Fresh off the George Polk Awards — where such anti-Bush luminaries as Frank Rich and Victor Navasky received top prizes — journalists gathered for another awards ceremony Thursday night. Again, it served primarily as an occasion for Bush-bashing:
Journalists primarily divided their energy at the National Press Foundation awards dinner Thursday night in Washington between praising their colleagues for their efforts to report on Hurricane Katrina and slamming the administration.
In the latter camp, the Bush administration was lampooned in the cartoons of winner Jimmy Margulies, who narrated a series of wicked jabs. But the hardest hit on the administration came from Jack Germond, winner of the Kiplinger award for Distinguished Contributions to Journalism. Germond, a veteran newspaperman–most recently with the Baltimore Sun–and an analyst for NBC and CNN, was scathing in his assessment.
He talked of the administration’s “staggering arrogance” and the “serial comic quality of daily White House briefings,” which he called “an embarrassment to us and them.”
Citing Plato, Germond said those who are too smart to go into politics are destined to be governed by those who are dumber. […]
CNN’s Ed Henry, who received the Everett Dirkson award for congressional reporting, had a hard time keeping it together as he thanked his colleagues and remembered his mentor and injured ABC journalists Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt. Henry said it was tough to think of his job as a hard one in the face of their stories.
Henry also emotionally thanked his mentor, the late Jack Anderson, for whom he interned while still in school.
He drew applause with the assertion that “the American people own the news” and that the First Amendment is “under assault.”
Of course, the evening also witnessed no small amount of self-congratulation over the media’s coverage of Hurricane Katrina. How eager they must be for us to forget that much of it turned out to be wrong.