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The Worst of the Worst: Best Notable Quotables of 2015

Welcome to the Media Research Center's annual awards issue, a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2015 (December 2014 through November 2015).

To determine this year's winners, a panel of 39 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. List of Judges. 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 2015.

The MRC's Kristine Lawrence distributed the ballots and tabulated the results. Senior news analyst Scott Whitlock rounded up the numerous 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.

Quote of the Year
Alfonso Aguilar, Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles: “If there’s somebody who is a hard worker when he goes to Washington, it’s Paul Ryan....”
Host Melissa Harris-Perry: “I want us to be super careful when we use the language ‘hard worker,’ because I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like. So, I feel you that he’s a hard worker, I do, but in the context of relative privilege.”
Exchange on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, October 24
See the Runners-Up for the Quote Of The Year
The Obamagasm Award

Dick Meyer (71 points)

“Americans are lucky to have Barack Obama as President and we should wake up and appreciate it while we can. President Obama will go down in history as an extraordinary President, probably a great one....It would be a morale booster and a sign of civic maturity if more Americans appreciated what an exceptional President they have right now. It could be a long wait for the next one.”
Former CBS News producer Dick Meyer, now Washington Bureau Chief for Scripps News, in a July 16 Decode DC op-ed titled: “Mr. President, on behalf of an ungrateful nation, thank you.”

DChris Matthews (48 points)

“Instead of going and grubbing the money on Wall Street, he [Barack Obama] went out to people and helped his community....He’s done everything right. He’s been immaculate in the presidency. Nobody has accused him of any corruption. His kids are perfect. His wife is perfect. He’s done everything that these right-wing, white conservatives say we’re supposed to be in this country. He’s done everything right. And this sleazy comment, that he has no class....He has plenty of class.”
Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, July 22.

Lawrence O’Donnell (41 points)

“Long before he was running for President, he had written the answer [to questions about past drug use] in a book called Dreams from My Father. It stands today as the finest literary work ever authored by a President of the United States. The book doesn’t contain the whole truth of Barack Obama’s life. Books can’t do that, but it is, by far, the most honest and open book, and artful book, ever written by a President.”
Host Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC’s The Last Word, February 3

Rachel Maddow (39 points)

“We don’t know if the Iran deal is going to work. If it does, it will be the major foreign policy achievement, not only of this presidency, but of this American generation. At which point, people in the not-too-distant future will look back at this presidency, they’ll look back at this President and they’ll say, ‘Oh, of course they gave him the Nobel Peace Prize. Of course they did.’”
Host Rachel Maddow on her eponymous MSNBC show, July 14
Ku Klux Con Job Award for Smearing Conservatives With Phony Racism Charges

Harold Meyerson (69 points)

“Fueled by the mega-donations of the mega-rich, today’s Republican Party is not just far from being the party of Lincoln: It’s really the party of Jefferson Davis. It suppresses black voting; it opposes federal efforts to mitigate poverty; it objects to federal investment in infrastructure and education just as the antebellum South opposed internal improvements and rejected public education; it scorns compromise. It is nearly all white. It is the lineal descendant of Lee’s army, and the descendants of Grant’s have yet to subdue it.”
Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson, April 8

Sally Kohn (53 points)

“It would be unfair, or I think dishonest of us to not be clear that part of what he’s [Trump] speaking to is a part of the American public that for the last seven years has felt outraged. They talk about taking the White House back. They’ve said, and he retweeted this, they want the White House, capital W-H-I-T-E again. You know, there is a disaffected, highly racialized, highly us-versus-them part of the American electorate that he is firing up....”
CNN analyst Sally Kohn on CNN Newsroom with Carol Costello, July 21

Chris Matthews (37 points)

“It [the Republican Party] is no longer the party that voted overwhelmingly for civil rights and voting rights in the mid ’60s. In fact, its most consistent ambition these recent years has been a relentless push to limit voting rights, especially for minorities, by the imposition of new voter ID requirements, and with this, it’s doing what the Jim Crow enforcers did with poll taxes and outlandish literacy tests.”
MSNBC host Chris Matthews wrapping up Hardball, March 2

Chris Matthews (32 points)

“Let me finish tonight with the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, who was shot 150 years ago today.... Why do the people running the Republican Party, starting with Reince Priebus, oversee a national effort in three dozen states to create voter laws that make it hard for minorities, especially older minorities, from exercising the right that Abraham Lincoln died fighting to get them. This is a scar on the Grand Old Party....Who can not blame the Republican Party itself from reverting to the bad old days of Jim Crow and poll taxes and bogus literacy tests?”
Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, April 14
The “What Difference Does It Make” Award for Denying Hillary’s Scandals

George Stephanopoulos (63 points)

“As you know, the Clinton campaign says you haven’t produced a shred of evidence that there was any official action as Secretary that supported the interest of donors. We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action. And an independent government ethics expert, Bill Allison, the Sunlight Foundation, wrote this — he said: ‘There’s no smoking gun. No evidence that she changed a policy based on donations to the foundation. No smoking gun.’ Is there a smoking gun?”
George Stephanopoulos to Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer on ABC’s This Week, April 26. Two weeks later, Politico revealed that Stephanopoulos had given $75,000 in personal contributions to the Clinton Foundation, a fact he did not disclose before the interview

Joy Reid (39 points)

“I have been utterly bored with the story to the point where I only recently began to really sort of dig into it....The more I look into it, I think it’s one of those cases where the trailer is really simple, but the movie is kind of too hard to follow....Maybe Hillary Clinton on the cloud was actually somehow safer and more secure than the actual government e-mails? I don’t even understand it.”
MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid on All In with Chris Hayes, August 20

Paula Reid (35 points)

“This particular issue really shouldn’t have any impact on Clinton. The issue of the e-mails has been out there for a long time. This is not a criminal matter. In fact, it’s far from it. If there are any questions about trustworthiness, it comes, maybe, for the New York Times or the Department of Justice.”
Correspondent Paula Reid on CBS This Morning: Saturday, July 25, discussing the classified e-mails on Clinton’s personal server

Chris Matthews (32 points)

“Franklin Roosevelt — probably the best President we ever had, certainly in the 20th century — was very secretive and manipulative, and we still thought he was a good President. So if Hillary Clinton is secretive, we know that, is that going to help us get any further here?”
Host Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, May 21
Ruining the Revolution Award

Shepard Smith (64 points)

Anchor Shepard Smith: “You know the fear among anybody who’s ever been there, or cares at all about the Cuban people, as so many of us do — the last thing they need is a Taco Bell and a Lowe’s. I mean, we don’t need a – ”
FBN’s Gerri Willis: “Toilet paper, toothbrushes, right? Toothpaste.”
Smith: “That’s it. But you know, it’s one big idea and it all sort of comes together and, you wonder, are we about to get up in there and ruin that place?”
FNC’s Shepard Smith Reporting, December 17, 2014

Melissa Harris-Perry (55 points)

“On the one hand, it is great to reopen these relationships. On the other hand, I worry about American tourists and the ways that we can sometimes be a plague on the rest of the world, particularly in these nations that become high-tourist economies. And I’m wondering if there is a downside to our economic ties opening up with Cuba, for Cuba.”
Host Melissa Harris-Perry on her eponymous MSNBC show, April 11

Eleanor Clift (38 points)

“The rest of us are all going to be rushing to get to Cuba before it turns into Miami Beach, while it’s still that unspoiled, seemingly, place with the classic cars....People want to see Cuba as it is, before it becomes more developed.”
The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group, December 21, 2014

Barbara Walters (38 points)

Co-host Rosie O’Donnell: “I’m going to name some of the people you interviewed, and tell me what word first pops in your mind when I say the name. Okay? Here we go. Fidel Castro.”
ABC’s Barbara Walters: “Maybe the most charismatic person I have met.”
ABC’s The View, December 12, 2014
Damn Those Conservatives Award

Bryant Gumbel (56 points)

“There are a few things I hate more than the NRA. I mean truly. I think they’re pigs. I think they don’t care about human life. I think they are a curse upon the American landscape.”
Former NBC and CBS morning news host Bryant Gumbel, who currently hosts HBO’s Real Sports, in an interview with Rolling Stone posted January 20

Mark Bittman (50 points)

“The police killing unarmed civilians. Horrifying income inequality. Rotting infrastructure and an unsafe ‘safety net.’ An inability to respond to climate, public health and environmental threats. A food system that causes disease. An occasionally dysfunctional and even cruel government. A sizable segment of the population excluded from work and subject to near-random incarceration. You get it: This is the United States, which, with the incoming Congress, might actually get worse.”
New York Times food writer Mark Bittman in a December 14, 2014 piece for the paper’s “Sunday Review” section

Paul Krugman (50 points)

“The entire Republican Party is controlled by climate denialists, and anti-science types more broadly. And in general, the modern GOP is basically anti-rational analysis; it’s at war not just with the welfare state but with the Enlightenment.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in an August 28 blog post for

Ayman Mohyeldin (36 points)

NBC correspondent Ayman Mohyeldin: “When you juxtapose it [the movie American Sniper] with the real Chris Kyle and what has emerged about what kind of personality he was.... a lot of his own personal opinions about what he was doing in Iraq, how he viewed Iraqis. Some of what people have described as his racist tendencies towards Iraqis and Muslims when he was going on some of these, you know, killing sprees in Iraq on assignment. So I think there are issues —”
Host Joe Scarborough: “Wait, wait. Killing sprees? Chris Kyle was going on killing sprees?”
Mohyeldin: “When he was involved in his — on assignments in terms of what he was doing. A lot of the description that has come out from his book and some of the terminology that he has used, people have described as racist.”
MSNBC’s Morning Joe, January 29
The Pantsuit Patrol Award for Boosting Hillary Clinton

Mark Halperin (41 points)

“The two words she needs are ‘fun’ and ‘new.’ And part of why yesterday was so successful is she looks like she’s having fun and she’s doing, for her, new stuff. We’ve never seen her get a burrito before. Fun and new.”
Mark Halperin, co-host of Bloomberg TV’s With All Due Respect, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on April 14

Cokie Roberts (40 points)

“She does have a new message out from the last time, which is the grandmother message, and she’s using it very well. On climate change for instance, when she says, ‘Everybody says I’m not a scientist.’ She says, ‘I’m not a scientist either, I’m just a grandmother with two eyes and a brain.’ Now, that’s brilliant.”
ABC’s Cokie Roberts talking about Hillary Clinton, This Week, August 2

Laurene Powell Jobs (40 points)

“Hillary Clinton is not familiar. She is revolutionary. Not radical, but revolutionary: the distinction is crucial. She is one of America’s greatest modern creations. Her decades in our public life must not blind us to the fact that she represents new realities and possibilities. Indeed, those same decades have conferred upon her what newness usually lacks: judgment, and even wisdom.”
Laurene Powell Jobs writing the tribute to Clinton after Time chose the presidential candidate as one of the world’s “100 Most Influential People,” April 27-May 4 double issue

Mika Brzezinski (34 points)

“You measure up accomplishments, an ability to weather the storm, an ability to have had experience that might apply to this job....This is not even a conversation. She eats him for lunch....Hillary Clinton and Marco Rubio. There is no comparison. Maybe this is my ideology, but I’m sorry — but that’s a little boy, and that’s an experienced, accomplished woman who’s been elected to the Senate twice, who served as First Lady, who served as Secretary of State.”
Co-host Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, April 14
The Hopeless Haters Award for Denigrating the Conservative Candidates

Donny Deutsch (48 points)

“Everybody keeps saying he’s a smart guy. This is a guy who basically is saying that climate change is not a fact...So wait, that’s not smart. That’s dumb. But that’s ignorance. That word is ignorant and that’s not smart... I think he’s the worst. I think he’s scary, I think he’s dangerous, I think he’s slimy and I think he brings no fresh ideas.”
Regular panelist Donny Deutsch, referring to Senator Ted Cruz, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, March 23

Thomas Friedman (34 points)

“There is no longer a Republican center-right that would have no problem raising the gas tax for something as fundamental as infrastructure. Sure, there are center-right candidates — like Jeb Bush and John Kasich. But can they run, win and govern from the center-right when the base of their party and so many of its billionaire donors reflect the angry anti-science, anti-tax, anti-government, anti-minorities, anti-gay rights and anti-immigration views of the Tea Party and its media enforcer, Fox News?”
New York Times writer Thomas Friedman in an August 5 column

Carl Quintanilla (30 points)

“You’ve been a young man in a hurry ever since you won your first election in your 20s...Now, you’re skipping more votes than any senator to run for President. Why not slow down, get a few more things done first, or least finish what you start?....So when the Sun-Sentinel says Rubio should resign, not rip us off, when they say Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job, when they say you act like you hate your job, do you?”
CNBC Squawk on the Street co-host Carl Quintanilla’s questions to GOP Senator Marco Rubio at the CNBC Republican debate, October 28

Eleanor Clift (28 points)

“She [Carly Fiorina] played real fast and loose, though, with the facts around Planned Parenthood and I think she really is overreaching in the criticism she’s making of an organization that millions of women in this country have gotten services from. And to imply that they are selling and harvesting and selling baby parts — that doesn’t bear out with the facts and I think it’s really offensive.”
The Daily Beast’s Eleanor Clift on the syndicated McLaughlin Group, talking about Fiorina’s performance at the Republican debate, September 19
Harsh to the Huddled Masses Award

Katie Couric (59 points)

“I know you staunchly oppose President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. You’ve worked to block every legislative effort to allow undocumented immigrants to remain legally in this country. So, given the fact that your father immigrated here from Cuba, do you have any empathy for people who come here looking for a better way of life?”
Yahoo! News anchor Katie Couric to Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz in a June 29 interview

Tom Llamas (48 points)

“Are you aware that the term ‘anchor baby,’ that’s an offensive term? People find that hurtful....Look it up in the dictionary. It’s offensive!”
ABC correspondent Tom Llamas to Donald Trump at an August 19 press conference, a clip of which was shown the next day on Good Morning America

Al Hunt (42 points)

Clip of Donald Trump: “I don’t blame the Mexicans. I respect Mexico. I don’t blame the Mexican government. I just wish our people were smart. They’re really smart doing that. They’re sending them to us and we’re either putting them in jails, or letting them go free — which is even worse.”...
Bloomberg’s Al Hunt: “This is George Corley Wallace, 40 years later.”
MSNBC’s Morning Joe, July 13

Jorge Ramos (37 points)

“Let’s remember that Donald Trump is a creation of the Republican Party. The same ideas that other Republicans have espoused in the past, but only that he expresses them with more violence and in an extreme way.”
Univision anchor Jorge Ramos on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, August 24
The Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year

Dylan Matthews (51 points)

“American independence in 1776 was a monumental mistake....I’m reasonably confident a world in which the revolution never happened would be better than the one we live in now, for three main reasons: Slavery would’ve been abolished earlier, American Indians would’ve faced rampant persecution but not the outright ethnic cleansing Andrew Jackson and other American leaders perpetrated, and America would have a parliamentary system of government....Government spending in parliamentary countries is about 5 percent of GDP higher.”
Dylan Matthews in a July 2 post on “3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake.”

Paul Krugman (46 points)

“As a Times columnist, I can’t do endorsements, so you have no idea which party I favor in general elections.”
Left-wing New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a December 29, 2014 interview with’s Ezra Klein

CNN Analysts (28 points)

“Right now, thousands of Americans are marching in New York and Washington and across the country, demanding a justice system that applies the same to everybody and honors our values. We want you to know that our hearts are out there marching with them.”
CNN political analyst Sally Kohn wrapping up an hour of live coverage on December 13, 2014 as she, CNN analyst Margaret Hoover and CNN legal analyst Mel Robbins raised their hands, while CNN legal analyst Sunny Hostin held up a piece of paper with “I can’t breathe” written on it

Chris Matthews (22 points)

“We have a country where people can complain. In communist countries like China, they just draw a straight line, whether it goes through your house or not, it’s a straight line. We have this Amtrak, I’ve been taking it for a half a century, it doesn’t go in a straight line. In this case, it tried to make a turn and turned over, because there’s so many turns on that route. How do you get rid of the turns?”
MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews on May 13, the day after a train derailment, fretting about curves in train tracks
The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity

George Takei (46 points)

“He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry. He doesn’t belong there....This man does not belong on the Supreme Court. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America.”
Actor George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on Star Trek, talking about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in a June 30 interview with Fox 10 in Phoenix, Arizona

Ashley Judd (37 points)

“I mean, obviously, I love Hillary Rodham Clinton....And so seeing her talk about early childhood vulnerability and brain development. Man, that woman is stout. She is stout. So yes, I will be all in when the time comes....I think she might be the most overqualified candidate we’ve had since, you know, Thomas Jefferson or George Washington.”
Actress/activist Ashley Judd on Larry King Now, an Ora.TV show also carried on Hulu and broadcast on RT, the Russian TV channel, January 30

Joy Behar (34 points)

“I actually am aroused by him [Bernie Sanders]. I’m serious. I find him to be eye candy, not ear candy, eye candy....I like an old Jewish guy who’s a socialist. That’s my type of guy. Everybody is talking about [former Maryland Governor Martin] O’Malley and how hot he was. But to me, Bernie is hot.”
Co-host Joy Behar on ABC’s The View, October 14

Arsenio Hall (31 points)

“44 years ago you should have been left in a hotel hand towel full of jizz and Astroglide @MarcoRubio. Now THAT, was classless ... Shithead!”
July 22 tweet by former TV talk show host Arsenio Hall attacking Marco Rubio for saying about Donald Trump’s candidacy: “We already have a President now that has no class.”
Quote of the Year
Alfonso Aguilar, Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles: “If there’s somebody who is a hard worker when he goes to Washington, it’s Paul Ryan....”
Host Melissa Harris-Perry: “I want us to be super careful when we use the language ‘hard worker,’ because I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like. So, I feel you that he’s a hard worker, I do, but in the context of relative privilege.”
Exchange on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, October 24

Associated Press

June 20 Associated Press photo of presidential candidate Ted Cruz, speaking at a ‘Celebrate the 2nd Amendment’ event that day in Johnston, Iowa
2015 Judges

Brent H. Baker, MRC's Vice President for Research & Publications; Editor at Large of the MRC's NewsBusters blog

Mark Belling, radio talk show host, WISN-AM in Milwaukee

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

Monica Crowley, Ph,D., political and foreign affairs analyst for Fox News; columnist and Online Opinion Editor, Washington Times

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; Society of Emeritus Trustees for the Heritage Foundation

Bob Dutko, nationally syndicated radio talk show host, WMUZ in Detroit

Jim Eason, retired radio talk show host

Erick Erickson, Editor-in-Chief; radio talk show host on WSB in Atlanta

Lucianne Goldberg, publisher of media forum

Tim Graham, Executive Editor of the MRC's NewsBusters blog and Director of Media Analysis for the MRC

Stephen Hayes, senior writer at The Weekly Standard and panelist on FNC's Special Report with Bret Baier

Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, senior editor of The Federalist

Quin Hillyer, contributing editor to National Review

Mark Hyman, commentator, Behind the Headlines, for the Sinclair Broadcast Group

Jeff Jacoby, op-ed columnist for the Boston Globe

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

Lars Larson, Portland, Oregon-based talk radio host for Compass Media

Mark Larson, radio talk show host, KCBQ-AM 1170; news analyst for KUSI-TV in San Diego

Mark Levin, nationally syndicated radio talk show host; President, Landmark Legal Foundation

Jeffrey Lord, blogger for NewsBusters and contributing editor to The American Spectator

Seth Mandel, op-ed editor for the New York Post

Steve Malzberg, host of The Steve Malzberg Show on NewsmaxTV

Thomas McArdle, senior writer for Investor's Business Daily

Patrick McGuigan, Editor of and The City Sentinel in Oklahoma City

Vicki McKenna, host, the Vicki Mckenna Show on WIBA in Madison and WISN in Milwaukee

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

Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Editorial Director, The American Spectator

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

Tron Simpson, radio host on KVOR in Colorado Springs

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

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

Walter E. Williams, professor of economics, George Mason University

David Webb, SiriusXM radio talk host; Fox News contributor

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

Genevieve Wood, Senior Contributor to The Daily Signal

Martha Zoller, former radio talk show host in Georgia

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Media Coverage

In addition to discussions on numerous radio talk shows where hosts cited quotes or interviewed MRC representatives, the Best of NQ Awards issue has been highlighted by these outlets:


World magazine, by Marvin Olasky, posted on December 22 (Jan. 9, 2016 print publication): "Old every evening: Mainstream media year in review"

Syndicated column by Cal Thomas, as posted on NewsBusters: "Taking Stock of Big Media's March Toward Oblivion"; on, with video commentary: "Will the mainstream media corrupt our country even more in 2016?"

Column by Brent Bozell and Tim Graham, in the December 28 Investor's Business Daily, "Worst Reporting and Punditry of 2015" (online Dec. 24); as posted on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.

Denver Post, column by Mike Rosen on December 20: "2015's worst progressive propaganda"


One America News Network's Tipping Point segment with Ken Shepherd on December 18. Video

Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends Saturday segment with Rich Noyes on December 19. Video

Newsmax TV's Steve Malzberg Show segment with Tim Graham on December 22. Video's Bias Bash posted December 28. Video commentary by Cal Thomas: "Top 5 worst examples of media bias in 2015"


Charisma News on December 17: "2015's Best Examples of Bad Media Reporting"

Global Dispatch on December 18: "MRC names Melissa Harris-Perry the Worst of 2015 for offensive 'hard worker' is a racist term"

Washington Examiner, by Paul Bedard, on December 28: "Top media dopes and their wacky words of 2015"

CaptolBeatOK, by Patrick McGuigan on January 3, 2016: "The Nation's Best of the Worst Reporting for 2015, from the Media Research Center"

World magazine, by Marvin Olasky on December 31: "More from our wacky media pundits"