Open Mouth, Remove Foot
“Karl Rove’s legal team has told me that they expect that a decision will come sometime in the next two weeks. And I am convinced that Karl Rove will, in fact, be indicted.”
— MSNBC correspondent David Shuster on Countdown with Keith Olbermann, May 8. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“Well, sometimes when you’re trying to track a secret grand jury investigation, the legal sources, the defense lawyers who have witnesses in front of that grand jury, sometimes they get it wrong, and that seemed to be the case in this particular case....The issue, they [defense lawyers] say, though, is not that prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald concluded that the case was unwinnable, rather that it was not a slam dunk.”
— David Shuster on MSNBC’s Countdown June 13, after news that Rove would not be indicted. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Nice Democratic Ad, Bill
“The Bush administration seemed clueless about the magnitude of the [Hurricane Katrina] disaster....President Bush lost his carefully cultivated image of competence. The President’s image of compassion was shaky to begin with, even though he calls himself a compassionate conservative. Bill Clinton felt your pain. George Bush flew over it.”
— CNN’s Bill Schneider on The Situation Room, June 1. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“Great line from Bill Schneider: ‘Bill Clinton felt your pain. George Bush flew over it.’”
— CNN’s Jack Cafferty on the same program a few minutes later.
Venomous Liberals Ignored But...
“Is it crossing the line? A conservative author’s attack on 9/11 widows. This time, has the debate in this country just gone too far?...Later, perhaps you’ve watched it unfold this week on TV. Why is one controversial conservative author attacking the widows of 9/11? Why some are now asking, ‘Have you no shame?’...When we come back after a break, did civility in this country just a take a turn for the worse?...Just when you think it seems like there are no limits on anything, someone comes along and makes a comment that goes over the line. The line that is shared by just about everybody because some things, it turns out, are still sacred.”
— NBC’s Brian Williams promoting and introducing a June 7 Nightly News story about complaints against conservative author Ann Coulter’s book Godless.
Too Conservative for Chris
“Why are the Democrats so conservative on this war? I was looking at the fundraising money. Is the fact that the Democrats are getting a lot of fat cat money now, more conservative people contributing to the party, an explanation of — if you were getting your money from college professors, you wouldn’t have this problem. You’re getting it from rich people....Is this steering the Democratic Party to a more conservative position on the war? The money?... I don’t hear 200 Democrats out there talking [against] the war the way you are.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews to Democratic Congressman John Murtha on Hardball, June 12. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Voters Dashed CBS’s Hopes
“When disgraced Republican Congressman Duke Cunningham went off to prison for taking millions of dollars in bribes, no one predicted what just may happen today as voters in this 25-year-long Republican stronghold pick his replacement....that a Democrat, local school board member Francine Busby, could emerge the winner....It’s a race that’s seen as a referendum on both the Republican Congress and the Republican President, whose popularity is sinking. Recent polls show Busby even or slightly ahead of former Republican Congressman, turned lobbyist, Brian Bilbray.”
— Reporter Jerry Bowen on the June 6 CBS Evening News. The next night, the Evening News skipped over news of Bilbray’s victory.
Heads We Win, Tails You Lose
“Narrow Victory by G.O.P. Signals Fall Problems”
— Headline in the New York Times, June 8.
CBS’s Bob Schieffer: “I think it is still a warning shot for Republicans. I mean, there’s just turmoil out there. The political landscape is, you know, just going up and down here. You’ve got the corruption, you’ve got this war in Iraq, all of these things, plus immigration which has split up the Republican Party. So, who knows what’s going to happen? But this has to be a sign to Republicans that they, they might lose the House, I think. I mean, not just, I’m not just saying this, this particular race. But, uh–”
Co-host Hannah Storm: “A little close for comfort though.”
Schieffer: “Yeah. Yeah.”
— Exchange on CBS’s Early Show June 7, after GOP candidate Brian Bilbray beat Democrat Francine Busby in the California special election. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
22-Point Gap = “Evenly Split”
“The polls show Americans are fairly evenly split on this issue [of allowing same sex marriage]. So let’s get into the politics of this. Why does the White House think this is a political winner for the President if indeed we’re split?”
— ABC’s Charles Gibson to chief Washington correspondent George Stephanopoulos on World News Tonight, June 5. ABC’s own poll found 58 percent of the public said “same sex marriage should be illegal,” compared to just 36 percent who thought it should be legal.
Toasting Al Gore, Planet-Saver
“Since his still controversial loss to George Bush in the 2000 election, [former Vice President Al] Gore has recast himself as a road warrior for the environment. Traveling from town to town, country to country with a message of warning, a message that’s now been made into a movie.... Out of the shadows of yesterday’s news, Al Gore has suddenly emerged as the comeback kid....”
“I’m watching you in this film, you look so comfortable in your own skin. You look like Al Gore in full, as it were.... The box office receipts would indicate that it’s an action movie — you did better per screening then almost anything that’s come out this week.”
— Co-host Harry Smith introducing his interview with Al Gore and some of his comments to Gore on CBS’s Early Show, May 31.
Wonderful Al, Vindicated At Last
“The warnings of global warming that led former President George Bush to mock Mr. Gore as ‘Ozone Man’ in 1992 hardly seem far-fetched in these days of melting ice caps and toasty winters. Mr. Gore’s tough condemnation of the war in Iraq, once derided by the White House as evidence of Mr. Gore’s extremism, seems positively mainstream today.”
— New York Times chief political reporter Adam Nagourney in a May 28 “Political Memo.”
“There’s some regret, even among the media, that Al Gore was mocked and ridiculed in 2000, and he didn’t deserve it. And we’re ready for a serious politician....He’s campaigning to awaken the political leadership to the threat of global warming, but it’s a campaign that can easily turn into a campaign for himself if he sees an opening. And he’s following the Nixonian play book, the Nixonian in a very good way. Just as Richard Nixon was edged out of the presidency very narrowly in 1960 and then came back after eight years to win.”
— Newsweek contributing editor Eleanor Clift on the May 27 McLaughin Group.
MSNBC: “Swift Boating of Al Gore”
“The war of the world: What do Nazis have to do with Al Gore or global warming? What’s up with attack ads against a guy that’s not running for anything?...Inside the ‘Swift-Boating’ of Al Gore....Al Gore wants to do something admirable like save the planet. And what do critics call him? Hitler. The ‘Swift-Boating’ of Al Gore already in full swing.... The former VP relaunches his campaign to save the world from global warming. His critics decide to ignore the science and attack Al Gore.”
— Fill-in host Brian Unger teasing an upcoming segment on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, May 30. As evidence of a smear campaign against Gore, Unger cited a quote from a meteorologist in the 78th paragraph of a Washington Post Magazine story and TV ads from the Competitive Enterprise Institute that do not mention Gore and whose tag line gently explains basic science: “Carbon dioxide: They call it pollution. We call it life.”
Touting “Unbowed” Bush Bashers
“Three years ago, as everyone knows, [Dixie Chicks] lead singer Natalie Maines said — about the impending war in Iraq — said she was ashamed that President Bush was from her home state, Texas. The reaction to her words was seismic and from some people even vicious....[Today] they are spirited, unbowed and they are back with a new single called ‘Not Ready to Make Nice.’”
— Diane Sawyer introducing a taped interview with the Dixie Chicks on ABC’s Good Morning America, May 23.
King of the Katie Couric Fan Club
“Katie, for 15 years you’ve started the morning for millions of Americans with your bright smile, serious reporting, and playful sense of humor. Your ability to relate to your guests to convey their humanity and the importance of their stories is a unique quality which sets you apart....Hillary and I wish you the best of luck in this next step in your remarkable career. It’s high time we got the news of the day from an accomplished woman. There’s no one who deserves it more or who will do it better than you.”
— Former President Bill Clinton in a May 30 videotaped tribute to departing NBC Today co-host Katie Couric, set to anchor the CBS Evening News starting in September. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Okay, Not the Biggest Surprise
“I’m super, super loudmouth lefty. I’m so far left I’m not even a Democrat anymore....I’m a Sandinista.”
— Actress/comedienne Kathy Griffin, who has demanded the impeachment of both President Bush and Vice President Cheney, as quoted in a June 2 Washington Post “Weekend” section profile.
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brian Boyd, Brad Wilmouth, Megan McCormack, Mike Rule, Scott Whitlock
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
INTERNS: Eugene Gibilaro, Chadd Clark