Third Runners-Up Quotes in the MRC's Best of NQ Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting
The third runners-up quotes in the MRC's 'Best Notable Quotables of 2011: The Twenty-Fourth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting.' As announced in a CyberAlert Special, the awards issue was posted, with videos, on Monday, December 19, but following tradition, the last weekdays of the year MRC.org's BiasAlert and corresponding CyberAlert e-mail newsletter will run the winning quotes followed on succeeding days by the runners-up. Tuesday's BiasAlert/CyberAlert featured the winners, Wednesday's ran the first runners-up and Thursday's highlighted the second runners-up.
The page linked above also has links for the text of the entire issue in MS Word, OpenOffice Writer 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 48 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 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 alongside each quote. Each judge was also asked to choose a 'Quote of the Year' denoting the most outrageous quote of 2011.
The MRC's Michelle Humphrey distributed the ballots and was assisted in their tabulation by Melissa Lopez. Alex Fitzsimmons 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 was also listed in Tuesday's BiasAlert/CyberAlert.
Now, the third runners-up quotes in the 17 award categories, plus Quote of the Year (see the 'Best Notable Quotables of 2011' pages for video and audio clips - 57 have them - for the quotes):
The Tea Party Terrorists Award [third runner-up]
'There's a nihilist caucus which is, 'Listen, we want to burn the place down.' I mean, they're not, they've strapped explosives to the Capitol and they think they are immune from it. The Tea Party caucus wants this crisis, and do we want to do this again six months from now?'
— Bloomberg columnist and former Time reporter Margaret Carlson on Inside Washington, July 29. [26 points]
Tying Granny to the Train Tracks Award for Condemning Budget Cuts [third runner-up]
'Budgets are moral documents. You can say what you say, but you are what you are. And when you put your budget on the table, that's when we learn who you really are. And I'm not so sure that this is not anything more than an immoral document where the poor are concerned....We avoided a shutdown of government, but we effectively locked out the American people, namely, the poor. And I don't understand why it is in this town that every debate about money always begins and ends with how we can further reward the rich and more punish the poor.'
— PBS's Tavis Smiley talking about the budget deal that prevented a government shutdown, NBC's Meet the Press, April 17. 
The Obamagasm Award [third runner-up]
'Is President Obama a baby whisperer? The leader of the free world worked his magic on this munchkin a few days ago at the White House. Now, watch as the First Lady tries to quiet down the fussy little friend....She then hands the bawling baby to the big man and, presto, the tot is simply transfixed.'
— 'Lifestyle anchor' Lara Spencer on ABC's Good Morning America, June 22. 
Hopeless Dopes Award for Discrediting Obama's Opponents [third runner-up]
'Critics say these debates promote extremism within the Republican Party, and show that the mean season is upon us. They fault the candidates themselves for not stamping out the behavior when it happens. And they should. Also, some suggested the booing or cheering could turn off moderate and swing voters in the general election. And it should. Here's the question: Are Republican debate crowds bloodthirsty?'
— CNN's Jack Cafferty on The Situation Room, September 27. 
Damn Those Conservatives Award [third runner-up]
'The House began debating a spending bill today that cuts $833 million from the WIC nutrition program, which provides healthy food to low-income women and their children....Now what was it that Jesus said? 'Give me your poor and needy, and I'll go tell them to pound sand.' That's at least the Republican vision of Jesus.'
— Anchor Cenk Uygur during the 6pm ET hour of MSNBC News Live, June 14. 
The Media Millionaires for Higher Taxes Award [third runner-up]
'Finding a way to raise taxes may well be the central political problem facing the United States.'
— New York Times chief economics writer David Leonhardt, April 13. 
The Grim Reaper Award for Saying Conservatives Want You to Die [third runner-up]
'John Boehner and his Republican majority decided to gut the FDA's food safety and inspection service. First, slashing $87 million from its budget and then another $35 million from the USDA for good measure. Cut, cut, cut. And now the results are in. Sixteen people have lost their lives. Close to 100 are sick. Republicans in Congress talk proudly of their commitment to laissez-faire economics, where government gets out of the way and everything works perfectly. You try telling that to those who ate melon with a side of listeria.'
— Host Martin Bashir on MSNBC's Martin Bashir, September 30. 
Occupy My Heart and Soul Award for Left-Wing Protest Promotion [third runner-up]
'The images from Wisconsin — with its protests, shutdown of some public services and missing Democratic senators, who fled the state to block a vote — evoked the Middle East more than the Midwest. The parallels raise the inevitable question: Is Wisconsin the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights?'
— New York Times reporters Michael Cooper and Katharine Seelye, February 19. 
The Media Hero Award [third runner-up]
'We talked to Cory Booker, the Mayor of Newark. This is a tweet he sent out last night, yes, on Saturday: 'Heading on a pizza run. I'm going to deliver 10 pizzas to those staying in our shelter at JFK.' So, I mean, you have the contrast, Michael Eric Dyson, between President Bush regretting the fact he had a flyover of the storm zone [after Hurricane Katrina] and Mayor Booker personally delivering pizzas.'
— David Gregory talking about Hurricane Irene on NBC's Meet the Press, August 28. 
Flunk the Founding Fathers Award [third runner-up]
'The reality is that the Framers — posed in paintings as though frozen on an American Olympus — they were not gods, they were guys: guys who didn't give women the vote, and who let slavery stand for the time being, and who, by the way, were trying to create at the time a stronger central government (of course, not too strong), leaving to us a Constitution that we could fix as needed (sorry, make that amend), which we've now done 27 times.'
— ABC's John Donvan in a report for This Week, July 3. 
The Poison Tea Pot Award for Smearing the Anti-Obama Rabble [third runner-up]
'Some people say that the Republican Party has been held hostage by the Tea Party. One of our Facebook followers sent in an interesting analogy and said, 'Why are Republicans allowing freshman congressmen to control this debate?' and this person said, 'It's like letting the teenager in the family run the family budget.' I mean, there's some truth in that.'
— Moderator Bob Schieffer to GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell on CBS's Face the Nation, July 31. 
MSNBC = Mean-Spirited, Nasty, Belligerent Chris Award [third runner-up]
'Is the Republican Party willing to risk economic Armageddon in the name of religion, that is the religion of no taxes? Well, the GOP has become the Wahhabis of American government, willing to risk bringing down the whole country in the service of their anti-tax ideology....The Party's being driven by fanatics and they're determined to bounce America's savings bonds and have the United States begin to become like Greece.'
— MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Hardball, July 5. 
The Ku Klux Con Job Award for Smearing Conservatives with Phony Racism Charges [third runner-up]
'I've had a lot of guests on recently getting very hot under the collar about the Tea Party....black Americans, leading black Americans who say the Tea Party is racist. And I know that your fairly humorous response is to say, 'I looked in the mirror and I appear to be a black man, and I'm in the Tea Party,' which I get and you're perfectly entitled to say that. But you all know there are elements of the Tea Party who are racist. It's a trade secret. How do you deal with that as a black man who is now leading the Tea Party charge?'
— Host Piers Morgan to GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, October 19. 
America Is the Real Evil Empire Award [third runner-up]
'At the news of Osama bin Laden's death, thousands of people — most of them college-aged and in requisite flip-floppy collegiate gear — whipped up a raucous celebration right outside the White House gates that was one part Mardi Gras and two parts Bon Jovi concert....It felt a little crazy, a bit much. Almost vulgar....When I saw that folks were celebrating in the streets at the news of bin Laden's death, my first reaction was a cringe. Remember how we all felt watching videos of those al-Qaeda guys dancing on Sept. 11?'
— Washington Post 'Metro' section columnist Petula Dvorak, May 3. 
Refusing to Acknowledge the Obvious Award for Denying Liberal Media Bias [third runner-up]
NPR's Nina Totenberg: 'There is a reason that we are the only news organization, other than Fox, with a growing audience. It is because of our product which is straight-shooting, factual, and spends an enormous amount of money gathering news from all over the country and the world. Judge us by our product. The people in the newsroom were probably more mortified than Charles or anybody in the Tea Party, or any, any anybody else. I mean, we were just horrified, and not by the political incorrectness of what he [fired NPR executive Ron Schiller] said, but by the fact that he even thought this way.'
Moderator Gordon Peterson: 'Well, this plays right into the belief that you're a bunch of lefties.'
Totenberg: 'I know it does, but it's not true.'
— Exchange on Inside Washington, March 11. 
The Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year [third runner-up]
'Your colleague in New York, Gary Ackerman, said the Republicans invited the President, quote, 'to negotiate at a strip poker table, and he showed up half naked.' And then liberal columnist Paul Krugman calls the deal an 'abject surrender.' Would the President be better off running as a conservative in 2012?'
— Fill-in anchor Don Lemon to Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva, CNN's In the Arena, August 1. 
The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity [third runner-up]
'The scale of Right Wing sociopolitical sabotage necessitates a Nuremberg-scale trial for all the corporate agents and treasonous capitalisto-fascist architects of our democracy's current and most pressing misery. From the blatant Republican policy doublespeak emanating from think-tank sponsored word doctors to the outright obstruction and lies expectorated by Republican congressional representatives and senators, the very concept of governance can only be considered once the culprits are removed. Driven to real madness by unadulterated greed they have embraced an ideology, the success of which hinges upon the very ruin of this nation.'
— Actor Steven Weber (from the 1990s NBC sitcom Wings) writing at the Huffington Post, October 24. 
On Tuesday: The fourth runners-up.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.