The Radio-Television Correspondents Association gave a shout out to the late “Tack” Nail at its annual Congressional Correspondent’s Association dinner in Washington Wednesday night.Nail was among a thankfully small roster of journalists cited who had died in the past year–Nail died March 25 from injuries suffered in a fall. As a picture of Nail in his trademark bow-tie flashed on the big screens, he got a hand as one of the longest-serving media reporters in town, having been a reporter for B&C and later Communications Daily for over 50 years.
Among the dinner’s highlights were a video tribute to Cairo News Company and its coverage of the revolution in Egypt, introduced by a quote from Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi: “It is nothing new. Egyptians are making history again.” The video credited twitter, Facebook and social media in general for starting the revolution.
The night’s award-winners were ABC Senior Political Correspondent Jonathan Karl, who won the Joan S. Barone award for excellence in Washington-based national affairs and public policy reporting. He was honored for a series on Republican legislators who talked about killing earmarks while at the same time larding on the pork. The judges were particularly impressed that he made the stories about their subjects and not about himself, and that his emphasis was on “the answers rather than the questions.”
Recieving the David Bloom award, named for the late NBC newsman, was another NBC newsman, Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel, for his report as an imbed in the 87th Airborn in Afghanistan. Engel could not be there because he is in Libya covering the insurgency there.
While the dinner is known for roasts, gentle and not so gentle, freshman congressman Ben Quayle, son of the former vice president, appeared to lay an egg with sometimes awkwardly delivered shots at Democrats and news outlet Politico that had the mostly silent audience scratching its heads. He talked about his strained relationship with the press, saying that “strained” was another word for” troubled” and “press” was another word for “Politico”, the Allbritton-owned political print and online operation that has become a must-read inside the Beltway, though he said that was a “generous” description.
Politico has reported on Quayle’s postings on a raunchy Scottsdale web site and Quayle’s subsequent assertions that the media were out to assassinate his character during his ultimately successful run for Congress.
Quayle said the fact that Elliot Spitzer might run for Mayor of New York was “great news for D.C. hotels.”
He did get off at least one good line. Saying his father’s inability to spell was not geneticand then praising journalists for “the spectrular work they were doing of late… particularly in spelling ‘Gadhafi.’