Notable Quotables - 06/03/1996

Wishing Away Whitewater

Whitewater is sort of diminishing, sort of fading away, it's kind of a shadowy thing now, it's going away."
- PBS Washington Week in Review moderator Ken Bode on May 24, four days before the convictions of Clinton's business partners.

"After all the right wing's huffing and puffing, the Whitewater `scandal' is dying out in wisps of smoke. President Clinton's main accuser, David Hale, is currently tangled up in his own lies at a Whitewater trial in Little Rock. Hale has had two years in the witness protection program to practice his story, and it didn't survive two days of cross-examination."
- Former New York Daily News Washington Bureau Chief Lars-Erik Nelson in an April 11 Los Angeles Times op-ed.

"Anybody, it seems to me, who gives a fair reading, Brian [Lamb], of the press coverage of Bill Clinton's first three years, cannot say that the press has been easy on Bill Clinton. The press has beaten the hell out of Bill Clinton over and over again, and Whitewater, which that caller mentions, is just one example, and day after day coverage of that issue, which is legitimate and should be there."
- U.S. News Senior Writer Steven Roberts on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, May 17. (13 stories on ABC, CBS, & NBC, Feb. 29-May 20.)

"If Ken Starr is a credible prosecutor he will bring this to a conclusion and the Clintons will be exonerated."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on the February 10 McLaughlin Group.


Just a Misunderstood Murderer

Theodore Kaczynski: Unabom Suspect's Tortured Genius and Lost Promise
- New York Times, May 26

Truth by Day, Lies by Night

"Welfare - $53 billion instead of the $100 billion in last year's Republican budget. Medicaid - $72 billion instead of last year's Republican figure of $182 billion. And Medicare - $158 billion instead of the $270 billion Republicans wanted to save last year. A major goal of Republicans in this election year will be to repeat over and over that they are not cutting funds from Medicare. Republicans would increase Medicare spending but at a slower rate then President Clinton wants, so it infuriates Republicans when the President says they're cutting Medicare."
- ABC reporter John Cochran on the GOP budget proposal, May 8 World News Tonight.


"The GOP proposal would balance the budget in six years by cutting Medicare by $158 billion, Medicaid by $72 billion, and welfare by $53 billion. Republicans also are proposing $122 billion in tax cuts, targeted to a $500 per child tax credit. These cuts are less severe than those proposed by Republicans in their budget last year....And moderate Republicans believe they have abandoned the drastic budget and tax cuts of last year's budget that contributed to two government shutdowns."
- Reporter Nancy Ambrose on ABC's overnight show, World News Now, May 9.

Reagan's Dirty Jokes

"Reagan was an exceedingly likeable guy, just a heck of a nice fellow, despite his politics. He was funny and loved a good joke, the dirtier, I'm afraid the more ethnic, the better. I don't think he brought very much to the presidency, except charisma and success."
- Walter Cronkite on Cronkite Remembers, May 23.


"Moderates" for Carter, Mondale, Dukakis and Clinton

"I think what you have now in the mainstream media is a bias against power almost. It's a sense of anti-incumbency that we in the media always zero in on people who have power and try to hold them up to scrutiny and I think many times we focus on only the negative and I think that's what the politicians object to. In a book I've just written about the presidency and the press I talk about this. And I do criticize the media for being too cynical in dealing with politics and public life but I don't think it's so much a liberal bias I think it's more just an engine of anti-incumbency....I did a survey of the White House press corps. And I found that the overwhelming number of reporters in that press corps identify themselves as moderates."
- Kenneth Walsh, U.S. News & World Report White House reporter, on the May 10 Fox Morning News.

Reality Check:
"In 1992, nine respondents voted for Clinton, two for George Bush, and one for independent Ross Perot....In 1988, twelve voted for Democrat Michael Dukakis, only one for Bush, and three did not vote for a presidential candidate. In 1984, ten voted for Democrat Walter Mondale, no one admitted voting for Ronald Reagan, and four said they had not voted for a presidential candidate. In 1980, eight voted for Democratic incumbent Jimmy Carter, two voted for Ronald Reagan, four voted for independent candidate John Anderson, and three did not vote. In 1976, eleven voted for Carter and two for Republican incumbent Gerald Ford."
- From page 263 of Walsh's new book, Feeding the Beast: The White House Versus the Press. Based upon Walsh's 1995 personal survey of his fellow White House correspondents.


Dole: Self-Hating Handicapped?

"Dole has certainly shown understanding for the handicapped, sponsoring legislation like 1990's Americans with Disabilities Act....But how far does Dole's empathy extend? He's helped the disabled but fought family and medical leave that would guarantee employees the right to care for a disabled loved one. He's been soft on the workplace and highway safety regulations and gun-control measures that would prevent many disabling accidents."
- Former U.S. News White House reporter Matthew Cooper in the June 3 New Republic.


More Election-Year Lies About "Cuts"

"Like many people here in Stark County [Ohio], a strong political bellwether for national politics, Mrs. [Judith] Snow has been shaken enough by the Republican-led Congress to move to President Clinton for now. In her case, it was Congress's effort to scale back Medicare benefits. Three-quarters of all voters questioned here in a new poll think that cutting Medicare was wrong, including nearly two-thirds of all Republicans."
- New York Times reporter Michael Winerip, May 27 news story.

"The Republicans' new plan also seeks spending cuts of $72 billion and $53 billion for Medicaid and welfare, respectively."
- U.S. News & World Report, May 20 Outlook section.

" least the Republicans have made an effort to position front and center this per child tax the centerpiece of their tax proposals to kind of moderate the rhetoric of last year which suggested that they wanted a huge tax cut for the rich which was going to be used, paid for by big cuts on Medicare and Medicaid in particular."
- U.S. News & World Report Senior Writer Susan Dentzer, May 9 PBS News Hour.


Alter's Alternating Views

"No matter what we resolve, we journalists can't guarantee that tragedies won't happen."
- Newsweek Senior Writer Jonathan Alter on his magazine's role in the suicide of Navy Admiral Mike Boorda, May 27.


"The savagery is actually a throwback to an earlier era. The [Wall Street] Journal editorial page resembles nothing so much as rabidly partisan 19th Century newspapers that routinely - often brilliantly - slandered anyone on the other side of the barricades....If Robert Bartley, the Journal's editor, hasn't been sleeping fitfully, he's even less of a human being than his worst enemies imagine."
- Alter in the August 23, 1993 Newsweek on the suicide of White House lawyer Vincent Foster after negative Journal editorials. Contrast noted by The Weekly Standard.


- L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, James Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analyst
- Kathleen Ruff, Circulation Manager; Jessica Anderson, Intern