As 2005 winds down, it's a good time to recall some of the worst journalistic moments of the year. The Media Research Center polled 52 distinguished media experts -- talk show hosts, columnists, journalism professors and other keen observers -- who generously supplied their picks for The Best Notable Quotables of 2005.
A few of the highlights:
Newsweek's Managing Editor Jon Meacham won the "Madness of King George Award for Bush Bashing" for recoiling when the current President toured the former captive nations of Eastern Europe and apologized for the deal FDR made with Stalin back at Yalta in 1945: "It’s like he stuck a broomstick in his wheelchair wheels," Meacham complained on MSNBC.
The former Executive Editor of the New York Times, Howell Raines, won "The Kanye West 'George Bush Doesn't Care About Wet People' Award" for a rant about Bush's reaction to Hurricane Katrina that balled together every complaint of the crackpot left: "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."
It's probably worth remembering that just three years ago, Raines was the ultimate authority in how the Times covered the news -- and Raines' "news" formed the Cliff's Notes of countless TV newscasts like NBC's "Today."
Our judges also helped select the winning quote of the "Crazy Chris Award for Chris Matthews’ Left-Wing Lunacy." Back on August 15, MSNBC's Matthews listened to Cindy Sheehan rant about American imperialism and the awfulness of our Iraq policies. Then Matthews asked her: "Are you considering running for Congress, Cindy?"
Sheehan replied, "No, not this time," to which Matthews voiced disappointment: "Well, I have to tell you, you sound more informed than most U.S. Congresspeople, so maybe you should run." You can watch video of that weirdness at mrc.org.
There are more quotes and more "winners" over at mrc.org, including the winner of the "Slam Uncle Sam Award," "Captain Dan the Forgery Man Award," "Media Millionaires for Smaller Paychecks Award," and our judges' pick for "Quote of the Year." I won't give that away, but the runner-up for that "honor" was ex-CNN chief Ted Turner, who came back from North Korea convinced that we should trust the dictatorship of Kim Jong-Il.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer could not let that pass unchallenged, telling Turner on "The Situation Room" back on September 19: "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 wouldn't agree: "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 insisted: "I didn’t see any, I didn’t see any brutality."
There's video of that exchange, too, along with dozens of other clips that illustrate the worst of the liberal media in 2005.