Best Notable Quotables of 1998: Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting
Here are the winning quotes in 14 award categories in "The Best Notable Quotables of 1998: The Eleventh Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." To pick the winners the MRC sent ballots to 50 media observers who picked a first, second and third best quote in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices got two points and third place picks were assigned one point. Point totals are listed after each quote. See item #2 for the list of judges.
Today you'll see the winning quotes. CyberAlerts later this week will feature the runners-up. To read all the quotes and see and hear the broadcast television ones via RealPlayer as compiled by MRC research associate Kristina Sewell and Webmaster Sean Henry, go to: http://www.mrc.org/bestofnq1998.html  or directly to: http://www.mediaresearch.org/news/nq/best/nq1998best.html 
Below is the "Quote of the Year," followed by the "Presidential Kneepad Award (for Best Lewinsky Impression)" through the "Carve Clinton into Mt. Rushmore Award" with the "Corporal Cueball Carville Cadet Award (for Hating Ken Starr)" amongst those in between.
"I would be happy to give him
[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."
"The ironies for a President not given
to irony are endless. Consider this: the best chance for Clinton to shine
in history might be for Congress to force him to pay the price for lying
about sex. In the unlikely event he is pushed from office, it would take
only weeks, maybe just days, before a vast national remorse set in. We
destroyed our lovable rogue prince of prosperity over this? Clinton would
become a martyr to a legal system run amok. His defeat would mean victory
over not just sheet-sniffing prosecutors but all those who would
criminalize politics with endless investigations. As legacies go,
balancing the budget might look puny by comparison."
"If there were an Ig-Nobel Peace Prize, who would win it?
0 Slobodan Milosevic
"Where does Lewinsky fit into this
conspiracy theory? Is she victimizing the President or is she too a
"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.
"I think we can now safely conclude
that this whole notion that the liberal media elite is coddling Bill
Clinton and always plays to the Democrats is absurd. I mean the fact is
who's been the undoing of Bill Clinton: Newsweek and The Washington
Post, those raging conservative publications..."
"The Christian Right per se and some
particular members on Capitol Hill have helped inflame the air so that the
air that these bad people breathed that night was filled, filled with the
idea that somehow gays are different, and not only are they different in
that difference, they're bad and not only are they bad, they are evil
and therefore evil can be destroyed. The next step to that to me, it's a
three-step process, and that ends in destruction. I don't say that they
were told to do that, they certainly weren't part of any plan to do
that, but again, what air are they breathing now? It's the air filled
with that hate....I mentioned Trent Lott, Jesse Helms and Dick Armey
particularly. The Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council and the
Concerned Women for America."
"For those of us who worship the
constitutional guarantee of free press and speech, the spectacle of
political hustlers like Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) using the First
Amendment to justify legalized bribery is offensive."
"Coming out on to the White House
driveway on the day after he had violated all norms of privacy, he
jauntily gave his trademark wave and his patented grin, one that doesn't
involve eye movement, carrying himself as if he were President and as if
there were a crowd of well-wishers rather than a ravenous camera crew
awaiting him, as if he were on some high horse instead of on some low
road. 'You cannot defile the temple of justice,' he has said in
explaining his relentless pursuit of Clinton. But Starr did. As much as
Clinton stained the dress, Starr stained the country to nail him for it.
And his party goes on and on."
"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?"
"Twinkle, twinkle Kenneth Starr, now
we see how crude you are / Up above your jury high, like the judge up in
the sky/Twinkle, twinkle little Starr, now we see how wrong you are/When
you drag the agents in, when you bully moms and kin/then you kiss the
treacherous Tripp, twinkle, twinkle DC drip/Twinkle, twinkle little Starr,
now we see how small you are."
"The stock market crashed in October
1987, another setback for Reagan. Black Monday raised doubts about the
soundness of Reagan's economic policies. On Reagan's watch tax
revenues would double, but they never kept up with spending. The national
debt nearly tripled. Although most Americans benefited, the gap between
the richest and poorest became a chasm. Donald Trump and the new
billionaires of the 1980s recalled the extravagance of the captains of
industry in the 1880s. There were losers. Cuts in social programs created
a homeless population that grew to exceed that of Atlanta. AIDS became an
epidemic in the 1980s, nearly 50,000 died. Reagan largely ignored
"The Communist Manifesto is well worth
the $12 that Verso is asking. Despite the hype, its message is a timeless
one that bears repeating every century or so: The meek shall triumph and
the mighty shall fall; the hungry and exhausted will get restless and
someday -- someday! -- rise up against their oppressors. The prophet
Isaiah said something like this, and so, a little more recently, did
"He invited his exhausted audience to
take a holiday from Lewinsky and spend a refreshing hour and 12 minutes
feeling like a country again. For once the talk on the screen was not of
oral sex, but of our lives and fortunes and sacred happiness. He had
become all human nature, the best and the worst, standing there naked in a
sharp, dark suit, behind the TelePrompTer. That which does not kill him
only makes him stronger, and his poll numbers went through the
roof....That may have been a miracle, but it was no accident: Americans
are less puritanical and more forgiving than the cartoon version suggests,
and this President is never better than in his worst moments."
The list of the panel of 50 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and other leading media observers who generously gave of their time as judges to evaluate quotes in 14 award categories.
Mark Belling, talk show host, WISN in
That's 49. Plus me makes 50. -- Brent Baker 
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