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 2012: The Twenty-Fifth Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting.” As announced in a CyberAlert Special last week, the awards issue was posted, with videos, on Monday, December 17, but following tradition, yesterday, today and Friday - 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 for the text of the entire issue in MS Word or WordPerfect formats. You can also download a colorful and easily read-able PDF version.

(Tip: There’s an extra quote in most categories in the online version over the PDF one.)

To determine this year’s winners, a panel of 46 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and expert media observers each selected their choices for the first, second and third best quote from a slate of five to seven 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 alongside each quote. Each judge was also asked to choose a “Quote of the Year” denoting the most outrageous quote of 2012.

The MRC’s Michelle Humphrey distributed the ballots and tabulated the results. Senior news analyst Scott Whitlock helped produce the numerous audio and video clips included in the Web-posted version. Rich Noyes and Brent Baker assembled this issue and Brad Ash posted the entire package to the MRC’s Web site.

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 16 award categories, plus Quote of the Year (see the “Best Notable Quotables of 2012" pages for video and audio clips for the quotes):

The Throwing Granny Off a Cliff Award
for Portraying Romney and Ryan as Heartless [First Runner-Up]

“In his decision to make Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, his running mate, Romney finally surrendered the tattered remnants of his soul not only to the extreme base of his party, but also to extremist economic policies, and to an extremist view of the country he seeks to lead...Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them.... He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live.”
Esquire’s Charles Pierce, a former Boston Globe Magazine writer, in an August 11 posting, “Paul Ryan: Murderer of Opportunity, Political Coward, Candidate for Vice President of the United States.” [64 points]

The Obamagasm Award [First Runner-Up]

“When you watch the President like that, I always feel he’s got so many pluses, doesn’t he? In a sense, he’s personable, he’s handsome, he can be funny. You know, abroad he has this great image for America. A lot of things are just perfect about Barack Obama.”
— Host Piers Morgan to Obama strategist David Axelrod on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, December 5, 2011. [44]

The “Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste” Award
for Exploiting Tragedy to Promote Liberalism [First Runner-Up]

“I am so proud of the country, to re-elect this President....A good day for America. I’m so glad we had that storm [Hurricane Sandy] last week, because I think the storm was one of those things — no, politically I should say, not in terms of hurting people — the storm brought in possibilities for good politics.”
— Chris Matthews wrapping up MSNBC’s live election night coverage shortly before 3am ET, November 7. (He apologized on the November 7 Hardball: “I said something not just stupid, but wrong.”) [66]

The Sandra Fluke Award
for Promoting Obama’s Phony “War on Women” [First Runner-Up]

“The question for some, especially women, is: Why do the Republicans want to get government out of our lives, but into our wombs?”
Politico’s Roger Simon on Inside Washington, March 2. [45]

The Ku Klux Con Job Award
for Smearing Conservatives with Phony Racism Charges [First Runner-Up]

“You notice he [Romney] says ‘anger’ twice. He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man. This is part of the playbook against Obama. The other-ization, ‘he’s not like us.’ I know it’s a heavy thing to say; I don’t say it lightly. But this is niggerization: ‘You are not one of us,’ and that ‘you are like the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear.’”
— Co-host Touré on MSNBC’s The Cycle, August 16. [53]

The Politics of Personal Destruction Award
for Ripping Romney [First Runner-Up]

“Mitt Romney doesn’t see dead people. But that’s only because he doesn’t want to see them; if he did, he’d have to acknowledge the ugly reality of what will happen if he and Paul Ryan get their way on health care....A literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, October 15. [52]

Damn Those Conservatives Award [First Runner-Up]

Host Martin Bashir: “When we last saw the Republican front-runner Rick Santorum speaking before a crowd yesterday, all we could think of was George Orwell’s novel 1984 about a society dominated by the most extreme form of totalitarianism....”
Clip from 1984: “The forces of darkness and the treasonable maggots who collaborate with them, must, can and will be wiped from the face of the Earth.”
Bashir: “In reviewing his book, It Takes a Family, one writer said, ‘Mr. Santorum has one of the finest minds of the 13th century.’ But I’m not so sure. If you listen carefully to Rick Santorum, he sounds more like Stalin than Pope Innocent III.”
— MSNBC’s Martin Bashir, February 14. [64]

Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award
for Obsequious Obama Interviews [First Runner-Up]

“You had to go to Tuscaloosa. You had to go have fun at the Correspondents’ Dinner. Seth Meyers makes a joke about Osama bin Laden....How do you keep an even keel? Even when we look back on the videotape of that night, there’s no real depiction that there’s something afoot.”...
“If this had failed in spectacular fashion, it would have blown up your presidency, I think, by all estimates. It would have been your Waterloo, and, perhaps, your Watergate, consumed with hearings and inquiries. How thick did the specter of Jimmy Carter, Desert One hang in the air here?”
— Brian Williams to President Obama during his May 2 Rock Center special on the first anniversary of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden. [49]

The True But False Award
for Fatuous Fact Checking [First Runner-Up]

“We cannot fault the RNC’s math, as the numbers add up. But at this point this figure doesn’t mean very much. It may simply be a function of a coincidence of timing — a brief blip that could have little to do with ‘Obama’s job market.’ If trends hold up over the next few months, then the RNC might have a better case. But at this point we will give this statistic our rarely used label: TRUE BUT FALSE.”
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler in an April 10 blog posting about Romney’s claim that 92% of those who lost jobs since January 2009 were women. [63]

The Move Along, Nothing to See Here Award
for Burying Obama’s Benghazi Scandal [First Runner-Up]

“It’s obviously been totally politicized at this point....I lived in a civil war in Beirut for four years. These are incredibly messy situations. People don’t show up with uniforms....You can have a flash mob turn into a planned thing. You can have planned people inside of a flash mob. To me, this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that, ‘this is the end of,’ you know, ‘Obama’s foreign policy.’”
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on NBC’s Meet the Press, October 21. [41]

The Media Hero Award [First Runner-Up]

“TARP, the stimulus, health reform, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the new GI bill.... I don’t just mean to flatter you, but [this] is [the] kind of list of legislation we associate with people whom we name large buildings after in Washington....Your Speakership was Sam Rayburn-esque.”
— MSNBC host Rachel Maddow to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a luncheon on Capitol Hill, June 6, as reported by the Washington Examiner the next morning. [59]

The Audacity of Dopes Award
for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year [First Runner-Up]

“The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights....The Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care. It has its idiosyncrasies. Only two percent of the world’s constitutions protect, as the Second Amendment does, a right to bear arms. (Its brothers in arms are Guatemala and Mexico.)”
New York Times Supreme Court reporter Andrew Liptak in a front-page February 7 “Sidebar” news analysis, “We the People Loses Appeal with People Around the World.” [56]

MSNBC = Mean-Spirited, Nasty, Belligerent Chris Award [First Runner-Up]

“They hate Obama. They want him out of the White House more than they want to destroy al Qaeda. Their number one enemy in the world right now, on the right, is their hatred — hatred for Obama. We can go into that about the white working class in the South, and looking at these numbers we’re getting in the last couple days about racial hatred in many cases. This isn’t about being a better president. They want to get rid of this president. That’s their number one goal, and they’re willing to let Romney go to the hard center, even if it’s to the left on issues, as long as they get rid of this guy.”
— Chris Matthews during MSNBC’s post-debate coverage, October 22. [53]

Good Morning Morons Award [First Runner-Up]

“I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words ‘heroes.’... I feel comfortable — ah, uncomfortable, about the word ‘hero’ because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war, and I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine and tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”
— Host Chris Hayes talking about “The Meaning of Memorial Day” on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes, May 27. (The next day, he apologized in a statement posted on “I don’t think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I’ve set for myself.”) [57]

The Denying the Obvious Award
for Refusing to Acknowledge Liberal Bias [First Runner-Up]

“I know that it’s widely believed that CBS, NBC, ABC — chock full of liberals. Not true. What it’s chock full of is people who wanted to give honest news, straightforward news, and voted both ways in many elections. I’m not saying that nobody in the newsroom was liberal any more than I would say anybody was conservative. Frequently what happened people who were described as conservatives want to say, ‘I worked at CBS News, and you know, almost everybody there was liberal.’ What they really mean is not everybody there agreed with them all the time. This is a sham. It’s a camouflage...”
— Ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, May 30. [64]

The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award
for Celebrity Vapidity [First Runner-Up]

“If ROMNEY gets elected I don’t know if i can breathe same air as Him & his Right Wing Racist Homophobic Women Hating Tea Bagger Masters”
— Actress/singer Cher in a May 8 Twitter posting that was later deleted (grammar and punctuation as in the original). [54]

Quote of the Year [First Runner-Up]

“They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.”
— Yahoo! News Washington bureau chief and former political director for ABC News David Chalian talking over a picture of Ann and Mitt Romney, as caught on an open microphone during coverage of the Republican National Convention, August 28.


> The 46 judges, check the online listing for links to Web pages for each of them:

- Chuck Asay, syndicated editorial cartoonist

- 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 the Center for Media and Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation

- Neal Boortz, nationally syndicated radio talk show host (retired)

- L. Brent Bozell III, founder and President of the Media Research Center

- Bill Cunningham, syndicated radio talk host and host of TV’s Bill Cunningham Show
- Mark Davis, talk host on KSKY (660 AM The Answer) in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Salem Radio Network; Dallas Morning News columnist

- Midge Decter, author; Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees

- Bob Dutko, nationally syndicated radio talk show host

- Jim Eason, retired radio talk show host

- Erick Erickson, Editor of

- Eric Fettmann, Associate Editorial Page Editor, New York Post

- David Freddoso, Editorial Page Editor for The Washington Examiner
- Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis, Media Research Center; Senior Editor of the MRC’s NewsBusters blog

- Michael Graham, radio talk show host and Boston Herald columnist

- Lucianne Goldberg, publisher of news forum

- Quin Hillyer, Senior Editor of The American Spectator; Senior Fellow, Center for Individual Freedom

- Mark Hyman, news commentator, Sinclair Broadcast Group

- Jeff Jacoby, syndicated columnist for the Boston Globe

- Cliff Kincaid, Director, Accuracy in Media’s Center for Investigative Journalism

- Lars Larson, nationally syndicated talk radio host, Compass Media Networks

- Mark Larson, radio talk show host, KCBQ-AM 1170 in San Diego

- Matt Lewis, senior contributor to The Daily Caller

- Jeffrey Lord, contributing editor to The American Spectator

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

- Steve Malzberg, national radio talk show host

- Tom McArdle, Senior Writer for Investor’s Business Daily

- Patrick McGuigan, Editor of

- Vicki McKenna, radio talk show host, WISN in Milwaukee and WIBA in Madison, Wisconsin

- Colin McNickle, Editorial Page Editor for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

- 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, former Washington Editor of National Review

- Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-Chief of World magazine

- Henry Payne, The Detroit News editorial cartoonist, Editor of

- James Pinkerton, Fox News contributor, panelist on Fox Newswatch

- Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Editorial Director, The American Spectator

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

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

- James Taranto, editorial board member, The Wall Street Journal and Editor of “Best of the Web Today”

- Cal Thomas, syndicated and USA Today columnist; Fox News contributor

- Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC’s TimesWatch site
- Walter E. Williams, Professor of economics, George Mason University; nationally syndicated columnist

- Thomas S. Winter, Editor-in-Chief emeritus of Human Events

- Martha Zoller, radio talk show host and political analyst

In Memoriam: Priscilla L. Buckley, National Review’s longtime Managing Editor and a devoted NQ judge every year since 1990, passed away on March 25 at age 90.

Again, for this list of judges online with links to their sites.

-- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.