First Runners-Up Quotes in the MRC's Best of NQ Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting

The first runners-up quotes in the MRC's 'Best Notable Quotables of 2011: The Twenty-Fourth Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting.' As announced in a CyberAlert Special, the awards issue was posted, with videos, on Monday, December 19, but the last weekdays of the year the's BiasAlert and corresponding CyberAlert e-mail newsletter will run the winning quotes followed on succeeding days by the runners-up. Tuesday's BiasAlert/CyberAlert featured the winners.

The page linked above also has links for the text of the entire issue in MS Word, OpenOffice Writer or WordPerfect formats. You can also download a colorful and easily read-able PDF version.

(Tip: There's an extra quote in most categories in the online version over the PDF one.)

To determine this year's winners, a panel of 48 radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers, and expert media observers each selected their choices for the first, second and third best quote from a slate of five to eight quotes in each category. First place selections were awarded three points, second place choices two points, with one point for the third place selections. Point totals are listed alongside each quote. Each judge was also asked to choose a 'Quote of the Year' denoting the most outrageous quote of 2011.

The MRC's Michelle Humphrey distributed the ballots and was assisted in their tabulation by Melissa Lopez. Alex Fitzsimmons helped produce the numerous audio and video clips included in the Web-posted version. Rich Noyes and Brent Baker assembled this issue and Brad Ash posted the entire package to the MRC's Web site.

The list of the judges, who were generous with their time, is posted online and was also listed in Tuesday's BiasAlert/CyberAlert.

Now, the first runners-up quotes in the 17 award categories, plus Quote of the Year (see the 'Best Notable Quotables of 2011' pages for video and audio clips - 57 have them - for the quotes):

The Tea Party Terrorists Award [first runner-up]

'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. [54 points]

Tying Granny to the Train Tracks Award for Condemning Budget Cuts [first runner-up]

'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. [56]

The Obamagasm Award [first runner-up]

'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. [53]

Hopeless Dopes Award for Discrediting Obama's Opponents [first runner-up]

'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. [55]

Damn Those Conservatives Award [first runner-up]

'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.' [54]

The Media Millionaires for Higher Taxes Award [first runner-up]

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. [53]

The Grim Reaper Award for Saying Conservatives Want You to Die [first runner-up]

'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. [61]

Occupy My Heart and Soul Award for Left-Wing Protest Promotion [first runner-up]

'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. [45]

The Media Hero Award [first runner-up]

'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. [59]

Flunk the Founding Fathers Award [first runner-up]

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. [69]

The Poison Tea Pot Award for Smearing the Anti-Obama Rabble [first runner-up]

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. [57]

MSNBC = Mean-Spirited, Nasty, Belligerent Chris Award [first runner-up]

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. [62]

The Ku Klux Con Job Award for Smearing Conservatives with Phony Racism Charges [first runner-up]

'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. [55]

America Is the Real Evil Empire Award [first runner-up]

'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. [70 points]

Refusing to Acknowledge the Obvious Award for Denying Liberal Media Bias [first runner-up]

'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. [50]

The Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year [first runner-up]

'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. [51]

The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity [first runner-up]

'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. [52]

Quote of the Year [first runner-up]

'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.'

On Thursday: The second runners-up.

- Brent Baker is Vice President for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center. Click here to follow Brent Baker on Twitter.