How Well Can You Distinguish Between Media Surreality and Satire?
By Brad Jacobson on 1/13/2009, 3:57pm PT  

Guest blogged by Brad Jacobson of MediaBloodhound

[Please note: While the "Challenge" is based on material from MediaBloodhound's pages, the experience of this annual trainwreck is universal. As one editor put it today, "This is funny and sad." - B. Jacobson, MBH]

The following are quotes and headlines culled from this past year at MediaBloodhound (keep in mind some were said or written prior to '08 but noted here during the year). Some are real (fact) and others are from satirical articles (fiction) posted under "The Wounded-Courier." See if you can distinguish between the two. Once you've answered all the entries --- but not before because multiple entries may come from the same post and checking one might give away another --- you'll find the answer key at the very bottom.

All right, news junkies and media mavens, the 2008 Fact or Fiction Challenge is on:

1) “Hey, tell Brokaw to suck it.” - Chris Matthews, following Tom Brokaw's on-air dressing down of Matthews during MSNBC coverage of the Democratic primary race

2) “If we had a state-run media, how would it be any different?" - Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman

3) “Worse than seventeen Donna Rices sitting on Obama’s lap on a luxury yacht called ‘Monkey Business.” - Gary Hart, one-time Democratic presidential hopeful, on John Kerry’s endorsement of Barack Obama

4) “Now and for the foreseeable future, virtually everything involving Britney is a big deal.” - Frank Baker, Associated Press Los Angeles Assistant Bureau Chief, in a memo to staff

5) Headline: "McCain Threatens Bombing China Over U.S. Flag Sales"

6) "Two hundred and thirty-two years to get a black man in the White House, and the one they choose disenfranchises an entire nation of comedians! Can't a brother catch a break?!" - Chris Rock

7) Headline: "Obama Said to Pick Newly Created 'Leakmaster General'"

8) "As my father used to say, Brit, just because you can turn water into wine, it doesn't mean you can build a birdhouse." - Karl Rove speaking with Fox News anchor Brit Hume

9) "Senator Obama, what is more patriotic --- paper or plastic?" - ABC World News anchor Charles Gibson during Democratic primary debate

10) "No, there is nothing to base that on. As far as I know." - Hillary Clinton responding to whether she believed Obama was a Muslim

11) “The main rationale [for invading Iraq] was not based on intelligence.” - Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense

12) "Look, I don't come to your office at the Times, elbow my way threw that Third World newsroom of Marxist homosexual terrorists, and stand over your desk telling you how to type! So, please - please - my friend, don't tell me how to win a war!" - John McCain's infamous blow-up with New York Times reporter Elizabeth Bumiller

13) "If I learned to play an instrument, it would take away from what I do..." - Rap mogul Puff Daddy

14) "I must say, I'm a little envious....It must be exciting for some ways romantic, in some ways, you know, confronting danger." - President George W. Bush addressing U.S. military and civilian personnel stationed in Afghanistan

15) "My friends, Senator Obama talks about cutting spending with a scalpel. We need more than a scalpel, my friends. We need a hatchet. A hatchet and a sledgehammer." - John McCain

16) "They could not succeed in eliminating WMDs because they did not exist." - Hans Blix, a chief U.N. weapons inspector

17) Headline: "Why Obama's Bowling Would've Lost Dr. King's Support"

18) "Praise the Lord, and pass the political ammunition. We're in it now." - Blogger Taylor Marsh as the mainstream media's focus on Reverend Jeremiah Wright gained traction

19) "This is further proof that Senator John McCain has what it takes to lead this country - a limited yet firm grip of the facts, a tenuous hold on reality, and Bunyanesque balls of stainless steel. Senator McCain, if posing as your patsy to win this war is wrong, then I don't want to be right. Hand me a Crave Case of White Castles and an elephant tranquilizer gun, and I'll take down Michael Moore for you, sir!" - Stephen Colbert

20) We believe that [the Pennsylvania primary result] will show that Hillary is ready to win, and that Sen. Obama really can't win the general election." - Mark Penn, Hillary Clinton's chief strategist

21) "As Democrats and Independents weigh who they want to run against John McCain in the fall, answer this question. Can you support a candidate who is friends with terrorists?" - Counter-terrorism expert and blogger Larry Johnson

22) "If I were to watch the news that you hear in the United States --- I’d just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts." - Lara Logan, CBS News Chief Foreign Correspondent

23) "Against the law? I'll leave that to legal scholars. But it's certainly good politics." - CNN senior political reporter Candi Crowley

24) Headline: "McCain, Obama Agree on 'Dark Knight'"

25) "Is the American flag Barack Obama's Willie Horton?" - CNN anchor Anderson Cooper

26) Headline: "McCain Camp Launches"
27) "Whether on our own soil or in a distant land, explosions, gunfire and random acts of violence bind us as Americans. To deny this is to reject the American people outright, to lodge metaphorical shrapnel deep into the heart of our frontier soul." - Washington Post columnist George Will

28) Headline: "Owners Cuddle, Dress Pets...Then Fry Them"

29) "At least I don't plaster on the makeup like a trollop, you cunt." - John McCain addressing his wife Cindy

30) 'Let's face it, George W. Bush was comedic welfare. None of us really had to work very hard. Hell, our writers would often just send me links to The New York Times and then hit the peep shows." - Late Show host David Letterman

31) "The Tiger Woods injury story was of major importance and we felt we needed to devote time to it as the lead. " - Rick Kaplan, Executive Producer of CBS Evening News

32) "I knew I'd miss Bush, but I thought I could rely on McCain-Palin and the millions of bile-filled, pitch-fork-waving, infuriatingly ignorant and virulently racist bat-shit crazy Americans to maintain comedic stability in the White House. I was wrong." - Stephen Colbert

33) Headline: "Elephant Warms to Baby She Stomped"

34) “During ‘blackout week,’ the AP didn’t mention [Paris] Hilton’s second birthday party at a Beverly Hills restaurant, at which a drunken friend reportedly was ejected by security after insulting Paula Abdul and Courtney Love. And editors asked our Puerto Rico bureau not to write about her visit there to hawk her fragrance.” - Frank Baker, Associated Press Los Angeles Assistant Bureau Chief, on AP's journalistic restraint in covering fluff

35) "A sieve with legs." - John Podesta, Obama transition chief and former Clinton White House chief of staff, describing Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton and longtime Hillary loyalist


1) fiction; 2) fact; 3) fiction; 4) fact; 5) fiction; 6) fiction; 7) fiction; 8 ) fiction; 9) fiction; 10) fact; 11) fact; 12) fiction; 13) fact; 14) fact; 15) fiction; 16) fact; 17) fiction; 18) fact; 19) fiction; 20) fact; 21) fact; 22) fact; 23) fiction; 24) fact; 25) fiction; 26) fiction; 27) fiction; 28) fact; 29) fact; 30) fiction; 31) fact; 32) fiction; 33) fact; 34) fact; 35) fiction

So how did you do? Better than you expected? Worse than you expected? Any entries that particularly tripped you up or caused you to snarf your beverage of choice? Keep it going --- send to your friends, family and co-workers and see who comes out on top (caution: due to John McCain's verbal expression of family values, this year's challenge is not suitable for children).

Cross-posted from MediaBloodhound

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