As 2012 winds down, we're reliving some of the worst media bias of the year with our Best Notable Quotables of 2012. Yesterday, I recounted some of the nastiest barbs journalists threw at the GOP ticket; today, a look at some of the most egregious favors committed on behalf of Barack Obama's campaign.
While conservatives like Rick Santorum were often cast as radical or weird, journalists lovingly fawned over President Obama as if he was still the rock star of Campaign 2008. Sherri Shepherd, co-host of ABC's The View, won our "Let Us Fluff Your Pillow Award," for obsequious Obama interviews, after a September 25 encounter in which Shepherd seemed intent on casting the President as the Romancer-in-Chief.
Barely six weeks before Election Day, Shepherd used valuable network airtime to giddily inquire about the Obamas' love life: “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.”
She asked Michelle Obama: "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?”
Nearly as slobbering was the performance of NBC "News" anchor Brian Williams, who elevated Obama to near-Rambo status for a Rock Center interview in early May pegged to the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden. Williams pretended as if Obama would have been impeached in the event the mission was unsuccessful: "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?”
While Williams and his journalist cohorts were eager to tout Obama's 2011 success, they were just as determined to minimize the story of how in 2012 the administration bumbled the handling of the terrorist attack which killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11.
In the days after the attack, Team Obama wrongly insisted that the attack was the result of a "spontaneous" demonstration over a YouTube video seen as insulting Islam. Those claims were widely discredited by late September, but on October 22 -- twelve days after even Obama's own State Department admitted that there never was a protest in Benghazi that night -- MSNBC's Chris Matthews bullied a young voter who said he was supporting Romney because "he doesn’t cover up scandals in the Middle East.”
Matthews demanded to know: "What was the scandal?...Get to it, nail it, what was the scandal?!”
The young man told Matthews: "He [Obama] said it was the video. It was not about the video," only to have the MSNBC host smugly (and wrongly) replied: "It was about the video. Read the newspaper....Everybody knows it’s about the video. It’s all about the video." Matthews' loyal recitation of obviously false talking points earned him the "The Move Along, Nothing to See Here Award," for burying Obama's Benghazi scandal.
Matthews also won "The Obamagasm Award," for -- well, the name is pretty self-explanatory. Back on July 17, the Hardball host was decrying the President's critics as "crazy yahoos" when he unfurled his over-the-top praise of Obama as "perfect."
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.
Runner-up in the Obamagasm category was CNN host Piers Morgan, for similarly touting Obama as "perfect" in a December 2011 interview with David Axelrod: "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.”
Rounding out the group was Andrew Sullivan, who wrote the insulting cover story for the January 23 Newsweek (back when that fiasco of a magazine could afford to be printed on paper). Under the headline "Why Are Obama’s Critics So Dumb?" Sullivan insisted: "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."
With media friends like these, it's not that hard to see how Obama defied the odds to win re-election despite high unemployment, a terrible economy and an out-of-control national debt.
Tomorrow: the most outrageous quotes of 2012.