|Welcome to the
Media Research Center’s annual awards issue, a compilation of the most
outrageous and/or humorous news media quotes from 2005 (December 2004
through November 2005). To determine this year’s winners, a panel of 52
radio talk show hosts, magazine editors, columnists, editorial writers and
media observers each selected their choices for the first, second and third
best quote from a slate of six to nine 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 in the
brackets at the end of the attribution for each quote. Each judge was also
asked to choose a "Quote of the Year" denoting the most outrageous quote of
2005. The winner and top runner-up appear on page eight.
A list of the
judges, who were generous with their time, at the
end of the issue. The MRC’s Michelle Humphrey and Karen Hanna distributed and counted the ballots,
then produced the numerous audio and video clips that accompany the
Web-posted version. Brent Baker and Rich Noyes assembled this issue and
Michael Gibbons posted the entire package on the MRC’s Web site:
And please save this date: Thursday, March 30, 2006. At our annual gala
celebration that night in Washington, DC, the MRC will announce the winners
of its DisHonors Awards of 2006: Roasting the Most Outrageously Biased
Liberal Reporters. Check www.mrc.org in
early 2006 for ticket information.
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December 19, Media Research Center President Brent Bozell unveiled the
winners of the Best Notable Quotables of 2005 on FNC's Fox &
"Stealth is a pretty fair military-hardware action movie until you
start thinking about it — at which point it turns incredibly sour in your
mouth. I can therefore recommend it to any and all audiences lacking higher
brain functions. Sea cucumbers, perhaps. Ones waving American flags.... This
is exactly the sort of movie we don’t need right now: a delusional military
fantasy in which collateral damage doesn’t exist....For a movie to pretend,
in the face of the deaths of tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women, and
children directly or indirectly caused by our presence there, that we can
wage war without anyone really getting hurt isn’t naive, or wishful
thinking, or a jim-dandy way to spend a Saturday night at the movies. It’s
— Boston Globe movie critic Ty Burr in a July 29 review of the
movie Stealth, about a fighter jet that is piloted by a computer with
artificial intelligence. 
Madness of King
George Award for Bush Bashing
like he [President Bush] stuck a broomstick in his [FDR’s] wheelchair
— Newsweek’s Jon Meacham on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning May
9, discussing Bush’s criticism of Roosevelt’s Yalta deal with Stalin on
post-war Europe. [62 points]
Reporter Lee Cowan:
"The proposed [Bush budget] cuts hit the heartland like a mountain of
unwanted news, from the soy bean fields of Iowa, where farmers marched on
the capital to voice their disgust at slashing farm subsidies, to large
cities like Minneapolis, where block grant programs help the homeless and
the hungry....The White House calls the budget ‘lean,’ proponents call it
difficult but brave. But critics charge the people these cuts hit the
hardest tend to have the weakest political voice."
Robert Greenstein, Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: "Cuts in
programs for the working poor, low income elderly people, people with
disabilities. They tend not to have much in the way of lobbyists. They don’t
give campaign contributions."
Cowan: "....This Dallas health clinic serves only the poorest of
patients, but already there is a two-month waiting list. Dr. Maureen Thielen
says the President’s proposed cuts in Medicaid will only make it
worse....Agencies that are already doing the work of the poor now find
themselves in the unenviable position of proving that their cause is worth
— CBS Evening News, February 7. 
"In the words of one of his [Ayatollah Sistani’s] aides, ‘the
representation of our Sunni brethren in the coming government must be
effective, regardless of the results of the elections.’ As an Iraqi
politician said to me, ‘There are currently two Grand Ayatollahs running
Iraq: Sistani and Bush. Most of us feel that Sistani is the more rational.’"
— Newsweek’s Fareed Zakaria in a column published in the
magazine’s January 24 edition. 
"President Bush’s second inauguration will cost tens of millions of
dollars — $40 million alone in private donations for the balls, parade and
other invitation-only parties. With that kind of money, what could you buy?
- 200 armored Humvees with the best armor for troops in Iraq.
- Vaccinations and preventive health care for 22 million children in
regions devastated by the tsunami.
- A down payment on the nation’s deficit, which hit a record-breaking
$412 billion last year....
"The questions have come from Bush supporters and opponents: Do we need
to spend this money on what seems so extravagant?"
— Reporter Will Lester’s lead to a January 13 Associated Press dispatch.
The Kanye West
"George Bush Doesn’t Care About Wet People" Award
"The dilatory performance of George Bush
during the past week has been outrageous. Almost as unbelievable as Katrina
itself is the fact that the leader of the free world has been outshone by
the elected leaders of a region renowned for governmental ineptitude....The
populism of Huey Long was financially corrupt, but when it came to the
welfare of people, it was caring. The churchgoing cultural populism of
George Bush has given the United States an administration that worries about
the House of Saud and the welfare of oil companies while the poor drown in
their attics and their sons and daughters die in foreign deserts."
— Former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines in a Los
Angeles Times op-ed, September 1. [89 points]
meeting with Louisiana officials last week, Reverend Jesse Jackson said,
quote, ‘Many black people feel that their race, their property conditions
and their voting patterns have been a factor in the response.’ He continued,
quote, ‘I’m not saying that myself.’ Then I’ll say it: If the majority of
the hardest hit victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans were white
people, they would not have gone for days without food and water, forcing
many to steal for mere survival. Their bodies would not have been left to
float in putrid water....We’ve repeatedly given tax cuts to the wealthiest
and left our most vulnerable American citizens to basically fend for
themselves....The President has put himself at risk by visiting the troops
in Iraq, but didn’t venture anywhere near the Superdome or the convention
center, where thousands of victims, mostly black and poor, needed to see
that he gave a damn."
— Contributor Nancy Giles on CBS’s Sunday Morning, September 4.
many of this country’s citizens, the mantra has been, as we were taught in
social studies it should always be, whether or not I voted for this
President, he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him
that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week. I suspect, also, a lot
of his supporters, looking ahead to ‘08, are wondering how they can distance
themselves from the two words which will define his government, our
government: New Orleans. For him, it is a shame, in all senses of the word.
A few changes of pronouns in there and he might not have looked so much like
a 21st century Marie Antoinette."
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, Sept. 5 Countdown.
know, I’ve been to some pretty lousy places in my life. And Iraq over the
past 12 months and Banda Aceh, open graves and bodies. These were Americans,
and everyone watching the coverage all week, that kind of reached its peak
last weekend, kept saying the same refrain: ‘How is this happening in the
United States?’ And the other refrain was, ‘Had this been Nantucket, had
this been Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, how many choppers
— NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams on Comedy Central’s
The Daily Show, September 8. Audience applause drowned out Williams as
he was finishing. 
"God Save This Court
from Extremists" Award
"An Advocate for the Right."
— Headline over a New York Times "news analysis" of Judge John
Roberts’ judicial philosophy, July 28.
"Balanced Jurist at Home in the Middle."
— Headline over a June 27, 1993 New York Times story on Supreme
Court nominee Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [78 points]
"When John G. Roberts Jr. prepared to ghostwrite an article for President
Ronald Reagan a little over two decades ago, his pen took a Civil War
re-enactment detour....The Indiana native scratched out the words ‘Civil
War’ and replaced them with ‘War Between the States.’...Sam McSeveney, a
history professor emeritus at Vanderbilt University who specialized in the
Civil War, said that Roberts’s choice of words was significant. ‘Many people
who are sympathetic to the Confederate position are more comfortable with
the idea of a "War Between the States,"’ McSeveney explained. ‘People
opposed to the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s would
undoubtedly be more comfortable with the words he chose.’"
— Washington Post reporter Jo Becker, August 26.
Jeffrey Toobin: "[Judge Alito] thought it was okay that Pennsylvania
insisted that a woman get her husband’s permission before she got an
CNN’s Carol Costello: "Why, legally, would you uphold something like
that? That a woman would have to check with her husband first in order to
get an abortion?...I guess what I’m, I’m trying to get at is, is this is a
very conservative judge, and he’s going to be against legalized abortion? I
mean, you could draw that conclusion from this, couldn’t you? Or could I?"
Toobin: "I think it’s a very good indication that this is a judge who
will want to overturn Roe v. Wade."
— Exchange on CNN’s Daybreak October 31, soon after word of
Alito’s impending nomination leaked out. In fact, the law only required
notification if the husband was also the baby’s father, not his
known John Roberts for years. I think it’s a very sensible pick in all
serious ways. But I must say that when I spent five hours reviewing all of
his documents from when he worked in the Justice Department, I was actually
quite surprised at how, how very, very conservative he was."
— NPR’s Nina Totenberg on the July 30 Inside Washington. Totenberg
had previously referred to Judge Roberts as "very, very conservative,"
"very, very, very conservative," "a really conservative guy," "a
conservative Catholic," and "a hardline conservative."
"The day I say Dick Cheney is going to
run for President, I’ll kill myself. All we need is one more liar."
— Hearst White House columnist Helen Thomas, as quoted in the "Under the
Dome" column by Albert Eisele and Jeff Dufour in The Hill newspaper,
July 28. [68 points]
Jack Cafferty: "What should Karl Rove do if he is indicted?...He might
want to, he might want to get measured for one of those extra large orange
jump suits, Wolf, because looking at old Karl, I’m not sure that he’d,
they’d be able to zip him into the regular size one."
CNN’s Wolf Blitzer: "He’s actually lost some weight. I think he’s in
pretty good shape."
Cafferty: "Oh, well then, maybe just the regular off the shelf large
would handle it for him."
Blitzer: "But, you know, it’s still a big if. It’s still a big if."
Cafferty: "Oh, I understand. I’m, I’m just hoping, you know. I love,
I love to see those kinds of things happen. It does wonders for me."
— CNN’s The Situation Room, October 17. 
"Karl Rove is a liability in the war on terror....In his ‘story guidance’
to Matthew Cooper of Time, Rove did more damage to your safety than
the most thumb-sucking liberal or guard at Abu Ghraib. He destroyed an
intelligence asset like Valerie Plame merely to deflect criticism of a
politician. We have all the damned politicians, of every stripe, that we
need. The best of them isn’t worth half a Valerie Plame."
— Countdown host Keith Olbermann in a July 11 posting to his "Bloggerman"
page on MSNBC’s Web site. 
Captain Dan the
Forgery Man Award
Rather: "My principal problem was
that I stuck by the [Memogate] story, I stuck by our people for too long.
I’m guilty of that. I believed in the story, and the facts of the story were
correct. One supporting pillar of the story, albeit an important one, one
supporting pillar was brought into question. To this day no one has proven
whether it was what it purported to be or not....You know, I didn’t give up
on my people, our people. I didn’t and I won’t." [Applause]
Marvin Kalb: "Dan, thank you. You said, I believe you just said, that
you think the story is accurate."
Rather: "The story is accurate."
— From The Kalb Report, an interview series produced by the George
Washington University and Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics,
and Public Policy at Harvard University, and shown live on C-SPAN September
panel was appointed by CBS News to look into this ....They concluded that
whatever happened, whatever you thought about it, it was not motivated by
political bias, and they said that, although they had four months and
millions of dollars, they could not demonstrate that the documents were not
authentic, that they were forgeries. They said they couldn’t make that
conclusion....Whatever one thinks of what we did or didn’t do with the story
in question here, nobody broke the law, nobody lied. Depending on your point
of view, it was a mistake, and who hasn’t made a mistake somewhere along the
— Outgoing CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather discussing the
investigation into his forged memo story, on CBS’s Late Show with David
Letterman, March 3. 
Crazy Chris Award for
Chris Matthews’ Left-Wing Lunacy
activist Cindy Sheehan: "We’re not
going to cure terrorism and spread peace and good will in the Middle East by
killing innocent people or — I’m not even saying our bullets and bombs are
killing them. The occupation — they don’t have food, they don’t have clean
water, they don’t have electricity. They don’t have medicine, they don’t
have doctors. We need to get our military presence out of there, and that’s
what’s gonna start building good will....I see Iraq as the base for
Host Chris Matthews: "Are you considering running for Congress,
Sheehan: "No, not this time...."
Matthews: "Okay. Well, I have to tell you, you sound more informed
than most U.S. Congresspeople, so maybe you should run."
— Exchange on MSNBC’s Hardball, August 15.
Matthews: "Do you think President Bush used this [emotional hug at the
State of the Union between an Iraqi voter and Janet Norwood, the mother of a
Marine killed in Iraq] to push his numbers on Social Security reform, just
to get his general appeal up a bit, a couple of points?"
MSNBC political analyst Ron Reagan: "Well, I don’t want to speculate
on what was in President Bush’s mind."
Matthews: "How about his handlers? Do you think the PR guys...around
the White House did this to promote the President’s agenda?"
MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough: "Please, come on."
Reagan: "Well, of course they did. Oh, sure they did."
Scarborough: "Oh, come on!...I mean, that’s just the height of
Matthews: "No, I’m just asking you, I’m not taking sides here, but
you know who makes these decisions, the PR people around the
President....They make the decision about who sits in the box and where
they’re seated....The only question is whether that Iraqi woman was prompted
to go up and hug Janet Norwood by some staffer."
— Exchange during MSNBC’s live coverage following Bush’s State of the
Union address, February 2. 
O’Donnell: "This President invaded a sovereign nation in defiance of the
UN. He is basically a war criminal. Honestly. He should be tried at The
Hague. This man lied to the American public about the reasons for invading a
nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. And as a Democrat, as a member of
this democracy...I feel I have a responsibility to speak out, as does every
other person who disagrees with this administration. And it’s scary in a
country that you can say something against the President and then worry
about your career. That Dan Rather gets taken off CBS News for writing, for
saying a report that essentially was true, that George Bush did not show
Geraldo Rivera: "Okay, okay, we get it, we get it!"
O’Donnell: "Okay, there you go. Anyway, it infuriates me."
— Exchange on FNC’s At Large with Geraldo Rivera, April 30.
"Cindy Sheehan is my hero. She is the hero of all Americans who make up
the 62 percent of us who oppose this war. As an American exercising her
right to free speech, she is a brave, passionate, living example of
democracy....No wonder Bush is intimidated. No wonder he can’t even walk
down his driveway to speak with her. He is scared shitless. Whether he
acknowledges it or not — whether his aides try to insulate him from the
truth or not — his hands are covered in the blood of Cindy Sheehan’s son.
They are dripping with the blood of all who have died there."
— Actress Christine Lahti in an August 11 Huffington Post blog
"If there’s an upside to Katrina, it’s that the Republican agenda of tax
cuts, Social Security privatization and slashing government programs is
over. It may be too much to predict an upsurge of progressive government,
but the environment and issues of poverty, race and class are back on the
nation’s radar screen."
— Eleanor Clift in her weekly "Capitol Letter" column published on
Newsweek’s Web site, September 9. 
Reporter Carl Quintanilla: "[Left-wing activist Cindy] Sheehan, say
some historians, may be evolving as an icon in the war’s turning point, if
this is one. For three weeks, she’s dominated headlines, mobilized
protesters, both with and without relatives in Iraq."
Cindy Sheehan: "They don’t have what I like to call skin in the game,
but we are all affected."
Quintanilla: "Making it safe, her supporters say, to voice doubts
about the war, just as Walter Cronkite did on the Evening News in
1968....Historians say we won’t know Cindy Sheehan’s place in the war until
the war itself is history."
— NBC Nightly News, August 25. 
What Liberal Media?
"I’m going out telling the story that I
think is the biggest story of our time: how the right-wing media has become
a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee. We have an
ideological press that’s interested in the election of Republicans, and a
mainstream press that’s interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don’t
have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people."
— Bill Moyers, who retired in December 2004 from the PBS show Now,
as quoted by AP television writer Frazier Moore in a December 10, 2004
dispatch. [108 points]
Host Chris Matthews: "What do you think of this guy [ex-Talon News
reporter Jeff Gannon/James Guckert]? You’re a real reporter. What do you
think of this guy who says he’s a, he operates under a different name. He’s
a blogger, I guess...."
Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen Hayes: "Look, at
the end of the day, if we’re worried about too many conservatives in the
White House press briefing room, this is a discussion that’s not, that’s not
going to resonate with the American public."
Matthews: "You think it’s mostly packed with liberals? Are you saying
most of those people who are paid to be journalists in that room are
lib-labs, they’re liberals?"
Hayes: "Yes, of course....I don’t think there’s any — is there a
debate about that?"
Matthews: "Well, there’s Helen Thomas, who I would call liberal. But
who else is in there? Seriously. There are a lot of straight reporters in
Time’s Margaret Carlson: "I think they’re mostly
straight reporters. And I don’t think you can keep your job
otherwise....Elisabeth Bumiller reports for the New York Times, which
has a liberal editorial page, but she plays it straight down the middle."
— Exchange on MSNBC’s Hardball, February 25.
"One way a reporter in this country should be judged is how well he or
she stands up to the pressure to intimidate. I remember the first time
someone accused me of being an ‘N-lover.’ There was a lot of that during the
‘60s when I covered the civil rights movement. Then you move forward from
civil rights into the Vietnam War....’We’re going to hang a sign around you
which calls you some bad name: anti-military, anti-American, anti-war.’
Then, when Watergate came into being....was the first time I began to hear
this word ‘liberal’ as an epithet thrown my way....People who have very
strong biases of their own, they come at you with a story: ‘If you won’t
report it the way I want it reported, then you’re biased.’ Now, it is true
about me, for better or for worse, if you want to see my neck swell, you
just try to tell me where to line up or what to think and mostly what to
— Dan Rather near the end of his CBS News special, Dan Rather: A
Reporter Remembers, which aired on his last night as CBS Evening News
anchor, March 9. 
"The elephant in the newsroom is our narrowness. Too often, we wear
liberalism on our sleeve and are intolerant of other lifestyles and
opinions....We’re not very subtle about it at this paper: If you work here,
you must be one of us. You must be liberal, progressive, a Democrat. I’ve
been in communal gatherings in The Post, watching election returns,
and have been flabbergasted to see my colleagues cheer unabashedly for the
— Washington Post "Book World" editor Marie Arana in a September
29 contribution to the Post’s "daily in-house electronic critiques,"
as quoted by Post media reporter Howard Kurtz in an October 3
Host Hugh Hewitt: "Are there members of the White House press corps,
Terry, who actually hate Bush?"
ABC White House correspondent Terry Moran: "I would say the answer to
that is yes."
Hewitt: "And what percentage of them, do you think that amounts to?"
Moran: "Uh, small, I would say, but some big fish."
Hewitt: "What’s your guess about the percentage of the White House
press corps that voted for Kerry?"
Moran: "Oh, very high. Very, very high."
Hewitt: "95 percent?"
Moran: "No, I don’t think that high....Upwards of 70 [percent], maybe
higher....I would say very, very high...."
— Exchange on the May 18 Hugh Hewitt Show, a nationally-syndicated
weekday radio program. 
Ted Turner: "I am absolutely convinced that the North Koreans are
absolutely sincere. There’s really no reason for them to cheat [on
nukes]....I looked them right in the eyes. And they looked like they meant
the truth. You know, just because somebody’s done something wrong in the
past doesn’t mean they can’t do right in the future or the present. That
happens all the, all the time."
Wolf Blitzer: "But this is one of the most despotic regimes and Kim
Jong-Il is one of the worst men on Earth. Isn’t that a fair assessment?"
Turner: "Well, I didn’t get to meet him, but he didn’t look — in the
pictures that I’ve seen of him on CNN, he didn’t look too much different
than most other people."
Blitzer: "But, look at the way, look at the way he’s, look at the way
he’s treating his own people."
Turner: "Well, hey, listen. I saw a lot of people over there. They
were thin and they were riding bicycles instead of driving in cars, but–"
Blitzer: "A lot of those people are starving."
Turner: "I didn’t see any, I didn’t see any brutality...."
— Exchange on CNN’s The Situation Room, Sept. 19.
Lee Anderson, Associate Publisher and Editor, Chattanooga Times Free
Chuck Asay, editorial cartoonist, The Gazette in Colorado Springs
Brent H. Baker, MRC’s Vice President for Research and Publications;
Editor of CyberAlert and Editor-at-Large of NewsBusters.org
Mark Belling, radio talk show host, WISN-AM in Milwaukee
L. Brent Bozell III, President of the Media Research Center
Priscilla L. Buckley, author, Living It Up with National Review
Blanquita Cullum, President, Young American Broadcasters and radio talk
Bill Cunningham, radio talk show host, WLW in Cincinnati
Midge Decter, author
Bob Dutko, radio talk show host, WMUZ in Detroit
Jim Eason, San Francisco radio talk show host emeritus
Larry Elder, syndicated radio talk show host and columnist
Eric Fettmann, Associate Editorial Page Editor, New York Post
Greg Garrison, radio talk show host, WIBC in Indianapolis
David Gold, radio host, WBAP(Dallas) & KSFO (San Francisco)
Michael Graham, radio talk show host, WTKK in Boston
Tim Graham, Director of Media Analysis, Media Research Center
Steven Greenhut, senior editorial writer and columnist, Orange County
Stephen Hayes, Senior Writer for The Weekly Standard
Healy, Executive Producer, WDBO Radio in Orlando
Matthew Hill, Operations Manager at WPWT, Tri-Cities of Tenn/Va
Quin Hillyer, editorial writer and columnist for the Mobile Register
Fred Honsberger, radio talk show host, KDKA in Pittsburgh
Jeff Jacoby, columnist for the Boston Globe
Marie Kaigler, Detroit-based mass media and developmental consultant
Cliff Kincaid, Editor, Accuracy in Media
Mark Larson, radio talk show host, KOGO in San Diego
Jason Lewis, radio talk show host, WBT in Charlotte
Kathryn Jean Lopez, Editor of National Review Online
Michelle Malkin, syndicated columnist, author and FNC contributor
Patrick McGuigan, arts commentator, MidCity Advocate (Okla. City)
Colin McNickle, editorial page editor and columnist, Pittsburgh
Jan Mickelson, radio talk show host, WHO in Des Moines and WMT in Cedar
Wes Minter, radio talk show host
Robert D. Novak, syndicated columnist from the Chicago Sun-Times
Rich Noyes, Director of Research, Media Research Center
Kate O’Beirne, Washington editor of National Review
Marvin Olasky, journalism professor University of Texas at Austin;
Editor-in-Chief of World
Janet Parshall, nationally syndicated radio talk show host
Henry Payne, editorial cartoonist, The Detroit News
Wladyslaw Pleszczynski, Editorial Director, The American Spectator
Chris Reed, editorial writer, San Diego Union-Tribune
Mike Rosen, radio talk show host, KOA in Denver; columnist for the
Denver Rocky Mountain News
William A. Rusher, Distinguished Fellow, Claremont Institute
James Taranto, Editor, OpinionJournal.com
Philip Terzian, Books & Arts Editor, The Weekly Standard
Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist; panelist on FNC’s Newswatch
R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., Editor-in-Chief, The American Spectator
Chris Warden, Assistant professor, Hall School of Journalism, Troy
Clay Waters, Editor of the MRC’s TimesWatch.org
Walter E. Williams, economics professor at George Mason University
Thomas S. Winter, Editor-in-Chief of Human Events