The Media Research Center Stands With Israel
Year End Awards: The Best Notable Quotables of 1999

Welcome to the Media Research Center’s annual awards issue, a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 1999.

To determine this year’s winners, a panel of 44 talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and media observers generously gave of their time to select their choices for the first, second and third best quote from six to eight quotes in each category. List of Judges. 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.

Quote of the Year

Carole Simpson and Bill Clinton

ABC News anchor Carole Simpson to Bill Clinton: "You’ve got the big plane, you’ve got the big house, you’ve got the cars, the protection. Aren’t you going to suffer great post-partum depression after you leave office?"....
Simpson to Clinton while inside Arkansas tomato factory: "I have to bask in this moment, for a moment, because I am here talking to the most powerful man on the planet, who was a poor boy from Arkansas..."
Clinton, cutting her off: "A place like this."
Simpson: "Place like this. I am an African-American woman, grew up working class on the south side of Chicago, and this is a pretty special moment for me to be here talking to you. How does it feel talking to me? That I made it, too, when people said I wouldn’t be able to?"
From Simpson’s taped interview with President Clinton, on ABC’s World News Tonight/Sunday, November 7.
See the Runners-Up for the Quote Of The Year
The Alec Baldwin Award (for Hate Speech Against the Presidential Impeachers)

Eleanor Clift [67]

"I think there are real questions about separation of powers and I don’t think he [Clinton] should go up there [appear before the Senate]. And second of all, that herd of managers from the House, I mean frankly all they were missing was white sheets. They’re like night riders going over. This is bigger than Bill Clinton."
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, January 9 McLaughlin Group.

Ginger Thompson [57]

"As she watches Republicans in Congress push ahead with impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, Ellen Mendel of Manhattan says she feels the same despair that she did as a girl in Nazi Germany when the efforts of a stubborn group of leaders snowballed, crushing the will of the people. ‘It is apparent that the bulldozing campaign by the Republicans will not end,’ said Ms. Mendel, a psychotherapist. And in a moment of self-analysis, she added: ‘Their efforts are so abusive that I was beginning to feel a sense of discouragement. I have been feeling very isolated.’"
Opening to a January 25 New York Times story by Ginger Thompson on liberal Manhattanites enraged by the Republican push for removal.

Jack White [54]

"Her [White House lawyer Cheryl Mills] rhetoric wasn’t fancy, but it was on target. The G.O.P. is a party, after all, that owes its post-Barry Goldwater resurgence to opposition to civil rights. And while its leaders from time to time proclaim their belief in racial justice, their pledges have been mostly lip service. They’re too genteel for a sheet-wearing bigot like David Duke but all too willing to embrace bigotry if it’s dressed in a suit and tie. Mills, 33, is just the sort of hard-nosed advocate to drag such hypocrisy to the surface."
Time national correspondent Jack E. White, February 1 "Dividing Line" column.

Dan Rather [44]

"Senator, when you talk to other Senators, particularly older Senators -- those who’ve been around for a bit -- is or is there not some concern of the public, concern in some quarters, not all of them Democratic, that this is in fact a kind of effort at a quote ‘coup,’ that is you have a twice elected, popularly elected President of the United States and so those that you mentioned in the Republican Party who dislike him and what he stands for, having been unable to beat him at the polls, have found another way to get him out of office."
Dan Rather to former Senator Warren Rudman (R) during CBS coverage of the swearing in of Senators for the impeachment trial, January 7.

Jack White [20]

"I can’t think of anything that would be better for the American Republic than to see some of the Republicans who brought this bogus, inflated case and have put the country through all this turmoil for the last, almost a year than for them to be sent packing and to be replaced by someone who can put this in somewhat better perspective."
Time national correspondent Jack E. White on MSNBC’s McLaughlin Special Report prime time show, February 10.
Soft on Crime Award (for Promoting Those Opposed to Holding Clinton Accountable)

Al Hunt [66]

"You know who the hero of this whole thing is, it’s that guy, what was his name, Richard Llamas, the guy who stood up in the Senate gallery last week and said, ‘Good God vote and get over with this, will you.’ If they had stretched this out for another two or three weeks, which if they would have had the kind of witnesses Bob [Novak] wanted to have, I want to tell you something, I think the people may have stormed the United States Capitol."
Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt on a special edition of CNN’s Capital Gang, February 11.

Eleanor Clift [57]

"The Republican managers pushed a case that was bogus from the beginning. It should have been a vote of censure in the House and be done with it. And look at the defectors, the Republican defectors in the Senate: Northeastern Republicans. That’s the aspect of the party that’s still in touch with the people."
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, February 13 McLaughlin Group.

Nina Totenberg [52]

"Didn’t I say to you that we are marching off the cliff? Reason tells you we should stop this and get on with the business of governance. But there is precious little. I mean, I spent most of today and yesterday half on the phone while I was covering this thing, with Senators Republican and Democratic, and at the moment everybody’s fondest hope is that the two-week hiatus, between now and the new year, in that period impeachment will sink in and sanity will prevail and we’ll avoid a trial. But there are a lot of people that don’t want that to happen."
National Public Radio’s Nina Totenberg, December 19, 1998 Inside Washington, the day of the House vote.

Eleanor Clift [49]

"Good evening. We begin tonight with the voice of the people heard from the Senate gallery today during yet another procedural vote at the President’s impeachment trial....’God almighty,’ the man said, ‘take the vote and get it over with.’ He was arrested. That’s him in the beard, slightly balding, on the right. He may think it was worth it, speaking as he does for so many Americans, whether they believe the President should be convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice or not. The best that we can say tonight is they are getting there."
Peter Jennings, February 4 World News Tonight.
China Syndrome Award (for Dismissing Nuclear Espionage)

Tony Karon [53]

"Where have you gone, Joe McCarthy, oh, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you....Yes folks, Republican efforts to warn Americans of the danger of fuzzy liberals in charge of the nation’s political system -- and its nuclear secrets -- are about to go into overdrive."
May 24 Time Daily online story by Tony Karon.

Brian Williams [45]

"I heard someone ask rhetorically today that, ‘Look, this is only gonna matter if, God forbid, there is one dark day that sees the use, the all-out use of thermonuclear weapons on this planet, and so why worry?’"
MSNBC host Brian Williams to House Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Porter Goss (R.-Fla.) on The News with Brian Williams, May 25.

Eleanor Clift [41]

"The rollout to this rivaled The Phantom Menace, with Chris Cox in the role of Luke Skywalker. But the facts don’t bear up. First of all, this notion of Richard Shelby yelling for Janet Reno’s head -- you know, Sandy Berger was briefed. So was Richard Shelby....There is no evidence they are building anything; they are deploying anything. It will take them at least ten years to do anything. This is hysteria to try to create a new Red Menace."
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift on the release of the Cox Report, May 29 McLaughlin Group.

Eric Engberg [30]

"The Cox Report says China uncovered the secrets of seven U.S. nuclear warheads, but the intelligence evidence is unclear. It may be as low as four, two of which are obsolete. Amidst all the voices raised in alarm there is a bottom line: Unlike many of the things in the Cox Report there’s no argument here. Number of strategic nuclear weapons? U.S.: six thousand, China: less than two dozen."
"Reality Check" by Eric Engberg, May 27 CBS Evening News.

Tom Friedman [28]

"There’s a lot of concern now in this China issue, but the fact is China has 24 long-range nuclear missiles that could hit the United States. Russia 7,000. Yet the whole arms control process with Russia over START has collapsed. That was something started by Republicans. I don’t hear anything coming out of Republicans complaining about that, wanting to drive that agenda. What’s happened? When I listen to the Republicans in Congress on foreign policy, there’s such an ‘I’m stupid and proud of it’ attitude."
New York Times columnist and ex-reporter Tom Friedman to John McCain, March 14 Face the Nation.
I Am Woman Award (for Hillary Rodham Worshipping)

Diane Sawyer [63]

"She emerged on health care, only to beat a very bruised retreat. She clearly hated being thought of as just Bill Clinton’s wife. But ironically, it would take his scandals, finally, to free her. Finally, last November 1998, Hillary Clinton showed the world what she could do on the campaign trail without him. Political mastery, every bit as dazzling as his, the thoughtful speech, unapologetically strong, emboldening Democrats, electing Senators. So her friends say she has really earned this campaign, this moment, if she chooses, earned it by changing herself, searching, stumbling, and at the end, by standing, not by her man, but by herself."
Co-host Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, March 12.

Peter Baker [50]

"Forget the Senate. Over the last 12 days, Hillary Rodham Clinton has looked and sounded more like a candidate for Secretary of State. There she was in Egypt, gently urging tolerance for the minority Coptic Christians. There she was in Tunisia, lashing out at Islamic radicals in other countries who oppress women. And here she was in Morocco, speaking out on everything from the Middle East peace process to the NATO airstrikes in Yugoslavia....
"But the sight of the First Lady back on the world stage where she feels so sure-footed brought into sharp focus the peculiar trade-offs facing her as she decides whether to run next year....How does a woman who eagerly told an audience this morning about education and economics in Guatemala and Uganda turn her attention to the pork-and-potholes issues that arise in places like Utica and Ithaca? How does a woman whose international profile is so high that bystanders in Africa two years ago referred to her as ‘the queen of the world’ adjust to becoming a low-ranking member of the seniority-conscious Senate?"
Washington Post reporter Peter Baker in an April 1 news story about Hillary Clinton’s trip to Africa.

Hillary Clinton [42]

"Once a political lightning rod, today she is political lightning. A crowd-pleaser and first-class fundraiser, a person under enormous pressure to step into the arena. This time on her own....Polls show she is one of the most admired women in America. But even after seven years in the spotlight, she remains a riddle for many people. It’s hard to know what keeps her going through marital problems made public, political fights turned ugly, through triumphs, disasters and always the demands of her work. Tonight we get some answers about how she does it from the only person in the world who really knows."
Dan Rather on Hillary Clinton in his May 26 60 Minutes II interview.

Walter Isaacson [33]

"For a while...she was our leading contender. Her strength and her almost surreal ability to assert her dignity were remarkable to some and mystifying to others. She also, for many months, helped determine how the nation framed the scandal debate by portraying it as a partisan battle and disgusting prosecutorial invasion of personal privacy. So why didn’t we choose her? Sentimentally, a lot of us wanted to; I personally was fascinated and impressed by her."
Time Managing Editor Walter Isaacson’s "To Our Readers" article on Person of Year pick, Dec. 28/Jan. 4.

Christiane Amanpour [31]

"A lot of the women that I meet from traveling overseas are very impressed by you and admire your dignity. A lot of the people you meet are people who suffered, people you saw today, and who believe that they identify with you because they have seen you suffer. And in a speech in Africa last year, you spoke about living for hope and reconciliation, living for forgiveness and reconstruction, and living for a new life – have you been able to apply that to your own circumstances? Have you been able to forgive your husband?"
CNN’s Christiane Amanpour to Hillary Clinton in Macedonia after a tour of refugee camps, May 14.
Media Hero Award

Adam Clymer [59]

"Yet his achievements as a Senator have towered over his time, changing the lives of far more Americans than remember the name Mary Jo Kopechne....He deserves recognition not just as the leading Senator of his time but also as one of the greats in the history of this singular institution, wise in its workings, especially its demand that a Senator be more than partisan to accomplish much."
Excerpt in the August 2 Time from a forthcoming biography of Ted Kennedy by New York Times reporter Adam Clymer.

Margaret Carlson (51)

"If his private life is shaped by his love for children and stepchildren, his public one is still shaped by his concern for the little guy, the one who parks your car, rings the cash register at the convenience store, catches the early bus. As he left town he was trying to expand health care, and when he comes back from burying his nephew, he will be fighting to raise the minimum wage."
Time columnist Margaret Carlson on Ted Kennedy, August 2.

Juan Williams [50]

"Now Janet Reno’s thing is that she doesn’t know many people in this town. I don’t think she’s done much to socialize, to befriend people, to build a constituency, even with the Clintons. You know, I heard Donna Shalala say the other day she [Reno] now has Abe Lincoln status. People just assume she’s honest, honest Janet Reno."
Washington Post writer Juan Williams on Fox News Sunday, September 5.

Peter Jennings [27]

"Good evening. The man who presided over the best economy in a generation is going back to private life. The Secretary of the Treasury Bob Rubin, who said today that he really was resigning, has been described in such glowing terms that he’d begun to sound indispensable. All sorts of people today, including the President, have called him the best Treasury Secretary since Alexander Hamilton, who was the first Secretary in 1789 and did an enormous amount to put the United States on firm financial footing."
Peter Jennings starting ABC’s World News Tonight, May 12.

Diane Sawyer [24]

"In a grand jury appearance last March, he [Vernon Jordan] testified that Lewinsky told him she did not have sex with the President, though he added he purposely did not press her for details, saying, ‘I thought I’d heard enough.’...His friends would say that’s classic Vernon Jordan: smart, careful, always ahead of the game. He’s a dazzling contradiction, a man who can charm an entire room and never give away his secrets, a man who fixes other people’s problems and never seems to break a sweat over his own....Vernon Jordan, grandson of an African-American sharecropper, the only black man in his class at DePaul University, went from tending bar at an all-white club for lawyers, to become himself one of the most influential lawyers in America...."
Good Morning America co-host Diane Sawyer, February 2.
Damn Those Conservatives Award

Lonnae Parker [65]

"There is a scene [in Roots] where kidnapped African Kunta Kinte won’t settle down in his chains. ‘Want me to give him a stripe or two, boss?’ the old slave, Fiddler, asks his Master Reynolds. ‘Do as I say, Fiddler,’ Reynolds answers. ‘That’s all I expect from any of my niggers.’ ‘Oh, I love you, Massa Reynolds,’ Fiddler tells him. And instantly, my mind draws political parallels. Ward Connerly, I think to myself. Armstrong Williams. Shelby Steele. Hyperbole, some might say. I say dead-on. ‘Clarence Thomas,’ I say to my Cousin Kim. And she just stares at me. She may be a little tender yet for racial metaphors. I see them everywhere."
Washington Post reporter Lonnae O’Neal Parker, on watching Roots with her 20-year-old cousin, August 8 "Style" section piece.

Katie Couric [56]

"Let’s talk a little bit more about the right wing because I know that’s something you feel very strongly about. But this is actually not necessarily about the right wing, but perhaps a climate that some say has been established by religious zealots or Christian conservatives. There have been two recent incidents in the news I think that upset most people in this country, that is the dragging death of James Byrd Junior and the beating death of Matthew Shepard. I just would like you to reflect on whether you feel people in this country are increasingly intolerant, mean-spirited, etcetera, and what, if anything, can be done about that because a lot of people get very discouraged when they hear and see this kind of brutality taking place."
Today’s Katie Couric to former Texas Governor Ann Richards as she hosted a 92nd Street Y appearance in New York City on March 3 shown by C-SPAN April 3.

Larry King [43]

"The term wacko right-winger is redundant. For example, they’re the only people who don’t like being called compassionate. Someone remarked that many now defend the tobacco industry because its products kill people early, saving us dollars in having to care for aged people."
"Larry King’s People" item in USA Today, March 8.

Margaret Carlson [42]

"The vocabulary has changed so that tax cuts now look like irresponsible spending and spending on investments and education and Medicare looks like the responsible thing to do because if I get $100 back, I can’t go fix a school or clean a river, and people are more interested in these things than they are in the tax cut, and the poll numbers, you know, don’t explain this. I mean the only thing that could explain this love of tax cuts is a lowered IQ."
Time’s Margaret Carlson, July 24 Capital Gang.

Gwen Ifill, T.R. Reid, and Martha Raddatz (19)

Washington Week in Review moderator Gwen Ifill: "Tom Reid is with us in London, and I’m really curious about the degree to which in London and abroad you’re hearing whether, I’m just curious, are people laughing at us?"
T.R. Reid, The Washington Post: "You know, I think they are. The tone, actually, is very harsh: You call this leadership? The Senate vote was irresponsible. It was disgraceful. It was dangerous. But you know, at some level, I think they actually loved this....they love this in the British media because it portrays Americans as kind of, you know, humorless fanatics, and they kind of believe that about us, anyway."
ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz: "...I think Trent Lott may, I mean, Trent Lott talks about, well, we don’t care, you know, what the allies are saying. We don’t trust the nuclear test-ban treaty anyway. I think what it showed is they don’t really care about the world at all."
Oct. 15 exchange on rejection of test ban treaty.
Good Morning Morons Award

Tim Russert [91]

Tim Russert: "Is it hard holding your own views in check?"
Bryant Gumbel: "You know what? In terms of my political views, I hold them in check. I don’t think that someone who watches is inclined to think that I’m one way or the other."
CNBC’s Tim Russert, October 30.

Charlie Gibson [49]

"Bush is using this term ‘compassionate conservative’ as he campaigns, which is an interesting juxtaposition of two seemingly contradictory terms."
Good Morning America co-host Charlie Gibson to William Safire in discussing phrases used by presidential candidates in the campaign, November 18.

Bryant Gumbel [31]

"But are you comfortable with our national obligations, our national prestige, being held hostage by the most conservative wing of your party?"
Early Show co-host Bryant Gumbel on holdup of UN dues by conservatives who did not want U.S. money to fund abortions, to House Republican Chairman J.C. Watts, November 10.

Gumbel and Clinton [26]

Gumbel: "Final note. If my research is correct, you sign papers next week, final papers, on the house in Chappaqua. Do you happen to know what’s the closest golf course to your house in Chappaqua?"
Clinton: "I don’t know."
Gumbel: "Whippoorwill Country Club in Armonk. Do you know who is a member there?"
Clinton: "Are you?"
Gumbel, laughing: "Yes, sir."
Clinton, laughing: "I’d be happy to be your guest, any time. I’m easy about that."
End of November 1 The Early Show interview.

Bryant Gumbel [23]

"And so it is that you revolve your story around one [Netscape founder] Jim Clark. A most unusual and successful businessman, but a strange guy, yeah?"
"But underneath it all, I mean, is he Gordon Gekko? Is he greed is good?"
"But he is in love with money?"
"So you’re going to sit there and tell me that the next great idea is what drives Silicon Valley and not greed, ultimately?"
Most of Bryant Gumbel’s questions to Michael Lewis, author of a book on Silicon Valley successes, Nov. 3.
Littleton Shop of Horrors Award (for Exploiting a Tragedy to Push Gun Control)

Margaret Carlson [75]

"Republicans are betting that this too [Columbine] will pass, that as with Jonesboro and Paducah, Pearl and Springfield, once the white coffins are in the ground and the cameras gone, the outrage will subside. But maybe not this time. In town meetings and talk radio, the public has had its fill of politicians talking resignedly about our gun culture, as if there’s nothing to be done about a subgroup that finds schoolyard massacres an acceptable cost for its right to be armed to the teeth."
Time columnist Margaret Carlson, May 10.

Anna Quindlen [39]

"Perhaps it will take one more school shooting to move the majority of Americans into a position more powerful than that of the NRA. Perhaps it will take one more school shooting to move us from people who support gun control to people who vote it. But as we continue to let the widows and the wounded do the work, be warned. That next school may be the one your children attend; the next accident could be close to home."
Newsweek columnist Anna Quindlen, Nov. 1.

Gregg Jarrett [38]

"Is there any reason, Howard, to believe that this tragic attack on children, for goodness sakes, will trigger any movement by this Congress to enact tougher, meaningful new gun laws?"
"You know, Howard, I asked Congresswoman Diana DeGette of Denver, who certainly has had to wrestle with this, about why her colleagues consistently reject tougher gun control measures. She said two things, they’re too afraid of the NRA and they’re too beholden to the NRA. Does it really come down to that? Do Congress people care more about perpetuating personal power than they do about saving the lives of children?"
MSNBC’s News with Brian Williams fill-in anchor Gregg Jarrett to Newsweek’s Howard Fineman, Aug. 12.

Charlie Gibson [30]

"When you went to Littleton, a friend of yours, who supports you on gun control, said to me in the last 48 hours, the President, because as he said Littleton has seared the national conscience, the President had a chance to roar on gun control and he meowed, and that was a friend of yours. There are very basic measures that could be taken that people agree on. We register every automobile in America. We don’t register guns. That’s a step that would make a difference."
Charlie Gibson in Good Morning America’s live interview with Bill Clinton at the White House, June 4.

Sara James [27]

"Littleton, Colorado, is 1700 miles from Washington, D.C., but it might as well be a million. For many survivors of the Columbine shooting, today’s collapse of gun control legislation feels like a slap in the face. NBC News correspondent Jim Avila has that part of the story."
MSNBC’s News with Brian Williams anchor Sara James, June 18.
Shooting the Constitution Award (for Advocating the Banning of Guns)

Geraldo Rivera [62]

"That smells of bullsh...How much longer are we gonna take that? How much longer are we gonna be wrapping in the flag of patriotism to justify 250 millions guns out there? How much longer?"
Geraldo Rivera responding to video clip of NRA chief Charlton Heston, May 3 Rivera Live on CNBC.

Roger Rosenblatt [61]

"Get rid of the guns. We had the Second Amendment that said you have the right to bear arms. I haven’t seen the British really coming by my house looking for it. And besides, the right to bear arms is not an absolute right anyway, as New York’s Sullivan Law proves. We talk about ourselves as a violent society, and some of that is right and some of it is claptrap. But I think if you took away the guns, and I mean really take away the guns, not what Congress is doing now, you would see that violent society diminish considerably."
PBS NewsHour essayist Roger Rosenblatt, May 20.

Jack White [53]

"Whatever is being proposed is way too namby-pamby. I mean, for example, we’re talking about limiting people to one gun purchase, or handgun purchase a month. Why not just ban the ownership of handguns when nobody needs one? Why not just ban semi-automatic rifles? Nobody needs one."
Time national correspondent Jack E. White, May 1 Inside Washington.

Walter Shapiro [50]

"Repealing the Second Amendment is no cause for the faint-hearted, but it remains the only way for liberals to trigger an honest debate on the future of our bullet-plagued society. So what if anti-gun advocates have to devote the next 15 or 20 years to the struggle? The cause is worth the political pain. Failing to take bold action condemns all of us to spend our lives cringing in terror every time we hear a car backfire."
USA Today columnist Walter Shapiro, Sept. 17.
Politics of Meaninglessness Award for the Silliest Analysis

Rudy Giuliani, Jeralyn Merritt, and Gregg Jarrett [53]

Rudy Giuliani joking on CBS’s Late Show about going to Arkansas to run for the Senate: "I’ve never lived here. I’ve never worked here. I ain’t never been here. But I think it would be cool to be your Senator."
Jeralyn Merritt, MSNBC legal analyst: "That’s just so unfair."
MSNBC anchor Gregg Jarrett: "It’s ugly."
Merritt: "It’s ugly and it’s unfair because she has spent a lot of time in New York and she has the desire to help and she is bright. She’s the best of the group."
Exchange during MSNBC InterNight discussion of the New York Senate campaign, June 25.

Sam Donaldson [43]

"If you take that penny, for instance, out of the National Institutes of Health grants, that may be the penny that cures cancer. Are you willing to do that?"
ABC’s Sam Donaldson to House Majority Whip Tom DeLay on the proposed 1.4 percent across-the-board non-entitlement spending reduction, October 24 This Week.

Larry King [37]

"What-if department...What if President Clinton announced a cure for cancer developed by the National Institutes of Health? What would critics say? Would Bob Barr want him impeached for failing to tell us the study was going on? Would Rush Limbaugh decry the President taking credit while admitting getting rid of cancer wasn’t a bad thing? Would Pat Buchanan insist that no nation other than America be given it? Would The Wall Street Journal worry about its effect on pharmaceutical stock prices? And so it goes...."
CNN’s Larry King in his USA Today column, February 15.

James Bennet [34]

"If there was any doubt that by virtue of his position, Clinton occupied as lofty a plane as the Pope on Tuesday -- or that the Pope, by virtue of being human, had some of the same needs as Clinton -- it was erased by the sign marking a restroom near their meeting room: ‘President or Holy Father Only,’ it read."
Last sentence of a January 27 New York Times story by reporter James Bennet on Clinton’s St. Louis visit with the Pope.

Bill Press and Dan Rather [37]

Co-host Bill Press: "Why is it that you are the epitome of the left-wing liberal media in the mind of every conservative I’ve ever talked to? What did you do to get that reputation?"
CBS News anchor Dan Rather: "I remained an independent reporter who would not report the news the way they wanted it or – from the left or the right. I’m a lifetime reporter. All I ever dreamed of was being a journalist, and the definition of journalist to me was the guy who’s an honest broker of information....I do subscribe to the idea of: ‘Play no favorites and pull no punches.’"
Exchange on CNN’s Crossfire, June 24.

Thomas Friedman [22]

"Quite simply, for many workers around the world, the oppression of the unchecked commissars has been replaced by the oppression of the unregulated capitalists, who move their manufacturing from country to country, constantly in search of those who will work for the lowest wages and lowest standards. To some, the Nike swoosh is now as scary as the hammer and sickle."
New York Times columnist and former reporter Thomas Friedman, July 30 column.

Michael Duffy [22]

"Some people dream about being naked, and you dream about being...?"
One of Time magazine Washington Bureau Chief Michael Duffy’s questions to Monica Lewinsky, March 15 cover story.
See No Evil Award (for Burying the Juanita Broaddrick Rape Charge)

Cliff May and David Gregory [53]

Cliff May of the Republican National Committee: "We have right now a credible allegation by Juanita Broaddrick that while Attorney General, Bill Clinton sexually assaulted her and he won’t answer."
MSNBC host David Gregory: "Now hold on. You know what, Cliff? I’m not going to let you go there. We are not talking about this today. We’re not going to turn that into this. I want to go around the horn a little bit. Cliff, wait a minute. Cliff, I’m going to stop you. I’m hosting the program. It is not a double standard. We have a clear focus today. I’m asking the questions."
MSNBC afternoon discussion of allegations about past illegal drug use by Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, August 19.

Jack White [46]

"I don’t believe it at all. Anybody who waits 21 years to surface a charge like this, and has no evidence to back it up, other than very circumstantial, what she may or may not have told some of her friends at the time, has sworn in the deposition that it never happened, and now all of a sudden comes forth with this story, the story doesn’t deserve to be dignified by being broadcast and displayed. What I find fascinating about this case is that we’ve sunk so low now that a charge of this magnitude can be leveled against the President of the United States with next to no evidence at all. I think that’s outrageous."
Time national correspondent Jack E. White, February 27 Inside Washington.

Eleanor Clift [43]

"These allegations go back more than 20 years. This woman made no charges at the time. It’s my understanding that she couldn’t even recall initially the year. Investigative reporters for major publications have looked at it since 1991. Ken Starr passed on it. You know, where is this going to go except among all the Clinton haters and the right-wing conspiratorialists? It’s great fodder, but you know, you proved the guy’s a cad, you’re not going to prove he’s a violent criminal."
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, February 20 McLaughlin Group.

Dan Rather and Don Imus [41]

CBS News anchor Dan Rather: "They are nervous about, number one, whether this information is accurate, whether it’s really true or not. And then number two, even if it does turn out to be true, it happened a long time ago and number three, they’ve gotta be figuring maybe, just maybe the American public has heard all they want to hear about this and are saying ‘you know, next. Let’s move on to the next thing.’"
Don Imus: "I was reading in either Time or Newsweek that even the woman herself, Juanita Broaddrick, said that she hopes that this thing went away this week and even she was sick about hearing about it and it’s her story."
Rather: "Well, let’s hope she gets her way with that."
February 23 Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC.
Politics of Personal Destruction Award (for Geraldo Rivera’s Hatemongering)

Geraldo Rivera [79]

"Don’t you think 13 guys, all of whom, you know, are not noted for any contribution to civil rights. I’m talking about the House managers. All of whom are born-again, all of whom are right-to-lifers, all of whom are you know, anti-immigration, pro-English Only, etc, etc, don’t you think that when that face is presented, isn’t that one of the reasons the majority, the vast majority of the American people support the President? When they look at the people prosecuting, some say persecuting him, and say, wait a second, those people wouldn’t even let me into their home or their neighborhood or to work alongside them?"
Geraldo Rivera, Feb. 2 Rivera Live on CNBC.

Geraldo Rivera [51]

"Today’s Washington Post [editorial] says...‘Mr. Starr should be remembered as a man who, hampered alike by intensely adverse conditions and by his own missteps, managed to perform a significant public service,’ end quote. Missteps? What would The Washington Post call the Lincoln assassination? Missteps?"
Rivera on CNBC’s Rivera Live, October 20.

Geraldo Rivera [31]

"Do you believe that they had, at least indirectly, something to do with your ex-husband, Jim McDougal’s, ultimate demise?...Did they help speed your husband’s sickness and his ultimate death?"
Rivera referring to Ken Starr’s prosecutors in a question to Susan McDougal, April 14 Upfront Tonight.

Geraldo Rivera [28]

"[Susan McDougal] has been hounded for 15 years by investigators and for the last five by the investigative terrorist, Ken Starr."
Geraldo Rivera, March 8 Rivera Live.

Geraldo Rivera [19]

"That was the party with the slender majority and two weeks to live that impeached the man because they could. It was a spiteful action, an action that they performed absolutely in violation of the framers’ intent. It was a legislative coup d’etat, and it has been rejected utterly by the American people, 73 percent of whom now say they approve of the President’s performance in office..."
Geraldo Rivera, with "NBC News" under his name as his identifier, December 22, 1998 Today.
Doris Kearns Goodwin Award (for Campaigning to Revive the Camelot Myth)

Jonathan Alter [63]

"The star power has diminished. John Kennedy Jr. was the Sun God, the most charismatic of any of the Kennedy children. So that will lower their wattage some, but there are enough Kennedys out there making enough contributions that they will be part of the life of this country well into the next century."
Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter on the Kennedy family without John F. Kennedy Jr., July 23 Dateline NBC.

Howard Fineman [56]

"I would say to conservatives out there, to Republicans, to anybody watching, whether they loved Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater or Franklin Roosevelt, whatever. What this family represents is the idea of heroism in politics."
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman, July 19 Hardball.

Dan Rather [38]

"We Americans, even those among us who have never liked the Kennedys’ politics, have long been fascinated by the Kennedy mystique. Or as some call it, the Kennedy myth. The dictionary defines mystique as ‘an aura of heightened meaning surrounding something to which special power or mystery is given.’ A myth is ‘a traditional story dealing with ancestors or heroes,’ a story that ‘shapes the world view of a people or delineates the customs or ideals of a society.’ By those definitions, like it or not, there is a Kennedy mystique and their history is mythic....
"What we do know is that some of the aching grief the family feels tonight we feel because the mystique and the myth are deep within us. That’s 48 Hours for tonight, an American Tragedy."
Dan Rather concluding 48 Hours, July 19.

Jonathan Alter [37]

"He was more than our ‘Prince Charming,’ as the New York tabs called him. We etched the past and the future on his fine face."
Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter, July 26.

Katie Couric [36]

"With the death of JFK Jr., there is now only one survivor of Camelot. That, of course, is Caroline Kennedy, the little girl who walked her father to the Oval Office and rode a pony on the White House lawn. And now grown up with a family of her own, Caroline remains our only link to those golden years."
Today co-host Katie Couric, July 19.
Too Late for Our Judging, But Year-End "Best of NQ" Worthy

Walter Cronkite

"It seems to many of us that if we are to avoid the eventual catastrophic world conflict we must strengthen the United Nations as a first step toward a world government patterned after our own government with a legislature, executive and judiciary, and police to enforce its international laws and keep the peace. To do that, of course, we Americans will have to give up some of our sovereignty....
"Time will not wait. Democracy, civilization itself, is at stake. Within the next few years we must change the basic structure of our global community from the present anarchic system of war and ever more destructive weaponry to a new system governed by a democratic U.N. federation.....
"Our failure to live up to our obligations to the U.N. is led by a handful of willful senators who choose to pursue their narrow, selfish political objectives at the cost of our nation’s conscience. They pander to and are supported by the Christian Coalition and the rest of the religious right wing."
Excerpts from a speech by former CBS anchor Walter Cronkite to the World Federalist Association on October 19. Published December 3 in The Washington Times.
Quote of the Year

Carole Simpson and Bill Clinton [82]

ABC News anchor Carole Simpson to Bill Clinton: "You’ve got the big plane, you’ve got the big house, you’ve got the cars, the protection. Aren’t you going to suffer great post-partum depression after you leave office?"....
Simpson to Clinton while inside Arkansas tomato factory: "I have to bask in this moment, for a moment, because I am here talking to the most powerful man on the planet, who was a poor boy from Arkansas..."
Clinton, cutting her off: "A place like this."
Simpson: "Place like this. I am an African-American woman, grew up working class on the south side of Chicago, and this is a pretty special moment for me to be here talking to you. How does it feel talking to me? That I made it, too, when people said I wouldn’t be able to?"
From Simpson’s taped interview with President Clinton, on ABC’s World News Tonight/Sunday, November 7.

Lance Morrow [77]

"[W]e are in the middle of a primal American saga and the important part is yet to come. Bill Clinton may be merely the prequel, the President of lesser moment -- except, so to speak, as the horse she rode in on....I think I see a sort of Celtic mist forming around Hillary as a new archetype (somewhere between Eleanor and Evita, transcending both) at a moment when the civilization pivots, at last, decisively -- perhaps for the first time since the advent of Christian patriarchy two millenniums ago -- toward Woman."
Time’s Lance Morrow in a July 12 "Viewpoint" piece.

Sally Quinn [70]

"We were talking about -- speaking for all women, if I may, Toni Morrison wrote in The New Yorker that Clinton was our first ‘black President,’ and I think, in a way, Clinton may be our first ‘woman President.’ And I think that may be one of the reasons why women identify, because he does have a lot of feminine qualities about him: The softness, the sensitivity, the vulnerability, that kind of thing."
The Washington Post’s Sally Quinn on CNN’s Larry King Live, March 10.

Brent Baker, Editor of MediaWatch and Notable Quotables

Mark Belling, talk show host, WISN in Milwaukee

L. Brent Bozell III, Chairman of the Media Research Center

David Brudnoy, talk show host on WBZ Radio; TV commentator; and Boston University communications professor

Priscilla Buckley, Contributing Editor of National Review

Tucker Carlson, staff writer, The Weekly Standard

Mark Davis, talk host, WBAP in Dallas/Ft. Worth and ABC Radio Network; columnist, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

Midge Decter, author, New York City

Jim Eason, talk show host, KSFO in San Francisco

Don Feder, syndicated columnist and Boston Herald columnist

Eric Fettman, op-ed columnist, New York Post

David Gold, national talk show host, Salem Radio Network

Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis, Media Research Center

Kirk Healy, Executive Producer, Cox Radio, Orlando

Quin Hillyer, editorial writer, Mobile Register

Marie Kaigler, radiotalk show host and broadcaster, Detroit

Cliff Kincaid, host, Peoples Radio Network

Mark Larson, General Manager and talk show host at KPRZ/KCBQ in San Diego

Jason Lewis, talk show host, KSTP in Minneapolis/St. Paul

Tony Macrini, talk show host, WNIS/WTAR in Norfolk, Virginia

Don Markwell, talk show host, WACV in Montgomery

Tom Marr, talk show host, WCBM in Baltimore

Patrick McGuigan, Editor, editorial page, The Oklahoman

Jan Mickelson, talk show host, WHO in Des Moines

Gary Nolan, national radio talk show host, Radio America

Jane Norris, radio talk show host, WHAS in Louisville

Rich Noyes, Director of the MRC's Free Market Project

Kate O'Beirne, Washington Editor for National Review

Marvin Olasky, Senior Fellow, Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty; Editor of World magazine

Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated radio talk show host

Dan Pierce, Program Director and talk host, WGIR in Manchester, NH

Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Executive Editor, The American Spectator

Michael Reagan, nationally syndicated radio talk show host

Mike Rosen, talk show host, KOA in Denver; columnist, Denver Rocky Mountain News

William Rusher, Distinguished Fellow, Claremont Institute

Ted J. Smith III, Professor of mass communications, Virginia Commonwealth University

Philip Terzian, nationally syndicated columnist

Cal Thomas, nationally syndicated columnist

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

Armstrong Williams, nationally syndicated columnist

Dick Williams, columnist; host of Fox Atlanta s The Georgia Gang

Walter Williams, Professor of economics, George Mason University

Thomas Winter, Editor-in-Chief of Human Events

Barry Young, President & CEO WestStar TalkRadio Network, Phoenix

Download Results

A printable Adobe Acrobat PDF of the "Best of NQ" awards issue is included here for your convenience.

Keep us in the Fight!

The Media Research Center depends on your support so we can battle the liberal media.

Media Coverage

Links to and reprints of some of the editorials and columns run this year about the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 1999: The Twelfth Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting."


Atlanta Business Chronicle, January 3, 1999
Column by Dick Williams

Hoist on Their Own Words, New York Post December 31, 1999

From the Mouths of Media Liberals, Rocky Mountain News December 31, 1999
Column by Mike Rosen

The Daily Oklahoman, December 29, 1999
Column by Patrick B. McGuigan

The Daily Oklahoman, December 31, 1999
Column by Patrick B. McGuigan

Remembering 1999's Lows, December 16, 1999
Column by MRC Chairman L. Brent Bozell

Hypocrisy Watch: A Dozen Years of Evidence Concerning Media Bias World, December 11, 1999
Column by Marvin Olasky