Notable Quotables - 01/17/2005
No Liberal Bias at CBS News?
Wyatt Andrews: The independent panel slams CBS News and
60 Minutes Wednesday for what it called fundamental deficiencies in reporting, accusing the network not of political bias, but of being in a competitive rush....Despite a controversial phone call [producer Mary] Mapes made to the Kerry campaign, the panel found no political agenda.
Richard Thornburgh, CBS Review Panel: In terms of rock-solid evidence that there was such, we didnt find it. We didnt find any actual bias.
January 10 CBS Evening News story on the investigation into a September 8 60 Minutes report that relied on forged memos to question whether President Bush fulfilled his National Guard duties.
Does anybody really think there wouldnt have been more scrutiny if this had been about John Kerry?
Former 60 Minutes Executive Producer Don Hewitt at a January 10 meeting at CBS News, as quoted later that day by Chris Matthews on MSNBCs Hardball.
Real Crime = Airing Swift Vets
If you look at the Swift Boat ads last summer full of distortions, some demonstrably untrue content in there yet they were run as gospel by many news outlets even though they were by definition designed to influence the election. But youre not going to see Fox News appointing an independent investigation into its own journalistic ethics or lack thereof for those ads.
MSNBCs Keith Olbermann on Countdown January 10.
So Wheres Dan Rathers Medal?
New York Times: If Dan [Rather] were to go away and not be on TV anymore, it would be a real loss.
Host Chris Matthews: You know, I wonder, because you know Ive been a skeptic...about the justification for this war with Iraq....When we found there was no case for the war in terms of weapons of mass destruction, nobody pounded down the door and said dont give us that malarkey. There was no sense of outrage....How many people have been fired at the White House for failure to get the facts right on weapons of mass destruction and taking us into war under false pretenses?
Carter: I think they got Medals of Freedom!
Matthews: They got Medals of Freedom! So while you can also complain about this, you got to wonder.
Discussing the report on CBSs forged memo scandal January 10 on MSNBCs Hardball.
Media: Bush Too Slow on Tsunami
Foreign policy analysts say the Presidents delay in speaking publicly has sent the wrong message....Analysts also say Mr. Bush may have missed a golden opportunity to mend fences with Muslims not just in Asia, but around the world who are unhappy with U.S. policies.
Reporter John Yang on ABCs World News Tonight, December 29.
Here we have a monumental disaster affecting some nine or eleven countries, an entire region of the world and the President waits three days to make an appearance and talk about it. Was it a political fumble?
Have we blown it, at least in the early stages?
Matt Lauers questions to Newsweeks Howard Fineman and the BBCs Katty Kay on NBCs Today, Dec. 30.
Diane Sawyer: As you know, theres all kinds of second guessing going on that America missed a great opportunity, particularly in an intensely Muslim area to show good faith in the beginning.
Secretary of State Colin Powell: Hang on, hang on. A little while ago the Thai foreign minister and I gave a press conference and what he said was the first person to call him, the first person to call the Thai government was me, last Sunday night. And I said to him, What do you need?
Sawyer: But other countries were giving more.
Exchange on ABCs Good Morning America, January 4.
You cannot defend the administrations laggard response. The aircraft carrier was in the Indian Ocean. It could have been diverted a lot earlier....The administration was basically out to lunch. They were on holiday and they didnt see U.S. strategic interests really threatened and they just took their damn time.
Newsweeks Eleanor Clift on the McLaughlin Group, January 8.
...But Reporters Were No Swifter
This is one of those stories nobody quite understood in the first couple of days exactly what this was going to be. The White House didnt understand it, journalists didnt understand it, and aid organizations didnt understand it. Now, more and more reporters are wandering into the story. But everyone was slow to completely grasp the significance.
ABCs Bob Woodruff, who covered the Asian tsunami, as quoted by USA Todays Peter Johnson, January 4.
George Castigates Colin...
You say you spoke to the President on Monday. Why did it take so long for him to come out publicly?
But youve heard what the Presidents critics have said. They said that this was a missed opportunity to show compassion.
Two of George Stephanopouloss questions to Secretary of State Colin Powell in an interview shown on ABCs Nightline, December 30.
...But Kisses Up to Kofi
Are you confident now that everyone in the core group, that all the industrialized nations recognize the leadership role of the United Nations here?
Could this crisis, as horrible as it is, become an opportunity for the UN to prove to the world what it can do?
Two of Stephanopouloss questions to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on ABCs This Week, January 2.
Patriot Act Made Tsunami Worse?
In the oil-rich countries of the Persian Gulf, citizens are being urged to do more. Indonesia is a largely Muslim nation. Ironically, the controls on Muslim charities after 9/11 may be keeping contributions down.
Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, January 5.
Partisan Bush Snubbed Jimmy
MSNBCs Chris Matthews: Do you find it odd that the President, the former President, whos had the most role to play in the last 20 years in terms of helping poor nations with disease and problems of, like this, smaller versions of it, Jimmy Carter was not asked to participate? Do you find that interesting?
Former Democratic candidate Wesley Clark: Well, I think its a terrible thing that he wasnt asked to participate....
Matthews: Do you think it was partisan knocking Carter off the list?
MSNBCs Hardball, January 4. Bush did ask former President Bill Clinton, a Democrat, to help raise funds.
Where the Hell Has She Been?
Imagine a Democratic presidential candidate and his allies assailing the character of the Republican nominee in ads and speeches every day for eight months. Having trouble? Thats because Democrats generally dont have the stomach or the discipline to do it. Often they dont even effectively fight back when under attack themselves.
USA Today political reporter Jill Lawrence in a news analysis published January 10.
Bringing Back the Death Squads
What to do about the deepening quagmire of
Iraq?...Newsweek has learned the Pentagon is intensively debating an option that dates back to a still-secret strategy in the Reagan administrations battle against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in El Salvador in the early 1980s. Then, faced with a losing war against Salvadoran rebels, the U.S. government funded or supported nationalist forces that allegedly included so-called death squads directed to hunt down and kill rebel leaders and sympathizers. Eventually the insurgency was quelled, and many U.S. conservatives consider the policy to have been a success despite the deaths of innocent civilians and the subsequent Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages scandal.
Newsweeks Michael Hirsh and John Barry in a Web exclusive posted on the magazines Web site January 8.
Is this a clear sign though that U.S. forces are losing the war with these insurgents? That they are even more difficult to, to deal with than once imagined?
But in El Salvador many innocent civilians were killed when these kind of tactics were employed. Are you concerned about that, or the possibility this will increase anti-American sentiment in the general Iraqi population?
NBCs Katie Couric to retired General Wayne Downing on the January 10 Today. A graphic reading Iraqi Death Squads? remained onscreen throughout the interview.
Wholl Thwart Bush Now?
Some people are saying that as you leave, the last dissenting voice will leave this administration....How much did your dissenting opinions contribute to your decision to leave the position of Secretary of State; and are you worried that in your absence there will be, what some call, a group think on major and serious policy issues?...Are you comfortable with the mix of opinions that therell be enough strong voices to do the same in your absence?
Questions from NBCs Matt Lauer to outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell, December 28 Today.
The Gospel According to Moore
[Michael] Moore...says that his film, too, resonates with Christs message.
The Passion of the Christ emphasized Christs final hours and, for the most part, left out scenes of his ministry. But my film dovetails with the rest of Jesus life, Moore told
Time last week. It connects to his message about questioning those in authority, of being a man of peace, of loving your neighbor.
Times Richard Lacayo in the magazines December 27/January 3 year-end double issue, juxtaposing the left-wing Moore with actor/director Mel Gibson as runners-up for Times Person of the Year award.