The Media Research Center has released its annual list of outrageous media quotes. Here are the winners and runner-ups in each category. There are so many good quotes this year we will publish Part II next week.
The Coronation of the Messiah Award for Fawning Inaugural Coverage Winner: “We know that wind can make a cold day feel colder, but can national pride make a freezing day feel warmer? It seems to be the case because regardless of the final crowd number estimates, never have so many people shivered so long with such joy. From above, even the seagulls must have been awed by the blanket of humanity.”— ABC’s Bill Weir on “World News,” January 20.
“What a day it was. It may take days or years to really absorb the significance of what happened to America today…. When he [Barack Obama] finally emerged, he seemed, even in this throng, so solitary, somber, perhaps already feeling the weight of the world, even before he was transformed into the leader of the free world…. The mass flickering of cell phone cameras on the Mall seemed like stars shining back at him.”— NBC’s Andrea Mitchell on the January 20 “Nightly News.”
“You know what it [Obama’s inauguration] reminds me of? It reminds me of the Velvet Revolution. I was in Prague when that happened. And Vaclav Havel was a generational leader and was in the square in Prague and the streets were filled with joy. And we’re not overthrowing a Communist regime here, obviously, but an unpopular President is leaving and people have been waiting for this moment.”— NBC’s Tom Brokaw during live coverage prior to Obama’s inauguration, January 20.
Master of His Domain Award for Obama Puffery Winner: “The legislative achievements have been stupendous—the $789 billion stimulus bill, the budget plan that is still being hammered out (and may, ultimately, include the next landmark safety-net program, universal health insurance). There has also been a cascade of new policies to address the financial crisis—massive interventions in the housing and credit markets, a market-based plan to buy the toxic assets that many banks have on their books, a plan to bail out the auto industry and a strict new regulatory regime proposed for Wall Street. Obama has also completely overhauled foreign policy, from Cuba to Afghanistan. ‘In a way, Obama’s 100 days is even more dramatic than Roosevelt’s,’ says Elaine Kamarck of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. ‘Roosevelt only had to deal with a domestic crisis. Obama has had to overhaul foreign policy as well, including two wars. And that’s really the secret of why this has seemed so spectacular.’”—Time’s Joe Klein in the magazine’s May 4 cover story on Barack Obama’s first 100 days as President.
“It didn’t take long for Barack Obama—for all his youth and inexperience—to get acclimated to his new role as the calming leader of a country in crisis…. Rookie jitters? Far from it…. For the past three months, Obama has spoken in firm, yet soothing tones. Sometimes he has used a just-folks approach to identify with economically struggling citizens. He has displayed wonkish tendencies, too, appearing much like the college instructor he once was while discussing the intricacies of the economic collapse. He has engaged in witty banter, teasing lawmakers, staffers, journalists and citizens alike. He has struck a statesmanlike stance, calling for a renewed partnership between the United States and its allies….”—AP Washington correspondent Liz Sidoti in an April 25 dispatch.
“There were ghosts in that chamber tonight, the other Presidents who tried to reform the healthcare system and failed. From Teddy Roosevelt, to Harry Truman, to Bill Clinton who came to Congress 16 years ago this month with his plan…. There was another ghost in the chamber tonight, the spirit of Senator Ted Kennedy, who fought for decades for universal care…. At the end, President Obama sought to draw on the grand rhetorical tradition of President Kennedy and others, trying to summon the country to a great and necessary endeavor.”—ABC’s Terry Moran reporting on Obama’s speech to Congress on “Nightline,” September 9.
The Crush Rush Award for Loathing Limbaugh Winner: “The type of female that does like Rush is the same type of woman that falls in love with prisoners. You know what I mean? They like Richard Ramirez or—Squeaky Fromme is a good example. I think Charles Manson’s—Eva Braun, Hitler’s girlfriend. That is exactly the type of woman that responds really well to Rush. And there will be some Eva Brauns, Squeaky Frommes out there that will respond really well to this cattle call right now.”—Actress/activist Janeane Garofalo on MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” February 26.
“Limbaugh’s perceived racist diatribes are too many to name but here’s a sampling: He once declared that [words on screen] ‘Slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back, I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark,’ said Limbaugh.”—CNN’s Rick Sanchez promoting a made-up quote on the 3 p.m. hour of “Newsroom,” October 12.
“Rush Limbaugh is beginning to look more and more like Mr. Big, and at some point somebody’s going to jam a CO2 pellet into his head and he’s going to explode like a giant blimp. That day may come. Not yet, but we’ll be there to watch.”—Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Morning Meeting,” October 13.
Damn Those Conservatives Award Winner: “The Republicans lie! They want to see you dead! They’d rather make money off your dead corpse! They kind of like it when that woman has cancer and they don’t have anything for her.”—Ed Schultz, host of MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” September 23.
“…the total mindless, morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred—without which Michelle Malkin would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it.”—“Countdown” host Keith Olbermann talking about the conservative columnist and author, October 13.
“The tenets of the Republican Party are amazing and they seem warm and welcome. But when I watch it be applied—like you didn’t have to go much further than the Republican National Convention…. It literally look[s] like Nazi Germany.”—CNN host/comedian D.L. Hughley to RNC Chairman Michael Steele on “D.L. Hughley Breaks the News,” February 28.
The Poison Tea Pot Award for Smearing the Anti-Obama Rabble Winner:
CNN analyst David Gergen: “Republicans are pretty much in disarray…. They have not yet come up with a compelling alternative, one that has gained popular recognition. So-“
Anchor Anderson Cooper: “Teabagging. They’ve got teabagging.”
Gergen: “Well, they’ve got the teabagging…. [But] Republicans have got a way—they still haven’t found their voice, Anderson. They’re still—this happens to a minority party after it’s lost a couple of bad elections, but they’re searching for their voice.”
Cooper: “It’s hard to talk when you’re teabagging.”
— CNN’s Anderson Cooper on “Anderson Cooper 360,” April 14. (“Teabagging” is a vulgar slang term for a certain variety of oral sex. Cooper later apologized.)
“Let’s be very honest about what this is about. It’s not about bashing Democrats, it’s not about taxes, they have no idea what the Boston tea party was about, they don’t know their history at all. This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up. That is nothing but a bunch of teabagging rednecks.”—Actress/activist Janeane Garofalo on MSNBC’s “Countdown,” April 16.
“You know, Kyra, this is a party for Obama bashers. I have to say that this is not entirely representative of everybody in America…. It’s anti-government, anti-CNN, since this is highly promoted by the right wing conservative network, Fox. And since I can’t really hear much more and I think this is not really family viewing, I’ll toss it back to you.”—CNN Correspondent Susan Roesgen during live coverage of the Tea Party protests, “CNN Newsroom,” April 15.
Spread the Wealth Award for Socialist Sermonizing Winner: “Why not just nationalize the banks?… People are angry. There’s so much taxpayer money going into the banks. Why shouldn’t the government—why shouldn’t you just fire the executives who wrecked these banks in the first place and tanked the world’s financial system in the process?”—ABC’s Terry Moran interviewing President Obama for “Nightline,” February 10.
“I don’t think that left to its own devices, capitalism moves along smoothly and everyone gets treated fairly in the process. Capitalism is like a child: if you want the child to grow up free and productive, somebody’s got to look over the shoulder of that child.”—PBS host Tavis Smiley in a Time magazine symposium on “The Future of Capitalism,” May 25 issue.
“In Britain, a government takeover of a bank last year helped to temporarily calm fears in the financial markets there. Nationalization may have a psychological impact as well, and Uncle Sam wrapping his arms around failing banks in this country might provide a big dose of confidence for the American consumer.”—Katie Couric on the February 19 “CBS Evening News,” talking about the Obama administration possibly taking over American banks.
“We’re the only industrialized democracy that doesn’t cover every citizen. That is immoral…. To be a country this wealthy and be the only industrialized democracy that hasn’t figured out how to cover everyone.”—Time senior political analyst Mark Halperin, ex-ABC News political director, talking about health insurance coverage on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” August 6.
Long Live Camelot Award for Lionizing Ted Kennedy Winner: “Mary Jo wasn’t a right-wing talking point or a negative campaign slogan…. We don’t know how much Kennedy was affected by her death, or what she’d have thought about arguably being a catalyst for the most successful Senate career in history…. [One wonders what] Mary Jo Kopechne would have had to say about Ted’s death, and what she’d have thought of the life and career that are being (rightfully) heralded. Who knows—maybe she’d feel it was worth it.”— Discover magazine deputy web editor Melissa Lafsky, who formerly worked on the New York Times’s Freakonomics blog, writing at the Huffington Post, August 27.
“The heavens were weeping for Teddy Kennedy today.”—Andrea Mitchell noting the rainy weather for Kennedy’s funeral, August 29 “NBC Nightly News.”
“America mourns the lion of the Senate…. There is, of course, no royal family in this country. The Kennedys, perhaps, the closest we’ve ever had…. For nearly half a century in the Senate, Ted Kennedy spoke for people who had no voice — the poor and the disabled, children and the elderly.”—Katie Couric kicking off the August 26 “CBS Evening News.”
Brian Williams: “We thought one way to look at his life might be the way some people looked at him today, the way filmmaker Frank Capra might have looked at life: What would it have been like without a Ted Kennedy?”… Reporter Kevin Tibbles: “Many say Ted Kennedy’s passion was people, and tonight they have lost a champion.”—“NBC Nightly News”, August 26.
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