Year-End Awards: The 'What Difference Does It Make?' Award, for Denying Hillary’s Scandals

December 24th, 2015 9:34 AM

This week, NewsBusters is presenting the Media Research Center’s “Best Notable Quotables of 2015,” our annual awards for the year’s worst journalism. Today, the “What Difference Does It Make?” Award for denying Hillary’s scandals. (Thanks to our 39 judges who patiently reviewed dozens of quotes to select the very worst of the worst; the full list of winners can be found at

Winning this award: ABC chief anchor and longtime Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos, who treated author Peter Schweizer as a hostile witness during an April 26 interview on ABC’s This Week about Schweizer’s book revealing potential conflicts of interest between contributions to the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s work as Secretary of State. Just two weeks later, Stephanopoulos confessed he had given  $75,000 in personal contributions to the Clinton Foundation, a fact he did not disclose before the interview.

“As you know, the Clinton campaign says you haven’t produced a shred of evidence that there was any official action as Secretary that supported the interest of donors. We’ve done investigative work here at ABC News, found no proof of any kind of direct action. And an independent government ethics expert, Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation, wrote this — he said: ‘There’s no smoking gun. No evidence that she changed a policy based on donations to the foundation. No smoking gun.’ Is there a smoking gun?”

Coming in second, MSNBC national correspondent Joy Reid, who mocked the significance of Hillary’s e-mail scandal while appearing on All In with Chris Hayes back on August 20:

“I have been utterly bored with the story to the point where I only recently began to really sort of dig into it....The more I look into it, I think it’s one of those cases where the trailer is really simple, but the movie is kind of too hard to follow....Maybe Hillary Clinton on the cloud was actually somehow safer and more secure than the actual government e-mails? I don’t even understand it.”

Next, on the July 25 edition of CBS This Morning: Saturday, CBS News Justice correspondent Paula Reid tried to minimize the FBI investigation into the Hillary’s handling of classified government secrets when she was using her own personal e-mail server as Secretary of State:

“This particular issue really shouldn’t have any impact on Clinton. The issue of the e-mails has been out there for a long time. This is not a criminal matter. In fact, it’s far from it. If there are any questions about trustworthiness, it comes, maybe, for the New York Times or the Department of Justice.”

Finally, on the May 21 edition of Hardball, host Chris Matthews seemed to suggest Hillary’s tendency to be secretive and manipulative could predict presidential greatness:

“Franklin Roosevelt — probably the best President we ever had, certainly in the 20th century — was very secretive and manipulative, and we still thought he was a good President. So if Hillary Clinton is secretive, we know that, is that going to help us get any further here?”

Tomorrow: the “Harsh to the Huddled Masses Award” for attacks on the GOP candidates for their supposed hostility to immigration. The full report, with 10 categories plus the judges’ selection of Quote of the Year, is available at: