Year End Awards: The Ruining the Revolution Award

December 26th, 2015 9:59 AM

Since Monday, NewsBusters has been presenting each category from the Media Research Center’s “Best Notable Quotables of 2015,” our annual awards for the year’s worst journalism. Today, the “Ruining the Revolution Award,” for journalists wailing about how awful it will be for communist Cuba to become more like the capitalist U.S. (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, Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith who fretted that if American businesses such as Taco Bell or Lowe’s moved to Cuba, it could “ruin the place.” Smith made his comment during the December 17, 2014 edition of his afternoon newscast, Shepard Smith Reporting, soon after news broke that President Obama had been secretly negotiating with dictator Raul Castro for a return to normalized relations:

Anchor Shepard Smith: “You know the fear among anybody who’s ever been there, or cares at all about the Cuban people, as so many of us do — the last thing they need is a Taco Bell and a Lowe’s. I mean, we don’t need a –”
FBN’s Gerri Willis: “Toilet paper, toothbrushes, right? Toothpaste.”
Smith: “That’s it. But you know, it’s one big idea and it all sort of comes together and, you wonder, are we about to get up in there and ruin that place?”

Rivaling Smith, MSNBC weekend anchor Melissa Harris-Perry on her April 11 show worried that, despite the poverty and hardship brought on by decades of communism, American tourists would be “a plague” on Cuba:

“On the one hand, it is great to reopen these relationships. On the other hand, I worry about American tourists and the ways that we can sometimes be a plague on the rest of the world, particularly in these nations that become high-tourist economies. And I’m wondering if there is a downside to our economic ties opening up with Cuba, for Cuba.”

Next, longtime Newsweek correspondent Eleanor Clift, now a writer for The Daily Beast, claimed on the December 21, 2014 McLaughlin Group that she would want to rush to Cuba while it is still an “unspoiled” place, drawing derision from her fellow panelists:

“The rest of us are all going to be rushing to get to Cuba before it turns into Miami Beach, while it’s still that unspoiled, seemingly, place with the classic cars....People want to see Cuba as it is, before it becomes more developed.”

Finally, ABC’s Barbara Walters agreed to play a word association game with then-co-host Rosie O’Donnell on The View back on December 12, 2014, and the first name tossed out was longtime Cuban dictator Fidel Castro:

Co-host Rosie O’Donnell: “I’m going to name some of the people you interviewed, and tell me what word first pops in your mind when I say the name. Okay? Here we go. Fidel Castro.”
ABC’s Barbara Walters: “Maybe the most charismatic person I have met.”


Tomorrow: the “Hopeless Haters Award,” for denigrating the conservative presidential candidates. The full report, with 10 categories plus the judges’ selection of Quote of the Year, is available at: