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

The second 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, Monday, yesterday, today and tomorrow - 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 second runners-up quotes in the 16 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 (Second runner-up)

"You know what it [Obama's inauguration] reminds me of? It reminds me of the Velvet Revolution. I was in Prague when that happened. And Vaclav Havel was a generational leader and was in the square in Prague and the streets were filled with joy. And we're not overthrowing a communist regime here, obviously, but an unpopular President is leaving and people have been waiting for this moment."
- NBC's Tom Brokaw during live coverage prior to Obama's inauguration, January 20. [62]

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

"There were ghosts in that chamber tonight, the other Presidents who tried to reform the health care system and failed. From Teddy Roosevelt, to Harry Truman, to Bill Clinton who came to Congress 16 years ago this month with his plan....There was another ghost in the chamber tonight, the spirit of Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought for decades for universal care....At the end, President Obama sought to draw on the grand rhetorical tradition of President Kennedy and others, trying to summon the country to a great and necessary endeavor."
- Co-anchor Terry Moran reporting on Obama's health care speech to Congress on ABC's Nightline, September 9. [38]

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

"Rush Limbaugh is beginning to look more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebody's going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he's going to explode like a giant blimp. That day may come. Not yet, but we'll be there to watch."
- Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Morning Meeting, October 13. [38]

Damn Those Conservatives Award (Second runner-up)

Host Dylan Ratigan: "Some Republicans and conservatives celebrating Obama's failed attempt to bring the 2016 Olympics to Chicago. Down with Chicago! Contessa Brewer has the latest."
News anchor Contessa Brewer: "Can you imagine this, that some people actually went as far as to cheer?"
Ratigan: "Sure. I mean, there are people that are actually trying to derail health care in order to take down Obama, even if it means half the country dies."
- Exchange on MSNBC's 9am ET Morning Meeting, October 5. [28]

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

"You know, Kyra, this is a party for Obama bashers. I have to say that this is not entirely representative of everybody in America....It's anti-government, anti-CNN, since this is highly promoted by the right-wing conservative network, Fox. And since I can't really hear much more and I think this is not really family viewing, I'll toss it back to you."
- Correspondent Susan Roesgen during live coverage of the tea party protests, CNN Newsroom, April 15. [41]

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

"In Britain, a government takeover of a bank last year helped to temporarily calm fears in the financial markets there. Nationalization may have a psychological impact as well, and Uncle Sam wrapping his arms around failing banks in this country might provide a big dose of confidence for the American consumer."
- Katie Couric on the February 19 CBS Evening News, talking about the Obama administration possibly taking over American banks. [45]

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

"America mourns the lion of the Senate....There is, of course, no royal family in this country. The Kennedys, perhaps, the closest we've ever had....For nearly half a century in the Senate, Ted Kennedy spoke for people who had no voice - the poor and the disabled, children and the elderly."
- Anchor Katie Couric kicking off the August 26 CBS Evening News. [41]

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

Ex-MSNBC anchor Dan Abrams: "Sarah Palin, to me, is like the representative of everything that's gone wrong [for the Republican Party] lately."
Comedian Chuck Nice: "Yeah, she's a maverick!...And I'm going to say this, and please don't take it the way it sounds. But, Sarah Palin to the GOP, this is what I've got to say: She is very much like herpes - she's not going away. Okay? That's it."
- Exchange on NBC's Today, June 9. [42]

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

"[Robert] Novak titled his 2007 memoir, The Prince of Darkness, and he was indeed a very dark force in cable TV news contributing mightily to the toxic culture of confrontation, belligerence and polarization that so defines cable TV and American political discourse today. There is no way to be nice about his impact on cable TV during its formative years....I am talking about Novak's sneering TV persona and the role it played in reaching back to the dark political style of the 1950s Richard Nixon - and leading us to the polarized, angry space that cable TV and the conversation of American politics now inhabits."
- Baltimore Sun critic David Zurawik August 18 on his "Z on TV" blog, two hours after news broke of Novak's passing. [47]

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

"You lost two nominees, two appointments today. Did that make you angry, I imagine?...How do you prevent the lesson from being that, no matter how lofty the goals of the new guy coming in, Washington wins, in the end?"
- NBC's Brian Williams in an interview with President Obama shown on the February 3 Nightly News. [30]

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

"Spock's cool, analytical nature feels more fascinating and topical than ever now that we've put a sort of Vulcan in the White House. All through the election campaign, columnists compared President Obama's unflappably logical demeanor and prominent ears with Mr. Spock's....Like Obama, Spock is the product of a mixed marriage (actually, an interstellar mixed marriage), and he suffers blunt manifestations of prejudice as a result...."
- Newsweek's Steve Daly in his May 4 cover story, "We're All Trekkies Now." [45]

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

"Watching both the health care and climate/energy debates in Congress, it is hard not to draw the following conclusion: There is only one thing worse than one-party autocracy, and that is one-party democracy, which is what we have in America today. One-party autocracy certainly has its drawbacks. But when it is led by a reasonably enlightened group of people, as China is today, it can also have great advantages. That one party can just impose the politically difficult but critically important policies needed to move a society forward in the 21st century."
- New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in a September 9 column, "Our One Party Democracy." [35]

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

"Between workouts during his Hawaii vacation this week, he was photographed looking like the paradigm of a new kind of presidential fitness, one geared less toward preventing heart attacks than winning swimsuit competitions. The sun glinted off chiseled pectorals sculpted during four weightlifting sessions each week, and a body toned by regular treadmill runs and basketball games."
- Washington Post reporter Eli Saslow in a December 25, 2008 front-page story about Obama's vacation fitness regimen. [43]

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

"In 1961, when Jacqueline Kennedy came to Europe, she enchanted even the crustiest of world leaders, and she's remained a tough act to follow for every First Lady since. But Michelle Obama looks more than equal to the task of impressing and delighting even the grandest of them....To be honest, most Europeans were going to like whoever replaced President Bush. But there's no doubt Michelle and her husband have an extra je ne sais quoi."
- CBS's Elizabeth Palmer on The Early Show, March 31. [44]

Media Hero Award (Second runner-up)

"This woman has a life story that you couldn't make up! I mean, you know, she's born in the public projects, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, a single-parent household, she goes to a Catholic school, she gets scholarships to the best schools in the country, Princeton and Yale, she overcomes all that while dealing with diabetes all her life, and she is Hispanic....This was the political advisor's dream candidate."
- CBS's Bob Schieffer during live coverage of Obama's selection of Judge Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, May 26. [37]

The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity (Second runner-up)

"I have a crush on Jimmy Carter. I admit it. He has an extraordinary mind. He's an exceptional human being. And he writes poetry, for crying out loud. He's all good things."
- Actress Renee Zellweger, January 30 USA Today. [40]

■ 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 Thursday: The third runners-up.

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