Year-End Awards: The Dopiest News Media Quotes of 2014

December 29th, 2014 10:16 AM

Today’s installment of the Media Research Center’s “Best Notable Quotables of 2014,” as selected by our 40 expert judges, the “The Audacity of Dopes Award for the Wackiest Analysis of the Year.”

Winning this award: longtime Newsweek correspondent Eleanor Clift, who now writes for The Daily Beast. Appearing on the May 11 edition of The McLaughlin Group, Clift strangely insisted that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was “not murdered” by terrorists, but merely “died of smoke inhalation.”

“Every media organization has investigated this [Benghazi] to death. This animates the right wing of the Republican Party. And I would like to point out that Ambassador Stevens was not murdered. He died of smoke inhalation in the safe room in that CIA installation.”

Second place in this category went to Washington Post business reporter Zachary Goldfarb, who penned a February 21 front-page article insisting that Obama was about to end “austerity that has dogged much of his presidency” — as if the President was some kind of tight-fisted penny pincher, when Obama had actually overseen a skyrocketing of the national debt from about $10.6 trillion when he took office to $17.4 trillion at the time Goldfarb’s article appeared:

“With the 2015 budget request, [President] Obama will call for an end to the era of austerity that has dogged much of his presidency and to his efforts to find common ground with Republicans.”

Since Goldfarb’s article appeared in February, the national debt has risen an additional $600 billion to more than $18 trillion — so much for austerity.

Next up, a segment from NBC’s opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympic in which both the script, read by actor Peter Dinklage, and the visuals seemed to celebrate Russia’s Communist era as one of “modern history’s pivotal experiments.”

“Russia overwhelms. Russia mystifies. Russia transcends....The empire that ascended to affirm a colossal footprint; [over footage of communist symbols] the revolution that birthed one of modern history’s pivotal experiments. But if politics has long shaped our sense of who they are, it’s passion that endures as a more reliable route to their collective heart.”

During the Soviet era, estimates are that between 8.5 million and 50 million people died of starvation, politically-motivated murder and in forced labor camps.

Finally, NBC anchor Brian Williams seemed weirdly impressed by Hillary Clinton’s two-word soundbite at an Iowa steak fry, as he claimed on the September 15 Nightly News that hers was a quote that “may survive for all time.”

Anchor Brian Williams: “Whatever else is remembered from Hillary Clinton’s trip to Iowa this past weekend to attend a big political steak fry, along with her husband, it’s this soundbite from her speech that may survive for all time.”
Hillary Clinton: “I’m back!”

Tomorrow: the Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for Celebrity Vapidity, then on Wednesday, the Quote of the Year. As always, you can check out all of the awards at