ABC's embattled Nightline drew a warm round of applause when it was
announced Thursday night as the winner of the Radio & Television Correspondents'
Association's "Joan S. Barone Award for Excellence in Washington-Based National
Affairs/Public Policy Broadcasting." The award, named after the late CBS News
producer, was for "The Clinton Years," a retrospective of the presidency in
collaboration with PBS' Frontline.
The award was presented by CBS News' Bob Scheiffer, who referred to the show
as the "relevant" Nightline, a reference to the well publicized knock on
the series from an unnamed Walt Disney Co. corporate executive.
The Nightline award paved the way for a number of references to the
tension between Disney corporate and the ABC News show. Comedian Al Franken hit
on the topic several times, including a reference to several apocryphal
Nightline episodes. Monday's, he said, was on the safety of the
Matterhorn (a Disney ride). Tuesday: Mickey Mouse: Has the copyright been
needlessly extended? And Wednesday: Theme parks: Tempting targets for terrorism?
Not there to share in the evening's triumph was Nightline anchor Ted
Koppel, who was in bed with the flu. Accepting the award for Nightline
was correspondent Chris Bury, who teamed up with Koppel on the report. Bury
said he was glad to be there and understood what Winston Churchill meant by the
exhilaration of being shot at and missed.