Wrapping up the Media Research Center’s “Best Notable Quotables of 2013,” it's time to present the “Quote of the Year” for 2013, and the top two runners-up, as selected by our panel of judges.
Past “winners” include Discover magazine's Melissa Lafsky, who took the prize in 2009 for this reflection on Mary Jo Kopechne, who drowned in the back seat of Senator Ted Kennedy's car four decades earlier: “[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.”
In 1998, then-Time contributor Nina Burleigh was recognized for declaring how she “would be happy to give him [Bill Clinton] a blow job just to thank him for keeping abortion legal. I think American women should be lining up with their presidential kneepads on to show their gratitude for keeping the theocracy off our backs.” (This year’s winners and corresponding videos after the jump.)
For the 25th consecutive year, the Media Research Center has recognized the absolute wackiest media quotes in our annual “Best Notable Quotables of 2013,” as selected by our panel of 42 expert judges.
The first time this prize was offered, in 1989, then-CNN pundit Linda Ellerbee won for comments delivered on the June 2, 1989 edition of PrimeNews: “‘These boat people,’ says the government of Hong Kong, ‘they all want to go to America.’ Well, I swear I don’t know why, do you?...Why would any Vietnamese come to America after what America did for Vietnam?”
This year’s winners and video highlights of the “Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year” after the jump.
Pivoting to the downside for President Obama of the swirling scandals, Meet the Press host David Gregory fretted over “a bigger issue that the President faces, which is where is his agenda left in all this?” Citing a poll showing the public thinks fixing unemployment should be a higher priority than investigations, Gregory despaired: “The President’s coming under fire for losing his scope, effectively, in a second term to rebuild America, to usher in economic restoration.”
“Well, that’s the tragedy for him. It’s a tragedy for all of us,” New York Times columnist Tom Friedman agreed.
New York Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman, who three weeks ago derided Mitt Romney for how he “acts...as if he learned his foreign policy at the International House of Pancakes,” on Sunday’s Meet the Press dismissed concerns over how the Obama administration handled Benghazi before and after the attacks. “To me,” he declared, “this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that ‘this is the end of,’ you know, ‘Obama’s foreign policy.’”
Over on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos ludicrously argued: “Hasn’t the White House been relatively transparent?”
After the anti-American hostilities in the Middle East this week, one would think it's pretty obvious why it's in our interest to prevent Muslim extremists from getting nuclear weapons.
Apparently not, for CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer actually asked Sunday, "What is the difference in Iran having a nuclear weapon and Russia having a nuclear weapon or China or Pakistan?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
“I’m frankly, fed up, with the one-sided bias,” a frustrated Newt Gingrich asserted on Sunday’s Meet the Press, citing two blatant examples. First: “Where is the outrage over overt, deliberate racism” in Vice President Joe Biden telling a black audience “if the Republicans win you will be ‘in chains’”?
Second, President Obama “voted three times to protect the right of doctors to kill babies who came out of abortion still alive. That plank says tax-paid abortion at any moment, meaning partial birth abortion -- that’s a 20 percent issue,” a position which Democrats “couldn’t defend...for a day if it was made clear and as vivid as all the effort is made to paint Republicans.”
Reeling from the possibility the Supreme Court might undermine ObamaCare, two members in good standing of the liberal media elite, both with the New York Times, took to the Sunday shows to lament the lack of public recognition for the great benefits of the law. “On health care,” columnist Tom Friedman rationalized on NBC’s Meet the Press, “that’s partly a failure of communication.”
A befuddled Friedman advanced the liberal narrative that blames communication, not facts, as he wondered: “How do you go a year and a half where so many Americans don’t even understand the benefits of this legislation when they apply to them? And that gets to this administration, which I think has been abysmal at communicating some of its most important agenda items.”
New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who poses as a tough friend of Israel, offensively referred to the “Israel lobby” in his Wednesday column “Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir."
After bashing Newt Gingrich for suggesting the Palestinians are an “invented” people, Friedman reiterated the usual talking points in support of a Palestinian state, but with a hostile and paranoid twist.
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman this weekend said he'd give President Obama high marks for fulfilling Bush's foreign policy.
This surprising observation on PBS's McLaughlin Group came somewhat coincident with Chris Matthews saying George W. Bush was actually better at conveying his message than the current White House resident (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Bill Maher on his HBO program Friday said, "If you just presented the Republicans with Obama's resume and didn't say who it was, they would erect statues to this guy."
After mentioning the deaths of Osama bin Laden and MoammarGaddafi, Maher continued, "Just the killing alone, Michelle Malkin would name her vibrator 'Obama'” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
America was in a post-stock market bubble bursting recession, had just suffered its worst mainland attack in its history, and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman believes ten years later all would have been made right if the President of the United States on September 12, 2001, had raised taxes.
If it's Sunday, someone must be bashing Sarah Palin on "Meet the Press."
On this holiday weekend, it was New York Times columnist Tom Friedman who said of all the interest in the former Alaska governor, "That’s a sign of the apocalypse" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MRC has just posted the latest edition of Notable Quotables, our bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. This week, NQ is chock full of quotes from journalists slashing the Tea Party as the Republican Party’s “Hezbollah faction,” who have “strapped explosives to the Capitol” and “waged jihad on the American people.”
Oh, and New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd disparaging the “Tea Party budget slashers” as “cannibals,” “zombies,” and “vampires, draining the country’s reputation, credit rating and compassion.” So much for civility.
The full package is available at www.MRC.org; here are some of the best quotes:
For the past month, as the debt talks slogged on in Washington, the so-called mainstream media unleashed increasingly hysterical attacks on the Tea Party and anti-tax hike conservatives — epitomizing the liberal elite’s supreme annoyance at the push to curb federal spending and contain the size of government.
The media’s disdainful language has ranged from the merely condescending (wondering whether the Tea Partiers in Congress actually knew how things worked, or referring to them as children), to outright hostile (likening the Tea Party to al Qaeda or other terrorist groups). Here are some of the choicer examples MRC has collected over the past 30 days:
Obama’s pro-Israel critics are talking “pure crap,” said New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on PBS host Charlie Rose's show Tuesday night. Rose was hosting a roundtable of Times columnists. Along with Friedman there was David Brooks, neo-liberal economics columnist David Leonhardt, and Roger Cohen, foreign policy columnist and once a stout defender of the authoritarian regime in Iran.
As the “conservative," Brooks mostly agreed with the three liberals, calling himself “an admirer of Barack Obama” while offering mild criticism of the president’s “passivity.”
Meanwhile, fellow columnist Thomas Friedman got physically agitated during a sarcastic, self-righteous rant on global warming skeptics like Rush Limbaugh. Friedman also confessed to having voted for Obama (a bit of a no-no under Times' guidelines) and later employed a blunt word to describe Obama’s pro-Israel critics. Here’s his impassioned, physical soliloquy on climate change, about eight minutes into the program:
There are times when one has to think the Manhattan building that is the home of the New York Times doesn't have any windows, doesn't have any television sets, and doesn't have any doors that allow employees to venture out and actually see what's happening in America beyond the walls of 620 Eighth Avenue.
Consider that after the impact the Tea Party has had on our nation's politics the past 20 months, and the historic elections that just took place on November 2, Times columnist Tom Friedman actually thinks Americans aren't interested in reducing the federal deficit but are instead yearning for higher taxes and greater government spending:
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on Sunday accused Barack Obama of badly misreading his Election Day mandate, and said the current White House is the worst communicating administration he's ever seen.
Appearing on the Roundtable segment of ABC's "This Week," Friedman blasted the President saying, "I'm for more health care. I'm glad we've extended it to more Americans. But the fact is there's a real, I think, argument for the case that Obama completely over-read his mandate when he came in."
Friedman continued, "He was elected to get rid of one man's job, George Bush, and get the rest of us jobs. I think that was the core thing, and by starting with health care and not making his first year the year of innovation, expanding the economy and expanding jobs, you know, I think looking back, that was a political mistake."
Moments later, the Times columnist said, "I've never seen a worse communicating administration" (video follows with partial transcript and commentary):
Tom Friedman stepped into a journalistic controversy in his Sunday New York Times column, "Can We Talk?" protesting CNN's firing of senior editor of Middle East affairs Octavia Nasr for posting this message on Twitter upon the death of Hezbollah founder Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah:
Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah... One of Hezbollah's giants I respect a lot.
According to Western intelligence, Fadlallah blessed the drivers of the vehicles behind the 1983 attacks on Marine barracks in Beirut which killed 241 Marines. President Clinton froze his assets in 1995 because of his suspected involvement with terrorists.
Yet Friedman was dismayed by Nasr's dismissal by CNN:
I find Nasr's firing troubling. Yes, she made a mistake. Reporters covering a beat should not be issuing condolences for any of the actors they cover. It undermines their credibility. But we also gain a great deal by having an Arabic-speaking, Lebanese-Christian female journalist covering the Middle East for CNN, and if her only sin in 20 years is a 140-character message about a complex figure like Fadlallah, she deserved some slack. She should have been suspended for a month, but not fired. It's wrong on several counts.
Good Morning America on Thursday again brought on Tom Friedman to lobby for taxes on carbon and oil. Talking to host George Stephanopoulos, the New York Times columnist urged Barack Obama to "use" the oil spill in Gulf of Mexico and push "a bill through the Senate."
Friedman discussed America getting off oil and argued, "Well, ultimately, it's going to require a price on carbon that will stimulate innovation in clean power technologies." He delicately mentioned forcing changes on businesses and taxpayers and touted that other countries "are putting in place, basically, these kind of carbon rules and taxes that give a very clear signal to business, where to invest."
Other than the occasional right-leaning point made by Bill O'Reilly, GMA's hosts don't often bring on conservative guests to promote lower taxes and less government regulation. Yet, Friedman is a favorite of the ABC program.
Reacting to news the Obama administration wants to postpone a vote on “Cap and Trade” in favor of immigration reform, on Sunday’s Face the Nation New York Times columnist Tom Friedman despaired: “This is a disaster...This is a travesty. Basically, we were about to send the first bi-partisan legislation for radical move toward more green energy, more green jobs and putting a price on carbon...”
Now, he fretted, “in Beijing, they're high- fiving each other. ‘Oh, yeah, baby, this means the Americans are going to be paralyzed on green tech, okay, for another couple of years.’ China is already leading the world now in wind production, China’s already leading world in solar production.”
While he chastised Democrats and Obama for putting the “raw politics” of trying to save Harry Reid ahead of the energy bill, he saved his real disgust for how only one Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, was willing to help promote “green energy,” charging: “Shame on the Republican Party. There's one Republican for advancing green energy in this country? One Republican Senator dare step out?”
Following President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, on CBS Katie Couric revealed her reading interests as she endorsed the take on Obama from a liberal New York Times columnist: “Well, as Tom Friedman said, 'he's better at making us smarter than making us angry.'” (Friedman's actual assertion in his January 27 column: “He is so much better at making us smarter than angrier.”)
Then, after the Republican response, Anthony Mason recited as relevant the very skewed findings of a CBS News/Knowledge Networks online poll only of those who watched Obama, nonetheless touting how 83 percent approve of Obama's “proposals made in his speech,” with disapproval from a piddling 17 percent. As evidence Obama “may have made up sound ground” with the public, Mason juxtaposed how for “shares your priorities for the country” Obama jumped to 70 percent for viewers of his speech compared to the 57 percent determined in an earlier national survey. (The online posting contends both numbers are just for those who watched.)
A week after aggressively defending school children in New Jersey literally singing Barack Obama’s praises, on MSNBC on Friday, anchor Norah O’Donnell once again expressed her support of the song and went after critics: “I think this is sort of a silly issue, I do, I’ll just say that, you know, and I’m not an ideologue. And I got hammered in the blogs for making that comment.”
As NewsBusters’ Scott Whitlock reported on September 24, O’Donnell argued with conservative columist Tim Carney, seeing no problem with the disturbing song: “I mean, this is children. They're singing a song...If you can make your point again about why this is indoctrination, political indoctrination to praise your President...I remember certainly in elementary school when Ronald Reagan was President and we sent him jelly beans.”
On Friday, during MSNBC’s weekly New York Times Edition program, O’Donnell explained to liberal New York Times columnist Nick Kristof:
Nick, you know, there was – this was something that was on the Right that got a lot of play, which was these school students who were singing a song about President Barack Hussein Obama. It was during black history month, and those on the Right, in conservatives circles, have used that to say they’re now indoctrinating kids, essentially, in schools....I just wonder what it is then, when we can’t allow our children to praise a president or sing about a president, whether they’re a Republican or a Democrat or an independent or even people of different religions.
New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ouroussoff's "Reflections: New Orleans and China" showed that he shared the same affliction as Times foreign affairs columnist Tom Friedman -- gauging the success of the strong central power of Communist China by looking at its shining and efficient surface, without questioning its effect on the nation's unseen citizenry. For good measure, he even held Ronald Reagan responsible for both the devastation from Hurricane Katrina and last year's deadly Minneapolis bridge collapse.
For Americans watching events unfold on television late last month, the arduous evacuation of New Orleans and the grandeur of the Olympic Games couldn't have made for a starker contrast.
However one feels about its other policies, the Chinese government is clearly not afraid to invest in the future of its cities. The array of architecture it created for the Beijing Olympics was only part of a mosaic of roads, bridges, tunnels, canals, subway lines and other projects that have transformed a medieval city of wood and brick into a modern metropolis overnight.
"Good Morning America" on Monday featured liberal New York Times columnist Tom Friedman as an energy expert to "fact check" John McCain's policies on the subject and advocate for higher taxes. GMA co-host Diane Sawyer never referred to Friedman's economic policies as liberal, despite the fact that he repeatedly made assertions such as this: "But, you know, there's really no effective plan to make us energy independent without what I call a price signal, without either a carbon tax or a gasoline tax that's really going to shape the market in a different way."
Sawyer began the segment by noting both candidates have plans for energy independence. She then asked, "Are they going to achieve it? Do they mean it?" However, the ABC host didn't ask Friedman to "fact check" Obama's plan. Instead she simply recited the Democrat's plans for eliminating Mid East Oil. And while Friedman freely attacked McCain's policies, he responded to a clip of Obama talking about investing more money into alternative energy by, again, complaining about a lack of gasoline tax: "Unless we have a floor onto the price of gasoline that really keeps that behavior going, you can't throw enough money at this problem."