Welcome, Pope “Rottweiler”
“On World News this Sunday, who is Pope Benedict? The sometimes controversial Pope comes to America this week....Joseph Ratzinger, the so-called ‘Professor Pope,’ grew up in Nazi Germany, a studious boy who was unwillingly drafted into the army. At the Vatican, he developed a reputation as a brilliant theologian, and also a hard-liner, strenuously condemning divorce, homosexuality and abortion. As Pope John Paul’s lieutenant, he earned nicknames like ‘Cardinal No,’ and ‘God’s Rottweiler.’...Benedict has also created controversy, like in this speech where he included a quote calling Islam evil. Afterwards, there were riots in the Muslim world. [to biographer David Gibson] Do you think, at times, he has something of a tin ear?”
— Anchor Dan Harris previewing the Pope’s visit on ABC’s World News, April 13.
“Explain the difference between the private man and the public Pope that some Americans are maybe even a little unsure or fearful of.”
— Co-host Harry Smith questioning Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George on CBS’s The Early Show, April 15.
“Since becoming Pope Benedict XVI three years ago, the man who used to be the Vatican’s chief hard-liner has undergone an image makeover....Benedict has made what one ambassador to the Holy See called a smooth transition from scholar to universal pastor. It may not quite fit the miracle category, but it is nonetheless an extraordinary transition for a man who was once known as ‘God’s Rottweiler.’ As Pope, he has not gone out of his way to appease the more liberal wings of the Catholic Church in the U.S., but Benedict’s chief image maker is unfazed.”
— CBS’s Allen Pizzey on The Early Show, April 14.
“Pay Up and Be Grateful!”
“It’s early April, which means these are the few days of the year when Americans of almost every political stripe unite in a perennial ritual: complaining about taxes. Count me out. I’m happy to pay my fair share to the government. It’s part of my patriotic duty — and it’s a heckuva bargain.... There seems to be an inconsistency about people who insist on wearing flag pins in their lapels, but who grumble about paying taxes....Genuine patriots don’t complain about their patriotic obligations....Pay up and be grateful!”
— Former ABC and CNN reporter Walter Rodgers writing in the Christian Science Monitor, April 2.
“Bitter” Townies = Terrorists?
CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin: “What [Senator Barack] Obama said is factually accurate.”
CNN’s Jack Cafferty: “Right.”
Toobin: “It’s been true throughout history that people who have economic problems lash out against various others. I just think it is embarrassing for the Clinton campaign just to hang on to this as if it’s some sort of gaffe by Obama.”...
Cafferty: “They call it the Rust Belt for a reason. The great jobs and the economic prosperity left that part of the country two or three decades ago. The people are frustrated. The people have no economic opportunity. What happens to folks like that in the Middle East, you ask? Well, take a look. They go to places like al Qaeda training camps.”
— Exchange on CNN’s The Situation Room, April 11, talking about Obama’s remark about how “bitter” people in small towns “cling to guns or religion...as a way to explain their frustrations.”
Racist Whites Will Sink Obama
“He is a wonderful candidate and I’d be proud to vote for him in every regard, just about. I think he’s a terrific guy. But I have no doubt in my mind, having lived through the David Dinkins-Rudy Giuliani bare-knuckled campaign for the mayor of New York, that certain people....I’m talking about white people, basically. They are gonna go into the secrecy of that polling place, they’re gonna remember Reverend Wright, they are going to be affected in a negative way. And I think that it will make Barack Obama’s success in the campaign for the White House extremely difficult.”
— FNC’s Geraldo Rivera talking about Barack Obama’s campaign prospects on his Geraldo at Large, March 29.
Scolding the “Heartless” McCain
“The first question is about the issue that Americans do seem to care about the most, and that’s the economy. You’ve been very clear that because of your principles and because of your Republican philosophy, that you think that the government really should be limited and really should stay out, for the most part, of bailing out both homeowners and what you call irresponsible lenders. But my question is, in this time of uncertainty, when there are so many people hurting, are you concerned that there are voters out there who hear that who say, ‘John McCain is heartless when it comes to this issue?’”
— CNN’s Dana Bash interviewing Republican presidential candidate John McCain on The Situation Room, April 1.
The “Infamous” Charlton Heston
“As President of the National Rifle Association, he became one of the most-polarizing figures in American politics.”
— ABC’s Dan Harris reporting on the death of actor Charlton Heston, April 6 World News.
“Once the quintessential big screen hero, in his later years he drew as much attention for his controversial politics.”
— Anchor Russ Mitchell on the April 6 CBS Evening News.
“In the 1950s and ’60s, the era of the movie epic — those three-hour extravaganzas with a cast of thousands and the passionate enunciation of high ideals — he was the epic hero....He became a villain to many in his later life, when he took up the strident support of conservative causes, most notably that of the National Rifle Association....Heston supported restrictions on abortion; he campaigned for Reagan (possible bumper sticker: ‘God Likes the Gipper’) and both Bushes; he inadvisedly posed for a photo with a white supremacist leader. He spoke at any conservative function that would have him, and what group wouldn’t?”
— Time magazine movie critic Richard Corliss in an April 6 appreciation posted on Time.com.
“In his later years, Heston was known for his Republican views, but when he first became politically active, he voted Democratic — for Kennedy and then Johnson. He was also an early supporter of civil rights, and marched on Washington....As famous as he was for his film roles, he became infamous for his politics, including his belief that the Bill of Rights is built upon the bedrock of the Second Amendment.”
— Former Fox News Channel entertainment reporter Bill McCuddy in a taped report shown on FNC’s Fox & Friends Weekend, April 6.
Free Markets Are a “False Idol”
Joblessness is growing. Millions of homes are sliding into foreclosure. The financial system continues to choke on the toxic leftovers of the mortgage crisis. The downward spiral of the economy is challenging a notion that has underpinned American economic policy for a quarter-century — the idea that prosperity springs from markets left free of government interference....With market forces now seemingly gone feral, disenchantment with regulation has given way to demands for fresh oversight, placing Mr. [Milton] Friedman’s intellectual legacy under fresh scrutiny.”
— New York Times economics reporter Peter Goodman in an April 13 “Week in Review” piece headlined: “The Free Market: A False Idol After All?”
Tough Enough for Right Wing?
“How do we know that you’re tough enough to take the heat from the right — from the radio address, from the right wing radio, from the right wing columnists — if you begin to pull our troops out of Iraq and they start screaming, ‘Who lost Iraq?’ How do we know you’re as tough as Dick Cheney to ignore public opinion and do what you believe in? Because he’s certainly tough enough to do it.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Hardball, April 2.
Impugning “Racist” Director
Reporter Nick Watt: “The 17-minute movie [from Dutch director Geert Wilders] shows terrorist attacks and quotes lines from the Koran: ‘Where ye meet the unbelievers, smite at their necks and fight them until there is no dissension.’... Wilders wants Holland to ban all Muslim immigration and he wants Muslims to change their ideology, which he likens to Nazism. [to Wilders] You believe the Western Judeo-Christian culture is superior. You believe immigration should be stopped. I mean, you’re a racist, no?”
Director Geert Wilders: “No. I’m nothing. Once again, I am not a racist because I have nothing against any race.”
— ABC’s Good Morning America, March 29.
Rebuking Anti-Roe McCain
Co-host Joy Behar: “I said to [Senator John McCain] off the camera, I said to him ‘Listen, how can you be against Roe v. Wade? You can not turn on women like that.’”
Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck: “Why is that turning on women?”
Behar: “Because it’s against women and you know it.”
— Exchange on ABC’s The View, April 14.
The “Bear Stearns of Pedophilia”
“I’d like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult. Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. That’s right, the Pope is coming to America....If you have a few hundred followers, and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If have a billion, they call you ‘Pope.’ It’s like, if you can’t pay your mortgage, you’re a deadbeat. But if you can’t pay a million mortgages, you’re Bear Stearns and we bail you out. And that is who the Catholic Church is: the Bear Stearns of organized pedophilia.... The Church’s attitude: ‘We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it,’ which is fine. Far be it for me to criticize religion.”
— Bill Maher on HBO’s Real Time, April 11.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth, Scott Whitlock, Matthew Balan, Kyle Drennen and Justin McCarthy
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
INTERN: Lyndsi Thomas