First Runners-Up Quotes in MRC's Awards for the Worst Reporting --12/28/2006
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Wednesday's CyberAlert listed the winners, so today the first runners-up quotes in the MRC's "Best Notable Quotables of 2006: The Nineteenth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting."
The Media Research Center's annual awards issue provides a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2006 (December 2005 through November 2006). To determine this year's winners, a panel of 58 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 2006.
For the list of the 58 judges, see the December 27 CyberAlert: www.mrc.org
Or, the direct address for the names of the judges as part of the online posting of the awards, with links to their Web pages: www.mrc.org
The MRC's Brent Baker and Rich Noyes, along with Tim Graham and Geoff Dickens, selected the quotes for the ballot. Michelle Humphrey, Karen Hanna and Kristine Looney distributed and counted the ballots and then produced the numerous audio and video clips that accompany the Web-posted version. Rich Noyes assembled this issue and Michael Gibbons posted the entire package on the MRC's Web site where it appears with RealPlayer and Windows Media video, as well as MP3 audio, for all the quotes from television shows: www.mrc.org
This year, MS Word and Corel WordPerfect files of the entire text of the issue, are also available at the above link.
For an Adobe Acrobat PDF that matches the eight-page hard copy version: www.mrc.org
Tin Foil Hat Award for Crazy Conspiracy Theories [first runner-up]
ABC's Steve Osunsami: "In many black neighborhoods, they actually believe that white residents sent the barge that destroyed the levee and flooded their communities."
Unidentified black man, in HBO's film by Spike Lee: "They had a bomb. They bombed that sucker."
Osunsami: "To this day, the conspiracy theories are so widely held, director Spike Lee put them on film...."
Spike Lee, director: "As an African-American in this country, I don't put anything past the government."
-- ABC's World News with Charles Gibson, August 29. [69 points]
"There's nothing this administration won't do under the guise of battling terrorism....The only way the American people can stop Bush's imperial expansion of power short is to turn out in massive numbers to take back one or the other body of Congress from Republican control."
-- Eleanor Clift in her weekly "Capitol Letter" column posted on the Newsweek Web site, April 7. 
"We now face what our ancestors faced at other times of exaggerated crisis and melodramatic fear-mongering: A government more dangerous to our liberty than is the enemy it claims to protect us from....We have never before codified the poisoning of habeas corpus, that wellspring of protection from which all essential liberties flow. You, sir, have now befouled that spring. You, sir, have now given us chaos and called it order. You, sir, have now imposed subjugation and called it freedom....These things you have done, Mr. Bush -- they would constitute the beginning of the end of America."
-- Keith Olbermann in a "Special Comment" on the setting up of military trials for terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay, MSNBC's Countdown, October 18. 
Diane Sawyer: "It is a world away from the unruly individualism of any American school....Ask them about their country, and they can't say enough."
North Korean girl, in English: "We are the happiest children in the world."
Sawyer to class: "What do you know about America?"
Sawyer voiceover: "We show them an American magazine. They tell us, they know nothing about American movies, American movie stars....and then, it becomes clear that they have seen some movies from a strange place...."
Sawyer to class: "You know The Sound of Music?"
Sawyer, singing with the class: "Do, a deer, a female deer. Re, a drop of golden sun...."
Charles Gibson: "A fascinating glimpse of North Korea."
-- Sawyer reporting from North Korea for ABC's World News with Charles Gibson, October 19. 
"Some people who hated Americans set out to kill a lot of us and they succeeded [on 9/11]. Americans are puzzled over why so many people in the world hate us....We're trying to protect ourselves with more weapons. We have to do it, I guess, but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn't make so many people in the world want to kill us."
-- CBS's Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes, September 10. 
"Leave it to the right wing to cross the preposterous line just when you think it reached that point long ago. The Media Research Center, an outfit dedicated to proving that every story in the newspapers or on TV is slanted left, every year hands out its DisHonors Award....For this gang to come along with its award is laughable. You could fill a Bible with the mistakes they make in their accusations against the press. They can dish it out but can't take it."
-- Former Boston Globe reporter John Mashek in an April 6 posting on the U.S. News & World Report Web site. 
"There are laws on the books against what the administration is doing, and it's about time somebody said it out loud. This federal district judge ruled today President Bush is breaking the law by spying on people in this country without a warrant....It means President Bush violated his oath of office, among other things, when he swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It means he's been lying to us about the program since it started, when he's been telling us there's nothing illegal about what he's doing. A court has ruled it is illegal....I hope it means the arrogant inner circle at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue may finally have to start answering to the people who own that address -- that would be us -- about how they conduct our country's affairs."
-- CNN's Jack Cafferty on the August 17 Situation Room, after a Carter-appointed judge ruled that the surveillance of suspected terrorists was unconstitutional. 
"No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth....Suddenly and unexpectedly, the crisis is upon us....Something has gone grievously wrong. That something is global warming....It's undeniable that the White House's environmental record -- from the abandonment of Kyoto to the President's broken campaign pledge to control carbon output to the relaxation of emission standards -- has been dismal."
-- Time's Jeffrey Kluger in the magazine's April 3 global warming cover story: "Be Worried. Be Very Worried." 
"Arlen Specter says Congress should consider taxing the windfall profits being reaped by the oil companies, which I think is a no-brainer. These guys aren't entrepreneurs -- they are pirates." -- Geraldo Rivera on Fox's Geraldo at Large, April 24. 
"Obama's personal appeal is made manifest when he steps down from the podium and is swarmed by well-wishers of all ages and hues....Obama seemed the political equivalent of a rainbow -- a sudden preternatural event inspiring awe and ecstasy....There aren't very many people -- ebony, ivory or other -- who have Obama's distinctive portfolio of talents....Obama's candor is reminiscent of John McCain....He transcends the racial divide so effortlessly that it seems reasonable to expect that he can bridge all the other divisions -- and answer all the impossible questions -- plaguing American public life." -- Time senior writer Joe Klein in an October 23 cover story headlined, "Why Barack Obama Could Be the Next President." 
"When they say 'the terrorists want the Democrats to win,' you say 'are you insane? George Bush has been a terrorist's wet dream.'...When they say that actual combat veterans like John Kerry are 'denigrating the troops,' you say 'you're completely full of sh*t.'...If I was a troop, the support I would want back home would mainly come in the form of people pressuring Washington to get me out of this pointless nightmare. [applause] That's how I would feel supported....There's your talking point. Vote Republican and you vote to enable George Bush to keep ruling as an emperor -- a retarded child emperor [laughter], but an emperor."
-- Bill Maher on his HBO program Real Time with Bill Maher November 3, offering his suggested "talking points" for Democratic candidates. 
"Today, life on Earth is disappearing faster than the days when dinosaurs breathed their last, but for a very different reason....Us homo sapiens are turning out to be as destructive a force as any asteroid. Earth's intricate web of ecosystems thrived for millions of years as natural paradises, until we came along, paved paradise, and put up a parking lot. Our assault on nature is killing off the very things we depend on for our own lives....The stark reality is that there are simply too many of us, and we consume way too much, especially here at home....It will take a massive global effort to make things right, but the solutions are not a secret: control population, recycle, reduce consumption, develop green technologies."
-- NBC's Matt Lauer hosting Countdown to Doomsday, a two-hour June 14 Sci-Fi Channel special. 
"You signed a $13 million book deal, which I understand is bigger than Bill Clinton, Alan Greenspan, and Pope John Paul II, so how do you square your wealth with the tenets of Christianity?...[The Bible] said, this is Matthew 19, verses 23 and 24, 'Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth. It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."'...It makes you wonder about your claim that wealth is a positive thing."
-- Katie Couric, who was set to make $15 million a year as the new anchor of the CBS Evening News, to TV minister Joel Osteen on NBC's Today, May 9. 
"It didn't exactly represent a profile in courage for the Vice President to wander over there to the F-word network for a sit-down with Brit Hume. I mean, that's a little like Bonnie interviewing Clyde, ain't it?...I mean, running over there to the Fox network to, I mean, that's -- talk about seeking a safe haven. He's not going to get any high hard ones from anybody at the F-word network. I think we know that."
-- Jack Cafferty during the 4pm EST hour of CNN's The Situation Room, February 15. 
"I know that I've tried my best through my career to ask challenging questions to whomever I'm speaking, and whether it's a Republican or a Democrat, I try to raise important issues depending on their particular position.... Oftentimes people put their, they see you from their own individual prisms. And if you're not reflecting their point of view, or you're asking an antagonistic question of someone they might agree with in terms of policy, they see you as the enemy, and I think that's just a mistake....You have Fox, which espouses a particular point of view."
-- Incoming CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric at the Aspen Ideas Festival on July 5, broadcast by C-SPAN on September 2. 
Radio host Hugh Hewitt: "And so everyone that you work with, or 95 percent of people you work with, are old liberals."
ABC News Political Director Mark Halperin: "I don't know if it's 95 percent, and unfortunately, they're not all old. There are a lot of young liberals here, too. But it certainly, there are enough in the old media, not just in ABC, but in old media generally, that it tilts the coverage quite frequently, in many issues, in a liberal direction, which is completely improper....It's an endemic problem. And again, it's the reason why for 40 years, conservatives have rightly felt that we did not give them a fair shake."
-- Exchange on The Hugh Hewitt Show, October 30. 
Co-host Rosie O'Donnell: "As a result of the [9/11] attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people, we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries."
Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "But do you understand that, that the belief funding those attacks, okay, that is widespread. And if you take radical Islam and if you want to talk about what's going on there, you have to-"
O'Donnell, interrupting: "Wait just one second. Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam [loud applause] in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state. We're a democracy."
-- Exchange on ABC's The View, September 12.
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