The 'I Can't Believe They Said That' Banquet

Mary Katharine Ham
|
Posted: Mar 31, 2006 7:19 AM

All right, so that wasn't the name of it, but it might as well have been. I went to the Media Research Center's DisHonors Awards dinner last night. And, well, you know the media is ridiculous going into something like that, but it really is brought into focus when you put all the most outrageous clips into a two-hour span. You can see all the nominees and winners, here. They're all worth a watch, but I'll pull out my favorites.

Ted Turner won the coveted Quote of the Year for this doozy, which you have to watch on tape (scroll to the bottom of this page). It redefines naive:

Ted Turner: "I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are absolutely sincere. There’s really no reason for them to cheat [on nukes]....I looked them right in the eyes. And they looked like they meant the truth. I mean, you know, just because somebody’s done something wrong in the past doesn’t mean they can’t do right in the future or the present. That happens all the, all the time."

Wolf Blitzer: "But this is one of the most despotic regimes and Kim Jong-Il is one of the worst men on Earth. Isn’t that a fair assessment?"

Turner: "Well, I didn’t get to meet him, but he didn’t look — in the pictures that I’ve seen of him on CNN, he didn’t look too much different than most other people I’ve met."

Blitzer: "But, look at the way, look at the way he’s, look at the way he’s treating his own people."
Turner: "Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but–"

Blitzer: "A lot of those people are starving."
Turner: "I didn’t see any, I didn’t see any brutality...."

— Exchange on CNN’s The Situation Room, September 19.

There he is, folks-- founder of CNN. Just, wow. My favorite is the part about the bicycles. You have to watch the video. The accent and the crazy eyes make it all the better. This clip also earned the "Aaron Brown Memorial Ward for Stupidest Analysis."

Another winner-- of the "Slam Uncle Sam Award"-- is this clip of Chris Matthews praising Jane Fonda's "objectivity."

"But there were a lot of people, Jane, who are very, a lot of people who are very gung-ho American, very patriotic, thought that war was a mistake at the time and later. But they can’t imagine slipping out of their American skin, their American soul and becoming so objective, as you just were a minute ago, to put yourself above both us and the Vietnamese and saying, ‘I find the Vietnamese were objectively the good guys.’ How do you step out of being an American to make such an objective judgment?"

Seriously, it's on tape. I'm not making this stuff up. I knew Lefties had a little thing for Commies, but this is pretty out there.

Jack Cafferty won the "Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award" for this one, commenting on the possibility of Karl Rove being indicted:

"Oh, I understand. I’m, I’m just hoping, you know. I love, I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me."

I enjoyed seeing this Mary Mapes gem again:

Ross: "This seems remarkable to me that you would sit here now and say you still find that story to be up to your standards."

Mapes: "I’m perfectly willing to believe those documents are forgeries if there’s proof that I haven’t seen."
Ross: "But isn’t it the other way around? Don’t you have to prove they’re authentic?"

Mapes: "Well, I think that’s what critics of the story would say. I know more now than I did then and I think, I think they have not been proved to be false, yet."

Ross: "Have they proved to be authentic though? Isn’t that really what journalists do?"

Mapes: "No, I don’t think that’s the standard."

There were also some clips that were too hilarious to leave out, but that didn't really fit a category. I will link you to all five of those because they're priceless:

  • Dan Rather: "CBS News has a culture, has a history that those of us who work here, it's very real -- that we see it as a sort of magical mystical kingdom of journalistic knights."
  • 60 Minutes Yardsale: "Holding his own yard sale for a 60 Minutes/Wednesday piece on yard sales, Steve Hartman put out 'some boring personnel manuals,' including a 'CBS News Standards' booklet, which he assured a potential buyer, was a book that's 'never been used.'"
  • Katrina Interview Backfires: "Reynolds asked Connie London: 'Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?' She rejected the premise: 'No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in.'"
  • (Connie London got a huge round of applause from the audience.)

  • Troops' Wrong Answer on Morale: Matt Lauer pushes American soldiers three times to tell him morale is bad in Iraq. The third soldier pushes back:

    Lauer: "What would you say to those people who are doubtful that morale could be that high?"

    Capt. Sherman Powell: "Well sir, I'd tell you, if I got my news from the newspapers also I'd be pretty depressed as well!"

  • Canoeing Through the Garden State, which I doubt needs any description. A classic.
  • And, I'll close with William F. Buckley's commentary on Alec Baldwin's nomination for the "I'm Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV Award," because it's so delightfully Buckleyan. Baldwin lost to Rosie O'Donnell and Buckley explains exactly why. Here's Baldwin's quote:

    "Most Republicans who are registered Republicans are decent, honest good people who you have a difference of opinion with. The leadership of the Republican Party are a bunch of sociopathic maniacs who have their lips super-glued to the ass of the conservative right."

    Here is Buckley's assessment:

    "The image is vivid, but polemically unsatisfying. Glued, perhaps. But super-glued? The hyperbole offends."

    Hee. Buckley = the man.

    UPDATE: Ian wrote about the event, too.