Best of 2010: "Epic" Pelosi, "Super" Kagan, and the Thrill that Never Goes Away
As scornful as the media were of conservatives last year, they were just as adoring of top liberals, as documented by the MRC's Best Notable Quotables of 2010. Topping the MRC's annual "Media Hero Award," ABC's World News anchor Diane Sawyer fawned over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after the passage of ObamaCare in March:
“All agree she gets credit for locking up this vote, one of the biggest since Medicare in the 1960s. And she’s said to have done it with an epic blend of persuasion, muscle and will, even when half the town said it couldn’t be done....Their indefatigable, unwavering almost 70-year-old Speaker, mother of five, grandmother of seven....[to Pelosi] What do you think your dad and your mom would have said about this moment?”
The newest addition to Sawyer's ABC family, longtime CNN foreign correspondent Christiane Amanpour, likewise gushed to Pelosi on her debut edition of This Week back on August 1: “You, by all accounts, are one of the most, if not the most, powerful and successful Speakers in the history of the United States. You’ve passed so much legislation....And yet, now, people are talking about you might lose your majority in the House. The gap seems to be growing wider between what’s achieved and what’s making an impact with the people. How did this happen?”
Winning the "Supremely Slanted Award for Elevating Elena Kagan," NPR's Justice correspondent Nina Totenberg cast the just-nominated Kagan as a super-hero for her supposedly incredible exploits running Harvard's law school. With the theme music of the old 1950s Superman TV series running the background, Totenberg enthused: "Kagan, who can raise money by the millions! Kagan, who can end the faculty wars over hiring! Kagan, who won the hearts of students!" (Audio here.)
Nearly as gooey, ABC Supreme Court correspondent (and Nightline co-anchor) Terry Moran was giddy about Kagan's first day on the bench: "She was confident and well prepared and fluent and probing. At one point she asked a question of one of the lawyers that frankly seemed to stump them a little bit. A quiet kind of came over the courtroom as he gathered his thoughts. And you could almost sense or imagine some of the other justices and veteran court watchers kind of looking down the bench at Justice Kagan like a major league scout might say, 'You know, that kid's got some real pop on her fastball.'"
But the most fawned-over liberal in 2010 remained Barack Obama. Runner-up in the MRC's "Master of His Domain Award for Obama Puffery," Time editor Rick Stengel went out of his way to include flattery of Obama in his new book about Nelson Mandela: "The parallels are many....And while it took 27 years in prison to mold the Nelson Mandela we know, the 48-year-old American President seems to have achieved a Mandela-like temperament without the long years of sacrifice....Whatever Mandela may or may not think of the new American President, Obama is in many ways his true successor on the world stage.”
The Washington Post's Michael Leahy and Juliet Eilperin detoured from an otherwise critical story about Obama's policy on offshore drilling to bow before the Dear Leader's intellect: "The moment was vintage Obama — emphasizing his zest for inquiry, his personal involvement, his willingness to make the tough call, his search for middle ground. If an Obama brand exists, it is his image as a probing, cerebral President conducting an exhaustive analysis of the issues so that the best ideas can emerge, and triumph.”
But winning this category, and the dubious honor of MRC's Quote of the Year, was MSNBC's Chris Matthews reprising a quote that made him a butt of jokes two years ago. Listening to a clip of Obama makign a speech, Matthews again blurted: “I get the same thrill up my leg, all over me, every time I hear those words. I’m sorry, ladies and gentlemen, that’s me. He’s talking about my country and nobody does it better."
For the full "Best Notable Quotables of 2010: The 23rd Annual Awards for the Year's Worst Reporting," visit www.MRC.org or click here to download the full-color, nicely-formatted 23-page PDF.