that videotape the way I did, I apologize. It is a subject of great pain for many of us still and was probably not appropriate to be shown."

-- MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on September 4 after his network aired a less than three minute 9/11 tribute video shown at the GOP convention. A week later, MSNBC aired more than three hours of 9/11 news coverage as it originally aired on NBC back on September 11, 2001. [42]



The Irrelevant Reverend Wright Award [second runner-up]

"At issue now, a video of a sermon given by Barack Obama's minister at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago....We're running it because -- like it or not, legitimate or not -- it has become an issue....All this seems to have nothing to do with actual issues that the country is facing, which these candidates should be talking about and we probably should be talking about."

-- CNN's Anderson Cooper introducing a story about inflammatory comments made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Anderson Cooper 360, March 13. [39]



Madness of King George Award [second runner-up]

"So, besides urinating on the Constitution and the rights and freedoms every American soldier has ever fought to win and protect, the Bush administration has now decided that when its victims have actually served their sentences, doled out under its own medieval, quote, 'justice,' unquote, system, it still might not choose to set them free, thereby giving that Constitution and our country a second pass on the way out."

-- MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, August 7 Countdown. [55]



From Camelot to Obamalot Award [second runner-up]

"Today we got a glimpse of the early 1960s when politics was alive, so here and now in Washington D.C. The era of serious commitment, of short hair, white shirts, narrow ties and the Peace Corps. Today, for a brief, shining hour the young got to see what we saw. Not the gauzy images of Camelot, but the living spirit of the New Frontier."

-- MSNBC's Chris Matthews, January 28 Hardball. [50]



"Pay Up You Patriots" Award [second runner-up]

"Republicans have taken taxes off the fiscal table, no matter how sensible they might be. That makes compromise difficult and it could be bad policy, too. In addition to raising revenue, the small gasoline tax increase that conservative Republicans were able to purge from the final 1990 deal 'might have been good energy and environmental policy,' [former OMB Director Richard] Darman said in a talk last March."

-- Washington Post reporter Steven Mufson's January 26 "appreciation" of Darman, who died January 25. [34]



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

"The black people in France are very proud and very hopeful for their future. They also live, many of them, in poor situations. And you know, you've had your own riots here and protests and disturbances in the Banlieue -- in the city. At one point, when we were covering those riots, when you were Interior Minister, you called the rioters 'scum.' And I'm wondering whether you feel, today, when you stand next to someone you clearly admire so much, and who has broken so many barriers, that you regret that term or that you wish you hadn't said it?"

-- CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour to French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a July 25 press conference with Barack Obama shown live on CNN. [37]



Media Hero Award [second runner-up]

Hillary Clinton: "You know, I don't really care about any of the hits that people make on me. It's, that's fine. I can't control it. They can say whatever they want." Correspondent Cynthia McFadden: "There's never a night, when you go back to whatever hotel room, whatever city you're in that night, and crawl in a ball and say, 'I just, this just hurts too much?'"

-- ABC's Cynthia McFadden interviewing Hillary Clinton on Nightline, December 19, 2007. [40]



Good Morning Morons Award [second runner-up]

Reporter Jeff Glor: "In addition to enjoying basketball and cycling during down time, Obama loves to play Scrabble....Obama's job as a teenager was at a Baskin-Robbins, and to this day he does not like ice cream...." Co-host Julie Chen: "Okay, so after doing this story, what's the takeaway?" Glor: "I mean, I think this is a man who plays to win. No matter what it is, whether it's the woman he wants to date or elected office or board games, there is an ambition there. There is a determination." Chen: "Sounds like presidential qualities."

-- From "The Five Things You Should Know" about Barack Obama on CBS's The Early Show, June 18. [38]



The John Murtha Award for Painting America as Racist [second runner-up]

"When we did our very first interview, and I asked you, I said, '€˜Do you think the country's ready for a black president?' You said that you didn't think it would hold you back....I know, for a fact, that there are a lot of people out there, there are a lot of people right here in Elko [Nevada], who won't vote for you because you're black. I mean, there's not much you can do. But how do you deal with it?"

-- CBS's Steve Kroft to Senator Barack Obama on 60 Minutes, September 21. [36]



The Great Goracle Award [second runner-up]

"How can you, given the passion that you feel about this issue and the enormity of the dimensions that we're dealing with here, turn down the idea that you could be in the administration as a Vice President or as an energy czar or as both?...There is no power like 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for setting the agenda, for drawing attention to it, for moving the country, and for moving Congress. Mr. Vice President, no one knows that better than you do."

-- NBC's Tom Brokaw to Al Gore, July 20 Meet the Press. [43 points]



MSNBC = Maudlin Sycophantic Nutty Blathering Chris Award [second runner-up]

MSNBC's Chris Matthews: "You know what? I want to do everything I can to make this thing work, this new presidency work, and I think that-" Host Joe Scarborough: "Is that your job? You just talked about being a journalist." Matthews: "Yeah, it is my job. My job is to help this country....This country needs a successful presidency more than anything right now."

-- MSNBC's Morning Joe, November 6. [29]



The Crush Rush Award for Loathing Limbaugh [second runner-up]

"Along with Rush, uses race-baiting to score ratings. Now that's hating America."

-- Newsweek's "Conventional Wisdom" giving a down arrow to radio host Sean Hannity, March 31. [40]



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

"If you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don't, then you've got the Army, Iraq, I don't know, something like that. It's not as bright."

-- Novelist Stephen King at an April 4 Library of Congress event for students, later shown on C-SPAN2. [29]



Admitting the Obvious Award [second runner-up]

Host Howard Kurtz: "Are journalists rooting for the Obama story?" The Politico's John Harris, referring to the Washington Post: "It wouldn't surprise me that there's some of that.... A couple years ago, you would send a reporter out with Obama, and it was like they needed to go through detox when they came back -- 'Oh, he's so impressive, he's so charismatic,' and we're kind of like, '€˜Down, boy.'"

-- Exchange on CNN's Reliable Sources, January 13. [45]



Quote of the Year [second runner-up]

"I'm not that convinced that that's her baby....The daughter -- who we know is fertile because she's knocked up again, or maybe for the first time...she did like take a five-month leave from high school because she had [uses fingers to indicate quote marks] 'mononucleosis' right around the time the baby was being born. And the mother, the so-called, you know, okay, maybe it is the mother, but, you know, she was back to work three days later. You don't smell something?...It's not like they're not willing to lie about everything else."

-- HBO's Bill Maher on Real Time, September 5, promoting the left-wing conspiracy theory that Sarah Palin's infant son is actually her daughter Bristol's baby.


# On Friday: The third runners-up quotes.

List of the 44 Judges Who Selected the
Winning Worst Quotes

In recognition of their time and effort, a listing of the names and affiliations of the judges for the "Best Notable Quotables of 2008: The Twenty-First Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."

As explained in item #6 above, the panel of 44 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and expert media observers received a ballot and each selected their choices for the first, second and third best quote from a slate of five to eight quotes in each category.

The judges, in alphabetical order:

- Lee Anderson, Associate Publisher and Editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press

- Chuck Asay, editorial cartoonist via the Creators Syndicate

- Brent H. Baker, MRC's Vice President for Research and Publications; Editor of CyberAlert and Editor the NewsBusters blog

- Mark Belling, radio talk show host, WISN-AM in Milwaukee

- Robert Bluey, Director of the Center for Media an dPiblic Policy at the Heritage Foundation

- Neal Boortz, nationally syndicated radio talk show host

- L. Brent Bozell III, President of the Media Research Center

- Priscilla Buckley, retired Senior Editor for National Review

- Bill Cunningham, nationally syndicated radio talk show host from WLW in Cincinnati; nationally-syndicated by Premiere on Sunday nights

- Mark Davis, talk show host, WBAP Radio in Dallas; columnist for the Dallas Morning News

- Midge Decter, author, member of the Heritage Foundation's Board of Trustees

- Bob Dutko, radio talk show host, WMUZ-FM in Detroit

- Jim Eason, retired radio talk show host

- Barry Farber, radio talk show host

- Don Feder, consultant at Don Feder & Associates, writer of Don Feder's Coldsteel Caucus Report

- Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis, Media Research Center; Senior Editor of the NewsBusters blog

- Steven Greenhut, columnist, Orange County Register

- Kirk Healy, radio talk show host, WDBO Radio in Orlando

- Quin Hillyer, Associate Editor, The Examiner (of Washington, DC)

- Cliff Kincaid, Editor, Accuracy in Media

- Mark Larson, Program Director and talk show host on San Diego 1700 AM

- Jason Lewis, talk show host, 100.3 KTLK-FM in Minneapolis

- Kathryn Jean Lopez, Editor of National Review Online

- Brian Maloney, radio analyst, creator of The RadioEqualizer blog

- Patrick McGuigan, Managing Editor of The City Sentinel in Oklahoma City; contributing editor for Tulsa Today

- Jan Mickelson, radio talk show host on WHO in Des Moines

- Rich Noyes, Director of Research, Media Research Center; Senior Editor of the NewsBusters blog

- Kate O'Beirne, President, the National Review Institute

- Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-Chief of World magazine; Senior Fellow at the Acton Institute

- Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated radio talk show host

- Henry Payne, editorial cartoonist, The Detroit News

- Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Editorial Director, The American Spectator

- Dan Rea, host of Nightside on WBZ Radio in Boston

- Chris Reed, editorial writer, San Diego Union-Tribune

- Mike Rosen, radio talk show host, KOA in Denver; columnist for the Rocky Mountain News

- William A. Rusher, Distinguished Fellow, Claremont Institute; syndicated columnist

- Matthew Sheffield, Executive Editor of NewsBusters, the MRC's blog

- James Taranto, Editor of OpinionJournal.com

- Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist; panelist on FNC's Fox News Watch

- R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., Editor-in-Chief of The American Spectator

- Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch.org

- Walter E. Williams, economics professor, George Mason University

- Thomas S. Winter, Editor-in-Chief of Human Events

- Martha Zoller, radio talk show host for WDUN in Gainseville, GA

For links to Web pages for the judges: www.mrc.org

-- Brent Baker