- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 4, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Over the past two weeks we asked you, The Washington Times readers, to help us select our top Nobles and Knaves of 2008. The response to the contest was overhwelming. Many readers even embellished on their choices with extra comments and a few added write-ins. We also received a number of compliments from readers expressing their appreciation for the regular Sunday editorial.

Enormous thanks are in order to our readers for your submissions and dedication to our page.

Before listing the winners for 2008, we’d like to share what one reader said in a heart warming letter, along with her own special nominee for Noble. It comes from subscriber Carol Snow: “The truth is, that although you had many worthy suggestions for Nobles, my own favorite are the truth-seekers in news organizations. In an era of designer-corporate media, phony letters-to-the-editor, and junk journalism, I would like to give thanks for the ordinary, unrecognized writer who tries to present to the public an honest view of the world. Although every one of your choices was excellent, the fact is, their actions, like the tree falling in the forest, would be silent unless they were recognized by organizations such as yours. So, for bringing us, the ordinary citizen, the unvarnished, unembellished news, good and bad, as it is - the writers.”

Again, thanks to our readers. Now, here are the winners, based on your selections.

The top five Knaves of 2008:



5) Sen. Hillary Clinton for her tendency to color facts in her favor or just get them wrong. This year Mrs. Clinton, while on the campaign trail, claimed she was under sniper fire during a 1996 trip to Bosnia. However, media footage proved otherwise. Mrs. Clinton later recanted the statement and claimed that fatigue caused the error. One reader chose Mrs. Clinton as his Knave “for lying and thinking the populace is so stupid we will believe her,” said Jim Krumke of Maryland. Another reader, Pat DeVitto, said she deserved a “lifetime achievement award,” as a Knave.

4) Angela Hernandez, age 20, of Chevy Chase for betraying a couple who befriended her.Miss Fernandez got to know Dr. Michael Spevak and his wife Anna through their foster daughter. The couple was well-known for their counseling and generosity to the D.C. community. Miss Hernandez took her lover Piero Fuentes Hernandez and a male accomplice to the couple’s home - where they robbed and murdered the couple.

“Angela Hernandez, because killing trumps a lot of other bad things,” said one reader.

3) Sandra Bernhard, comedian, for her racist, hateful and foul-mouthed tirade against Gov. Sarah Palin. During an appearance at the D.C. Jewish Community Center, Miss Bernhard warned Mrs. Palin not to come to Manhattan lest she be gang raped by blacks. During her rant, Miss Bernhard compared Mrs. Palin to a kosher chicken that she would like to tear apart.

Yvonne Law of Ashburn, Va., said Miss Bernhard was “no doubt one of the worst Knaves.”

2) Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid. Mr. Reid peddled falsehoods to the media in order to ram the bailout package through Congress. In October Mr. Reid spread the story that a major health insurer was failing, as the bailout was being debated in Congress. As a result, shares of Hartford Financial Services Group Inc., Prudential Financial Inc. and MetLife Inc. plummeted. Afterwards, Mr. Reid admitted he had no knowledge of any such company being on the verge of bankruptcy.

“It is my opinion that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deserves number one Knave for 2008. Such a decision to ram the bailout package through under false information is the greatest damage anyone could commit against the taxpayers of this nation,” said Richard Royer of Severn, Md.

1) ACORN. The community organizing network collected hundreds of false names, duplicate names and Disney characters during its 2008 get-out-the vote drives. As a result, the FBI is investigating the group for voter registration fraud in at least 11 states. In addition ACORN grossly inflated the number of voters it actually registered. Initially reporting it had gathered 1.3 million signatures, it turns out the number is actually closer to 450,000. ACORN’s antics made media headlines in 2008 and shook the American voter’s confidence in the electoral process.

William Johnston chose ACORN “for repeatedly duping the U.S.A. and not getting reprimanded or otherwise scolded by the court system.”

The top five Nobles of 2008:

5) Clair Dingler. Miss Dingler, a kindergartner from Wichita, Kansas, found an envelope filled with $7,000 at a Goodwill store. She and her very needy family turned the money over to a store employee.

4) Dr. Robert Gherman. Mr. Gherman, who worked at Prince George’s Hospital Center as an OB-GYN, joined the Marine Corps Reserve and shipped out this fall to be an assistant battalion surgeon. Mr. Gherman had spent 10 years in the Navy and joined the Marine Reserves with the expectation that he would be called up for service due to the lack of doctors.

3) Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal who showed extraordinary leadership while his state faced a devastating series of hurricanes. Mr. Jindal took charge, with tenacity and compassion, in a state that was still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. He precisely managed and coordinated the successful evacuation of 2 million people as Hurricane Gustav pelted the Gulf Coast.

Reader Dick Laslo was so excited about Mr. Jindal that he wrote: “Palin and Jindal in 2012!!”

2) This was a tie between Sgt. James Spears and Austin Bernard Hemmings.Mr. Spears, a 54-year-old Vietnam veteran rejoined the Army. He had retired in 1995 but, after seeing the Twin Towers collapse, decided to re-enlist. In 2008 he rejoined the ranks and now serves by mentoring as a human resources manager for NATO and the Army’s 173rd Airborne Brigade’s Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan.

Mr. Hemmings saved the life of a woman as she was being assaulted in Auckland, New Zealand. The 44-year-old broker received mortal stab wounds while rescuing the woman from an attack by her former lover. Mr. Hemmings sacrificed his life so a women he did not even know could live.

“No greater love than this, to lay down your life for a friend - but he didn’t even know this woman,” wrote Dan Stetson of Bismarck, N.D.

1) The no. 1 Noble by a landslide is Tony Snow. Mr. Snow fought a courageous public battle with cancer. The former White House press secretary and editorial page editor of this newspaper died in July - but only after exhibiting a fighting spirit and consistent professionalism until the end.

One reader summed up her affection for Mr. Snow in a letter: “I would like to overwhelmingly place my vote for Tony Snow as outstanding Noble. For his courage in fighting cancer, his tenure as White House press secretary, columns in The Washington Times, radio, Fox News Sunday, etc. He always presented himself as a compassionate and principled gentleman!! He will be greatly missed,” said reader Lois Young.

Rest in peace Tony Snow, you will be missed.

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