The second 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 and Wednesday's ran the first 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 second 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 [second runner-up]
'If sane Republicans do not stand up to this Hezbollah faction in their midst, the Tea Party will take the GOP on a suicide mission.'
— New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, July 27. [46 points]
Tying Granny to the Train Tracks Award for Condemning Budget Cuts [second runner-up]
'The shutdown will stop new funding for medical research and hope for desperate patients....Doctors at the National Institutes of Health would be forced to stop seven new clinical trials, four involving children, next week; and stop admitting new patients at 640 ongoing trials, 60 of them involving children with cancer.'
— ABC's Jake Tapper on World News, April 6. 
The Obamagasm Award [second runner-up]
'By calmly and meticulously overseeing the successful targeting of Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama just proved himself — vividly, in almost Biblical terms — to be an effective commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States.'
— Ex-Newsweek correspondent and editor Howard Fineman writing at the Huffington Post, May 2. 
Hopeless Dopes Award for Discrediting Obama's Opponents [second runner-up]
'So far, it is a couple of intellectual lightweights who are stealing the show. Since Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll and Rick Perry entered the race, these two have been sucking up most of the media's attention, mostly for saying stupid stuff....That's a sad commentary on the state of our politics, isn't it? Here's the question: When it comes to presidential politics, why does America seem to be allergic to brains?'
— CNN's Jack Cafferty on The Situation Room, August 24. 
Damn Those Conservatives Award [second runner-up]
'Basically we have a President [Ronald Reagan] who treated the poor poorly, did not tend to the sick, broke laws, committed nearly impeachable offenses by your own reporting. Why should we be lionizing him in the broad public domain? You certainly don't.'
— Ex-Newsweek editor Jon Meacham hosting PBS's Need to Know, February 4, talking to filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, whose HBO documentary Reagan debuted February 7. 
The Media Millionaires for Higher Taxes Award [second runner-up]
'Good evening. It's a fair question to ask, and for a while now Americans have been wondering how lawmakers in Washington could possibly extend tax breaks for wealthy Americans while allowing benefits for jobless Americans to be cut off.'
— Brian Williams leading off the December 6, 2010 NBC Nightly News. 
The Grim Reaper Award for Saying Conservatives Want You to Die [second runner-up]
Diane Sawyer: 'Tough choices were on the table today as dozens of House Republicans went to the White House....Hovering over the meeting in that room, the stories of cuts already made and their consequences.'
Correspondent Jake Tapper: 'On Monday, first responders in Alameda, California, stood by as a suicidal man walked into the Bay. Why? Due to budget cuts, they no longer train for water rescues. So they watched 53-year-old Raymond Zack drown....The problem is even bigger on the federal level. In Washington, D.C., Republicans say with $125 billion in new federal debt each month, the federal government needs to make even deeper cuts. They proposed cutting this year $35 million from the Food Safety Inspection Service, responsible for maintaining the safety of meat, poultry and eggs.'
— ABC's World News, June 1. 
Occupy My Heart and Soul Award for Left-Wing Protest Promotion [second runner-up]
'This is a surprisingly functional little city. Let me give you a little tour. It starts here with the information desk for people newly arrived. Behind that, this whole area back here, this is the media area. It's filled with bloggers and other people getting the word out and powered by donated generators. And this is the food station. It's all free and all donated — including some cookies that came in today from a grandmother in Idaho.'
— ABC's Dan Harris showing off the Occupy protesters' camp on World News, October 3. 
The Media Hero Award [second runner-up]
'Say 'Al Sharpton' and most people probably think 'loudmouth activist' and 'provocateur.' Well, that certainly was his image in the '80s and '90s. Well, the Reverend Al has gone through something of a metamorphosis. Today, he's downright tame, so much that he's made his way into the establishment. It's been quite a trajectory: from street-protest agitator to candidate for President in 2004, to now, a trusted White House adviser who's become the President's go-to black leader....'
— Lesley Stahl setting up a profile of Al Sharpton on CBS's 60 Minutes, May 22. 
Flunk the Founding Fathers Award [second runner-up]
Clip of Michele Bachmann: 'We have to recapture the Founders' vision of a constitutionally conservative government if we are to secure the promise for the future.'
Host Chris Matthews to Michael Steele: 'What is this, Michael? The Protestant Reformation? That somehow we're going back to the purity of the original Christian church? We're going back to the original perfection of slaveholders and how perfect they were and government is the enemy. She speaks pure Tea Party lingo.'
— MSNBC's Hardball, June 27. 
The Poison Tea Pot Award for Smearing the Anti-Obama Rabble [second runner-up]
Co-host Matt Lauer: 'When you look at some of the things the Tea Party and others on the far right are asking for — no funding for Planned Parenthood, no funding for climate control, public broadcasting — does it seem to you, Senator, that this is less about a fiscal debate or an economic policy debate and they are making an ideological stand here?'
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer: 'That's exactly right, Matt. You've hit the nail on the head.'
— Exchange on NBC's Today, April 6. 
MSNBC = Mean-Spirited, Nasty, Belligerent Chris Award [second runner-up]
'The utter confusion in the Republican presidential nominating process results from two discernible facts. One: they hate. That's the simplest explanation of the disastrous course of this selection process. They hate so much they are not in the mood to fall in love with a candidate or even fall in behind someone. Their brains, racked as they are by hatred, they lack the 'like' mode. They are in no mood looking around for a politician they like. The hating is so much more satisfying.'
— MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Hardball, November 15. 
The Ku Klux Con Job Award for Smearing Conservatives with Phony Racism Charges [second runner-up]
'Let's talk about the current issue of Ebony. Some very provocative articles here about whether he [President Obama] is tough enough and whether or not the politics that we've been seeing — Tea Party politics, and the like — really reach a new level of white supremacism, of anti-African-American rhetoric.'
— Andrea Mitchell to publisher Desiree Rogers, who was Obama's White House social secretary in 2009-10, on her MSNBC 1pm ET Andrea Mitchell Reports, January 11. 
America Is the Real Evil Empire Award [second runner-up]
'Some Americans celebrated the killing of Osama bin Laden loudly, with chanting and frat-party revelry in the streets. Others were appalled — not by the killing, but by the celebrations.... 'The worst kind of jingoistic hubris,' a University of Virginia student wrote in the college newspaper, The Cavalier Daily. In blogs and online forums, some people asked: Doesn't taking revenge and glorying in it make us look just like the terrorists?'
— New York Times reporter Benedict Carey in a May 6 news story, 'Celebrating a Death: Ugly, Maybe, but Only Human.' 
Refusing to Acknowledge the Obvious Award for Denying Liberal Media Bias [second runner-up]
'It is true that journalists tend to be more 'liberal' than the average American. But hyper-awareness of that fact has caused some of our most respected mainstream media outlets to bend over backwards to compensate — offering far more conservative voices than liberal ones....'
— NPR's On the Media host Brooke Gladstone in an interview with CNN.com's 'In the Arena' blog posted May 31. 
The Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year [second runner-up]
'Ms. Abramson said that as a born-and-raised New Yorker, she considered being named editor of the Times to be like 'ascending to Valhalla.' 'In my house growing up, the Times substituted for religion,' she said. 'If the Times said it, it was the absolute truth.''
— From a June 2 NYTimes.com story by managing editor Jeremy Peters, quoting newly-named New York Times editor Jill Abramson. In the paper's June 3 print edition, the second half of the quote was removed from Peters' front-page story. 
The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity [second runner-up]
Piers Morgan: 'Has Obama helped the process of eradicating racism, or has it in a strange way made it worse?'
Actor Morgan Freeman: 'Made it worse. Made it worse. Look at, look, the Tea Partiers, who are controlling the Republican Party....Their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. What's, what does that, what underlines that? 'Screw the country. We're going to whatever we do to get this black man, we can, we're going to do whatever we can to get this black man outta here.'... It is a racist thing.'
— CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, September 23. 
Quote of the Year [second runner-up]
'Hardball is absolutely non-partisan.'
— MSNBC's Chris Matthews in an interview with local Washington, D.C. host Carol Joynt, as quoted by The Politico's Patrick Gavin in a December 9, 2010 article.
On Friday: The third runners-up.
- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.