Congratulations, Mark Steyn

Regular readers of Power Line may have inferred that Mark Steyn is one of our favorite columnists. Last night Mark won this year’s Eric Breindel Award. The New York Sun reports last night’s event in a good story by Gary Shapiro that is accessible via Google News:

A New York Sun columnist, Mark Steyn, won the Breindel Award for Excellence in Journalism at a reception yesterday at the New York Historical Society.

Previous recipients have included Claudia Rossett, Jay Nordlinger, Daniel Paul Henninger, and the late Michael Kelly.

This year the award was increased to $20,000. That has “nothing to do with inflation,” News Corporation chairman and chief executive officer, Rupert Murdoch, said. He said that former winners may wonder whether the increase in the award is retroactive: It is not.

Mr. Breindel managed to pack 42 years as a historian, researcher, editor, polemicist, and first and foremost, journalist, he said.

The audience contained a cross-section of the interconnecting social worlds of politics, business, journalism, and society: Guardian Angels founder, Curtis Sliwa; Herman Badillo; the police commissioner, Raymond Kelly; and actor Ron Silver.

Lally Weymouth of Newsweek introduced Mayor Bloomberg, who is her neighbor on the Upper East Side. During his speech, Mr. Bloomberg said that at dinner parties, when Ms. Weymouth needs a ride home, he takes her – “in public transportation” – two sports utility vehicles owned by the city of New York.

The chairman of the Fox News Channel and Fox Television Stations, Roger Ailes, presented the inaugural college and university award to a Columbia University junior, Matthew Mireles, who expects to graduate in May 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. He left University of California at Berkeley to fight fires for the U.S. Forest Service. Since coming East, he has been paying his way through college by working as a paramedic in the South Bronx.

Mr. Mireles received $10,000 in award money; he will also have a newsroom internship at Fox News. Mr. Mireles described winning the award as being not on cloud nine but “cloud 10.” He told the audience that he hoped they would be proud one day not just of the work he will do, but of the standard he upheld.

Mr. Ailes next introduced Mr. Steyn, whose work on politics and culture is read in publications from the Atlantic Monthly to the Australian. “His writing has been cited in parliaments around the world.”

The Canadian native said, “I am humbled as the first non-American to win this award.” This New Hampshire resident said he had been disappointed with the choices of newspapers in northern New England. But he was grateful that the local store in his town said they could get him a “day-old copy of the New York Post.”

Mr. Steyn said when he crossed the border by car, he was asked, “Why would the U.S. government give you permanent residence?” He told the audience, “I shall keep this award in the car” for the next time he is asked that question.

In addition to his regular newspaper columns on current events, Mark writes the “Happy Warrior” column for National Review, is the regular theater critic for the New Criterion and the stylish obituary writer for the Atlantic.

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