Notable Quotables - 05/17/1999
Jacking Up Jesse Jackson
"Finally Reverend Jackson, in
light of this diplomatic success, will you now reconsider your decision not to
run for President in the year 2000?"
- Tim Russert to Jesse Jackson on the phone after his success at freeing the POWs, May 2 Meet the Press.
"The release of the three U.S. soldiers held prisoner by Serbia was a
happy surprise this weekend, but it shouldn't have come as a complete shock
given the record of the man who was leading the religious delegation to
Belgrade, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who has done this before. In fact, as
you'll see in our In Private, he's made a career of using personality,
publicity and a little moral suasion to forge unlikely alliances. His
specialties: the bold gesture, the blizzard of words, confusing natural
enemies by engaging them in public....Today the maverick without portfolio is
still pushing for the rights of the poor and working class, but the techniques
are more sophisticated.... Today he goes straight where the money is, trying
to persuade Wall Street and big corporations that to free people from the
prison of poverty serves everyone, everyone."
- ABC's Diane Sawyer on Good Morning America, May 3.
Brian Williams: "Again, Howard, bottom line. No other
American was able to do what Jesse Jackson did. Doesn't the American
political system need a Jesse Jackson?"
Howard Fineman, Newsweek: "He is a safety valve. I said a lord of chaos, but also a safety valve. And listen, the jokes about Jesse Jackson have gone on for years. I've covered him for fifteen years. You know, the old joke is that there is no more dangerous place in America than between Jesse Jackson and a microphone, but he's got guts. And he's got a lot of guts, more than most politicians and most leaders in this country are willing to show. He took a physical risk over there, as Andrea reported, and he did it bravely and he did it well."
- Exchange on MSNBC's News with Brian Williams, May 3.
Margaret's Schoolyard Cheap Shot
"Republicans are betting that
this too will pass, that as with Jonesboro and Paducah, Pearl and Springfield,
once the white coffins are in the ground and the cameras gone, the outrage
will subside. But maybe not this time. In town meetings and talk radio, the
public has had its fill of politicians talking resignedly about our gun
culture, as if there's nothing to be done about a subgroup that finds
schoolyard massacres an acceptable cost for its right to be armed to the
- Time columnist Margaret Carlson, May 10 issue.
Bedeviled by Zealots
"Two candidates born to the
purple; Albert, son of Albert, a martyred southern liberal. George, son of
George, a martyred conservative, done in, in part by zealots of his own
persuasion.....The GOP establishment doesn't just want to take back the
White House, they also want to take back their party from the zealots and
cranks who let Clinton drive them over the edge, who abandoned the center to
Clinton and Gore. Bush, however, is a sensible fellow."
- CNN political analyst Bill Schneider, May 5 Inside Politics.
Gun Control Now! Who Cares If it Actually Works?
"Since there are 200 million
guns already out there, I don't think that gun control is going to have much
impact. But I think we ought to do it anyway just to make a statement as a
society, and even if you save a couple of lives, then it's worth it."
- Evan Thomas, Newsweek's Assistant Managing Editor, May 1 Inside Washington.
"Whatever is being proposed is way too namby-pamby. I mean, for example,
we're talking about limiting people to one gun purchase, or handgun purchase
a month. Why not just ban the ownership of handguns when nobody needs one? Why
not just ban semi-automatic rifles? Nobody needs one."
- Time National Correspondent Jack E. White, same show.
Hockenberry on Monicagate
"Isn't it a little
disheartening to you, here we are having this discussion [about Kosovo], and
the Republicans a week or so ago were having a party for the House Managers in
the Clinton impeachment. Is that as ridiculous as you can imagine?"
- MSNBC's John Hockenberry to Bay Buchanan, May 6.
"During the Cold War, the media had its central story where everything
was at stake, with all kinds of terrifying characters. The media today was
created around that single story, a narrative that was followed day after day
without a lot of questioning about whether it was really important or
newsworthy. And so now that the Cold War is gone, you've seen disarray in
virtually every institution in America, and no more disarray than in the
media. We lost our story. So when a story like Lewinsky comes up, the media
sort of goes back to square one, and theres a 'Yes, now we know what to
do' attitude about it."
- Hockenberry in an interview with the leftist magazine Mother Jones, May/June 1999 issue.
NBC's Unease with Gun Culture
"Let's bring the access of
guns into this, Michael. I mean, in the city, guns, in my opinion, are seen as
the tools of the criminal. But in many rural and suburban areas, guns are more
part of the sporting culture. You see people with hunting rifles on their
walls. You see people with gun racks in their car. Is that to blame?"
- Today co-host Matt Lauer to Michael Guzy of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, April 30.
"Ollie [North] mentions the prevalence of guns. If you look at these
shooting instances, they all seem to have taken place in areas where there is
a stronger gun culture. The sheriff himself said, the sheriff out there in
Littleton said his community is awash in guns. What do we do about that?"
- Today co-host Jack Ford to Rev. Jesse Jackson, April 24.
"That smells of bullsh...How much longer are we gonna take that? How much
longer are we gonna be wrapping in the flag of patriotism to justify 250
millions guns out there? How much longer?"
- Geraldo Rivera responding to video clip of NRA chief Charlton Heston, May 3 Rivera Live on CNBC.
Totally Support Clinton
"Moonves was to receive an award
Tuesday, and Dan Rather was to present it. 'But he's still in Belgrade.
That's more important,' Moonves said. He added, 'I think we're doing
the right thing. I totally support the President.'"
- USA Today's Jeannie Williams in a May 5 column noting what CBS President Leslie Moonves said at a fundraiser in New York for the Red Cross's "Help Now" toll-free number.
"U.S. Energy Secretary Bill
Richardson announced several new layers of nuclear security. This was done
after China got stolen U.S. nuclear weapons secrets amid lax security and
bungling at U.S. weapons laboratories. This goes back all the way into the
Bush and Reagan years, but possibly has gotten worse during the Clinton
- Dan Rather on the May 11 CBS Evening News.
"Eased Export Controls Aided
Beijing's Missile Technology."
- Headline over May 7 Washington Times story on a report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
"Less Than 10% of China's
$300,000 Went to DNC, Report Indicates."
- Washington Post headline for story on same report, May 7.
How Slobo Could Kill Smarter
"If Milosevic had really been a
PR genius, Chris, what, he would have not ethnic cleansed at the time he did.
Imagine if he had just gone down into a fetal position, a kind of crouch, let
NATO bomb him. Then he would have been able to go to the world and portray
Clinton and NATO as real bad guys. Basically, then they would have had to stop
the bombing and at that point, he could have slowly ethnic cleansed. So he was
not smart as a PR guy."
- Newsweek's Jonathan Alter on CNBC's Hardball, May 3.
Another Vast Geraldo Conspiracy
"Do you not have some problems
with the fact that for example Julie Hiatt Steele was charged with this crime
on the very day the President's Senate trial began. I mean doesn't that
seem to you that Ken Starr was trying to influence the course of the
impeachment process. That all this is about gamesmanship."
- CNBC's Geraldo Rivera to Wall Street Journal editorial writer John Fund, May 4 Rivera Live.
Television: The Healing Box?
"We as a nation send messages, we send flowers, but maybe more important is what we don't send. It's what we hold to ourselves, a feeling that they are we. Sometimes that's a painful realization. We lost our collective innocence in Oklahoma, learning that our own sons, not some terrorist from a far off land, our own sons could carve out such a huge wound in our hearts. We sat at home and joined hands in mourning with people weve never met, through television, the healing box.
"There are echoes of Oklahoma
here. Distance is no shield. Pictures and sound bounce off the sky and are
immediately in our living rooms for us to share, to come together, at least in
spirit, if not in person. [Princess Diana] was our princess, too, and the day
we buried her, we felt like we were witnessing the end of beauty. What is the
difference between Kensington Palace and Littleton, Colorado? In times like
these, there is none."
- ABC Good Morning America national correspondent Don Dahler reflecting on TV's impact in coverage of tragedies like Littleton, April 30.
...Or The Exploiting Box?
"Finally, this evening,
opportunism. There's nothing new about some people trying to take advantage
of other people's tragedy. The Internet simply adds a new dimension to
- Peter Jennings introducing another Littleton story (about Web sites inserting Littleton-related terms to attract search engines) after nine days of non-stop ABC coverage, April 28 World News Tonight.
Publisher L. Brent
Editors Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham
Media Analysts Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd,
Geoffrey Dickens, Mark Drake, Paul Smith , Brad Wilmouth
Research Associate Kristina Sewell
Circulation Manager Michelle Kunzler
Intern Ken Shepherd