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Year End Awards: The Best Notable Quotables of 2011

Welcome to the Media Research Center's annual awards issue, a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2011 (December 2010 through November 2011).

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 [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 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.

Quote of the Year
“What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. [The] atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neo-cons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons....The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a September 11 posting to his blog
See the Runners-Up for the Quote Of The Year
The Tea Party Terrorists Award

Paul Krugman (91 points)

“We don’t have proof yet that this was political, but the odds are that it was. She’s been the target of violence before....Her father says that ‘the whole Tea Party’ was her enemy. And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous ‘crosshairs’ list. Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing....Violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a 3:22pm ET January 8 blog posting, less than two hours after news broke of Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting

Joe Nocera (54 points)

“You know what they say: Never negotiate with terrorists. It only encourages them. These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people....For now, the Tea Party Republicans can put aside their suicide vests. But rest assured: They’ll have them on again soon enough.”
New York Times columnist Joe Nocera, August 2

Thomas Friedman (46 points)

“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

Margaret Carlson (26 points)

“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

Joan Walsh / Chris Matthews (21 points)

Salon’s Joan Walsh: “These people, the Tea Partiers and their friends and their enablers and their corporate friends like Dick Armey, they have created this shrieking on the right....They’re paying the lowest taxes in 50 years — more than 50 years, more than my lifetime — and they are still complaining. And some of them aren’t complaining. There are some good business people who know this game of chicken, in particular, is deadly and it’s wrong and it’s hostage-taking. And you shouldn’t negotiate with hostage-takers.”
Host Chris Matthews: “I agree with you. I agree with you. I agree. It’s terrorism.”
MSNBC’s Hardball, July 5
Tying Granny to the Train Tracks Award for Condemning Budget Cuts

Christiane Amanpour (60 points)

“People who have been studying your numbers very carefully have been saying that the numbers don’t add up....[They say] two-thirds of the savings that you want to make in spending cuts come at the expense of programs designed for the poor, for the disadvantaged. And this is reverse Robin Hoodism, if you like — take from the poor, give back to the rich again.”
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on This Week, May 1

Jonathan Alter (56 points)

“After many years where Democrats kind of cried wolf about Republicans wanting to throw granny into the snow, this time that’s what they have just voted to do.”
Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter during the 6pm ET hour of MSNBC Live, April 15

Jake Tapper (43 points)

“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

Tavis Smiley (43 points)

“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

Stephen Marche (85 points)

“Can we just enjoy Obama for a moment? Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement? Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph....’I am large, I contain multitudes,’ Walt Whitman wrote, and Obama lives that lyrical prophecy....Barack Obama is developing into what Hegel called a ‘world-historical soul,’ an embodiment of the spirit of the times. He is what we hope we can be.”
Esquire’s Stephen Marche in a column for the magazine’s August 2011 issue: “How Can We Not Love Obama? Because Like It or Not, He Is All of Us.”

Christiane Amanpour (53 points)

“Full of sunny optimism, very Reaganesque, on and on about American exceptionalism in many, many instances and full of Kennedyesque encouragement to break a new frontier. That Sputnik moment was remarkable....”
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour reviewing Obama’s State of the Union speech during live coverage, January 25

Howard Fineman (50 points)

“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

Lara Spencer (29 points)

“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

Brian Williams (60 points)

“Question about Texas. Your state has executed 234 death row inmates, more than any other governor in modern times — [ audience cheers and applause ] — have you struggled to sleep at night with the idea that any one of those might have been innocent?...What do you make of that dynamic that just happened here, the mention of the execution of 234 people drew applause?”

“Senator Santorum, on another front, you’re a devout Catholic....Having said that, the Catholic faith has, as a part of it, caring for the poor. One in seven people in this country now qualifies as poor. Where do the poor come in, where do they place in this party, on this stage, in a Santorum administration?”
Moderator Brian Williams to candidates Rick Perry and Rick Santorum during MSNBC’s Republican presidential candidates debate, September 7

Bob Schieffer (55 points)

“Mr. Cain, I have to ask you what is the point of that? Having a man smoke a cigarette in a television commercial for you?...Well, let me just tell you, it’s not funny to me. I am a cancer survivor like you. I had cancer that was smoking related. I don’t think it serves the country well, and this is an editorial opinion here, to be showing someone smoking a cigarette. You’re the frontrunner now and it seems to me as frontrunner you would have a responsibility not to take that kind of a tone in this campaign....Why don’t you take it off the Internet?”
Host Bob Schieffer lecturing Herman Cain on CBS’s Face the Nation, October 30

Jack Cafferty (49 points)

“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.

Jack Cafferty (47 points)

“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

Mike Malloy (63 points)

“So when does SEAL Unit 6, or whatever it’s called, drop in on George Bush? Bush was responsible for a lot more death, innocent death, than bin Laden. Wasn’t he, or am I wrong here?”
Left-wing radio host and former CNN producer Mike Malloy on The Mike Malloy Show, May 2

Ed Schultz (54 points)

“President Obama is going to be visiting Joplin, Missouri, on Sunday, but you know what they’re talking about? Like this right-wing slut, what’s her name, Laura Ingraham? Yeah, she’s a talk slut. You see, she was, back in the day, praising President Reagan when he was drinking a beer overseas. But now that Obama’s doing it, they’re working him over.”
Ed Schultz on his radio program, May 24. The next night, Schultz appeared on his 10pm ET MSNBC show to apologize: “I used vile and inappropriate language when talking about talk show host Laura Ingraham. I am deeply sorry, and I apologize.”

Jon Meacham (45 points)

“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

Cenk Uygur (33 points)

“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

Bob Schieffer (68 points)

“Why do these rich people need another tax cut? I mean, they’re already rich. They seem to be doing pretty well as it is now. Why cut their taxes some more?...If the country needs to borrow 40 cents of every dollar that it spends, how do you help that by reducing the amount of taxes that the richest people in the country pay? It would seem to me that’s where you get revenue.”
Bob Schieffer to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) on CBS’s Face the Nation, April 17

Christiane Amanpour (53 points)

Host Christiane Amanpour: “Some 75 percent of Americans agree with an increase in tax on millionaires as a way to pay for these jobs provisions. Do you not feel that by opposing it you’re basically out of step with the American people on this issue?...Are you concerned that these budget cuts are going to hurt the people who can least afford it?...There doesn’t seem to be the sense amongst people here that the sacrifice is being shared because they point to taxes and tax cuts and who it benefits and who it doesn’t.”
House Speaker John Boehner: “Come on! The top one percent pay 38 percent of the income taxes in America. How much more do you want them to pay?”
ABC’s This Week, November 6

Brian Williams (39 points)

“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

Piers Morgan (30 points)

“Grover, you’re the eye of the tiger in all this. People take their lead from you on the Republican side and you’ve been intransigent: ‘There will be no tax increases.’ Most impartial observers outside of America say that is crazy, and you have got to change your attitude to this and allow some tax increases.”
CNN’s Piers Morgan to Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, July 25
The Grim Reaper Award for Saying Conservatives Want You to Die

Paul Krugman (64 points)

CNN’s Gloria Borger: “[House Budget Chairman Paul] Ryan became popular by pushing the unpopular, things like killing his colleagues' pork projects, or trying to revamp Social Security, and eventually change Medicare into a program of vouchers for private insurers....”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman: “To be a little melodramatic, the voucher would kill people, no question....The cuts in Medicare that he’s proposing, the replacement of Medicare by a voucher system, would in the end mean that tens of millions of older Americans would not be able to afford essential health care. So that counts as cruelty to me.”
From a profile of Ryan that aired on CNN’s Stories: Reporter, September 25

Chris Matthews (61 points)

“Most people who follow the news and watch the newspapers every day and watch television shows like this on Fox or this network, MSNBC, or anywhere, on CNN, they — those most attuned to this debate over the budget are either retired or close to it....Let them [Republicans] offer a big slash in Medicare, which is going to kill half the people who watch this show.”
Chris Matthews talking about the House GOP budget plan on MSNBC’s Hardball, April 11

Diane Sawyer / Jake Tapper (35 points)

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

Martin Bashir (31 points)

“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

Mark Bittman (29 points)

“I stopped eating on Monday and joined around 4,000 other people in a fast to call attention to congressional budget proposals that would make huge cuts in programs for the poor and hungry....These supposedly deficit-reducing cuts — they’d barely make a dent — will quite literally cause more people to starve to death, go to bed hungry or live more miserably than are doing so now.”
New York Times food writer Mark Bittman in a March 30 op-ed, “Why We’re Fasting.”
Occupy My Heart and Soul Award for Left-Wing Protest Promotion

Diane Sawyer (64 points)

“We thought we’d bring you up to date on those protesters, the Occupy Wall Street movement. As of tonight, it has spread to more than 250 American cities, more than a thousand countries — every continent but Antarctica.”
Diane Sawyer on ABC’s World News, October 10. On a later edition, Sawyer corrected her still-absurd hype: “...more than a thousand cities around the world.”

Brian Williams (45 points)

“Good evening. We begin tonight with what has become by any measure a pretty massive protest movement. While it goes by the official name ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ it has spread steadily and far beyond Wall Street, and it could well turn out to be the protest of this current era.”
Anchor Brian Williams leading off the October 5 NBC Nightly News

Dan Harris (41 points)

“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

Michael Cooper / Katharine Seelye (40 points)

“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

Christiane Amanpour (32 points)

“This week: people power making history. A revolt in the Midwest and a revolution sweeping across the Middle East....Populist frustration is boiling over this week — as we’ve said, not just in the Middle East, but in the middle of this country as well.”
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour opening This Week, February 20, referring to Wisconsin and Egypt
The Media Hero Award

Barbara Walters (61 points)

“You thought that Anthony Weiner should resign, and that seems to be what a great many people are saying. So I don’t think so. I think what he has done is unfathomable. I think the pictures are disgusting....The ethics committee can investigate him and chastise, but not necessarily throw him out. And we had a President named Bill Clinton who went through a great deal of trouble, weathered the storm and is now not only respected, but he’s beloved by many people with a very good marriage. So, I think Anthony Weiner should hang in there. He was a good Congressman, and maybe he can weather this all and be effective.”
Barbara Walters to her co-hosts on ABC’s The View, June 9

Chris Matthews (59 points)

“Bill Clinton has taken the prestige of his time in office, his relationships with other heads of state and forged something never known before, a global force for good. He’s fighting AIDS in Africa, the devastation of floods and earthquakes, and nearly every other challenge facing mankind on the face of the globe....We’ve never had a world leader like this before! Bill Clinton: President of the World.”
Chris Matthews on the February 9 Hardball, touting his upcoming MSNBC documentary on Clinton

Lesley Stahl (46 points)

“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

David Gregory (31 points)

“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

George Stephanopoulos (30 points)

“I had a great trip yesterday. I went to Chicago, talked to new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff. It was his first time he’s speaking out on a national stage....He is very happy.... The former congressman and White House chief of staff to President Obama is off to a fast start, already working his Rolodex to bring new jobs to the windy city....[to Emanuel] You know, if you do a good job here, a lot of Democrats are going to be talking about you to run for President in 2016.”
ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, June 1
Flunk the Founding Fathers Award

Richard Stengel (75 points)

“The framers were not gods and were not infallible. Yes, they gave us, and the world, a blueprint for the protection of democratic freedoms — freedom of speech, assembly, religion — but they also gave us the idea that a black person was three-fifths of a human being, that women were not allowed to vote and that South Dakota should have the same number of Senators as California, which is kind of crazy....If the Constitution was intended to limit the federal government, it sure doesn’t say so.”
Time managing editor Richard Stengel in the magazine’s July 4 edition, which featured a picture of the U.S. Constitution going through a shredder with the headline, “Does It Still Matter?”

Norah O'Donnell / Ezra Klein (69 points)

Fill-in anchor Norah O’Donnell: “When Republicans take over next week, they’re going to do something that apparently has never been done in the 221-year history of the House of Representatives. They are going to read the Constitution aloud. Is this a gimmick?”
Washington Post writer/blogger Ezra Klein: “Yes, it’s a gimmick. [Laughs] I mean, you can say two things about it. One, is that it has no binding power on anything. And two, the issue of the Constitution is not that people don’t read the text and think they’re following. The issue of the Constitution is that the text is confusing because it was written more than a hundred years ago and what people believe it says differs from person to person and differs depending on what they want to get done.”
MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, December 30, 2010

Chris Matthews (47 points)

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

John Donvan (29 points)

“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 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

Maureen Dowd (78 points)

“Tea Party budget-slashers....were like cannibals, eating their own party and leaders alive. They were like vampires, draining the country’s reputation, credit rating and compassion. They were like zombies, relentlessly and mindlessly coming back again and again to assault their unnerved victims, Boehner and President Obama. They were like the metallic beasts in Alien flashing mouths of teeth inside other mouths of teeth, bursting out of Boehner’s stomach every time he came to a bouquet of microphones.”
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, August 3 column

Piers Morgan (57 points)

Host Piers Morgan: “Where is the similar mob to Mussolini’s and Hitler’s in the modern democratic era?...The Tea Party?”
Ann Coulter: “No. No, no, no.”
Morgan: “The nearest thing to it in America?...Are you wild about them?...The Tea Party?”...
Coulter: “Oh, yeah, I love them.”
Morgan: “See, I don’t really get that....I don’t get that because you’re a smart cookie....You’re intelligent. You live a provocative life.”
Coulter: “I believe you’re insulting the Tea Partiers.”
Morgan: “Well, they’re not among the brightest of spellers, are they?”
CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, June 7

Matt Lauer (51 points)

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

Bob Schieffer (36 points)

“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

Brian Williams (24 points)

“All of this, of course, is if you get what you want in a highly toxic atmosphere, and it sure looked to me from the outside like you went into the debt ceiling fight thinking, ‘Surely they will do the statesman-like thing. Surely they won’t go there.’ And it seemed to me as if Speaker Boehner was coming to you saying, ‘Look, if it were up to me, we would do this, but I’ve got this membership problem.’ And they went there, and now that marks our politics.”
Brian Williams to President Obama in an interview shown on the NBC Nightly News, September 12
MSNBC = Mean-Spirited, Nasty, Belligerent Chris Award

Chris Matthews (66 points)

Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page: “Well this is Newt’s time to run....He has a good shot at winning the nomination. Winning the general is a whole different matter. But this-”
Host Chris Matthews, interrupting: “But he looks like a car bomber. He looks like a car bomber, Clarence. He looks like a car bomber. He’s got that crazy Mephistophelian grin of his. He looks like he loves torturing. Look at the guy! I mean this, this is not the face of a President.”
MSNBC’s Hardball, March 2

Chris Matthews (62 points)

Host Chris Matthews: “One thing I notice about black people at different conventions. You go to a Democratic convention with Donna [Edwards] and black folk are hanging together and having a good time. They’re smiling, they’re enjoying themselves. They feel very much at home. You go to a Republican event, you get a feeling that you are all told, ‘Individually now, don’t bunch up. Don’t, don’t, don’t get together. Don’t get together, don’t crowd, you’ll scare these people.’ Is that true in the Republican Party? Is that still true in your party? Did you fear that if you got together with some other African-Americans, these white guys might get scared of you?”
Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele: “No! What are you talking about?!”
MSNBC’s Hardball, January 17

Chris Matthews (29 points)

“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

Chris Matthews (29 points)

“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

Lawrence O’Donnell (63 points)

Clip from RNC ad: “Stop Obama and his union bosses today. The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”
Host Lawrence O’Donnell: “The Republican Party is saying that the President of the United States has bosses, that the union bosses this President around, the unions boss him around. Does that sound to you like they are trying to consciously or subconsciously deliver the racist message that, of course, of course a black man can’t be the real boss?”
Ex-Governor Jennifer Granholm (D-MI): “Wow, I hadn’t thought about the racial overtones....”
MSNBC’s The Last Word, February 25

Thomas Roberts (55 points)

“I get out of all of these things that many of these candidates would rather take legislation to build a time machine and go back in time to where we had, you know, no women voting, slavery was cool. I mean, it’s just kind of ridiculous.”
Daytime anchor Thomas Roberts on MSNBC Live, September 23, talking about the previous night’s GOP debate

Andrea Mitchell (48 points)

“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

Piers Morgan (40 points)

“I’ve had a lot of guests on recently getting very hot under the collar about the Tea 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

Richard Wolffe (35 points)

“The interesting question is: what is it about this President that has stripped away the veneer of respect that normally accompanies the office of the President? Why do Republicans think this President is unpresidential — unpresidential, and shouldn’t dare to request this kind of thing? It strikes me that it could be the economic times, it could be that he won so big in 2008, or it could be, let’s face it, the color of his skin.”
MSNBC political analyst and ex-Newsweek reporter Richard Wolffe talking about the brief contretemps over scheduling Obama’s speech to Congress, The Last Word, August 31
America Is the Real Evil Empire Award

Paul Krugman (91 points)

“What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. [The] atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neo-cons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons....The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a September 11 posting to his blog

Chris Hedges (70 points)

“The dead in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania were used to sanctify the state’s lust for war....Because few cared to examine our activities in the Muslim world, the attacks became certified as incomprehensible by the state and its lap dogs, the press....Our brutality and triumphalism, the byproducts of nationalism and our infantile pride, revived the jihadist movement. We became the radical Islamist movement’s most effective recruiting tool. We descended to its barbarity. We became terrorists too. The sad legacy of 9/11 is that the assholes, on each side, won.”
Ex-New York Times reporter Chris Hedges writing on, September 10

Benedict Carey (42 points)

“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.”

Petula Dvorak (36 points)

“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

Chris Matthews (80 points)

“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

Jill Abramson (50 points)

“You know, I think that the people who see the Times as like a liberal rag are wrong and that they sometimes don’t understand the separation between our opinion side, which produces our editorials and our op-eds, and the news report....You know, the news reporters go into their stories with an open mind. And something I stress to our reporters at the Times is even when you think you know the story, go in ready to be surprised or illuminated by what somebody tells you.”
New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, October 19

Brooke Gladstone (44 points)

“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’s “In the Arena” blog posted May 31

Nina Totenberg (38 points)

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

Piers Morgan / Christiane Amanpour (28 points)

Host Piers Morgan: “What I’ve always liked about your style is it’s — I wouldn’t say confrontational, but you’ve never shied away from being opinionated. And people have always got this quaint idea about CNN, that it doesn’t have opinions. What it doesn’t have is partisanship, which is a very different thing from having an opinion....”
ABC’s Christiane Amanpour: “I am not an American. I don’t vote. I don’t have an ideological bias. I actually have a lot of both — I believe in a lot of liberal policies and a lot of conservative policies.”
Curabitur sodales ligula in libero.
The Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year

Katie Couric (64 points)

“The bigotry expressed against Muslims in this country has been one of the most disturbing stories to surface this year. Of course, a lot of noise was made about the Islamic Center, mosque, down near the World Trade Center, but I think there wasn’t enough sort of careful analysis and evaluation of where this bigotry toward 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide, and how this seething hatred many people feel for all Muslims, which I think is so misdirected, and so wrong, and so disappointing....Maybe we need a Muslim version of The Cosby Show....I know that sounds crazy. But The Cosby Show did so much to change attitudes about African-Americans in this country, and I think sometimes people are afraid of things they don’t understand.”
CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric on her @KatieCouric Web show, December 22, 2010

Ray Suarez (51 points)

“One of Cuba’s greatest prides is its health care system. Cuba’s government promotes the country’s free and universal medical care from the moment a baby is born as the cornerstone of its communist state....How can one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere provide free care and achieve such impressive health outcomes?...There’s no doctor shortage in Cuba, which means the health care system here can push doctors and nurses down to the smallest rural communities, providing a kind of care that’s both personal and persistent....In an era when countries are struggling to do more for less with limited health care dollars, Cuba’s successes in prevention are likely to be closely watched.”
Correspondent Ray Suarez on PBS’s NewsHour, December 21, 2010

Jill Abramson (47 points)

“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 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

Don Lemon (31 points)

“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

Bob Schieffer (31 points)

“You also said at one point that you might want to back that [border] fence up with a moat and fill it with alligators. Was that a joke, too?”
CBS’s Bob Schieffer to GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain on the October 30 Face the Nation
The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity

Sean Penn (70 points)

“You have what I call the ‘Get the N-word out of the White House party,’ the Tea Party.... At the end of the day, there’s a big bubble coming out of their heads saying, you know, ‘Can we just lynch him?’”
Actor Sean Penn on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, October 14

Bill Maher (52 points)

“Because we don’t have government health care, that’s one reason why a crazy person gets a gun because, you know what, it’s hard for a crazy person to get a job, so therefore it’s hard for them to get health care.”
Host Bill Maher on his HBO program Real Time, January 14, talking about the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords just days earlier.

Morgan Freeman (37 points)

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

Steven Weber (36 points)

“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

Roseanne Barr (34 points)

“All you Tea Party spokespeople, you work for the Koch brothers and they’re like billionaires....The Tea Party is owned by the richest people in the world....Dick Cheney didn’t earn one damn thing. Guy’s never worked an honest day in his life....[Sarah Palin is] a loon and I think she’s kind of a traitor to this country.... Her followers are the dumbest people on Earth....They can barely scare up a pulse. I’m serious.”
Roseanne Barr on the 9pm ET edition of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, January 5
Quote of the Year

Paul Krugman

“What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. [The] atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neo-cons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons....The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in a September 11 posting to his blog

Stephen Marche

“Can we just enjoy Obama for a moment? Before the policy choices have to be weighed and the hard decisions have to be made, can we just take a month or two to contemplate him the way we might contemplate a painting by Vermeer or a guitar lick by the early-seventies Rolling Stones or a Peyton Manning pass or any other astounding, ecstatic human achievement? Because twenty years from now, we’re going to look back on this time as a glorious idyll in American politics, with a confident, intelligent, fascinating president riding the surge of his prodigious talents from triumph to triumph....’I am large, I contain multitudes,’ Walt Whitman wrote, and Obama lives that lyrical prophecy....Barack Obama is developing into what Hegel called a ‘world-historical soul,’ an embodiment of the spirit of the times. He is what we hope we can be.”
Esquire’s Stephen Marche in a column for the magazine’s August 2011 issue: “How Can We Not Love Obama? Because Like It or Not, He Is All of Us.”

Chris Matthews (80 points)

“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

Lee Anderson, Assistant Publisher and Editor, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Chuck Asay, syndicated editorial cartoonist, Creators Syndicate

Brent H. Baker, MRC’s Vice President for Research & Publications; Editor of CyberAlert and MRC’s NewsBusters blog

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

Robert Bluey, Director, Center for Media and Public Policy at the Heritage Foundation

Neal Boortz, WSB Atlanta-based nationally syndicated radio talk show host

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

Priscilla L. Buckley, author of Living It Up at National Review

Bill Cunningham, syndicated radio talk show host, Premiere Radio Networks

Midge Decter, author; Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees

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

Erick Erickson, editor of

Eric Fettmann, associate editorial page editor, New York Post

David Freddoso, online opinion editor for The Washington Examiner

Mike Gallagher, syndicated radio talk show host and Fox News contributor

Michael Graham, host on WTKK radio and Boston Herald columnist

Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis, Media Research Center; Senior Editor of the MRC's NewsBusters blog

Lucianne Goldberg, publisher of news forum

Quin Hillyer, Senior Editor of The American Spectator

Mark Hyman, TV commentator, Sinclair Broadcast Group

Jeff Jacoby, syndicated columnist for the Boston Globe

Cliff Kincaid, Director, AIM Center for Investigative Journalism

Mark Larson, radio talk show host, KCBQ/KPRZ in San Diego

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

Matt Lewis, senior contributor for The Daily Caller

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor-at-large, National Review Online

Brian Maloney, radio analyst, creator of The RadioEqualizer blog

Steve Malzberg, radio talk show host, WOR Radio Network

Tom McArdle, Senior Writer for Investor’s Business Daily

Patrick McGuigan, Editor of; Senior Editor for The City Sentinel

Vicki McKenna, radio talk show host, WISN in Milwaukee and WIBA in Madison, Wisconsin

Colin McNickle, Editorial Page Editor for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Jan Mickelson, radio talk show host, WHO in Des Moines

Rich Noyes, Director of Research, Media Research Center; Senior Editor of the MRC's NewsBusters blog

Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-Chief of World magazine

Henry Payne, The Detroit News editorial cartoonist, Editor of

Kerry Picket, editorial page writer/editor, The Washington Times

Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Editorial Director, The American Spectator

Dan Rea, host of Nightside, on WBZ Radio in Boston

Chris Reed, Editor,; San Diego Union-Tribune editorial writer

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

James Taranto, Wall Street Journal editorial board member and editor of “Best of the Web Today”

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

R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., Founder and Editor-in-Chief, The American Spectator

Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC’s TimesWatch site

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

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

Martha Zoller, radio talk show host, Georgia News Network

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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:


Washington Times, "Inside the Beltway" by Jennifer Harper, December 19: "Krugman's Moment"

Denver Post, column by Mike Rosen, December 22: "Liberal media wisdom in 2011"

Investor's Business Daily, Creators syndicate column by Brent Bozell, December 22: "2011 Could Be Called the Year of Krugman Thuggishness"

World magazine, column by Marvin Olasky, December 31: "More mush: Judging the worst journalism of 2011"

Waterbury (CT) Republican American, January 1, 2012 editorial: "Chronicles of Bias XXIV"

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Creators syndicate column by Brent Bozell, January 1, 2012: "A look back at Big Media's mayhem"


FNC's Hannity. MRC President Brent Bozell discussed the award-winning quotes with guest host Mark Steyn on the Fox News Channel on Thursday, December 22.Video


American Spectator, Quin Hillyer on, December 1: "The Ever-Worse Establishment Media"

Hot Air, December 19: "And the MRC award for the Quote of the Year goes to…"

Washington Times, Water Cooler blog by Kerry Picket, December 20: "Krugman wins media watchdog group’s quote of the year"

NealzNuze blog by Neal Boortz, December 21: "Reading Assignments", December 22: "'May I have the envelope, please?'"