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Last Thursday night, while one-half of Wonkette was appearing on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the other half was listening to Olbermann get mocked, at the gala dinner of the Media Research Center.


How's that for objectivity? Wonkette: Fair and Balanced!

In case you're not familiar with it, the MRC is a conservative watchdog organization deoted to "documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias." In a nutshell, think of it as a Media Matters for right-wingers -- and with cleaner bathrooms.

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Cal Thomas likes his liberal journalists shaken, not stirred.

The highlight of the dinner was the presentation of the "DisHonor Awards," bestowed upon "the most outrageously biased liberal reporters of 2005." The awards were followed by a special tribute to the American military.

After the jump, a more detailed account of the evening's festivities.

(Yes, this write-up is a bit delayed; we've been busy! But we didn't have that much competition in terms of getting an account of the proceedings up on the web. The place wasn't exactly swarming with mainstream media types, who might have been lynched. Of course, a number of bloggers attended and wrote about the event; links are collected at the end of this post.)

Here is our assessment of the evening, under the standards applicable to the D.C. banquet circuit:

Venue rating: Fair. The dinner was held deep in the bowels of the Grand Hyatt, several levels below that New-Jersey-mall-like atrium lobby; we thought of the Divine Comedy as we rode down a succession of elevators. The ballroom featured a standard banquet set-up, with well-spaced tables.

Starpower rating: Poor. In past years, the DisHonor Awards have been attended by such right-wing luminaries as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. This year, the crowd was a bit B-list. The biggest names there were probably Cal Thomas, Tony Blankley, Larry Kudlow, Mark Levin, Linda Chavez, and Kathryn Jean Lopez (a.k.a. "K-Lo").

Oh, and Jeff Gannon was there! Wonkette had a nice chat with him during the cocktail hour (although the contents of the conversation will remain off the record).

Despite the absence of genuine celebrities, we were forced to wear a blue plastic wristband, "for security reasons." It all felt very "underage drinker" to us.

After the pre-dinner reception, we took our seat at Table 91, which was just as far away from the stage as it sounds. Not surprisingly, it was the media table. And yes, it was half-empty.

Table companionship rating: Good. Despite our location in Siberia, we had a perfectly nice time. We dined with Greg Pierce of the Washington Times, who was there with his brother; that roly-poly high school blogebrity, wunderkind Ian Schwartz, of Expose the Left and Fire David Gregory fame; the lovely Mary Katherine Ham, of BeyondtheNews.com, who also blogs with Hugh Hewitt; David Kralik, who blogs for the National Assocation of Manufacturers; and Brian Montopoli, of CBS News's Public Eye.

Food rating: Very good. Loved the spicy pecans in that spinach salad. And the filet mignon was tasty too. Nothing makes a blogger happier than free food! (Especially at a $250 a head event.)

Entertainment rating: Fair. Some of the speakers were funny, but others were not. For future reference: "Brokeback Mountain" is not a punchline in and of itself (although it's getting there). To get a laugh, you have to make some semblance of a joke around it, however lame.

The funniest lines from the awards ceremony have already been highlighted over at Hugh Hewitt, Expose the Left, and the Manufacturers' Blog; we won't repeat them here. And we agree with Brian Montopoli of the Public Eye: the clip of Ted Turner denying the oppressiveness of the North Korean regime because the people he saw over there were "thin" and "riding bicycles" is pretty priceless.

Swag rating: Good. Perhaps he did not blog; but Tony Blankley has written a book, The West's Last Chance. Each guest received a copy of it, in hardcover (retail value: $27.95). We were also able to help ourselves to red, white and blue bumper stickers that read, "Tell the Truth! Don't Believe the Liberal Media." And MRC mousepads -- let's not forget the mousepads!

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In case you're curious, here are the nominees and the winners of the DisHonor Awards (winners indicated in bold):

The "Slam Uncle Sam Award"

Nominees: Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams, Chris Matthews, Nina Totenberg

The "Send Bush to Abu Ghraib Award"

Nominees: Jack Cafferty, Keith Olbermann, Nancy Giles

The "Cindy Sheehan Media Hero Award"

Nominees: Rick Kaplan, David Gergen, Chris Matthews

The "Aaron Brown Memorial Award for Stupidest Analysis"

Nominees: Ted Turner, Harry Smith, Mary Mapes

The "I'm Not a Political Genius But I Play One on TV Award"

Nominees: Kathy Griffin, Alec Baldwin, Rosie O'Donnell

Inside the MRC's DisHonors Awards [Public Eye]

The "I Can't Believe They Said That" Banquet [Hugh Hewitt]

The DisHonors Awards [Expose the Left]

The Media DisHonor Awards [Manufacturers' Blog]

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