Politics & Policy

The Professionals

Press bias is as alive as ever.

Media bias is so prevalent that save for a few brave souls, most conservatives are weary of even pointing it out anymore in fear of sounding kneejerkingly predictable. But how do you get around winners like this?

(N.B. This is not from a Saturday Night Live skit.) Barbara Walters narrating a 20/20 interview with Fidel Castro:

For Castro, freedom starts with education. And if literacy alone were the yardstick, Cuba would rank as one of the freest nations on Earth. The literacy rate is 96 percent.

Thanks, Ms. Walters. And Mussolini made the trains run on time, right?

The Media Research Center, the bravest of the brave when it comes to willingness to delve through the media muck and chronicle the daily instances of bias — and willingness to take the inevitable derision that comes with it, awards Walters the “Media Hero Award” for her Castro hug in its fifteenth annual awards for the worst reporting, issued just before 2002′s end.

Phil Donahue, who, mercifully, no one is watching in his latest incarnation on MSNBC, gets the MRC “Ashamed of the Red, White & Blue Award” for this:

Phil Donahue: “Let me tell you what is impressive. You’re not wearing a flag. Well, I don’t want to damn you with my praise, but I say hip-hip-hooray for that . . .”

Tom Brokaw: “Right. . . . I wear a flag in my heart, but I think if you wear a flag, it’s a suggestion somehow that you’re endorsing what the administration is doing at the time. And I don’t think journalists ought to be wearing flags.”

Donahue: “And I say hear, hear, hear.”

Thomas Friedman, columnist for the paper of record gets the “Begala-Carville Award for Bush-Bashing” for this winner found by MRC in an interview in Rolling Stone:

I think these guys are bought and paid by Big Oil in America, and they are going to do nothing that will in any way go against the demands and interests of the big oil companies. I mean, let’s face it. ExxonMobil — I think this is a real group of bad guys, considering that they have funded all the anti-global-warming propaganda out there in the world. And Bush is just not going to go against guys like that. They are bad, bad guys — because of what they are doing in fighting the science of global warming.

A tease for CNN’s Paula Zahn morning show got the “Good Morning Morons” award for announcing: “Iraqi citizens are preparing to go to the polls to decide whether Hussein stays in office.”

Of course, all MRC’s candidates for the “Good Morning Morons” award were winners. Like this runner-up, from CBS’s Early Show last February:

Mark McEwen: “Up and down the East coast, it’s coming our way, but we will probably see just rain in the big cities.”

Bryant Gumbel: “We never get any snow.”

McEwen: “Do you think it’s global warming?”

Gumbel: “Yes, yes.”

McEwen: “Do you, Jane?”

Jane Clayson: “Yeah.”

McEwen: “We’re unanimous…it’s global warming.”

And there is this one, too, from The Early Show, from Mark McEwen in July:

“Last week the President spoke, the market went down. Yesterday, the President spoke, the market went down. Should he be quiet for a while?”

My favorite of all of the “worst reporting” candidates walked away with the “Carve Clinton into Mount Rushmore Award.” It’s back to Barbara Walters for this one. This time she’s talking to her coffee-klatch gals on The View.

Joy Behar: “I want to ask the audience: Clap if you would have your daughter be an intern for Bill Clinton.”

Barbara Walters: “I think that’s so unfair. That’s so unfair.”

Behar: “Why?”

Walters: “Because the man was the President. He does need people to work in that office and come on, I mean, let it go already.”

The list, amazingly, goes on and on. You can read all the winners here (along with runners-up and the list of judges; in the interest of full disclosure, I was one of the judges, as was our Kate O’Beirne).


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