First Runners-Up Quotes in the MRC's Best of NQ Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting

The first runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2009: The Twenty-Second Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting." As announced in a CyberAlert Special last Monday, the awards issue was posted, with videos, on Monday, December 21, but following tradition, yesterday, today, Wednesday and Thursday - the last weekdays of the year -'s BiasAlert and corresponding CyberAlert e-mail newsletter will run the winning quotes followed on succeeding days by the runners-up.

The page linked above also has links to download a PDF version or the text of the entire issue in MS Word, OpenOffice Writer or WordPerfect formats.

The Media Research Center's annual awards issue provides a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2009 (December 2008 through November 2009).

To determine this year's winners, a panel of 48 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and media observers each selected their choices for the first, second and third best quote from a slate of five to eight quotes in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices two points, with one point for the third place selections. Point totals are listed in the brackets at the end of the attribution for each quote. Each judge was also asked to choose a "Quote of the Year" denoting the most outrageous quote of 2009.

The MRC's Michelle Humphrey, Karen Topper and Kristine Lawrence distributed and counted the ballots, then produced the numerous audio and video clips that accompany the Web-posted version. Rich Noyes and Brent Baker assembled this issue and Brad Ash posted the entire package on the MRC's Web site. In addition to Rich and Brent, back in November Tim Graham and Geoffrey Dickens helped select the quotes for the ballot and think up category titles.

The list of the judges, who were generous with their time, is posted online and listed below after the winning quotes.

Now, the first runners-up quotes in the 17 award categories (see the "Best Notable Quotables of 2009" pages for video clips of each quote):

The Coronation of the Messiah Award for Fawning Inaugural Coverage (First runner-up)

"What a day it was. It may take days or years to really absorb the significance of what happened to America today....When he [Barack Obama] finally emerged, he seemed, even in this throng, so solitary, somber, perhaps already feeling the weight of the world, even before he was transformed into the leader of the free world....The mass flickering of cell phone cameras on the Mall seemed like stars shining back at him."
- NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the January 20 Nightly News. [63]

Master of His Domain Award for Obama Puffery (First runner-up)

"It didn't take long for Barack Obama - for all his youth and inexperience - to get acclimated to his new role as the calming leader of a country in crisis....Rookie jitters? Far from it....For the past three months, Obama has spoken in firm, yet soothing tones. Sometimes he has used a just-folks approach to identify with economically struggling citizens. He has displayed wonkish tendencies, too, appearing much like the college instructor he once was while discussing the intricacies of the economic collapse. He has engaged in witty banter, teasing lawmakers, staffers, journalists and citizens alike. He has struck a statesmanlike stance, calling for a renewed partnership between the United States and its allies...."
- AP Washington correspondent Liz Sidoti in an April 25 dispatch, "Obama quickly, confidently adapts to presidency." [49]

The Crush Rush Award for Loathing Limbaugh (First runner-up)

"Limbaugh's perceived racist diatribes are too many to name but here's a sampling: He once declared that [words on screen] 'Slavery built the South. I'm not saying we should bring it back; I'm just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark,' said Limbaugh."
- CNN's Rick Sanchez promoting a made-up quote on the 3pm ET hour of Newsroom, October 12. [38]

Damn Those Conservatives Award (First runner-up)

"...the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred - without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it."
- Countdown host Keith Olbermann talking about the conservative columnist and author, October 13. [52]

The Poison Tea Pot Award for Smearing the Anti-Obama Rabble (First runner-up)

"Let's be very honest about what this is about. It's not about bashing Democrats, it's not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston tea party was about, they don't know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks....Fox News loves to foment this anti-intellectualism because that's their bread and butter. If you have a cerebral electorate, Fox News goes down the toilet, you know, very, very fast....They have tackled that elusive...Klan with a 'K' demo."
- Actress/activist Janeane Garofalo on MSNBC's Countdown, April 16. [61]

Spread the Wealth Award for Socialist Sermonizing (First runner-up)

"I don't think that left to its own devices, capitalism moves along smoothly and everyone gets treated fairly in the process. Capitalism is like a child: if you want the child to grow up free and productive, somebody's got to look over the shoulder of that child."
- PBS host Tavis Smiley in a Time magazine symposium on "The Future of Capitalism," May 25 issue. [45]

Long Live Camelot Award for Lionizing Ted Kennedy (First runner-up)

"The heavens were weeping for Teddy Kennedy today."
- Correspondent Andrea Mitchell noting the rainy weather for Kennedy's funeral, August 29 NBC Nightly News. [58]

The Half-Baked Alaska Award for Pummeling Palin (First runner-up)

"She's been an astronaut and a rock star. Pop icons Beyonce and Shakira. She's won American Idol too. She's even run for President twice. [Over footage of Sarah Palin] Some would argue she also ran for Vice President in 2008."
- ABC's David Wright in a retrospective marking the 50th anniversary of Barbie for Nightline, February 16. [49]

The Un-Fairness Doctrine Award for Slamming Media Conservatives (First runner-up)

Host Chris Matthews: "The activists on radio are not afraid, because they're not afraid of anything. But at some point, if we have violence in this country against our President of any form or attempt, people are gonna pay for it, the people who have encouraged the craziness...."
The Politico's Roger Simon: "I agree 100 percent, but the base of the party, the core of the party, likes the clown show....They're playing with fire."
- MSNBC's Hardball, September 22. [50]

Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Obsequious Obama Interviews (First runner-up)

"It seems to me that there is a sort of meanness that's settled over our political dialogue. It started this summer at these town hall meetings....President Carter is now saying that he thinks it's racial. Nancy Pelosi says it could be dangerous. What do you think it's all about?"
- CBS's Bob Schieffer to President Obama on Face the Nation, September 20. [37]

Barry's Big Brain Award for Journalists Bedazzled by Obama's Brilliance (First runner-up)

"The President showed his analytical mind....He was at his best intellectually. I thought it was a great example of how his mind works....What a mind he has, and I love his ability to do it on television. I love to think with him."
- MSNBC's Chris Matthews during live coverage following Obama's February 9 press conference. [51]

The Audacity of Dopes Award for Wackiest Analysis of the Year (First runner-up)

"We have an FBI, and we're not prejudiced against somebody who's worked at the FBI. It's an honorable place to work. And the KGB, I think, was an honorable place to work. It gave people in the former Soviet Union, a communist country, an opportunity to do something important and worthwhile."
- CNN founder Ted Turner on Meet the Press, November 30, 2008. [48]

The Obamagasm Award for Seeing Coolness In Everything Obama Does (First runner-up)

"The other night I dreamt of Barack Obama. He was taking a shower right when I needed to get into the bathroom to shave my legs....I launched an e-mail inquiry....Many women - not too surprisingly - were dreaming about sex with the President."
- New York Times "Domestic Disturbances" blogger Judith Warner, February 5. [57]

Michelle, the Media Belle Award (First runner-up)

"Michelle is so authentic, and so real, and so today, and so, you know, J. Crew, and the whole price point thing and not designer clothes....With Michelle, you can almost feel those warm arms. You know, there's a kind of real red-blooded feel to her. But there's also - I mean she's almost, like, overtaking Oprah, I think, as the kind of inspirational 'it' girl at this point."
- Former Vanity Fair and New Yorker editor Tina Brown on CBS's Early Show, April 3. [64]

Media Hero Award (First runner-up)

"The Thinking Man's Thinking Man: Al Gore's New Plan for the Planet."
- Cover of the November 9 Newsweek. [46]

The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity

"The word, 'zoo,' is sort of elephant-speak for Guantanamo. They're really, they are suffering and being tortured."
- Actress Lily Tomlin at an animal-rights protest in Los Angeles, clip shown on NBC's Today, December 4, 2008. [42]

Quote of the Year

"Reagan [at the 1984 D-Day commemoration] was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is, 'We are above that now. We're not just parochial, we're not just chauvinistic, we're not just provincial. We stand for something.' I mean, in a way, Obama's standing above the country, above - above the world. He's sort of God. He's going to bring all different sides together."
- Newsweek's Evan Thomas on MSNBC's Hardball, June 5.

■ The 48 judges, check the online listing for links to Web pages for each of them:

* Lee Anderson, editorial page editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press

* Chuck Asay, syndicated editorial cartoonist, Creators Syndicate

* Brent H. Baker, MRC's Vice President for Research & Publications; Editor of CyberAlert and MRC's NewsBusters blog

* Mark Belling, radio talk show host, WISN-AM in Milwaukee

* Robert Bluey, Director of Online Strategy, the Heritage Foundation

* Neal Boortz, WSB Atlanta-based nationally syndicated radio talk show host

* L. Brent Bozell III, President of the Media Research Center

* Priscilla L. Buckley, author; retired senior editor, National Review

* Blanquita Cullum, President, Cullum Communications, Inc.

* Bill Cunningham, radio host, WLW in Cincinnati & Premiere Radio

* Midge Decter, author; Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees

* Bob Dutko, Christian radio talk show host, WMUZ in Detroit

* Erick Erickson, editor of

* Barry Farber, radio talk show host

* Eric Fettmann, associate editorial page editor, New York Post

* John Fund, editor of "Political Diary" for the Wall Street Journal's "Opinion Journal" page

* Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis, Media Research Center; Senior Editor of the MRC's NewsBusters blog

* Steven Greenhut, Director of the Pacific Research Institute's Journalism Center

* Lucianne Goldberg, publisher of

* Stephen Hayes, senior writer for the Weekly Standard; Fox News commentator

* Quin Hillyer, senior editorial writer, Washington Times; senior editor of The American Spectator

* Fred Honsberger (1951-2009), afternoon radio talk show host, KDKA in Pittsburgh

* Mark Hyman, TV commentator, Sinclair Broadcast Group

* Jeff Jacoby, columnist for the Boston Globe

* Cliff Kincaid, Editor, Accuracy in Media

* Mark Larson, radio talk show host, KCBQ in San Diego

* Mark Levin, President, Landmark Legal Foundation; author; nationally-syndicated radio talk show host

* Jason Lewis, syndicated talk show host, Premiere Radio Network

* Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online

* Brian Maloney, radio analyst, creator of The RadioEqualizer blog

* Steve Malzberg, radio talk show host, WOR Radio Network

* Patrick McGuigan, Editor of Capitol Beat OK (online news service); senior editor The City Sentinel

* Vicki McKenna, radio talk show host, WISN and WIBA in Wisconsin

* Jan Mickelson, radio talk show host, WHO in Des Moines

* Rich Noyes, Director of Research, Media Research Center; Senior Editor of the MRC's NewsBusters blog

* Kate O'Beirne, President, the National Review Institute

* Marvin Olasky, provost of The Kings College in New York City and Editor-in-Chief of World magazine

* Henry Payne, editorial cartoonist and writer, The Detroit News

* Chris Plante, radio talk show host, WMAL in Washington, D.C.

* Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Editorial Director, The American Spectator

* Dan Rea, host of Nightside, on WBZ Radio in Boston

* Chris Reed, editorial writer, San Diego Union-Tribune

* Mike Rosen, radio host at KOA; columnist for the Denver Post

* Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor

* R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., Editor-in-Chief, The American Spectator

* Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC's TimesWatch site

* Walter E. Williams, Professor of economics, George Mason University

* Martha Zoller, radio talk show host, Georgia News Network

In Memoriam:

During 2009, we lost two dedicated judges who loyally completed their ballots each year. On January 4, Troy University journalism professor Chris Warden died at the age of 51. And on August 18, nationally-syndicated Chicago Sun-Times columnist and longtime friend of the MRC Robert Novak passed away at the age of 78.

In addition: After receiving his ballot this year, we were saddened to learn Fred Honsberger passed away on December 16.

■ Coming on Wednesday: The second runners-up.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center