- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 4, 2003

You read, you raved, you raged and above all, you responded at a level that astonished the editors and left the feature's writer simply slack-jawed especially when he realized that he had to tally them all. By the time the clock ran out in the Noble vs. Knave Bowl er, the Noble and Knave of the year contest, you bowled us over by sending in almost 500 separate responses.
Many of you thought that there were too many choices, and so instead of picking out just one, sent in lists of your favorite five or 10 choices. Contest rules didn't specify one way or the other, but the delightful magnitude of the response led us to accept the top three votes in each category from such lists, and the first three votes for each category from those who voted multiple times. ( One enterprising e-fan voted for the U.S. men's soccer team at least 12 different times.)
Others thought that there were too few choices. George W. Bush received a number of write-in votes for Noble (and a few for Knave) of the year. Other Noble write-ins included Donald Rumsfeld, Miss America Erika Herald, the fine folks at the U.S. Coast Guard and our own Bill Garner. Jimmy Carter, Michael Moore and the Beltway snipers were among your knavish write-ins. A couple of you even nominated the feature's writer, and had some colorful metaphors for him and the paper which are best left unprinted in a family newspaper. But most of the responses were much kinder, and the heartfelt gratitude they expressed was simply overwhelming.
Top vote-getters for Knave of the Year included "see-no-evil" U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan (21 votes); sound bite specialist Cynthia McKinney (18 votes); suicide bomber bumbler Yasser Arafat (30 votes); the inimicable Bill Clinton (35 votes, including one who asked rhetorically, "is there anyone more reprehensible in our body politic?"); and Peter Jennings (19 votes, including an individual who suggested, "send him back to Canada where he belongs"). Three favorites eventually emerged: Singer Harry Belafonte, who compared Secretary of State Colin Powell to a house slave (one of you said "knave is too kind for that racist dimwit"); unprincipled independent Sen. James Jeffords (one of you called him "a despicable, deplorable knave," and another respondent wanted to enter 100 votes for him); and the radical writers and editors of The New York Times, who, at about this time last year, ran a front-page story equating the religious right with Islamic radicals.
The pack was even tighter in the race for Noble of the Year. Twelve different 'contestants' received over ten votes each, including Sir Rudolph Giuliani (27 votes); British judge Richard Field, who ordered a bite of common-sense in a fast-food fiasco (14 votes); the workers who rebuilt the Pentagon (18 votes) and cleaned up Ground Zero (24 votes, including an individual who wrote"the work these people did is an inspiration to us all"); Ronald and Nancy Reagan (34 votes) and the "true heroes" in the words of one respondent the individuals aboard United Flight 855, who knocked out, and then dragged out, attempted hijacker Pablo Moreira (35 votes).
Ultimately, you decided that the winner of the dubious honor of "Knave of the Year" was neither the new leader of the Calypso Conniption Cabal (43 votes) nor the man, Mr. Jeffords, who betrayed his state and his party (49 votes). Rather, you chose the institution whose influence is as pervasive and as perverse as its bias. By a single vote, your choice for the as Knave of the Year is … The writers and editors of The New York Times.
Some of you tried to encapsulate your contempt for the New York Times (unofficial motto "our bias is our business"). One castigated them for such a "shockingly unintelligent and stupid [remark]," another complained about their "arrogant racism regarding Tiger Woods" a third said they are "biased in everything they do."
The contrast between the Times and your selection for Noble of the Year couldn't have been more stark. It came down to three, each of them amazing in their own fashion: Master of tradition and privacy Hootie Johnson; the eight American casualties of Operation Anaconda (one respondent wrote, "these men epitomize the concept of nobility"); and patriotic standard-bearer and infantry specialist Pat Tillman.
However, it's impossible to say enough about the winner a man who, for the sake of his country, took a multimillion-dollar salary cut; sacrificed a good part of a glamorous career as an NFL All-Star and who has refused every chance to grandstand about it ever since. A man who, as one of you wrote, "who has shown us all what it means to sacrifice so that we may all enjoy freedom," and another said, "embodies what we value in American men." Your choice for Noble of the year is … you guessed it … Pat Tillman.
One last word. Ultimately, you those who regularly read the feature and those who responded to the contest are The Washington Times' editorial staff choice for Nobles of the Year. The fun begins again next week in this space. See you then.

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