2013 was the year that scandal after scandal — from the IRS targeting the Tea Party, to Benghazi, to the lies surrounding ObamaCare, and on and on — hit the Obama administration, but journalists kept acting as if the President and his team were clean as a whistle. So today, the results of our “Move Along, Nothing to See Here Award,” for denying Obama’s scandals. (Winning quotes and video below the jump.)
Winning this award was Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus and CNN political analyst David Gergen who, during a November 4 appearance on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, agreed with each other that Obama’s had been a “really relatively scandal-free administration.” (MP3 audio)
Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus: “This has been really — and I know people are going to call about Benghazi and other things, but this has been really a very — and the IRS — this has been a really relatively scandal-free administration, first term and second term.”...
CNN’s David Gergen: “I particularly agree that — with Ruth that this has been a scandal-free administration by and large, and we should appreciate that.”
Coming in second, MSNBC daytime host Martin Bashir, who back on June 5 tried to claim that it was just racist for Republicans to investigate the political abuses at the IRS:
“The IRS is being used in exactly the same way as they tried to use the President’s birth certificate...Despite the complete lack of any evidence linking the President to the targeting of Tea Party groups, Republicans are using it as their latest weapon in the war against the black man in the White House....This afternoon, we welcome the latest phrase in the lexicon of Republican attacks on this President — the IRS. Three letters that sound so innocent, but we know what you mean.”
While Bashir claimed the investigation was motivated by racism, his primetime colleague Lawrence O’Donnell on May 15 said the whole thing was just a misunderstanding, that the IRS targeting of conservative organizations was entirely correct:
“I do not believe what the IRS was reported to have been doing is an outrage. I believe that the IRS agents in this case did nothing wrong. Let me say it again. You won’t hear it anywhere else. The IRS agents did nothing wrong. They were simply trying to enforce the law as the IRS has understood it since 1959.”
But for sheer cluelessness, it’s hard to top Time magazine’s Joe Klein, who in late November 2012 lamely argued on MSNBC’s Morning Joe that everything the administration had said about Benghazi had been “accurate.”
Time’s Joe Klein: “The talking points were accurate.”
MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle: “For two weeks?”
Klein: “They were absolutely accurate.”
Co-host Joe Scarborough: “Were they really?”
Klein: “They were. It was a spontaneous demonstration by extremists....”
New York’s Jon Heilemann: “The administration was asked for nine days, ‘Was it an act of terror?’ The administration, Jay Carney, the President, declined to call it an act of terror.”
Klein: “He called it an act of terror the day after.”
Heilemann: “He really did not.”
Co-host Joe Scarborough: “Oh, my God, Joe. Seriously?”
Tomorrow: the worst Chris Matthews quotes of 2013. The full report, with 15 categories plus the judges' selection of Quote of the Year, is available at: www.MRC.org.
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