MediaWatch: November 1988

Vol. Two No. 10

September Cooke Award Recipients Reply

Two ABC reporters received the September Janet Cooke Award for stories on Sen. Dan Quayle's background. Each, however, reacted far differently to the honor.

In a letter to MediaWatch, Nightline correspondent Judd Rose agreed "the depiction of what I said and who I spoke with was, by and large, accurate," but complained "the comments that I made to [MediaWatch] on the phone were out of context and certainly not faithful to the spirit of what I was saying."

Rose cited several examples before concluding with this colorful rebuke: "Taking a quote out of context is something that has happened before, and no doubt, will happen again. But since you squeaky-clean watch-dogs at MediaWatch are so concerned about our conduct, I wonder why you aren't more conscious of your own... Again I'm flattered that your publication would honor me with this dubious award. But forgive me, gentlemen. Having only been in Washington for a bit under one year, I'm not as accustomed as some of my colleagues to your narrow, neanderthal, and slanted perception of what you see in the news media. Consider me educated."

ABC News colleague John Martin noted what he felt was one omission in our story, but felt the article was balanced and fair: "I've just read your piece giving me the Janet Cooke Award. While I don't relish receiving the award, and don't believe I deserve it, I wanted you to know I felt you did a good job. You took the time to ask my views; you obviously spoke with [former Indianapolis News Editor M. Stanton] Evans at length; you attempted to assess both sides; you included my side of the story. That's all a journalist asks."