Welcome to the Media Research Center’s annual awards issue, a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2010 (December 2009 through November 2010).

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 eight 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 2010.

The MRC’s Michelle Humphrey and Melissa Lopez distributed and counted the ballots. 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 on the MRC’s Web site.

Quote of the Year

Chris Matthews

Clip of Barack Obama from 2008: “My family gave me love. They gave me an education. And most of all, they gave me hope. Hope, hope that in America, no dream is beyond our grasp if we reach for it, and fight for it, and work for it.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “I get the same thrill up my leg, all over me, every time I hear those words. I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, that’s me. He’s talking about my country and nobody does it better. Can President Obama stir us again and help his party keep power this November?”
Setting up a segment on MSNBC’s Hardball, September 7
See the Runners-Up for the Quote Of The Year
The Poison Tea Pot Award for Smearing the Anti-Obama Rabble

Tavis Smiley (92 points)

Author Ayaan Hirsi Ali, talking about radical Muslims: “Somehow, the idea got into their minds that to kill other people is a great thing to do and that they would be rewarded in the hereafter.”
Host Tavis Smiley: “But Christians do that every single day in this country.”
Ali: “Do they blow people up every day?”
Smiley: “Yes. Oh, Christians, every day, people walk into post offices, they walk into schools, that’s what Columbine is — I could do this all day long....There are folk in the Tea Party, for example, every day who are being recently arrested for making threats against elected officials, for calling people ‘nigger’ as they walk into Capitol Hill, for spitting on people. That’s within the political — that’s within the body politic of this country.”
PBS’s Tavis Smiley, May 25

Frank Rich (41 points)

“There’s nothing entertaining about watching goons hurl venomous slurs at congressmen like the civil rights hero John Lewis and the openly gay Barney Frank....How curious that a mob fond of likening President Obama to Hitler knows so little about history that it doesn’t recognize its own small-scale mimicry of Kristallnacht.”
New York Times columnist Frank Rich, March 28

Bob Schieffer (35 points)

“A year-long debate that’s been rancorous and mean from the start turned even nastier yesterday. Demonstrators protesting the bill poured into the halls of Congress shouting ‘Kill the bill!’ and ‘Made in the USSR.’ And as tempers rose, they hurled racial epithets, even at civil rights icon John Lewis of Georgia, and sexual slurs at Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank. Other legislators said the protesters spit on them, and one lawmaker said it was like a page out of a time machine.”
Bob Schieffer leading off CBS’s Face the Nation, March 21

Colbert King (26 points)

“The angry faces at Tea Party rallies are eerily familiar. They resemble faces of protesters lining the street at the University of Alabama in 1956 as Autherine Lucy, the school’s first black student, bravely tried to walk to class. Those same jeering faces could be seen gathered around the Arkansas National Guard troopers who blocked nine black children from entering Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957. ‘They moved closer and closer,’ recalled Elizabeth Eckford, one of the Little Rock Nine. ‘Somebody started yelling, “Lynch her! Lynch her!”’”
The Washington Post’s Colbert King in a March 27 column

Dan Harris (22 points)

“The NAACP points to the racial epithets allegedly hurled at black members of Congress by Tea Party members during the health care debate and to the racist signs that critics say they spotted at Tea Party events to support its conclusion that the ‘Tea Party movement is a threat to the pursuit of human rights, justice and equality for all.’...[to Tea Party official who is black] We’ve all seen the signs. There have been signs that compare Barack Obama to a monkey, there have been signs that have had the ‘N’ word on them. When you see those signs, how do you feel?”
ABC’s Dan Harris on World News, July 13
Rodney Dangerfield Award for Demanding Respect for Obama's "Achievements"

Lesley Stahl (66 points)

“It reminded me of a doctor who has this horrible burn victim come into the hospital, and he saves the guy’s life — this is our economy — saves the guy’s life, but the guy wakes up and he’s got scars all over his face, and that’s all he sees, that’s all anybody sees. The guy’s living, but he looks awful. And how — what’s the doctor supposed to say? And that’s what he’s [Obama is] fighting, he’s fighting an economy that just won’t give him anything… He cannot get any traction on what he’s accomplished.”
CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, October 18

Joy Behar (49 points)

Co-host Joy Behar: “You’ve really done a lot, I think. I mean, you’ve signed 200-plus laws into — since you’re in office. You have — financial reform has taken place. You got a health care — I mean, you put two women on the Supreme Court. I could go on and on about your accomplishments. And yet, the right-wing, through Fox News and other outlets, they seem to be hijacking the narrative. Where, on your side, is the narrative? Where is your attack dog to come out and tell the American people, ‘Listen, this is what we did?’”
President Obama: “Joy, that’s your job.”
Behar, over audience applause: “I do it! But, I’m only one woman!”
Exchange on ABC’s The View, July 29

Christiane Amanpour (47 points)

“People from all over the world, frankly, say to me, here comes a President with a huge mandate, a huge reservoir of goodwill, huge promises to change, and, with all of that, his popularity is down. People don’t appreciate some of the amazing legislative agenda that he’s accomplished.”
Host Christiane Amanpour to White House advisor David Axelrod on ABC’s This Week, September 26

USA Today (35 points)

“Big problems. Big achievements. Big costs. Historians say President Obama’s legislative record during a crisis-ridden presidency already puts him in a league with such consequential presidents as Lyndon Johnson and Franklin Roosevelt. But polls show voters aren’t totally on board with his achievements, at least not yet, and the White House acknowledges that his victories have carried huge financial and political costs. ‘There are always costs in doing big things,’ Obama told USA Today.”
Opening of May 12 USA Today cover story by Susan Page and Mimi Hall, “Will doing ‘big things’ wind up costing Obama?” The accompanying picture showed a portrait of Abraham Lincoln peering down at Obama

Chuck Todd (29 points)

“You’ve had an enormous amount of legislative victories — it’s comparable to any President in history. It has not translated into political capital with the public. Honestly, are you frustrated by that?”
NBC’s Chuck Todd to President Obama in an interview excerpt shown on MSNBC’s Hardball, July 16
Damn Those Conservatives Award