10 Moments That Hooked Us in 2011

The year 2011 was the year the 7-second TV delay failed miserably, that members of Congress behaved badly and Weiner headlines became something of an art form. Today we’ve pooled our wisdom into another annoying year-end list, although we hope ours will hold your interest. We’ve picked the moments that stood out most in our minds and the journalists who made them happen. Here’s to you CNN’s Wolf Blitzer for gracefully using the word “underwear” on television and to you, TIME‘s Mark Halperin, for being baited into calling the President “a dick” live on “Morning Joe.” Ed Schultz also gets points (at least for the purposes of this list) for calling conservative Laura Ingraham a “slut.” And to CBS’s Lara Logan, there are not adequate words to describe her courage.

10. Bret Baier’s journalistic jihad on GOP Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

In November, Fox News anchor Bret Baier sat down with GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. It was a hard-hitting interview that saw Romney bristle at several of the questions. When Baier brought up Romney’s penchant for flip-flopping, Romney scolds Baier like a mommy with a 5-year-old and says, “We’re going to have to be better informed about my views on issues.” To Baier’s credit, he continued pounding Romney who kept twisting and turning in his seat. The interview certainly didn’t help Romney. That marked the beginning of a surge for second-tier candidates to make runs at Romney’s frontrunner status. Baier went on The O’Reilly Factor the following day and boasted that after the interview, Romney approached him and called some of the questions “uncalled for” and “overly aggressive.” Calling Bret Baier, a “boy scout” according to Mike Allen, “overly aggressive” is like calling Andrew Breitbart a “serious journalist.” For Baier, let’s stop at fair and mostly balanced and call it a day. — Peter Ogburn

9. The Talented Mr. Nelson Lewis

Nobody is ever going to accuse Washington of being an honest place to work, but Nelson Lewis took things to a whole new level. For starters, Lewis, a former producer for Laura Ingraham’s radio show, tried to pull off impersonating Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), an old family friend. Police arrested him for “illegal possession of a congressional lapel pin.” If that’s not humiliating enough, NYP‘s Page Six reported that Lewis claimed to be related to former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis. He even went as far as creating a fake email account from Lewis to vouch for him. It didn’t take long for the fake world to come tumbling down around him and he was left with no other option but to admit he had a lying problem. According to Page Six, Lewis checked himself into a treatment center at the beginning of this year to address his problem, which he blamed almost entirely on his former employer, Ingraham! He was led to all this lying because, according to Nelson, “she emasculated me.” Psst….there are whisperings that Lewis is working on a weekly TV program here in Washington. Stay tuned. — Peter Ogburn

8. Politico Reporter Kendra Marr Forced to Resign for Plagiarism

This year saw highs and lows for former Politico Pro transportation reporter Kendra Marr. On one hand, she got engaged in April. On the other, she was essentially fired for insufficiently attributing information to the NYT and other publications in her stories. FishbowlDC broke the story of Marr’s misdeeds in October. At the time, her colleagues said newsroom culture was in large part to blame for Marr’s sloppiness. Politico founders John Harris and Jim VandeHei referred to Marr as “a valued colleague and friend” in a memo explaining what happened. WaPo media reporter Erik Wemple empathized with Marr, writing, “When you combine Politico Pro’s pressure for originality with Politico Regular’s factory conditions, you get a force powerful enough to corrupt an otherwise good journalist.” In a recent follow-up, Wemple broke news of a new mentoring program at Politico meant to cultivate young reporters; a system that would have likely benefited Marr. Marr has essentially disappeared. Her Twitter account is still active, but she hasn’t tweeted to her 2,600 followers since the day the story of her indiscretions broke on Oct. 13. We couldn’t find a Facebook account under her name. Her LinkedIn page says she still works at Politico. Her former colleagues aren’t talking. And, perhaps most biting, the initial Google suggestion you get when searching her name is “Kendra Marr plagiarism.” — Eddie Scarry