Last week, the Media Research Center announced our “Best Notable Quotables of 2014,” reviewing the worst media bias of the year, as selected by our panel of 40 expert judges. Over the next few days, NewsBusters will feature the top quotes in each category.
The biggest political story of 2014 was the voter wave that swept Democrats out of power in the U.S. Senate, but during the year journalists did all they could to save liberals from the consequences of their own policies. This year’s “Blue State Brigade Award” highlights the best quotes showing how reporters tried to deny or deflect the impending repudiation of Democratic government.
Winning this category was NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who during MSNBC’s election night coverage scoffed at the “scare tactics” and “non-factual” Republican ads that proved so effective against Senate Democratic incumbents.
“It’s not a substantive argument. It was a scare tactic by the Republican opponents of Democratic incumbents, who tried to focus on ISIS and Ebola in the scariest, most non-factual ways, to take the eye off the real issues.”
Runner-up was NBC’s Chuck Todd, who on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown back on August 1 tried to argue that a lawsuit against the Obama administration by House Speaker John Boehner, plus the failure of immigration “reform,” would destroy Republican hopes of winning the Senate:
“If November comes and goes and Democrats hold the Senate and break even in the House, I think we’re going to look back at the month of July as the month Republicans lost their shot at the Senate.”
Next in line was another quote from Chuck Todd, this time for September 21 segment on NBC’s Meet the Press built around the idea of an “Anti Anti-Tax Cut Fever,” arguing that conservative tax-cutting policies would doom GOP incumbent governors like Sam Brownback in Kansas. (Despite Todd's forecast, Brownback won re-election six weeks later).
Host Chuck Todd: “Some Americans suddenly saying tax cutting has gone too far?”
Clip of Kansas voter: “It’s been a train wreck.”
Todd: “Could Republicans now become the victims of a new anti anti-tax fever?”
Finally, co-host Norah O’Donnell lobbed a slow softball at Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren on the October 28 CBS This Morning, asking the ardent liberal what would happen if Republicans won the election:
Co-host Norah O’Donnell: “You serve in the U.S. Senate. Democrats are in control. The Republicans need six seats. On average, since World War II the opposing party of the President has won about six seats. What’s going to happen if Republicans take control?”
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA): “Oh, it’s going to be ugly out there if the Republicans take control.”
O’Donnell: “I guess that was a softball of a question, wasn’t it?”
Warren: “How many ways can we talk about this?”
Co-host Charlie Rose: “She just teed it up for you. Go.”
Tomorrow: the “Media Hero Award,” detailing the worst campaign bias 2014. The full report, with 14 categories plus the judges’ selection of Quote of the Year, is available at: www.MRC.org.