Dan 'Ammo' Rather Cleans Up at Media Awards Roast
CORRECTION: Fixes affiliation of Margaret Carlson
(CNSNews.com) - Satire and salmon were served up Thursday night as hundreds of self-professed members of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy turned out to roast some of America's most notable newscasters by awarding them "Dishonors Awards" for their documented bias in journalism.
The annual awards ceremony, sponsored by the Media Research Center, a television news watchdog group, lured some of the nation's most notable conservatives to the Ronald Reagan Center in Washington, D.C.
World Net Daily Columnist David Limbaugh, former Wall Street Journal editorial writer John Fund and National Review columnist Kate O'Beirne presented the awards, which were accepted by proxies standing in for the winners, none of whom attended the event.
Internet entrepreneur and Linda Tripp confidant Lucianne Goldberg accepted the "Bring Back Bubba Award" on behalf of the winner, columnist Helen Thomas, and shot a barb at the former UPI correspondent, who has covered eight presidents beginning with John Kennedy.
"My darling, there is such a thing as shelf life," said Goldberg. "Maybe we should look at the bottom of Helen's label and check it out. It's time. Goodbye, Helen, stop it already."
Other winners included Time columnist Margaret Carlson, who was awarded the "We're All Going to Die and It's Bush's Fault Award for Doomsday Environmental Reporting"; ABC News President David Westin, who won the "Peter Arnett Award for Hopelessly Foolish Wartime Reporting," and CBS Early Show host Bryant Gumbel was given the "Damn Every Conservative We Can Think of To Hell Award."
CBS News anchor Dan Rather captured three awards, being named the recipient of the "Gilligan Award for the Flakiest Comment of the Year," and the "Sore Losers Award for Refusing to Concede Bush's Victory in Florida." He was also chosen by the audience to receive the award for "Most Outrageous Quote of the Year."
Later in the program, MRC President L. Brent Bozell said Rather's string of award-winning remarks amounted to "ammo" for conservatives looking for liberal bias among network newscasters.
Rather's top prize-winning quote, in which he attempted to convince Fox News host Bill O'Reilly that former President Bill Clinton is an honest man, drew hoots and applause from the more than 800 attendees, who paid $150 each to skewer the media while dining on romaine lettuce with toasted almonds, angus beef, salmon, and maple nut tarts.
Not all of the barbs were aimed at television's talking heads. The awards ceremony program, which included a list of event sponsors, fired a shot at Enron Corporation, the failed energy firm that was de-listed from the New York Stock Exchange Tuesday in the face of bankruptcy and scandal.
Jokingly listed among the sponsors were the "Enron Good Government Fund," the "Enron Retirement Fund," and a final entry reading "Enron Profit Sharing Account."
In a departure from past ceremonies, network newscasters covering the Sept. 11 attacks were also saluted by the MRC, parent organization of CNSNews.com .
Bozell admitted it was "odd" to salute the media on the same night his organization was roasting it, but he qualified his criticism of network news.
"As crazy as the liberal press drives us all, they were magnificent, overall, in the hours and days following 9-11," said Bozell. "If they deserve to be spanked, they also deserve to be praised."
The tribute to the media included a video montage of television coverage of the attack and featured a number of 'Dishonors' nominees and winners, including Rather and Geraldo Rivera.
Radio talk show host and former California Congressman Bob Dornan said he agreed with Bozell's assessment of the media in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks, but he gave the press "an F-minus," for its reportage of Islam, the religion followed by those who carried out the attacks.
Among the conservative luminaries present was Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris, who accepted the Sore Loser award on behalf of Rather.
Harris, who is now seeking a seat in Congress, was greeted with a standing ovation as she strode to the podium to accept the award for Rather, who was given the prize for his coverage of Harris certifying the Florida vote in the 2000 presidential election and his insistence that Harris was certifying the vote "as she sees it."
"Some of you may know me only as Cruela Deville or the partisan hack or perhaps even the lackey of the Bush brothers who single handedly stole the election by taking the inflexible, unfair, outrageous position that the rule of law actually mattered," said Harris. "The law said what it said and not what Dan Rather deemed it or wished it to be said," Harris told the crowd.
"I am pleased to certify that Dan Rather won this award," said Harris.
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