Notable Quotables - 05/08/1995
SPECIAL PURVEYORS OF HATE & DIVISION ISSUE
Oklahoma City: Conservative Talk Radio's Fault?
"In a nation that has
entertained and appalled itself for years with hot talk on the
radio and the campaign trail, the inflamed rhetoric of the '90s
is suddenly an unindicted co-conspirator in the blast."
- Time Senior Writer Richard Lacayo, May 8.
"Mr. Panetta, there's been
a lot of anti-government rhetoric, it comes over talk radio, it
comes from various quarters. Do you think that that somehow has
led these people to commit this act, do they feed on that kind
of rhetoric, and what impact do you think it's had?"
- CBS's Bob Schieffer, April 23 Face the Nation.
"The bombing in Oklahoma
City has focused renewed attention on the rhetoric that's been
coming from the right and those who cater to angry white men.
While no one's suggesting right-wing radio jocks approve of
violence, the extent to which their approach fosters violence is
being questioned by many observers, including the
President....Right-wing talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Bob
Grant, Oliver North, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Reagan, and others
take to the air every day with basically the same format: detail
a problem, blame the government or a group, and invite invective
from like-minded people. Never do most of the radio hosts
encourage outright violence, but the extent to which their
attitudes may embolden and encourage some extremists has clearly
become an issue."
- Today co-host Bryant Gumbel, April 25.
"The Oklahoma City attack
on federal workers and their children also alters the once-easy
dynamic between charismatic talk show host and adoring audience.
Hosts who routinely espouse the same anti-government themes as
the militia movement now must walk a fine line between inspiring
their audience - and inciting the most radical among
- Los Angeles Times staff writer Nina J. Easton, April 26.
"The bombing shows how
dangerous it really is to inflame twisted minds with statements
that suggest political opponents are enemies. For two years,
Rush Limbaugh described this nation as `America held hostage' to
the policies of the liberal Democrats, as if the duly elected
President and Congress were equivalent to the regime in Tehran.
I think there will be less tolerance and fewer cheers for that
kind of rhetoric."
- Washington Post reporter David Broder in his April 25 column.
Bryant vs. Ollie
Bryant Gumbel: "You angrily
denounce [liberal callers], you basically shred them. You do
give them an opportunity to speak up but then you shred them in
the angriest tones."
Oliver North: "Oh, actually, you know, Bryant, I don't think anybody ought to take themselves as seriously as you do every morning. I don't take myself that seriously..."
Gumbel: "Well, clearly not. Perhaps the oath of office should have been taken more seriously before lying to the government, too."
North: "Well, the fact of the matter is, Bryant, I never lied under oath. That's part of the problem with the liberal media, is they can't get it straight. And the attack piece that was run this weekend in the Washington media market on people like me was irresponsible."
Gumbel: "On people who were convicted like you."
- Exchange on the Today show, April 25.
"This is a guy who lied to
his country and betrayed his oath. He can couch it as much as he
likes with duties and honor and all that other crap, but that's
the plain and simple truth of it. The guy lied, and to sit there
and try to seize the moral high ground on anything is
- Gumbel responding to press interest in the squabble with North, April 26 USA Today.
Oklahoma City: Republicans' Fault
"It seems to me that you
have angry white men here, sort of in their natural state, and
you know, gone berserk...This is the essence of the angry white
men taken to some extreme, some fanatic extreme, and I will
grant you that. But it's the same kind of idea that has fueled
so much of the right-wing triumph over the agenda here in
- Washington Post reporter Juan Williams on CNN's Capital Gang, April 23.
"To what extent, if any, do
you think the political rhetoric to which you just referred has
helped cause a climate in which people could go in that
direction? In other words, the rhetoric which says, not just
against big government, or liberal government, or dishonest
government, but `I'm against government, government is the
- Sam Donaldson to Morris Dees, April 23 This Week with David Brinkley.
"Unless Gingrich and Dole
and the Republicans say `Am I inflaming a bunch of nuts?', you
know we're going to have some more events. I am absolutely
certain the harsher rhetoric of the Gingriches and the
Doles...creates a climate of violence in America."
- Columnist Carl Rowan, April 25 Washington Post story.
"Public antagonism toward
government has been one of the principal themes of American
political discourse for nearly two decades, growing in
shrillness in the past year. This sentiment has been voiced and
amplified by the new Republican House, which just this month
completed its 100 days of action, much of it aimed at paring
back the growth of the federal government. But now that an
attack on a government building has left scores dead, including
children, the allure is coming off the anti-government
- Boston Globe Washington Bureau Chief David Shribman in a front-page "news analysis," April 25.
"If the perpetrators of the
Oklahoma City bombing really view government as the people's
enemy, the burden of fostering that delusion is borne not just
by the nut cases who preach conspiracy but also to some extent
by those who erode faith in our governance in the pursuit of
their own ambitions."
- Time Senior Political Correspondent Michael Kramer, May 1.
"Who has played the
politics of paranoia better in this country in the last twenty
or thirty years? Answer? Republican Party...Politically,
starting with Richard Nixon in 1968, the Republicans have very
skillfully exploited fear."
- Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas on Inside Washington, April 29.
Far Right Republicans = Far Right Militias = Far Right Bombers?
"A champion of the far
right, outspokenly anti-abortion and anti-gay rights, Dornan
will promote himself as the most pro-family candidate in the
field...But he starts from far back in the GOP presidential
field, one which already includes hard-right conservative Pat
- CNN's Gene Randall, Apr.12 Inside Politics.
"What do you say to people
who say that you are an extremist, that you're a right-winger,
that you're a nut, that you're a bomb-thrower?"
- CNN's Bernard Shaw interviewing Dornan, same program.
"From political stage far
right, accompanied by his wife, five children, and nine
grandchildren, 62-year-old Robert Dornan casts himself in the
role of White House contender."
- Gene Randall, next day's show.
"He [Dole] does seem to be,
excuse me for the word, pandering to the extreme right of the
Republican Party. Is that a fair accusation?"
- CNN's Wolf Blitzer to conservative David Keene, April 15 Inside Politics.
Tom Brokaw: "Of course
Dornan isn't the only Republican in the party pushing the party
ever farther to the right. And as NBC's Gwen Ifill reports
tonight, that could present the GOP with some tricky
Ifill: "There's a war being waged within the Republican Party as conservatives fight among themselves over pushing their party even further to the right."
- NBC Nightly News, April 13.
"From my pickup it sounds
like you've lost a lot of your far-right support."
- New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman to Phil Gramm on CBS's Face the Nation, April 16.
"Is it realistic to think
that angry white males and far-right extremists, who are now so
politically active, would ever vote for a black man for
President, no matter how qualified?"
- Today co-host Bryant Gumbel to U.S. News & World Report Senior Writer Michael Barone on a Colin Powell presidential run, April 18.
Precisely Who Has the Hateful Tone?
"From the pronunciamentos
out of Washington, you'd think the new Congress were a
slash-and-burn Khmer Rouge."
- CBS Sunday Morning TV critic John Leonard, January 8.
"You called Gingrich and
his ilk, your words, `trickle-down terrorists who base their
agenda on division, exclusion and fear.' Do you think
middle-class Americans are in need of protection from that
- Bryant Gumbel to House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, January 4 Today.
"I think there's a big
difference when people told Father Aristide to sort of moderate
his views, they were concerned about people being dragged
through the streets, killed and necklaced. I don't think that is
what Newt Gingrich has in mind. I think he's looking at a more
scientific, a more civil way of lynching people."
- NPR reporter Sunni Khalid on C-SPAN's Journalists Roundtable, October 14, 1994.
"I have no doubt that if
Rush Limbaugh or Pat Robertson or Ollie North ever got real
power, there would be concentration camps and mass death."
- Radical poet Allen Ginsberg in The Progressive, August 1994.
"Rejecting the House's
gentlemanly ways, he waged such constant guerrilla war against
the Democrats he was attacked for McCarthyism....Gingrich
himself, bombastic and ruthless, would be the most dramatic
change imaginable, a change the administration can only
- CBS reporter Eric Engberg, November 2, 1994 Evening News.
"The Republican jihad
against the poor, the young and the helpless rolls on. So far no
legislative assault has been too cruel, no budget cut too
loathsome for the party that took control of Congress at the
beginning of the year and has spent all its time since then
stomping on the last dying embers of idealism and compassion in
- Former NBC News reporter Bob Herbert, February 25 New York Times column.
"The noises coming from
[Rep. Sonny] Bono and many of his fellow Republican signers of
House Speaker Newt Gingrich's `Contract with America' signal a
radical shift in Congress' attitude toward environmental issues
- a shift that may bode ill for the health of snail darters,
spotted owls, and even the human species."
- Time reporter Dick Thompson in a February 27 story headlined "Congressional Chain-Saw Massacre: If Speaker Newt Gingrich gets his way, the laws protecting air, water and wildlife may be endangered."
"Let's face it: to most
African Americans Newt Gingrich is one scary white man....One
can only hope Gingrich was sincere in his speech to Congress
last week....That could mean Gingrich is serious about shedding
his party's whites-only image. If so, blacks ought to meet him
halfway - if only to temper the wilder impulses of one very
scary white man."
- Time national correspondent Jack E. White, January 16.
"The U.S. House of
Representatives is now to be led by a world-class demagogue, a
talented reactionary in the vengeful tradition of Gov. George
Wallace and Sen. Joseph McCarthy. Like Wallace before him, Newt
Gingrich evokes the nation's boiling anxieties as a rancid
populism of `us vs. them,' though he is too shrewd to make the
racial resentments explicit. Like Joe McCarthy, Gingrich depicts
his adversaries not simply as mistaken in their political views
but as sick, traitorous people who are invidiously subverting
the national character."
- Former Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor William Greider in the December 29, 1994-January 12, 1995 Rolling Stone.
"Rush Limbaugh is the king.
He is also a cretinous liar, with off-the-wall opinions. And he
has the audacity to call himself a journalist."
- CNN's Peter Arnett quoted by John Corry in The American Spectator's May issue.
"A lot of people are afraid
of you. They think you're a bomb-thrower. Worse, you're an
intolerant bigot. Speak to them."
- Sam Donaldson to Newt Gingrich on This Week with David Brinkley, November 13, 1994.
Earth to AP...
"No one is suggesting
Clinton is using the tragedy for political opportunity."
- Associated Press reporter Tom Raum in the April 28 Richmond Times-Dispatch, four days after Clinton criticized radio talk show hosts.
Kind-Hearted Media Evaluations Through the Years
"Reagan couldn't tie his
shoelaces if his life depended on it."
- New York Times editorial page editor (and former Washington Bureau Chief) Howell Raines in his 1993 book Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis.
[Clarification, November 2003: It has come to our attention that while the sentence, "Reagan couldnt tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it, appeared on page 84 of the book by Raines, it came in the midst of a multi-paragraph quote in a chapter in which he favorably recited the comments on things great and small (during a fishing venture to Hunting Creek near Thurmont, Maryland), from his companion on the trip, Dick Blalock.
The paragraph in full from which the quote came: "'See that pool?' said Dick. 'That was Jimmy Carter's favorite pool when he was President Were only about a mile from Camp David. The Fish and Wildlife Boys kept the stream lousy with big brood fish from the hatcheries when he was up here. I knew a guy who used to slip in and give every big trout in the stream a sore lip whenever he heard Carter was coming. Of course, I liked Carter. Charlie Fox and Ben Schley taught him a lot about fishing, and he ties a good fly. Reagan couldn't tie his shoelaces if his life depended on it.'" We regret the confusion.
The other quotes from the book attributed to Raines, in various MRC articles, are accurate: Then one day in the summer of 1981 I found myself at the L.L. Bean store in Freeport, Maine. I was a correspondent in the White House in those days, and my work - which consisted of reporting on President Reagans success in making life harder for citizens who were not born rich, white, and healthy - saddened me." And, recalling 1981: "My parents raised me to admire generosity and to feel pity. I had arrived in our nations capital during a historic ascendancy of greed and hard-heartedness."]
"On the road I travel to
the mall in Wheaton, Md., two white men severely beat two black
women Tuesday. One was doused with lighter fluid, and her
attacker tried to set her afire. Both men cursed the women for
being black. I couldn't help but shudder: That could have been
me. This heinous act happened only hours after Pat Buchanan
voters gave him 30 percent of the vote in the Maryland GOP
- USA Today columnist and then "Inquiry" page Editor Barbara Reynolds, March 6, 1992.
"You place responsibility
for the death of your daughter squarely at the feet of the
Reagan Administration. Do you believe they're responsible for
- NBC reporter Maria Shriver interviewing AIDS sufferer Elizabeth Glaser, July 14, 1992 Democratic convention coverage.
"After eight years of what
many saw as the Reagan Administration's benign neglect of the
poor and studied indifference to civil rights, a lot of those
who lived through this week in Overtown [rioting in a section of
Miami] seemed to think the best thing about George Bush is that
he is not Ronald Reagan....There is an Overtown in every big
city in America. Pockets of misery made even meaner and more
desperate the past eight years."
- Reporter Richard Threlkeld on ABC's World News Tonight, January 20, 1989.
"So I think [Ronald Reagan]
is going to have to pass two or three tests. The first is, will
he get there, stand in front of the podium, and not drool?"
- Sam Donaldson on a planned Reagan press conference, NBC's Late Night with David Letterman, March 18, 1987.
Julianne Malveaux: Angry Black Female
"Angry white males? The
rest of us are angry too, but we don't go to those
- Pacifica talk show host Julianne Malveaux on PBS's To the Contrary, April 28.
"Presidential candidate Pat
Buchanan calls those who hit the streets `looters and lynchers.'
President Bush calls them criminals. I call them freedom
fighters....I not only accept the rebellions in Los Angeles, I
identify with them."
- Malveaux on the riots, which caused 53 deaths and more property damage than the Oklahoma City bombing (5,000 buildings destroyed), in a May 10, 1992 San Francisco Examiner column.
"There are some reasons why
people do rightfully distrust government. There are some reasons
why when you say the FBI needs more protection, there are some
people who are going to say remember COINTELPRO. The movie Panther
comes out this week, and it was back down memory lane for me. To
see the way our government infiltrated an organization and
caused the deaths of so many thousands of people."
- Malveaux, April 28 To the Contrary.
"I hope his wife feeds him
lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men
do, of heart disease....Well that's how I feel. He is an
absolutely reprehensible person."
- Malveaux on Justice Clarence Thomas, November 4, 1994 PBS To the Contrary.
More Dangerous Than Rush Limbaugh: Homer Simpson (Doh!)
"In the wake of the
Oklahoma bombing, President Clinton talked about reckless speech
that can push people over the edge. The President has set off a
debate about social responsibility, especially when it comes to
what we hear on the radio and see on television. By coincidence,
the season ender for the Fox animated show The Simpsons is about
an evil boss who is the victim of attempted murder. Matt
Groening is the creator and executive producer of The Simpsons.
He joined us this week from Los Angeles and we talked about the
finale that raises questions about angry words and
consequences....The show has a reputation for irreverent comedy
and you're no stranger to offending people, but this time have
you crossed the line? Are you telling angry, fearful people that
it's OK to shoot your boss?...Is [Clinton] talking about you and
- Questions from Fox Morning News co-anchor Lark McCarthy, April 28.
Brent Bozell III, Publisher;
-Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- James Forbes, Andrew Gabron, Mark Honig, Steve Kaminski, Gesele Rey, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
- Kathleen Ruff, Circulation Manager;
-Melissa Gordon, Anna Johnson; Interns