rn:More humour: 2001 P.U.-litzer Prizes For Media Performances


Jan Slakov

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From:                   "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
Date sent:              Sun, 16 Dec 2001 10:01:37 -0400
Subject:                [MAI-NOT] 2001 P.U.-litzer Prizes For Media Performances by
Norman Solomon FAIR.org

Norm Solomon confers  with Jeff Cohen of the media 
watch group FAIR to sift through the large volume of entries. 

And now, the tenth annual P.U.-litzer Prizes, for the foulest 
media performances of 2001: 


2001 P.U.-litzer Prizes For Media
                     Performances Announced
                       By Norman Solomon

The P.U.-litzer Prizes were established a decade ago to give
recognition to the stinkiest media performances of the year. 
As each winter arrives, I confer with Jeff Cohen of the media 
watch group FAIR to sift through the large volume of entries. 
This year, the competition was especially fierce. We regret 
that only a few journalists can win a P.U.-litzer. 
And now, the tenth annual P.U.-litzer Prizes, for the foulest 
media performances of 2001: 
* "LOVE A MAN IN A UNIFORM" AWARD -- Cokie Roberts of ABC News
  "This Week" 
  On David Letterman's show in October, Roberts gushed: "I am, 
  I will just confess to you, a total sucker for the guys who 
  stand up with all the ribbons on and stuff, and they say it's
  true and I'm ready to believe it. We had General Shelton on 
  the show the last day he was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of 
  Staff and I couldn't lift that jacket with all the ribbons 
  and medals. And so when they say stuff, I tend to believe it." 
  "It seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or 
  hardship in Afghanistan," said Isaacson, in a memo ordering 
  his staff to accompany any images of Afghan civilian suffering
  with rhetoric that U.S. bombing is retaliation for the Taliban
  harboring terrorists. As if the American public may be too 
  feeble-minded to remember Sept. 11, the CNN chief explained: 
  "You want to make sure that when they see civilian suffering
  there, it's in the context of a terrorist attack that caused
  enormous suffering in the United States." 
  An October internal memo from the daily in Panama City, Florida,
  warned its editors: "DO NOT USE photos on Page 1A showing 
  civilian casualties from the U.S. war on Afghanistan. Our sister
  paper ... has done so and received hundreds and hundreds of 
  threatening e-mails... DO NOT USE wire stories which lead with 
  civilian casualties from the U.S. war on Afghanistan. They should
  be mentioned further down in the story. If the story needs 
  rewriting to play down the civilian casualties, DO IT." 
  This category had many candidates -- pundits apparently trying 
  to sound as fanatical as the terrorists they were denouncing -
  but it was won by Coulter, who wrote in September: "We know who
  the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing 
  right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders 
  and convert them to Christianity." 
  Runner-up: Thomas Woodrow and The Washington Times, for a column 
  headlined "Time to Use the Nuclear Option," which asserted: "At 
  a bare minimum, tactical nuclear capabilities should be used 
  against the bin Laden camps in the desert of Afghanistan. To do 
  less would be rightly seen by the poisoned minds that 
  orchestrated these attacks as cowardice." 
* TORTUOUS PUNDITRY PRIZE -- Jonathan Alter of Newsweek 
  In the Nov. 5 edition, under the headline "Time to Think About 
  Torture," Newsweek's Alter wrote: "In this autumn of anger, even
  a liberal can find his thoughts turning to ... torture. OK, not 
  cattle prods or rubber hoses, at least not here in the United 
  States, but something to jump-start the stalled investigation of 
  the greatest crime in American history.... Some people still 
  argue that we needn't rethink any of our old assumptions about 
  law enforcement, but they're hopelessly 'Sept. 10' -- living in
  a country that no longer exists." 
  On a Nov. 26 broadcast, the longtime anchor of "Morning Edition"
  interviewed a 12-year-old boy about a new line of trading cards 
  marketed "to teach children about the war on terrorism" by 
  "featuring photographs and information about the war effort." The 
  elder male was enthusiastic as he compared cards. "I've got an 
  Air Force F-16," Edwards said. "The picture's taken from the 
  bottom so you can see the whole payload there, all the bombs 
  lined up." After the boy replied with a bland "yeah," Edwards 
  went on: "That's pretty cool." 
* "WILD ABOUT THAT MADMAN" AWARD -- Thomas Friedman of The New 
  York Times 
  "I was a critic of Rumsfeld before, but there's one thing ...
  that I do like about Rumsfeld," columnist Friedman declared on 
  Oct. 13 during a CNBC appearance. "He's just a little bit crazy, 
  OK? He's just a little bit crazy, and in this kind of war, they 
  always count on being able to out-crazy us, and I'm glad we got 
  some guy on our bench that our quarterback -- who's just a little 
  bit crazy, not totally, but you never know what that guy's going 
  to do, and I say that's my guy." 
  When Newsweek published a Dec. 3 cover story on George W. and 
  Laura Bush, it was a paean to "the First Team" more akin to 
  worship than journalism. Along the way, the magazine explained 
  that the president doesn't read many books: "He's busy making 
  history, but doesn't look back at his own, or the world's.... 
  Bush would rather look forward than backward. It's the way he's 
  built, and the result is a president who operates without evident 
  remorse or second-guessing." 
* BLAME CERTAIN AMERICANS FIRST PRIZE -- televangelist/pundits 
  Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson 
  On the national "700 Club" TV show, with host Robertson 
  expressing his agreement, Falwell blamed the Sept. 11 attacks on 
  various Americans who had allegedly irritated God: "I really 
  believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, 
  and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make 
  that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American 
  Way, all of them who have tried to secularize America, I point 
  the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen.'" 
  Sullivan of The New Republic and Sunday Times of London 
  Columnist Sullivan, as if trying to prove that a gay rights 
  advocate can be as hysterically right-wing as a Falwell, wrote 
  in mid-September: "The middle part of the country -- the great 
  red zone that voted for Bush -- is clearly ready for war. The 
  decadent left in its enclaves on the coasts is not dead -- and 
  may well mount a fifth column." 
* SHEER O'REILLYNESS AWARD -- Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly and 
  Catherine Seipp of MediaWeek 
  A February profile of O'Reilly in MediaWeek quoted the TV host's 
  claim that the Los Angeles Times had never named the woman who'd 
  accused Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978: "They never mentioned 
  Juanita Broaddrick's name, ever. The whole area out here has no 
  idea what's going on, unless you watch my show." After it was 
  pointed out that O'Reilly was wrong and that Broaddrick had been 
  repeatedly mentioned in the L.A. Times, the writer of the 
  MediaWeek profile, Catherine Seipp, commented that she would 
  likely have caught the error "if I hadn't been so mesmerized by 
  O'Reilly's sheer O'Reillyness. 
  There's just something about a man who's always sure he's right 
  even when he's wrong." 
Norman Solomon's latest book is 
"The Habits of Highly Deceptive Media." 
Reprinted from FAIR: http://www.fair.org/media-beat/011213.html 
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