Notable Quotables - 06/20/2005

Time to Close America’s “Gulag” 

Brian Williams: “The prison [at Guantanamo Bay] has become symbolic, and it’s considered a problem for the U.S. Very few know what goes on inside the place they call ‘Gitmo.’ There have been allegations of torture and abuse of the holy Koran, and prisoners who have been there for years face an unclear future. Tonight there is real talk now of closing it....”
Jim Miklaszewski: “Opened in January 2002 to hold al-Qaeda and Taliban prisoners from the war in Afghanistan, Guantanamo has since become a symbol of prisoner abuse....The heat was turned up recently when Amnesty International compared Guantanamo, where detainees have no legal rights, to Soviet concentration camps.”
Irene Khan, Amnesty International: “Guantanamo has become the gulag of our times.”
— NBC Nightly News, June 9.

“This [the Guantanamo Bay prison] is just a boil. It’s a cancer. This thing is not doing anybody any good....They had a showing up here in New York before Memorial Day, this film about John McCain when he was [tortured] in the North Vietnamese prison camp. And to see what those people did to him, it just, it made me rethink this whole thing about how we treat these prisoners in Guantanamo ....We need to think about what separates us from the people who are trying to take our freedom away from us....I don’t want my kids to think this is how Americans are.”
— CBS Evening News anchor Bob Schieffer on MSNBC’s Imus in the Morning, June 9.


Newsweek Was Right!


“Remember those allegations of Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay? The Pentagon is confirming tonight that some of the more salacious details are true. It turns out that prison guards at the detainee center employed a variety of creative means to desecrate the Koran, including soaking them with water balloons, kicking them, stepping on them, scribbling obscenities inside them. And while none of the incidents involved actual toilets, one prison guard, it is confirmed, used his own urine, splashing a copy of a Koran and a detainee. For that you don’t really need a toilet, do you?...Here to help us gauge the political fallout, Newsweek chief political correspondent, Howard Fineman, also an analyst for MSNBC....Do your colleagues, Howard, feel absolved by this disclosure tonight?”
— Substitute host Alex Witt leading off the June 3 Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC.


Bush’s Schemes, Exposed at Last


“Long ago, the principal argument for the war, weapons of mass destruction, proved wrong — they didn’t exist. Everyone knows that now, even if we aren’t exactly sure how the intelligence service and the administration got it so wrong. One answer comes in the so-called ‘Downing Street memo’ written by a British intelligence official who says the WMD threat was deliberately exaggerated to sell the war. Neither the President nor the British Prime Minister would acknowledge that — how could they? — but the memo is out there, along with the two allies today, side by side by side.”
— Aaron Brown on CNN’s NewsNight, June 7.


“Cowed” Media Too Soft on Bush


Host George Stephanopoulos: “There have been many who have said that the entire media was cowed in the aftermath of 9/11 and didn’t go hard enough, for example, at the story of weapons of mass destruction and there was a story to be gotten in the media didn’t do their job.”
Ex-Washington Post Executive Editor Ben Bradlee: “Well, I think there’s some merit to that.”
— ABC’s This Week, June 5.


Katie Pitches Softballs to Kofi


“Does John Bolton have your support?...Do you wish it were someone else who had been nominated?...What do you hope your legacy will be?...You literally have the weight of the world on your shoulders.”
— Katie Couric to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in an interview shown on NBC’s Today, June 7.

“Are you angry that the United States has not been more supportive of the UN?”
— Couric to Annan in an excerpt from the same interview shown on the June 6 NBC Nightly News.


Three Cheers for the Dictator


MSNBC’s Chris Matthews: “I remember being on a Washington street corner when Gorby [ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev] came by in a car, and I just cheered like mad. Not so much because of who he was, but because — Howard knows — he was the guy that was helping to end the Cold War. We weren’t gonna all blow up together.”
Newsweek’s Howard Fineman: “I did that, I did that. I was on that same street corner, maybe.”
— Exchange on the Chris Matthews Show, June 5.


Raines Isn’t So Smart, Either


“Does anyone in America doubt that Kerry has a higher IQ than Bush? I’m sure the candidates’ SATs and college transcripts would put Kerry far ahead.”
— Former New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines in a August 27, 2004 Washington Post op-ed.

“During last year’s presidential campaign, John F. Kerry was the candidate often portrayed as intellectual and complex, while George W. Bush was the populist who mangled his sentences. But newly released records show that Bush and Kerry had a virtually identical grade average at Yale University four decades ago.”
— Reporter Michael Kranish in the June 7 Boston Globe.


Hillary: So Strong and So Right


CNN Political Analyst Bill Schneider: “Hillary Clinton, if she does decide to run for President, is going to have to demonstrate she’s strong, she’s tough....”
Senator Hillary Clinton, from speech: “You know, the President has two principal financial priorities: the tax cuts for the wealthiest among us and funding the war in Iraq....He’s the first President in history that took us to war and cut taxes at the same time.”
Co-host Soledad O’Brien: “Okay, she sounds strong. Is she wrong or right?”
Schneider: “Well, I think she’s right.”
— CNN’s American Morning, June 7.


Brilliant Bill Could Be the Greatest


“Brilliant....Skilled and surprisingly self-destructive....De-spite the scandals and investigations, Bill Clinton was an incredibly popular President who connected with the American people....Under Clinton the economy boomed — deficits turned into surplus — and more than 22 million jobs were created. Along with the character flaws and the subpoenas came peace and prosperity.”
— NBC’s Matt Lauer summarizing Bill Clinton’s biography during the June 5 Discovery Channel special listing 25 finalists for the title of “Greatest American.”


Did I Mention “Conservative”?


“President Bush has nominated...211 judges so far. They’re extremely conservative judges. These are probably the most conservative of the conservative group....Judge [William] on a court that’s already dramatically conservative....Janice Rogers Brown is on a court that is more evenly divided. It’s still conservative, quite overwhelmingly conservative, but it’s more divided.”
— NPR’s Nina Totenberg on Inside Washington, June 11.

“Deep Throat” Is Their Hero


“I think he performed a public service....Widespread criminal conspiracy led by the President of the United States. I, for one, think it would have succeeded had it not been for Woodward, Bernstein, Bradlee and the source to whom they promised anonymity.”
— Dan Rather in soundbites aired on the May 31 CBS Evening News, commenting on revelations that ex-FBI official Mark Felt was the Washington Post informant later dubbed “Deep Throat.”

“I want to spin that in an absolutely heroic way, that what actually he saw happening was the political side of Washington trying to take control of an institution with enormous power that needs to operate outside of whoever is in government at any given time....I don’t know, ‘hero,’ that’s not a word I throw around. But it just looking at the landscape at the time, what Washington was like, it does make a kind of moral sense to me.”
— Aaron Brown discussing Felt’s role as a Washington Post informant on CNN’s NewsNight, May 31.

“I look upon him as a big hero....He thought they [the Nixon White House] were like Nazis. That was in his own mind. So if he knows that he cleaned out that corruption, he shouldn’t be called a ‘traitor’ by anybody, and he certainly shouldn’t feel like one.”
— CBS’s Lesley Stahl on MSNBC’s Hardball, June 2.

Really Is Castro’s News Network


“You know, I got the idea to go global from Fidel Castro. The signal spilled into Cuba and he heard about it — and he’s pretty intelligent — and he bought a satellite dish or got one somehow, and started watching the news and he said it was incredibly important. When I met him in ’82, he said, ‘Ted, the whole world needs CNN.’ He said, ‘I use it all the time and it’s very important to me.’ So I said, ‘Well if Castro needs it, certainly the capitalists around the world could use it, and perhaps some other communists, too.’”
— Ted Turner describing where he got the idea for the CNN International network, in a story on CNN’s 25th anniversary on the June 1 Anderson Cooper 360.


Rosie: Time to Arrest the Prez


FNC’s Sean Hannity: “Rosie, you guys, all you guys on the left, you demonize this President. You once called George Bush a war criminal.”
Rosie O’Donnell: “He is. He should be tried at the Hague!”
— Exchange on ABC’s The View, where Hannity was a guest and O’Donnell was substituting for co-host Star Jones, June 7.

PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
MEDIA ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Jessica Barnes, Brian Boyd, Brad Wilmouth, Ken Shepherd, Megan McCormack
INTERNS: Kyle Drennen, Patrick Skeehan