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Year End Awards: The Best Notable Quotables of 2012

Welcome to the Media Research Center's annual awards issue, a compilation of the most outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2012 (December 2011 through November 2012).

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 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 2012.

The MRC's Michelle Humphrey distributed the ballots and tabulated the results. Senior news analyst Scott Whitlock 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.

Quote of the Year
“The land on which they [the Founders] formed this Union was stolen. The hands with which they built this nation were enslaved. The women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class….This is the imperfect fabric of our nation, at times we’ve torn and stained it, and at other moments, we mend and repair it. But it’s ours, all of it. The imperialism, the genocide, the slavery, also the liberation and the hope and the deeply American belief that our best days still lie ahead of us.”
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry on her eponymous July 1 program, delivering what she called “my footnote for the Fourth of July.”
See the Runners-Up for the Quote Of The Year
The Throwing Granny Off a Cliff Award for Portraying Romney and Ryan as Heartless

Jonathan Alter (78 points)

“What the press should be focused on is what are the consequences of repeal of ObamaCare. And the consequences, as Mike [Kinsley] just indicated, are death. Repeal equals death. People will die in the United States if ObamaCare is repealed. That is not an exaggeration. That is not crying fire. It’s a simple fact….They [the Obama campaign] need to move on to a debate about the main issue, which is ObamaCare. And they can bring death into the conversation and say, ‘No, we’re not calling Mitt Romney a murderer. What we are saying is that if he’s elected President, a lot of people will die.’”
Ex-Newsweek senior editor Jonathan Alter, now an MSNBC political analyst, on The Ed Show, August 9

Charles Pierce (64 points)

“In his decision to make Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, his running mate, Romney finally surrendered the tattered remnants of his soul not only to the extreme base of his party, but also to extremist economic policies, and to an extremist view of the country he seeks to lead…Paul Ryan is an authentically dangerous zealot. He does not want to reform entitlements. He wants to eliminate them…. He is a smiling, aw-shucks murderer of opportunity, a creator of dystopias in which he never will have to live.”
Esquire’s Charles Pierce, a former Boston Globe Magazine writer, in an August 11 posting, “Paul Ryan: Murderer of Opportunity, Political Coward, Candidate for Vice President of the United States.”

Martin Bashir (36 points)

“If his [the House GOP] budget were ever to come to pass, then Meals on Wheels would be killed, transportation services to the disabled would be destroyed, food stamps would be eviscerated. I think many Americans would end up in soup kitchens like that. So I don’t think we should be critical. I think we should be grateful that what Mr. Ryan has shown us is exactly what will happen to people if the kind of vicious and callous budget that he would wish to impose on American people ends up coming to pass.”
MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on NewsNation, October 16

Maureen Dowd (30 points)

“I’d been wondering how long it would take Republicans to realize that Paul Ryan is their guy….Who better to rain misery upon the heads of millions of Americans? He’s Scrooge disguised as a Pickwick, an ideologue disguised as a wonk. Not since Ronald Reagan tried to cut the budget by categorizing ketchup and relish as vegetables has the G.O.P. managed to find such an attractive vessel to mask harsh policies with a smiling face….Ryan should stop being so lovable. People who intend to hurt other people should wipe the smile off their faces.”
New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, August 15
The Obamagasm Award

Chris Matthews (97 points)

“This guy’s done everything right. He’s raised his family right. He’s fought his way all the way to the top of the Harvard Law Review, in a blind test becomes head of the Review, the top editor there. Everything he’s done is clean as a whistle. He’s never not only broken any law, he’s never done anything wrong. He’s the perfect father, the perfect husband, the perfect American. And all they do is trash the guy.”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews talking about President Obama on Hardball, July 17

Piers Morgan (44 points)

“When you watch the President like that, I always feel he’s got so many pluses, doesn’t he? In a sense, he’s personable, he’s handsome, he can be funny. You know, abroad he has this great image for America. A lot of things are just perfect about Barack Obama.”
Host Piers Morgan to Obama strategist David Axelrod on CNN's Piers Morgan Tonight, December 5, 2011

Andrew Sullivan (32 points)

“Given the enormity of what he inherited, and given what he explicitly promised, it remains simply a fact that Obama has delivered in a way that the unhinged right and purist left have yet to understand or absorb…. What I see in front of my nose is a President whose character, record, and promise remain as grotesquely underappreciated now as they were absurdly hyped in 2008. And I feel confident that sooner rather than later, the American people will come to see his first term from the same calm, sane perspective. And decide to finish what they started.”
Andrew Sullivan in Newsweek’s January 23 cover story, “Why Are Obama’s Critics So Dumb?”

Diane Sawyer (29 points)

“One of the perils of being President: Everything you ever wrote will become public. And today, Barack Obama, age 22 — long before he met Michelle — new letters and diary entries revealed in Vanity Fair from a biography out soon….The future president writes adoringly about life in New York. Quote, ‘Moments trip gently along over here. Snow caps the bushes in unexpected ways. Birds shoot and spin like balls of sound. My feet hum over the dry walks.’ Oh, we were all so romantic when we were young.”
Diane Sawyer on World News, May 2
The "Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste" Award
for Exploiting Tragedy to Promote Liberalism

Brian Ross (100 points)

Co-host George Stephanopoulos: “I want to go to Brian Ross here, because, Brian, you’ve been looking — investigating the background of Jim Holmes here, and you’ve found something that might be significant.”
Correspondent Brian Ross: “There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado page on the Colorado Tea Party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.”
ABC’s Good Morning America, during July 20 coverage of the movie theater shooting. A few hours later, Ross appeared on ABC to confess: “An earlier report that I had was incorrect, that he was connected to the Tea Party. In fact, that’s a different Jim Holmes....”

Chris Matthews (66 points)

“I am so proud of the country, to re-elect this President....A good day for America. I’m so glad we had that storm [Hurricane Sandy] last week, because I think the storm was one of those things — no, politically I should say, not in terms of hurting people — the storm brought in possibilities for good politics.”
Chris Matthews wrapping up MSNBC’s live election night coverage shortly before 3am ET, November 7. (He apologized on the November 7 Hardball: “I said something not just stupid, but wrong.”)

Elizabeth Cohen (32 points)

CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen: “These nine Supreme Court Justices will forever affect the life of 3-year-old Violet McManus. [to Julie Walters, Violet’s mother] Are you worried about what the Supreme Court might do?”
Julie Walters: “I’m really scared. Very scared. Like, ‘I can’t sleep’ scared.”
Cohen: “Violet’s mother, Julie, knows if the Justices overturn health care reform, Violet will lose her health insurance. [to Walters] Tell me why it’s scary for you.”
Walters, crying: “Our daughter could die, and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
CNN Newsroom, March 27

Chris Hayes (27 points)

“The story of civilization is the long tale of crusaders for order battling the unceasing reality of chaos....We’ve released millions of years of stored-up carbon into the atmosphere, which is now altering the climate and threatening the very monuments of civilization that we so cherish. We absolutely have it within us, collectively, to beat back the forces of chaos once again, but we must choose to do so, and the time for choosing is now. You are either on the side of your fellow citizens and residents of this planet, or you are on the side of the storms as yet unnamed. You cannot be neutral. So, which side are you on?”
Host Chris Hayes demanding action on climate change, MSNBC’s Up with Chris Hayes, November 3
The Sandra Fluke Award for Promoting Obama's Phony “War on Women”

Joy Behar (78 points)

“People like [Missouri GOP Senate candidate Todd] Akin that think the vagina is some sort of Magical Mystery Tour and men like that are running this country…This is why I took this job. I have a job already at The View. But I feel this country is going downhill because of people like Akin and Ryan and Romney. They’re trying to kill us and destroy us.”
New Current TV host Joy Behar, as quoted by the Boston Herald’s Megan Johnson in an August 29 article

Roger Simon (45 points)

“The question for some, especially women, is: Why do the Republicans want to get government out of our lives, but into our wombs?”
Politico’s Roger Simon on Inside Washington, March 2

Brian Williams (44 points)

“Are you prepared to leave this gathering and own the fact that the platform of this party allows a woman, who has been raped, no exception but to carry that child to term?…In a business where you and your opponent are trying to attract, especially, suburban women, does it send the right message?”
NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams to Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, August 30

Bob Schieffer (39 points)

(To Joe Biden) “Mr. Vice President, I want to ask you about this whole thing that’s blown up about contraception….The way it’s kind of shaken down, it seems to have sort of gotten Republicans off talking about the economy, and sort of campaigning for — against birth control, in some funny kind of way. What’s your take on that?”
(To Newt Gingrich) “Do you think it’s good politics, though, for Republicans to be sort of campaigning against birth control?”
Questions posed by CBS’s Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, April 1
The Ku Klux Con Job Award for Smearing Conservatives with Phony Racism Charges

David Chalian (63 points)

“They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.”
Yahoo! News Washington bureau chief and former political director for ABC News David Chalian talking over a picture of Ann and Mitt Romney, as caught on an open microphone during coverage of the Republican National Convention, August 28

Touré (53 points)

“You notice he [Romney] says ‘anger’ twice. He’s really trying to use racial coding and access some really deep stereotypes about the angry black man. This is part of the playbook against Obama. The other-ization, he’s not like us. I know it’s a heavy thing to say. I don’t say it lightly. But this is niggerization, ‘You are not one of us,’ and that ‘you are like the scary black man who we’ve been trained to fear.’”
Co-host Touré on MSNBC’s The Cycle, August 16

Thomas Roberts (41 points)

“Plus, what Mitt Romney has in common with the KKK. Details on a rare Romney campaign blunder ahead….So you might not hear Mitt Romney say ‘keep America American’ anymore. That’s because it was a central theme of the KKK in the 1920s. It was a rallying cry for the group’s campaign of violence and intimidation against blacks, gays and Jews. The progressive blog Americablog was the first to catch onto that.”
Anchor Thomas Roberts on MSNBC Live, December 14, 2011. He apologized the next morning, admitting his item was “irresponsible and incendiary” and “showed an appalling lack of judgment.”

Colbert I. King (34 points)

“A Romney takeover of the White House might well rival Andrew Johnson’s ascendancy to the presidency after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865….A Romney win would be worrisome…because of his strong embrace of states’ rights and his deep mistrust of the federal government — sentiments Andrew Johnson shared. And we know what that Johnson did once in office….Johnson stood by as Southern states enacted ‘black codes,’ which restricted rights of freed blacks and prevented blacks from voting. Romney stood by last year as Republican-controlled state legislatures passed voter-identification laws, making it harder for people of color, senior citizens and people with disabilities to exercise their fundamental right to vote.”
Washington Post editorial writer Colbert I. King in his November 3 column, “Mitt Romney could be the next Andrew Johnson.”
The Politics of Personal Destruction Award for Ripping Romney

Charles Blow (97 points)

“This is the kind of man that Mitt Romney is. This man does not have a soul. If you opened up, you know, his chest, there’s probably a gold ticking watch in there and not even a heart. This is not a person. This is just a robot who will do whatever it takes, whatever he’s told to do, to make it to the White House. And he will take whatever push in the back from whatever nasty person is pushing him and move him further in that direction.”
New York Times columnist Charles Blow on MSNBC’s The Last Word, July 17

Paul Krugman (52 points)

“Mitt Romney doesn’t see dead people. But that’s only because he doesn’t want to see them; if he did, he’d have to acknowledge the ugly reality of what will happen if he and Paul Ryan get their way on health care....A literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, October 15

Diane Sawyer (46 points)

“Tonight on World News, campaign curve ball. Mitt Romney’s high school classmates accuse him of bullying a vulnerable student. How does the candidate respond tonight?...Good evening. As we begin, there is a surprising turn of events on the campaign trail. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, accused of bullying a very vulnerable fellow student when he was in high school.”
Anchor Diane Sawyer leading off ABC’s World News, May 10

Jessica Yellin (25 points)

“Look, Anderson, it was very unfortunate for Governor Romney, because it sort of raises this question: Can he relate to working women? You know, it made it sound almost like working women are some mail-order product you can order out of colored binders.”
CNN correspondent Jessica Yellin on Anderson Cooper 360, October 17, talking about Romney’s statement about recruiting women in Massachusetts: “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women....”
Damn Those Conservatives Award

Allison Yarrow / Ramin Setoodeh (69 points)

Newsweek/Daily Beast assignment editor Allison Yarrow: “Can you imagine being that organ donor? I mean, it’s such a difficult decision to say ‘I want to give my body to someone else after I’m dead.’”
Newsweek senior writer Ramin Setoodeh: “To Dick Cheney? I would never give my heart to Dick Cheney. It would freeze over.”
Yarrow: “I would never do it. I’d say ‘give me my heart back.’ Exactly …”
Host/columnist John Avlon: “Seriously, the ill will toward Dick Cheney getting a heart transplant is stunning.”
Yarrow: “He may be one of the most evil people in the world.”
Exchange on NewsweekDaily Beast’s daily “NewsBeast” Web show, March 26

Martin Bashir (64 points)

Host Martin Bashir: “When we last saw the Republican front-runner Rick Santorum speaking before a crowd yesterday, all we could think of was George Orwell’s novel 1984 about a society dominated by the most extreme form of totalitarianism….”
Clip from 1984: “The forces of darkness and the treasonable maggots who collaborate with them, must, can and will be wiped from the face of the Earth.”
Bashir: “In reviewing his book, It Takes a Family, one writer said, ‘Mr. Santorum has one of the finest minds of the 13th century.’ But I’m not so sure. If you listen carefully to Rick Santorum, he sounds more like Stalin than Pope Innocent III.”
MSNBC’s Martin Bashir, February 14

Bill Keller (32 points)

“Remember earlier in the campaign when Newt Gingrich was worrying everyone about Sharia law: the Muslims were going to impose Sharia law in America? Sometimes Santorum sounds like he’s creeping up on a Christian version of Sharia law.”
Ex-New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, now a columnist for the paper, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, February 28

Lawrence O’Donnell (27 points)

“I want to see hard core Republican conservatism put up there on a debate stage with President Obama’s practical approach to governing, and I want to see hard core Republican conservatism crushed.”
MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell during live coverage of the Super Tuesday primaries, March 6
Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award for Obsequious Obama Interviews

Sherri Shepherd (61 points)

“President Obama, are you a romantic kind of husband?”

“I heard that there’s a plaque in Chicago. It marks the site of your first kiss. Tell us about that first kiss.”

“You guys have a ritual where, now, First Lady, you go to bed at 10:00 in the evening. Your husband comes to bed at 1:00 in the morning. But you have a ritual where he tucks you in at night. What is that?”
Some of co-host Sherri Shepherd’s questions to President and Mrs. Obama on ABC’s The View, Sept. 25

Brian Williams (49 points)

“You had to go to Tuscaloosa. You had to go have fun at the Correspondents’ Dinner. Seth Meyers makes a joke about Osama bin Laden….How do you keep an even keel? Even when we look back on the videotape of that night, there’s no real depiction that there’s something afoot.”…
“If this had failed in spectacular fashion, it would have blown up your presidency, I think, by all estimates. It would have been your Waterloo, and, perhaps, your Watergate, consumed with hearings and inquiries. How thick did the specter of Jimmy Carter, Desert One hang in the air here?”
Brian Williams to President Obama during his May 2 Rock Center special on the first anniversary of the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden

Barbara Walters (45 points)

ABC’s Barbara Walters: “I know that you answer people’s letters all the time. And what we thought that we might do, we asked middle school and high school students to throw a few questions. I’d like to read their questions: ‘If you were a superhero, and you could have one superpower, what would it be?’”
President Obama: “You know, I’ve talked to Malia about this. We both agree that flying seems like it would be a pretty good thing to be able to do.”
Clip of interview played on ABC’s The View, December 19, 2011

Scott Pelley (43 points)

“This week, we have our interview with the President, and there was a remarkable moment of candor when he told us the sacrifices he makes being President wouldn’t be worth it except for one thing. Listen for it….”
President Barack Obama: “One of the things that you learn after you’ve been in this office for a while is the pomp, the circumstance, the title, Air Force One — all that stuff probably isn’t worth the sacrifice with respect to the time lost from your family, the inability to just take a walk and go out for a drive. What makes it worth it is when you meet some couple that says, ‘You know what? Our kid was able to stay on our health insurance plan and it turns out they were just diagnosed with a curable cancer, but if they hadn’t stayed on their plan we wouldn’t have caught it.’ That’s what makes it worth it.”
CBS Evening News, September 14
The True But False Award for Fatuous Fact Checking

Martin Bashir (67 points)

“[Newt] Gingrich lies repeatedly. First of all, we know today that more people were collecting food stamps under George W. Bush than are under President Obama. So, that’s the first — something like a difference of about a half a million people.”
MSNBC host Martin Bashir on The Ed Show, January 23. In fact, U.S. Department of Agriculture showed more than 46 million Americans on food stamps at the end of 2011, a figure 40 percent greater than the highest number of recipients recorded during the Bush years (31.98 million, in January 2009)

Glenn Kessler (63 points)

“We cannot fault the RNC’s math, as the numbers add up. But at this point this figure doesn’t mean very much. It may simply be a function of a coincidence of timing — a brief blip that could have little to do with ‘Obama’s job market.’ If trends hold up over the next few months, then the RNC might have a better case. But at this point we will give this statistic our rarely used label: TRUE BUT FALSE.”
Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler in an April 10 blog posting about Romney’s claim that 92% of those who lost jobs since January 2009 were women

David Gregory (55 points)

Representative Michele Bachmann: “It’s absolutely irresponsible what President Obama is doing to get behind measures to, to increase spending to such a level that we’re going into debt $1.5 trillion every year. This compares to President George Bush. Back in 2007, our debt for the entire year was $160 billion.”
Moderator David Gregory: “Congresswoman, that just misstates the record….I mean, the Bush presidency, the-”
Bachmann: “There’s no comparison. We’re talking-”
Gregory: “-the, the debt — wait a minute, Congresswoman….I just want to stop you for
Bachmann: “Let me just finish. We’re talking ten times-”
Gregory: “For accuracy, Congresswoman….For accuracy, the debt exploded under the Bush administration.”
NBC’s Meet the Press, December 18, 2011. In fact, as Bachmann stated, the federal budget deficit for fiscal year 2007 was $162.8 billion; the annual deficit for fiscal year 2011 was $1.299 trillion, an eight-fold increase over four years
The Move Along, Nothing to See Here Award for Burying Obama’s Benghazi Scandal

Chris Matthews (114 points)

Chris Matthews, talking to a crowd waiting for debate: “What was the scandal that was covered up?”
Romney voter: “Benghazi.”
Matthews: “What was the scandal?”
Romney voter: “Well, I mean-”
Matthews, raising his voice: “Get to it, nail it, what was the scandal?!”
Romney voter: “He said it was the video. It was not about the video.”
Matthews: “Yeah, it was about the video. Read the newspaper. Thank you. Everybody knows it’s about the video. It’s all about the video. Thank you very much.”
MSNBC’s Hardball, October 22, talking about the Obama administration’s initial claims that the Benghazi attack was the result of a “spontaneous” demonstration against an anti-Muslim video shown on YouTube. Twelve days earlier, on October 10, the State Department acknowledged there was no protest the night of the attack

Tom Friedman (41 points)

“It’s obviously been totally politicized at this point....I lived in a civil war in Beirut for four years. These are incredibly messy situations. People don’t show up with uniforms....You can have a flash mob turn into a planned thing. You can have planned people inside of a flash mob. To me, this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that, ‘this is the end of,’ you know, ‘Obama’s foreign policy.’”
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on NBC’s Meet the Press, October 21

Joe Klein (35 points)

“This business about the, you know, the Libya consulate has been like the October Mirage — it really isn’t an issue. And so, once again, tomorrow, Obama is going to have a very strong position because his foreign policy has been largely successful in terms of substance.”
Time’s Joe Klein on CBS’s Face the Nation, October 21
The Media Hero Award

Piers Morgan (73 points)

“People see you putting on this event, they heard you at the convention make a barn-storming speech, an incredible speech….I was there. You electrified the place. And they all say, ‘Why do we have this goddamned 22nd Amendment? Why couldn’t Bill Clinton just run again and be President for the next 30 years?’…We’re trying to change the rules in Britain, actually, because if you can’t be President again here, we’d quite like you to be Prime Minister in our country. Are you available if it comes to it, if I get this through?”
CNN’s Piers Morgan to Bill Clinton, September 25 Piers Morgan Tonight

Rachel Maddow (59 points)

“TARP, the stimulus, health reform, Wall Street reform, student loan reform, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the new GI bill…. I don’t just mean to flatter you, but [this] is [the] kind of list of legislation we associate with people whom we name large buildings after in Washington….Your Speakership was Sam Rayburn-esque.”
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow to former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a luncheon on Capitol Hill, June 6, as reported by the Washington Examiner the next morning

Chris Matthews (47 points)

“Let me start with one of the great days in this country’s history. Today, the United States Supreme Court, led by the Chief Justice himself, decided that President Barack Obama’s health care act squares with the American Constitution….Today’s hero: Chief Justice John Roberts, who walked to the forefront of history and who said ‘yes’ to progress and ‘no’ to the role prescribed for him by the Right….Let’s start today by standing back and looking back at this bold, defiant, grand decision by Mr. Roberts and his Supreme Court."
Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s Hardball, June 28

David Von Drehle (28 points)

“You don’t have to love classical music to be amazed that Beethoven wrote his Ninth Symphony while deaf, or be a fan of the old New York Giants to marvel at Willie Mays’ catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. For legal buffs, the virtuoso performance of Chief Justice John Roberts in deciding the biggest case of his career was just that sort of jaw dropper, no matter how they might feel about ObamaCare. Not since King Solomon offered to split the baby has a judge engineered a slicker solution to a bitterly divisive dispute.”
Time magazine’s David Von Drehle starting off his July 16 cover story, “Roberts Rules.”
The Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year

Piers Morgan (80 points)

Host Piers Morgan: “How many times in your life, Mr. President, have you been properly in love?”
Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (via translator): “I’m in love with all of humanity. I love all human beings.”
Morgan: “That might be the best answer I’ve ever heard to that question.”
CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, September 24

Andrew Liptak (56 points)

“The United States Constitution is terse and old, and it guarantees relatively few rights….The Constitution is out of step with the rest of the world in failing to protect, at least in so many words, a right to travel, the presumption of innocence and entitlement to food, education and health care. It has its idiosyncrasies. Only two percent of the world’s constitutions protect, as the Second Amendment does, a right to bear arms. (Its brothers in arms are Guatemala and Mexico.)”
New York Times Supreme Court reporter Andrew Liptak in a front-page February 7 “Sidebar” news analysis, “We the People Loses Appeal with People Around the World.”

Ari Shapiro (42 points)

“Mitt Romney’s rally in Mansfield, Ohio, on Monday began the way every political event begins. ‘Please stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and our country’s national anthem.’ This is always an uncomfortable moment for me. While I sat at my laptop, most of the reporters around me stood and put their hands over their hearts. This time instead of just sitting and working, I tweeted what I was feeling: ‘@Ari_Shapiro: As a reporter I’m torn about joining in the pledge of allegiance/national anthem at rallies. I’m a rally observer, not a participant.’”
NPR’s Ari Shapiro writing at’s “It’s All Politics” blog on September 11

Dana Milbank (27 points)

“The Obama administration was continuing something [Fast and Furious] basically that was going on under the Bush administration. You know, did they try to cover up some embarrassing things afterwards? There’s just — there’s nothing conceivable that would bring this into a major political scandal here. And I think that’s why people have been slow to get on board. It’s not an ideological thing. I think the media would love to have an Obama scandal to cover.”
The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank on CNN’s Reliable Sources, June 24
MSNBC = Mean-Spirited, Nasty, Belligerent Chris Award

Chris Matthews (55 points)

C-SPAN’s Steve Scully: “Is the thrill still there today?”
MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “Well, I had, actually, if you had done your reporting over at C-SPAN, you would have checked that I said the exact same thing in 2004….I’m thrilled as I speak about it now. I think this is the great country and I’m thrilled by it and I’m willing to say this, and I meant to say as part of my reporting, because I felt it. A guy like Tom Brokaw wouldn’t have said it. I’m an un-traditional person, but I have traditional values and I love the country and I said so. Perhaps I shouldn’t have said so because I’ve given a lot of jackasses a chance to talk about it….So I hope you feel satisfied that you raised the most obvious question that is raised by every horse’s ass right winger I ever bump into. And usually they say ‘tingle,’ which tells me about their orientation, but that’s alright.”
Talking about Matthews’ 2008 comment that listening to Obama speak sends “a thrill up my leg,” during a May 22 panel discussion at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s convention in Boston

Chris Matthews (53 points)

“They hate Obama. They want him out of the White House more than they want to destroy al Qaeda. Their number one enemy in the world right now, on the right, is their hatred — hatred for Obama. We can go into that about the white working class in the South, and looking at these numbers we’re getting in the last couple days about racial hatred in many cases. This isn’t about being a better president. They want to get rid of this president. That’s their number one goal, and they’re willing to let Romney go to the hard center, even if it’s to the left on issues, as long as they get rid of this guy.”
Chris Matthews during MSNBC’s post-debate coverage, October 22

Chris Matthews (43 points)

“This stuff about getting rid of the work requirement for welfare is dishonest. Everyone has pointed out it’s dishonest and you are playing that little ethnic card there…You know what game you’re playing, and everybody knows what game you’re playing. It’s a race card.”
Hardball host Chris Matthews to Republican Party chairman Reince Preibus on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, August 27
Good Morning Morons Award

Bill Press (68 points)

“I mean, when you think about it, it’s ‘bombs bursting in air,’ ‘rocket’s red glare,’ it’s all kinds of — you know a lot of national anthems are that way, too — all kinds of military jargon, and the land — there’s only one phrase ‘the land of the free,’ which is kind of nice, and ‘the home of the brave?’ I don’t know….Are we [Americans] the only ones who are brave on the planet? I mean, all the brave people live here. I mean, it’s just stupid, I think. I’m embarrassed, I’m embarrassed every time I hear it.”
Former CNN and MSNBC host Bill Press on his Full Court Press nationally-syndicated radio show, June 5

Chris Hayes (57 points)

“I think it is very difficult to talk about the war dead and the fallen without invoking valor, without invoking the words ‘heroes.’… I feel comfortable — ah, uncomfortable, about the word because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war, and I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism: hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”
Host Chris Hayes talking about “The Meaning of Memorial Day” on MSNBC’s Up With Chris Hayes, May 27. (The next day, he apologized in a statement posted on “I don’t think I lived up to the standards of rigor, respect and empathy for those affected by the issues we discuss that I’ve set for myself.”)

Melissa Harris-Perry (53 points)

“The land on which they [the Founders] formed this Union was stolen. The hands with which they built this nation were enslaved. The women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class….This is the imperfect fabric of our nation, at times we’ve torn and stained it, and at other moments, we mend and repair it. But it’s ours, all of it. The imperialism, the genocide, the slavery, also the liberation and the hope and the deeply American belief that our best days still lie ahead of us.”
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry on her eponymous July 1 program, delivering what she called “my footnote for the Fourth of July.”

Ann Curry (33 points)

“It’s about those with money having an easier life than those who don’t. And there’s something fundamentally unfair about that. Not everyone has access to being able to get money, to work for money….Until America becomes fair in terms of how able people are — can be to make money, until the playing field is fair, it is unfair.”
Co-host Ann Curry talking about a new book on financial ethics on NBC’s Today, April 25
The Denying the Obvious Award for Refusing to Acknowledge Liberal Bias
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Andrew Rosenthal (67 points)

Host Stephen Dubner: “There is a kind of, I think, common analog, I hope I’m not overstating it by saying that it’s common, that Fox News is to the right what the New York Times is to the left. I’m guessing you would see that as a false equivalency on a lot of levels….”
Editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal: “The word I want to use here….begins with ‘bull’ and ends in ‘it’ and you can figure out what comes in between. I think it’s absolute pernicious nonsense….Fox News presents the news in a way that is deliberately skewed to promote political causes, and the New York Times simply does not.”
Exchange during the New York Times “Freakonomics” radio podcast, February 16

Dan Rather (64 points)

“I know that it’s widely believed that CBS, NBC, ABC — chock full of liberals. Not true. What it’s chock full of is people who wanted to give honest news, straightforward news, and voted both ways in many elections. I’m not saying that nobody in the newsroom was liberal any more than I would say anybody was conservative. Frequently what happened people who were described as conservatives want to say, ‘I worked at CBS News, and you know, almost everybody there was liberal.’ What they really mean is not everybody there agreed with them all the time. This is a sham. It’s a camouflage...”
Ex-CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, May 30

Rachel Maddow (56 points)

“I think the thing that is underappreciated about MSNBC is that we don’t really do anything as a company, that we all sorta get to do our own thing....There may be liberals on TV at MSNBC, but the network is not operating with a political objective.”
MSNBC 9pm ET host Rachel Maddow in a December 21, 2011 interview posted at

Barbara Walters (35 points)

Co-host Whoopi Goldberg: “The journalists today don’t do what journalists did [back in the Cronkite era], which was keep their opinions to ourselves….”
Co-host Barbara Walters: “There are journalists where the whole thing is how opinionated can you be?…But, most of us, do not — you don’t know whether we’re Republicans or Democrats or exhibitionists.”
Exchange on ABC’s The View, April 9
The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity

Jamie Foxx (66 points)

“First of all, give an honor to God and our lord and savior Barack Obama!”
Actor Jamie Foxx during the Soul Train Awards, November 25 on BET

Cher (54 points)

“If ROMNEY gets elected I don’t know if i can breathe same air as Him & his Right Wing Racist Homophobic Women Hating Tea Bagger Masters”
Actress/singer Cher in a May 8 Twitter posting that was later deleted (grammar and punctuation as in the original)

Barbra Streisand (43 points)

“Compared to George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, Obama has been more fiscally conservative than any other president in recent history, with the exception of President Bill Clinton.”
Singer/actress/liberal activist Barbra Streisand writing on The Huffington Post under a heading that read “Here are truths they will try to bury,” September 18

David Letterman (31 points)

“The day after the 9/11 attacks, the number one priority in America, if not the world, was we’ve got to get bin Laden, we’ve got to get bin Laden. So eight years go by, we still haven’t got bin Laden. George W. Bush at one point said, well, he doesn’t really think too much about bin Laden. In the interim, we invaded Afghanistan, then we invaded Iraq because Cheney wanted to help out his buddies at Brown and Root and Halliburton….and grab up all the oil. I think that they went soft on the project because they were worried about upsetting their Saudi Arabian royalty buddies. So now Osama bin Laden finally is gunned down by Barack Obama, displaying great courage and great intelligence. What more do you want to lead your country than that kind of courage and that kind of intelligence?”
Host David Letterman to NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on the May 15 CBS Late Show
Quote of the Year

Melissa Harris-Perry

“The land on which they [the Founders] formed this Union was stolen. The hands with which they built this nation were enslaved. The women who birthed the citizens of the nation are second class….This is the imperfect fabric of our nation, at times we’ve torn and stained it, and at other moments, we mend and repair it. But it’s ours, all of it. The imperialism, the genocide, the slavery, also the liberation and the hope and the deeply American belief that our best days still lie ahead of us.”
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry on her eponymous July 1 program, delivering what she called “my footnote for the Fourth of July.”

David Chalian

“They are happy to have a party with black people drowning.”
Yahoo! News Washington bureau chief and former political director for ABC News David Chalian talking over a picture of Ann and Mitt Romney, as caught on an open microphone during coverage of the Republican National Convention, August 28

Chris Matthews

“I am so proud of the country, to re-elect this President....A good day for America. I’m so glad we had that storm [Hurricane Sandy] last week, because I think the storm was one of those things — no, politically I should say, not in terms of hurting people — the storm brought in possibilities for good politics.”
Chris Matthews wrapping up MSNBC’s live election night coverage shortly before 3am ET, November 7. (He apologized on the November 7 Hardball: “I said something not just stupid, but wrong.”)

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, nationally syndicated radio talk show host (retired)

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

Bill Cunningham, syndicated radio talk host and host of TV’s Bill Cunningham Show

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; Heritage Foundation Board of Trustees

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

Jim Eason, retired radio talk show host

Erick Erickson, editor of

Eric Fettmann, Associate Editorial Page Editor, New York Post

David Freddoso, Editorial Page Editor for The Washington Examiner

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

Michael Graham, radio talk show host and Boston Herald columnist

Lucianne Goldberg, publisher of news forum

Quin Hillyer, Senior Editor of The American Spectator; Senior Fellow, Center for Individual Freedom

Mark Hyman, TV commentator, Sinclair Broadcast Group

Jeff Jacoby, syndicated columnist for the Boston Globe

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

Lars Larson, nationally syndicated talk radio host, Compass Media Networks

Mark Larson, radio talk show host, KCBQ-AM 1170 in San Diego

Matt Lewis, senior contributor to The Daily Caller

Jeffrey Lord, contributing editor to The American Spectator

Brian Maloney, radio analyst, creator of The RadioEqualizer blog

Steve Malzberg, national radio talk show host

Tom McArdle, Senior Writer for Investor’s Business Daily

Patrick McGuigan, Editor of

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

Kate O’Beirne, former Washington Editor of National Review

Marvin Olasky, Editor-in-Chief of World magazine

Henry Payne, The Detroit News editorial cartoonist, Editor of

James Pinkerton, Fox News contributor, panelist on Fox Newswatch

Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Editorial Director, The American Spectator

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

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

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

Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC’s TimesWatch site

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

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

Martha Zoller, radio talk show host and political analyst

In Memoriam: Priscilla L. Buckley, National Review’s longtime Managing Editor and a devoted NQ judge every year since 1990, passed away on March 25 at age 90.

Download Results

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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 Examiner, "Washington Secrets" by Paul Bedard on December 18: "Mainstream scream of year: MSNBC Harris-Perry host slaps July 4th"

Washington Times, "Inside the Beltway" by Jennifer Harper on December 18: "Eternal Gas Bag"

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, column by L. Brent Bozell III on December 23: "Media’s most notorious quotes for 2012"

Denver Post, column by Mike Rosen on December 27: "Another year of liberal media bias"

Waterbury (CT) Republican-American, January 1, 2013 editorial: "Chronicles of Bias XXV"


FNC's Hannity on December 17 played several clips with MRC President Brent Bozell as a guest to offer comment. Video

FNC's Fox NewsWatch on December 29 highlighted the winners in two categories. Video


World magazine, by Marvin Olasky on November 30: "Silver anniversary of bias watching"

World magazine, by Marvin Olasky on December 1: "Getting it wrong"

PowerLine blog, by John Hinderaker on December 17: "Most Outrageous Reporting of 2012", by Patrick B. McGuigan on December 17: "Notable Quotables analysis documents legacy media bias"

The American Spectator, by Quin Hillyer December 4 on "Poisoned Pens, Poisoned Lenses: The Establishment media’s sickness unto death"