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As 2005 winds down, it's a good time to recall some of the worst journalistic moments of the year. The Media Research Center polled 52 distinguished media experts -- talk show hosts, columnists, journalism professors and other keen observers -- who generously supplied their picks for The Best Notable Quotables of 2005.

A few of the highlights:

Newsweek's Managing Editor Jon Meacham won the "Madness of King George Award for Bush Bashing" for recoiling when the current President toured the former captive nations of Eastern Europe and apologized for the deal FDR made with Stalin back at Yalta in 1945: "It’s like he stuck a broomstick in his wheelchair wheels," Meacham complained on MSNBC.

Copy-catting the tendencies of certain conservative media watchdogs, Washington Post political writer Mark Leibovich produced an article for the front page of today's Style section on the top quotes of the year for public figures (mostly politicos and their families, except for Tom Cruise pounding Matt Lauer, Rafael Palmeiro's read-my-lips, no-steroids testimony -- oh, and Drew Barrymore raving about her bathroom break i


As anti-terror techniques go, the one announced this week by the TSA - that of chatting with airline passengers to see if they exhibit tell-tale signs of nervousness - seems relatively unlikely to result in racial or ethnic profiling, since it focuses on behavior rather than superficial characteristics.


Happily, NewsBusters wasn't the only conservative outlet to pick up on the Christmas Day "Meet the Press" with Tom Brokaw and Ted Koppel. The spectacle spurred columns by David Limbaugh and Jonah Goldberg. Limbaugh summarized:


Did you know that a brave Navy Chaplain by the name of Gordon Klingenschmitt has been on a fast since December 20th?  Probably not because the coverage in the mainstream media has been very limited, if not at all.   An examination of the websites of ABC News, CBS News, and NBC News all come up with nothing.  Cable news has also barely covered this story.  Fox News has one short story, MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson had Klingenschmitt on as a guest, while CNN has completely ignored th


On MSNBC's Countdown show Tuesday night, Keith Olbermann devoted the first segment of his show to more discussion about President Bush's impeachability over the NSA wiretapping controversy. On the December 20 show, as detailed in an earlier Newsbusters posting, substitute host Alison Stewart discussed the issue with Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer without any conservative guest to provide balance.


James Carville appeared, all alone, on the December 28th edition of the Today. Let’s count the number of things wrong with the piece, airing at 7:15AM: During the interview, Campbell Brown questioned Carville uncritically, never challenged his assertions, and, worst of all, allowed the man to pimp his new film. Brown opened the piece this way:


CNN’s promotion of Cindy Sheehan's anti-war crusade continued on today’s American Morning. During the show’s Top Five in ‘05 segment, anchor Carol Costello profiled ‘The Peace Mom’ who "forced the nation and President Bush to take a long, hard look at the war," as number three in their countdown. And while a billion Catholics worldwide may disagree, CNN actually ranked Sheehan’s "national movement" and "worldwide spectacle" higher than the legacy of one of the most influential religious leaders of our time, Pope John Paul II, number four on American Morning’s list.

During the mostly fluff piece on Sheehan and her "fight," one line was particularly laughable. Costello asserted, "Love Cindy Sheehan or loathe her, the one thing that was almost impossible to do in 2005 was to ignore her." CNN helped make that possible, thanks to their constant coverage of Sheehan's every move from Crawford to D.C. to her most recent trip to Britain, as reported by Newsbusters.

A full transcript from the 9:45 am segment follows below.


I know this is the week between Christmas and New Years, but did CBS really need to dig up 12 year old news to fill time this morning? The subject was commercial advertising on public school buses in Colorado Springs, an outrage pretty much contained to liberals who hate commercials and lower school taxes.


Reynolds ignored Delphis $76-an-hour wages and $400-million per year spent on laid-off workers.

Check out the promotional ad for this Thursday evening's (December 29, 2005) episode of ABC's Primetime. The promo is for the story, "On the Trail of Pope Joan" (audiotape on file; emphasis mine):

"Diane Sawyer takes you on the trail of a passionate mystery. Just as intriguing as The Da Vinci Code. Chasing down centuries-old clues hidden even inside the Vatican. Could a woman disguised as a man have been Pope? Thursday night. One astonishing Primetime."

It doesn't get much uglier than this, folks. Quite simply, there was never a female pope, or "Pope Joan." The tale is a complete fabrication dating back to the 13th century - nearly 400 years after the reported "reign" of the so-called "Joan." For reliable summaries of the bogus tale, see this and this. Scholars debunked the fable hundreds of years ago, and recent books (this and this, for example) have further repudiated it.

Over the centuries, the "Pope Joan" story has been used as a slanderous tool to tarnish the Catholic Church and degrade Catholics. In his acclaimed 2003 book The New Anti-Catholicism, Philip Jenkins writes, "The Pope Joan legend is a venerable staple of the anti-Catholic mythology" (page 89).


New York Times congressional reporter Carl Hulse's Friday "news analysis" is devoted to Congress departing for its Christmas break amid the usual hectic end-of-session machinations ("A Messy Congressional Finale"). And it's all Republicans' fault.


[This article was reprinted at length and with favor in "Inside Politics" in the Washington Times today (Thursday).]

A poll by Rasmussen Reports today (Wednesday) illustrates the pervasive dishonesty of the American press in dealing with the NY Times story about the National Security Agency’s (NSA) intercepts of international communications. There are both minor dishonesties and major ones in this story as first reported by the Times and later a gaggle of reports throughout the media.


New York Times writer John Leland reviews the growing phenomenon of Christian film criticism -- and how it now both evaluates the artistic and moral content. While it's nice to see the Times notice and even publicize conservative cultural efforts, Leland still employs the notion that the permissive liberal critics represent the "mainstream" of the media.


According to the note at the bottom of his column, "John Merrow . . . reports on education for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS." [Emphasis added]

"Reports"? Then what was Merrow [pictured right] doing writing an op-ed opinion column distributed nationally by the Christian Science Monitor?