Winning Quotes in the MRC’s Best of NQ Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting

The winning quotes in the MRC’ “Best Notable Quotables of 2012: The Twenty-Fifth Annual Awards for the Year’s Worst Reporting.” As announced in a CyberAlert Special last Tuesday, the awards issue was posted, with videos, on Monday, December 17, but following tradition, today, Thursday and Friday - the last weekdays of the year -’s BiasAlert and corresponding CyberAlert e-mail newsletter will run the winning quotes followed on succeeding days by the runners-up.

The page linked above also has links for the text of the entire issue in MS Word 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 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. 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.

The list of the judges, who were generous with their time, is posted online and listed below after the winning quotes.

> Now, the winning quotes in the 16 award categories, plus Quote of the Year (see the “Best Notable Quotables of 2012" pages for video and audio clips for the quotes):

The Throwing Granny Off a Cliff Award
for Portraying Romney and Ryan as Heartless

“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 People will die in the United States if ObamaCare is repealed.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. [78 points]

The Obamagasm Award

“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. [97 points]

The “Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste” Award
for Exploiting Tragedy to Promote Liberalism

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....” [100 points]

The Sandra Fluke Award
for Promoting Obama’s Phony “War on Women”

“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.”
— Current TV host Joy Behar, as quoted by the Boston Herald’s Megan Johnson in an August 29 article. [78 points]

The Ku Klux Con Job Award
for Smearing Conservatives with Phony Racism Charges

“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. [63 points]

The Politics of Personal Destruction Award
for Ripping Romney

“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. [97 points]

Damn Those Conservatives Award

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 Newsweek/Daily Beast’s daily “NewsBeast” Web show, March 26. [69 points]

Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award
for Obsequious Obama Interviews

“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. [61 points]

The True But False Award
for Fatuous Fact Checking

“[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). [67 points]

The Move Along, Nothing to See Here Award
for Burying Obama’s Benghazi Scandal

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. [114 points]

The Media Hero Award

“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. [73 points]

The Audacity of Dopes Award
for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year

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. [80 points]

MSNBC = Mean-Spirited, Nasty, Belligerent Chris Award

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. [55 points]

Good Morning Morons Award

“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. [68 points]

The Denying the Obvious Award
for Refusing to Acknowledge Liberal Bias

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. [67 points]

The Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award
for Celebrity Vapidity

“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. [66 points]

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.”

> The 46 judges, check the online listing for links to Web pages for each of them:

- Chuck Asay, syndicated editorial cartoonist

- 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 of the 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

- 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, news 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; Fox News contributor

- Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC’s TimesWatch site
- Walter E. Williams, Professor of economics, George Mason University; nationally syndicated columnist

- 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.

Again, for this list of judges online with links to their sites.

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