Chief CNN International correspondent and anchor Christiane Amanpour received the Committee to Protect Journalists’ Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom at the 2016 International Press Freedom Awards ceremony in New York on November 22, 2016. Amanpour is an insufferably condescending purveyor of the conventional wisdom in the name of truth, justice and the American way. In her acceptance speech (video below, about 15 minutes) Amanpour calls out the propagation of fake news on social media, but the fake news with which we are most familiar is the variety propagated by her and her colleagues at CNN as well as her like elsewhere among the mainstream media. Amanpour of course decries Donald Trump’s purported threat to “the freedom and safety of American journalists at home.”
Over at MRC’s NewsBusters, Tim Graham provides a good account of Amanpour’s speech. Graham ridicules Amanpour’s hysterics (“Did anyone bring a Breathalyzer machine? Check that blood-alcohol level?”) before contrasting this speech with Amanpour’s speech to the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights eight years ago at the rosy dawn of the Obama era. Graham concludes that Amanpour and her ilk make up “a gaggle of angry Democrats who pose as reporters on TV.”
Watching the video of Amanpour’s acceptance speech to the Committee to Protect Journalists, I recalled another committee: William Buckley’s National Committee to Horsewhip Drew Pearson. Buckley founded the Committee in 1967. The offenses against taste that inspired Buckley to found the committee are hazy at best (“slurs on Shirley Temple, and [Pearson’s] willingness to sacrifice the future of two families in order to make a cheap sensationalist point involving Ronald Reagan”). Buckley described it as the “newest patriotic committee” and foresaw that it would become “the largest nonpartisan committee in the United States.” He commissioned the creation of badges and buttons for members, offered at $2.00. Adjusted for inflation, that would be about $15.00 in 2016.
In a dispatch dated November 28, 1967, Buckley impishly reported that a “committee of Quakers visited us yesterday petitioning us to produce a second, luminous button, so as to keep the Committee’s goals visible at all times.” By December 12, 1967, Buckley was reporting: “It appears that everybody in the entire world desires to become associated with the National Committee to Horsewhip Drew Pearson, with the result that the Board of Directors has decided to limit charter membership to 10 percent of the population of the United States.”
A woman is an ill-fitting candidate to recognize in a reconstituted National Committee to Horsewhip, but the idea is sound. While many formidable candidates are deserving of recognition, Amanpour would be a powerful contender but for her sex and a possible winner if recognition were to be awarded without regard to sex.