The NBC correspondent began her report, which aired 50 minutes into the 7 am hour, by briefly describing the concept of the "Good Riddance Day" event in midtown Manhattan: "It's the crossroads of the world. People flock here for the shows, the shopping and the shredding? Right smack in the heart of Times Square, they are purging like mad. This is 'Good Riddance Day,' where before you ring in the new, you say adios to the old." She then listed her examples of what people fed into the shredder, highlighting one piece of paper that had the name of the former Alaska governor written on it: "Whatever you hated in '09- flabby thighs, cheap men, rude people or Sarah Palin, just write it down and rip it up. The ex's are the most popular purges."
Wolfe even got into the act by shredding a list of her own, which included "bad hair days...uncomfortable heels; bad breath...and poverty." But if her report is any indication, one thing from 2009 that the mainstream media won't be saying "good riddance" to is their theme of Palin bashing.The full transcript of correspondent Jenna Wolfe's report from Tuesday's Today show:
AMY ROBACH: Do you wish you could erase your worst memory of 2009? Well, thousands of Americans anxious for a fresh start in the new year tried to do that on Monday, and Today's Jenna Wolfe was there. Jenna, Good morning.
JENNA WOLFE: Good morning, Amy. You know tossing a penny into a fountain or blowing out candles to make a wish? Well, there's a tradition here in New York. The concept is similar, but instead of a fountain or candles, it's one giant shredder.
WOLFE (voice-over, from taped report): It's the crossroads of the world. People flock here for the shows, the shopping and the shredding? Right smack in the heart of Times Square, they are purging like mad. This is 'Good Riddance Day,' where before you ring in the new, you say adios to the old.
TIM TOMPKINS, PRESIDENT, TIMES SQUARE ALLIANCE: This is the third year of 'Good Riddance Day,' and it's the part of new years which is about not just saying what do we want to have happen in the next year, but what do we want to get rid of from the year we've just been through.
WOLFE: Whatever you hated in '09- flabby thighs, cheap men, rude people or Sarah Palin, just write it down and rip it up. The ex's are the most popular purges.
WOLFE (on-camera): Why do you want to get rid of your husband?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1: He left me!
WOLFE (voice-over): So is extra weight.
WOLFE (on-camera): What are you getting rid of this year?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: Pounds.
WOLFE: Pounds? Like L.B.'s?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: As in lots of them.
WOLFE (pointing jokingly towards shredder): Are you going to pack yourself in and maybe squish yourself in there?
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2: I would like to get as thin that I could fit through there at some point.
WOLFE (voice-over): It's not all laughs.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 3: Hatred and war- I want everybody just to be peaceful.
WOLFE: Some shed memories. Others, like John Slattery, apparently missed the metaphor. He literally showed up with a suitcase full of unwanted- everything.
JOHN SLATTERY: It's good riddance to get rid of all bills, debt-
WOLFE (on-camera): And have you been collecting this monstrosity of bills and what-not here for a whole year?
SLATTERY: Yeah, yeah.
WOLFE (voice-over): And if your purges aren't on paper, not to worry.
WOLFE (on-camera): Instead of printing up everything you want to purge this year, I say go for the mother lode, or in this case, the motherboard. All right, bye-bye computer! (smashes computer CPU with sledgehammer)
WOLFE (voice-over): So far, the annual event is a smashing success.
TOMPKINS: We've only been doing 'Good Riddance Day' for three years, but it's so popular, we think- hey, why not a national holiday?
WOLFE (live): If you're wondering if there's a winner, actually, there is. This year's $250 prize went to twelve-year-old Alissa from Los Angeles. She shredded the memory of a counselor on a school trip who turned out to be on 'America's Most Wanted' list. Yeah, not good. I wrote a couple down here, Amy: bad hair days; 4 am on my alarm clock- I hate that hour; uncomfortable heels; bad breath- other people's, not mine; and poverty. Let's see. (takes paper and places it into shredding machine) Let's go and put that in here and it's officially shredded! Amy, back to you.
ROBACH: All right. If only that made everything go away. All right, Jenna, thank you.
-Matthew Balan is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.