The Nation’s Best of the Worst Reporting for 2015, from the Media Research Center

OKLAHOMA CITY – Although I believe I am a tolerant and caring man, I try not to protest too much. And, I confess, each year it is harder to take seriously those who make a profession (even if in partial retirement) of demanding tolerance, when they say things such as what follows.

Read carefully the words of George Takei, who played Mr. Sulu on ‘Star Trek,” long one of my favorite science fiction series:

“He is a clown in blackface sitting on the Supreme Court. He gets me that angry. He doesn’t belong there….This man does not belong on the Supreme Court. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America.”

Takei was talking about a friend of mine, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

The vile things said about Justice Thomas seem to get marginally worse each year, but I voted for Takei’s words – uttered during an interview with Fox 10 TV In June 2015, as the “Quote of the Year” for the annual “Notable Quotables” directed by the Media Research Center (MRC) in Washington, D.C.

Alas, Takei only managed to win the MRC’s Barbra Streisand Political IQ Award for celebrity vapidity. 

First place for “quote of the year” went to a journalist, a woman named Melissa Harris Perry.

Perry won for managing to do something almost no one who seriously monitors politics in the U.S. Congress who could seriously assert. The MSNBC program host challenged Alonso Aguilar, a conservative Latino leader, who had described Paul Ryan as a “hard-worker.”

She countered, saying, “I want us to be super careful when we use the language ‘hard worker,’ because I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like. So, I feel you that he’s a hard worker, I do, but in the context of relative privilege.”

So there you have it: The Speaker of the U.S. House – a man who is demonstrably a workaholic and a serious student of public policy – who worked to craft a year-end budget accord with the Obama White House (while catching hell from some on his right flank) is only a hard worker “in the context of relative privilege.”

If that is the new rule, then what about John F. Kennedy, and all of the Kennedys for that matter?

Another MSNBC winner was Donny Deutsch, a regular on “Morning Joe.” When U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, announced his presidential candidacy, Deutch opined, concerning the Ivy League graduate: “Everybody keeps saying he’s a smart guy. This is a guy who basically is saying that climate change is not a fact…So wait, that’s not smart. That’s dumb. But that’s ignorance. That word is ignorant and that’s not smart…

“I think he’s the worst. I think he’s scary, I think he’s dangerous, I think he’s slimy and I think he brings no fresh ideas.” Deutch was top vote-getter in the category deemed “Hopeless Haters” (for denigrating conservative candidates).

Winners in the annual MRC “competition” delineating the best of the worst examples of liberal bias in mainstream reporting and commentary included this gem from Dick Meyer, now D.C. bureau chief for the venerable Scripps News. He asserted, in an op-ed column, “President Obama will go down in history as an extraordinary President, probably a great one….It would be a morale booster and a sign of civic maturity if more Americans appreciated what an exceptional President they have right now.”

Meyer’s missive won as in the “Obamagasm” category.

Even the comparatively conservative Fox News had some winners, including Shepard Smith. Rather likable most of the time, Smith showed shocking unawareness of “on-the-ground” economic realities in Cuba. This exchange took place with Gerri Willis of Fox Business News:

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?”

Smith won the “Ruining the Revolution” Award.

Other winners this year included George Stephanopoulos and Bryant Gumbel, both perenniel victors.

Additional categories in the MRC awards for the best of the worst included the Ku Klux Con Job, the “What Difference Does it Make” award for denying Hillary scandals, Damn Those Conservatives, the Pantsuit Patrol, Hopeless Haters (for denigrating conservative candidates), and the Audacity of Dopes.

For more than two decades, I have participated as a judge for this annual compilation. Long-time readers will attest that each year I am a bit more astounded than the year before at the depth of unfairness, shocking lack of balance and pervasive unfairness laid bare through MRC’s work.

Others involved in judging the 2015 “winners” included Fox News Analyst Monica Crowley, Heritage Foundation emeritus trustee Midge Decter, National Review’s Quin Hilyer, Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby, National Review alumna Kate O’Beirne, World Magazine’s Marvin Olasky, columnist Cal Thomas, scholar and writer Walter Williams, Tom Winter of Human Events, and radio commentator Mark Levin.

Several key players at MRC also serve as judges, including founder and President L. Brent Bozell III, Vice President Brent H. Baker, media analyst Tim Graham, and researcher Rich Noyes.

The Media Research Center performs a public service by methodically archiving and retaining the “best” examples of the worst reporting and commentary in the “mainstream” national media.

Readers can access the “nominees” in the various categories and decide for themselves whether or not they agree with the collective wisdom of the conservative journalists, writers and thinkers who served as judges.

A useful review of the information MRC compiled is available online here.