U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clearance Thomas, accepting the I’m a Compassionate Liberal But I Wish You Were All Dead Award on behalf of Julianne Malveaux

On Thursday night, December 9, 1999, at the Monarch Hotel in Washington, D.C., the Media Research Center presented the "Dishonors Awards for the Decade’s Most Outrageous Liberal Bias" culled from the MRC’s archive of news video and print publications from the 1990s.

Winners were picked by a distinguished panel of 13 leading media observers who served as judges -- including Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Robert Novak -- who selected first and second place choices from six to eight quotes in each of six award categories.

Fox News coverage of the 1999 MRC DisHonors Awards

Stan Evans of the National Journalism Center emceed the dinner event. Serving as presenters of archival videos of the award nominees as originally seen on television during the past decade: Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, radio talk show host Michael Reagan and National Review publisher Ed Capano, filling in at last-minute for colleague Kate O'Beirne.

In this section, you’ll find links to a rundown of what happened at the awards banquet, video of a Fox News Channel story on the awards, highlights of the awards presentations as shown by C-SPAN as well as video and text of all the award nominees.


How Do I Hate the Gipper? Let Me Count the Ways Award

Presentation

Full Presentation for "How Do I Hate the Gipper? Let Me Count the Ways Award"

Runners-up

"The amazing thing is most people seem content to believe that almost everybody had a good time in the ‘80s, a real shot at the dream. But the fact is, they didn’t. Did we wear blinders? Did we think the ‘80s left behind just the homeless? The fact is that almost nine in ten Americans actually saw their lifestyle decline."
NBC reporter Keith Morrison, February 7, 1992 Nightly News

"The boom years following World War II saw the U.S. economy take off, giving rise to the growth of the great American middle class. The rising standard of living meant homes, cars, TVs, college for the kids — all in all, a piece of the American dream. But in the Reagan years, economic erosion set in, so much so that the middle class now finds itself in ever-deepening trouble."
Bryant Gumbel on Today, January 22, 1992

"You place the responsibility for the death of your daughter squarely at the feet of the Reagan Administration. Do you believe they’re responsible for that?"
NBC reporter Maria Shriver interviewing AIDS sufferer Elizabeth Glaser, July 14, 1992 Democratic convention coverage

And the winner is...

"In the plague years of the 1980s -- that low decade of denial, indifference, hostility, opportunism, and idiocy -- government fiddled, and medicine diddled, and the media were silent or hysterical. A gerontocratic Ronald Reagan took this [AIDS] plague less seriously than Gerald Ford had taken swine flu. After all, he didn’t need the ghettos and he didn’t want the gays."
CBS Sunday Morning TV critic John Leonard, Sept. 5, 1993

Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Wackiest Analysis

Presentation

Full Presentation for Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Wackiest Analysis

Runners-up

"It’s a morbid observation, but if everyone on earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem."
Newsweek Senior Writer Jerry Adler, Dec. 31, 1990 issue

"It’s short of soap, so there are lice in the hospitals. It’s short of pantyhose, so women’s legs go bare. It’s short of snowsuits, so babies stay home in the winter. Sometimes it’s short of cigarettes so millions of people stop smoking, involuntarily. It drives everybody crazy. The problem isn’t communism; nobody even talked about communism this week. The problem is shortages."
NBC Nightly News commentator John Chancellor on the Soviet Union, Aug. 21, 1991

And the winner is...

"He [Ted Kaczynski] wasn’t a hypocrite. He lived as he wrote. His manifesto, and there are a lot of things in it that I would agree with and a lot of other people would, that industrialization and pollution all are terrible things, but he carried it to an extreme, and obviously murder is something that is far beyond any political philosophy, but he had a bike. He didn’t have any plumbing, he didn’t have any electricity."
Time Washington reporter Elaine Shannon talking about the Unabomber, April 7, 1996 C-SPAN Sunday Journal

Presidential Kneepad Award for the Best Journalistic Lewinsky

Full Presentation for "Presidential Kneepad Award for the Best Journalistic Lewinsky"

Runners-up

"Mr. President, we love you. I want to hug you, I want to hug you, please do the right thing. This is nothing, this is nothing. Thomas Jefferson did not have this in mind, I swear to God....I would give Ken Starr the Nobel Peace Prize were he to be man enough not to refer a sex lie to the House for impeachment. We’ll be right back, stay tuned folks."
Geraldo Rivera urging Clinton not to cooperate, August 6, 1998 edition of Rivera Live on CNBC

"If we could be one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we’d take it right now and walk away winners...Thank you very much and tell Mrs. Clinton we respect her and we’re pulling for her."
Dan Rather at a May 27, 1993 CBS affiliates meeting talking via satellite to President Clinton about his new on-air partnership with Connie Chung as co-anchor of the CBS Evening News

And the winner is...

"I would be happy to give him [Bill Clinton] a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs."
Time contributor and former reporter Nina Burleigh recalling what she told the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz about her feeling toward Bill Clinton, as recounted by Burleigh in the July 20, 1998 New York Observer

Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award

Presentation

Full Presentation for "Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award"

Runners-up

"Women who’ve been polled seem to put it behind them as well, and are willing to move on and forget about it. Is that because Bill Clinton’s been such a great President whom they elected in great part, or is there something I want to say almost sexy about a man who can get away with things over and over again?"
Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee to Deborah Tannen, August 18, 1998

Geraldo Rivera: "Do you believe that they had, at least indirectly, something to do with your ex-husband, Jim McDougal’s, ultimate demise?"
Susan McDougal: "I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you"
Geraldo Rivera: "Did they help speed your husband’s sickness and his ultimate death?"
McDougal: "Oh, there’s no doubt in my mind!"

Geraldo Rivera referring to Ken Starr’s prosecutors in a question to Susan McDougal, April 14, 1999 Upfront Tonight on CNBC

And the winner is...

"Yes, the case is being fomented by right-wing nuts, and yes, she is not a very credible witness, and it’s really not a law case at all. But Clinton has got a problem here. He has a history of womanizing that most people believe is a problem....That’s a dangerous attitude to have. It lead to things like this, some sleazy woman with big hair coming out of the trailer parks....I think she’s a dubious witness, I really do."
Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas on Paula Jones, May 7, 1994 Inside Washington

Damn Every Conservative We Can Think of to Hell Award

Presentation

Full Presentation for "Damn Every Conservative We Can Think of to Hell Award"

Runners-up

"Next week on ABC’s World News Tonight, a series of reports about our environment which will tell you precisely what the new Congress has in mind: the most frontal assault on the environment in 25 years. Is this what the country wants? On ABC’s World News Tonight next week."
Peter Jennings in an ABC promo during the July 9, 1995 This Week with David Brinkley

"Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming....Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week....Parenting and governing don’t have to be dirty words: the nation can’t be run by an angry two-year-old."
ABC’s Peter Jennings in his radio commentary after the GOP won the House, Nov. 14, 1994

And the winner is...

"The bombing in Oklahoma City has focused renewed attention on the rhetoric that’s been coming from the right and those who cater to angry white men. While no one’s suggesting that right-wing radio jocks approve of violence, the extent to which their approach fosters violence is being questioned by many observers, including the President of the United States....The list of those the President may have had in mind is at once long and familiar. Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Bob Grant, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan, and others take to the air every day with basically the same format: detail a problem, blame the government or a group, and invite invective from like-minded people....Never do most of the radio hosts encourage outright violence, but the extent to which their attitudes may embolden or encourage some extremists has clearly become an issue."
Today co-host Bryant Gumbel, April 25, 1995

I’m a Compassionate Liberal But I Wish You Were All Dead Award (for media hatred of conservatives)

Presentation

Full Presentation for "I’m a Compassionate Liberal But I Wish You Were All Dead Award (for media hatred of conservatives)"

Runners-up

"Can Ken Starr ignore the apparent breadth of the sympathetic response to the President’s speech? Facially, it finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler, including the glasses. If he now pursues the President of the United States, who, however flawed his apology was, came out and invoked God, family, his daughter, a political conspiracy and everything but the kitchen sink, would not there be some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?"
Keith Olbermann on MSNBC’s Big Show, to Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief James Warren, Aug. 18, 1998.

Inside Washington host Tina Gulland: "I don’t think I have any Jesse Helms defenders here. Nina?"
Nina Totenberg: "Not me, I think he ought to be worried about what’s going on in the Good Lord’s mind, because if there is retributive justice, he’ll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it."
National Public Radio and ABC News reporter Nina Totenberg reacting to Senator Jesse Helms’ claim that the government spends too much on AIDS research, July 8, 1995 Inside Washington

And the winner is...

"The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that’s how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person."
USA Today columnist and Pacifica Radio talk show host Julianne Malveaux on Justice Clarence Thomas, November 4, 1994 PBS To the Contrary

Judges

William F. Buckley, Jr.

National Review Editor-at-Large

John Fund

Columnist for The Wall Street Journal’s OpinionJournal.com

Sean Hannity

co-host of FNC’s Hannity & Colmes; nationally syndicated radio talk show host

Rush Limbaugh

National radio talk show host

Marlin Maddoux

President of the USA Radio Network

Mary Matalin

Co-host of CNN's Crossfire

Oliver North

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host

Robert Novak

Syndicated and Chicago Sun-Times columnist; CNN commentator

Kate O’Beirne

National Review Washington Editor and a panelist on CNN’s Capital Gang

Michael Reagan

Nationally syndicated radio talk show host

William Rusher

Distinguished Fellow at the Claremont Institute

Cal Thomas

Syndicated columnist and panelist on FNC’s Fox Newswatch

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr.

Editor-in-Chief of The American Spectator


Press Coverage

Story which appeared in the December 13, 1999 Washington Times:
'Dishonors Awards' Give Payback to Media

by Clarence Williams
The Washington Times

Paybacks are hell -- and the most liberal members of the media took their turns getting paid back last Thursday night.

A chance to gang up on the liberal media elite was a clarion call for the 500 supporters of the Media Research Center who gathered at the Washington Monarch Hotel to recognize the most biased coverage by reporters of the '90s, and to "honor" the decade's worst reporting.

"I would not have missed this for all the campaign contributions in China," said M. Stanton Evans, president of the National Journalism Center and the master of ceremonies for the evening's "Dishonors Awards."

"No liberals," he noted, "were actually injured in the production of this program."

Conservatives got the chance to slap their knees, yuck it up and let their hair down -- all at their liberal colleagues' expense.

Among them Oliver North, Justice Clarence Thomas, pundit William F. Buckley Jr. and Michael Reagan, former President Ronald Reagan's eldest son, who said he was only "trying to change the world" by converting "one liberal at a time."

For $125 a plate, guests got the chance to digest a host of quotes -- displayed on large projection screens -- along with their mixed salad greens.

The event played out like a celebrity roast -- only the celebrities weren't around to have their feet held to the fire. As the award winners weren't invited to personally accept their prizes, certain high-profile conservatives were called to the podium to accept the glass awards for them.

Awards were given out in bizarre categories such as "The Presidential Kneepad Award (For the Best Journalistic Lewinksy Impression)" which the Wall Street Journal's John Fund accepted for Time magazine's Nina Burleigh (who coined the "kneepad" allusion to presidential peccadillos in a piece in the New York Observer).

"This is the lowest form of satire -- quoting a journalist with his own work," quipped R. Emmett Tyrrell, editor of the American Spectator. "As a journalist, a serious journalist, I'm embarrassed to be here," Mr. Tyrrell joked, before picking up the "The Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (For Impugning The Character of President Clinton's Adversaries)" on behalf of Newsweek's Evan Thomas.

"Indeed this award is appropriate -- I can see through it," said former Reagan Administration Attorney General Edwin Meese, who claimed "The How Do I Hate the Gipper? Let Me Count the Ways Award," for TV critic John Leonard.

"The media can't seem to get over Ronald Reagan - I hope they never do," Michael Reagan said.

Several journalists found themselves nominated in multiple categories, notably "Today" show host Bryant Gumbel, who shared honors for the "Most Biased Quote of the Decade Award" after a live vote by the audience.

President Bill Clinton ended up being the butt of much of the humor, although Geraldo Rivera also got more than his share of ribbing.

"Geraldo Rivera is to journalism, what Bill Clinton is to statesmanship," said Cal Thomas, a syndicated columnist and TV talk show host.

Organizers proclaimed the Dishonors a huge success. They want to host the event on an annual basis, to continue to cast light on the "egregious offenses" of the media. "Clearly it's a target-rich environment," Mr. Evans said.

(A written rundown of what attendees saw, including details about which awards were accepted in jest by Clarence Thomas, Ollie North and Ed Meese.)

Here are the quotes in the order seen by those at the awards presentation Thursday night. In each of six award categories a presenter showed three or four nominees, which were determined by the judges listed in #5 below, and then announced the winner. In the place of the actual media figure a well-known conservative accepted each award in jest.

-- How Do I Hate the Gipper? Let Me Count the Ways Award, presented by Michael Reagan.

"The boom years following World War II saw the U.S. economy take off, giving rise to the growth of the great American middle class. The rising standard of living meant homes, cars, TVs, college for the kids - all in all, a piece of the American dream. But in the Reagan years, economic erosion set in, so much so that the middle class now finds itself in ever-deepening trouble." -- Bryant Gumbel on Today, January 22, 1992.

"In the plague years of the 1980s -- that low decade of denial, indifference, hostility, opportunism, and idiocy - government fiddled, and medicine diddled, and the media were silent or hysterical. A gerontocratic Ronald Reagan took this [AIDS] plague less seriously than Gerald Ford had taken swine flu. After all, he didn't need the ghettos and he didn't want the gays." -- CBS Sunday Morning TV critic John Leonard, Sept. 5, 1993.

"The amazing thing is most people seem content to believe that almost everybody had a good time in the '80s, a real shot at the dream. But the fact is, they didn't. Did we wear blinders? Did we think the '80s left t behind just the homeless? The fact is that almost nine in ten Americans actually saw their lifestyle decline." -- NBC reporter Keith Morrison, February 7, 1992 Nightly News.

"You place the responsibility for the death of your daughter squarely at the feet of the Reagan Administration. Do you believe they're responsible for that?" -- NBC reporter Maria Shriver interviewing AIDS sufferer Elizabeth Glaser, July 14, 1992 Democratic convention coverage.

+++ And the winner is....John Leonard. Accepting for Leonard: Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese.

-- Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Wackiest Analysis, presented by Michael Reagan:

"It's short of soap, so there are lice in the hospitals. It's short of pantyhose, so women's legs go bare. It's short of snowsuits, so babies stay home in the winter. Sometimes it's short of cigarettes so millions of people stop smoking, involuntarily. It drives everybody crazy. The problem isn't communism; nobody even talked about communism this week. The problem is shortages." -- NBC Nightly News commentator John Chancellor on the Soviet Union, Aug. 21, 1991.

"He [Ted Kaczynski] wasn't a hypocrite. He lived as he wrote. His manifesto, and there are a lot of things in it that I would agree with and a lot of other people would, that industrialization and pollution all are terrible things, but he carried it to an extreme, and obviously murder is something that is far beyond any political philosophy, but he had a bike. He didn't have any plumbing, he didn't have any electricity." -- Time Washington reporter Elaine Shannon talking about the Unabomber, April 7, 1996 C-SPAN Sunday Journal.

"It's a morbid observation, but if everyone on earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem." -- Newsweek Senior Writer Jerry Adler, Dec. 31, 1990 issue.

+++ And the winner is....Elaine Shannon. Accepting for Shannon: Long-time Reagan aide Lyn Nofziger.

-- Presidential Kneepad Award (for the best journalistic Lewinsky), presented by Cal Thomas.

"Mr. President, we love you. I want to hug you, I want to hug you, please do the right thing. This is nothing, this is nothing. Thomas Jefferson did not have this in mind, I swear to God....I would give Ken Starr the Nobel Peace Prize were he to be man enough not to refer a sex lie to the House for impeachment. We'll be right back, stay tuned folks" -- Geraldo Rivera urging Clinton not to cooperate, August 6, 1998 edition of Rivera Live on CNBC.

"If we could be one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we'd take it right now and walk away winners...Thank you very much and tell Mrs. Clinton we respect her and we're pulling for her." -- Dan Rather at a May 27, 1993 CBS affiliates meeting talking via satellite to President Clinton about his new on-air partnership with Connie Chung as co-anchor of the CBS Evening News.

"I would be happy to give him [Bill Clinton] a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs." -- Time contributor and former reporter Nina Burleigh recalling what she told the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz about her feeling toward Bill Clinton, as recounted by Burleigh in the July 20, 1998 New York Observer.

+++ And the winner is....the woman who inspired the award title, Nina Burleigh. Accepting for Burleigh, a proud member of the VRWC: Wall Street Journal editorial writer John Fund.

-- Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for impugning the character of Clinton's adversaries), presented by Cal Thomas.

"Yes, the case is being fomented by right-wing nuts, and yes, she is not a very credible witness, and it's really not a law case at all. But Clinton has got a problem here. He has a history of womanizing that most people believe is a problem....That's a dangerous attitude to have. It lead to things like this, some sleazy woman with big hair coming out of the trailer parks....I think she's a dubious witness, I really do." -- Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas on Paula Jones, May 7, 1994 Inside Washington.

"Women who've been polled seem to put it behind them as well, and are willing to move on and forget about it. Is that because Bill Clinton's been such a great President whom they elected in great part, or is there something I want to say almost sexy about a man who can get away with things over and over again?" -- Good Morning America co-host Lisa McRee to Deborah Tannen, August 18, 1998.

Geraldo Rivera: "Do you believe that they had, at least indirectly, something to do with your ex-husband, Jim McDougal's, ultimate demise? Susan McDougal, "I'm sorry, I couldn't hear you" Geraldo Rivera: "Did they help speed your husband's sickness and his ultimate death?" McDougal: "Oh, there's no doubt in my mind!" -- Geraldo Rivera referring to Ken Starr's prosecutors in a question to Susan McDougal, April 14, 1999 Upfront Tonight on CNBC.

+++ And the winner is....Evan Thomas. Accepting for Thomas: Another member of the VRWC, American Spectator Editor-in-Chief Bob Tyrrell.

-- Damn Every Conservative We Can Think of to Hell Award, presented by Ed Capano.

"Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming....Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week....Parenting and governing don't have to be dirty words: the nation can't be run by an angry two-year-old." -- ABC's Peter Jennings in his radio commentary after the GOP won the House, Nov. 14, 1994.

"The bombing in Oklahoma City has focused renewed attention on the rhetoric that's been coming from the right and those who cater to angry white men. While no one's suggesting that right-wing radio jocks approve of violence, the extent to which their approach fosters violence is being questioned by many observers, including the President of the United States....The list of those the President may have had in mind is at once long and familiar. Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Bob Grant, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan, and others take to the air every day with basically the same format: detail a problem, blame the government or a group, and invite invective from like-minded people....Never do most of the radio hosts encourage outright violence, but the extent to which their attitudes may embolden or encourage some extremists has clearly become an issue." -- Today co-host Bryant Gumbel, April 25, 1995.

"Next week on ABC's World News Tonight, a series of reports about our environment which will tell you precisely what the new congress has in mind: the most frontal assault on the environment in 25 years. Is this what the country wants? On ABC's World News Tonight next week." -- Peter Jennings in an ABC promo during the July 9, 1995 This Week with David Brinkley.

+++ And the winner is....Bryant Gumbel. Accepting for Gumbel: A man impugned by him, Ollie North.

-- I'm a Compassionate Liberal But I Wish You Were Dead Award (for media hate of conservatives), presented by Ed Capano.

"The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that's how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible person." -- USA Today columnist and Pacifica Radio talk show host Julianne Malveaux on Justice Clarence Thomas, November 4, 1994 PBS To the Contrary.

"Can Ken Starr ignore the apparent breadth of the sympathetic response to the President's speech? Facially, it finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler, including the glasses. If he now pursues the President of the United States, who, however flawed his apology was, came out and invoked God, family, his daughter, a political conspiracy and everything but the kitchen sink, would not there be some sort of comparison to a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor for Mr. Starr?" -- Keith Olbermann on MSNBC's Big Show, to Chicago Tribune Washington Bureau Chief James Warren, Aug. 18, 1998.

Inside Washington host Tina Gulland: "I don't think I have any Jesse Helms defenders here. Nina?" Nina Totenberg: "Not me, I think he ought to be worried about what's going on in the Good Lord's mind, because if there is retributive justice, he'll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it." -- National Public Radio and ABC News reporter Nina Totenberg reacting to Senator Jesse Helms' claim that the government spends too much on AIDS research, July 8, 1995 Inside Washington.

+++ And the winner is....Julianne Malveaux. Accepting for Malveaux, as noted above, Clarence Thomas.

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