Bill Maher: Panel, what was the biggest story of 2007? I mean, other than the United States having a mentally retarded president?
Keith Olbermann: It's obvious what the big story was: the Greatest crime of the 21st Century... the Bush Administration's outing of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame... and the subsequent pardon of criminal Scooter Libby. That story is one that our grandchildren will be discussing decades from now.
Richard Cohen: True dat.
Helen Thomas: No, no, no... the big story is the murder -- the murder! -- of millions of innocent Iraqis by the Bush administration and the U.S. military...
Chris Matthews: Helen, you raise a good point. The fact that more people are recognizing that the Bush Administration could be charged with war crimes... you know, it's no longer far-fetched to envision a modern version of the Nuremberg Trials and we could see that happen.
Bill Maher: Well, just remember how close Dick Cheney came to being killed in Afghanistan.... I mean, if that happened, it would be a really, really positive development and save the time and expense of a trial...
George Stephanopolous: I have to disagree. Not about Cheney being killed, but that the situation with oil prices strikes me as the most important story of 2007. And the fact that government can help push conservation by raising gas taxes even higher... and hasn't done so... is, to me, a huge issue. We need to raise taxes and that could save us from having to intervene in the Middle East.
Meredith Vieira: Well, a related story, that's even more important to me, is global warming. I mean, I'm running in the park in January in shorts... are we all gonna die, or what? We've really made a tremendous mess of the planet... it would probably be better if humans never existed!
Katie Couric: Those are all important, but don't forget the work of Jimmy Carter, what with his election monitoring, his winning the Nobel Peace Prize, equating Israel's treatment of Palestinians as apartheid... even at age 82, he's really done it all.
Dan Rather: Please, folks, don't gloss over the Bush Air National Guard Story that I broke on Sixty Minutes... now that the story has been corroborated --
Bill Maher: Hell, that was 2004! Oh man, he's really lost it all, hasn't he?
Dan Rather: You know, Bill, I'm sitting right here. I can hear every word you say.
Bill Maher: Okay, it's time to discuss presidential politics. What's your take on the primaries, which begin in a matter of a few days?
Chris Matthews: The person who has strengthened their hand most is Bobby Kennedy, I mean Barack Obama. His voice, his teeth, his charisma... I mean, it send shivers down my spine, all the way to my tuchus.
George Stephanopolous: Yeah, but Obama really doesn't have much of a shot in the general election. Think about it -- what Republican would ever vote for a black man? You know that they're all racists... every single one.
Amy Sullivan: Hillary has really distinguished herself. She's shown that she's truly a moral conservative, advocating for the rights of the unborn, and making real headway in Red States.
Chris Matthews: Many would argue that the Bhutto situation has strengthened Hillary's hand... after all, she met with Bhutto once when she was First Lady... you can't teach that kind of experience...
George Stephanopolous: It's the right time and place for Hillary. Some Democrats argue that John Edwards is a cynical opportunist, he's never visited Iraq, he won't admit a mistake, he voted for No Child Left Behind, he was affiliated with Hedge funds like Fortress... all of his positions seem to be conversions of convenience.
Richard Cohen: True dat, G.
Bill Maher: Thoughts about how the media changed in 2007?
Keith Olbermann: Most Americans feel as I do: that the danger of Al Qaeda pales in comparison with that posed by Rupert Murdoch and Fox News. Fox News is the real terrorist group that we must defeat.
Richard Cohen: True dat. Word to your Moms.
William Arkin: Well, not to toot my own horn, but I feel that NBC has transformed the reportage of war. We've exposed America's mercenary -- oops, sorry, volunteer -- military that has murdered, raped and pillaged its way across the Middle East.
Bill Maher: William, we'll have to leave it at that. We've run out of time, but I want to thank our panelists for their fair and balanced positions.
Just a reminder that we'll see you next week, when we host Hugo Chavez, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Michael Moore, Vladimir Putin, Maureen Dowd, Muqtada al-Sadr, Rosie O'Donnell and Osama Bin Laden in a panel discussion on "Influencing American Media for Fun and Profit."
The hyperlinked statements, while obviously paraphrased, represent what the parties in question have said publicly. Click each hyperlink to see the original quote. Special thanks to the Media Research Center and NewBusters for collecting these statements.
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