Leave it to the right wing to cross the preposterous line just when you think it reached that point long ago.
The Media Research Center, an outfit dedicated to proving that every story in the newspapers or on TV is slanted left, every year hands out its DisHonors Award. The master of ceremonies this year was Cal Thomas, who has far-right credentials.
But the big joke is the panel of judges. They were William F. Buckley Jr., Ann Coulter, Steve Forbes, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh, Robert Novak, and L. Brent Bozell, who founded MRC.
The only real journalist in that motley crew in my judgment is Bob Novak, who works hard to report for his columns. (Full disclosure: Novak and I have been friends for many years. We agree on almost nothing in politics, but we share a love of sports and he has a nice wife.)
The rest of those judges are primarily propagandists or entertainers who have no real standing as journalists with the exception of Buckley. Coulter, Limbaugh, Hannity, and Ingraham are entertainers and not very good at it either.
I asked a few real media heavies about the award and the panel of judges.
Jack Nelson, former Washington bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times: "Those judges are a crew of right-wing extremists who feed off the media every day."
Jack W. Germond, now retired but veteran journalist and columnist: "Except for Novak, there's not one person in that group that has covered a two-alarm fire."
James M. Naughton, former reporter and editor at the New York Times and Philadelphia Inquirer and later director of the Poynter Institute: "Not getting an award from them would be my second major disappointment; the other was I didn't make Nixon's enemies list."
Wendell Rawls Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at the Inquirer and then with the New York Times, now with the Center for Public Integrity: "The winner must be something like a prize pig in a hog contest."
All of those sentiments coincide with mine.
No question the press makes mistakes, some of them real doozies. We as journalists pay the price for errors in the nation's top papers and at the networks.
As for mistakes of that gang of panelists, where to begin? Coulter has called Joe McCarthy a hero. Too bad she wasn't even born when Tail Gunner Joe was calling folks Communists if they disagreed with him.
Limbaugh rips the "liberal" media unless it serves his purpose and then he quotes them as authorities.
Ingraham and Hannity label Democrats as near-evil beings, but little is mentioned about any GOP sinners, and there are a few.
As for Thomas, he sees criticism of the current administration as almost unpatriotic. We'll have to read through his columns during Clinton's two terms in office (what a chore), and I'll wager Cal was waging attacks ad nauseam.
For this gang to come along with its award is laughable. You could fill a Bible with the mistakes they make in their accusations against the press. They can dish it out but can't take it.
I don't know the name of the winner or winners, but as Rhett Butler said to Scarlett O'Hara: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."