Notable Quotables - 07/05/2005

Vol. Eighteen; No. 14

Don’t Waste Your Time Listening


“There’s a new ABC News/Washington Post poll which indicates for the first time a majority of people say they believe the President intentionally misled this country on Iraq....Fifty-two percent now say he misled this country in Iraq. Fifty-two percent say the war is going badly. Fifty-six percent disapprove of his handling of this. So what can he say to people that we haven’t heard before?”
— Charles Gibson to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on ABC’s Good Morning America, June 28.

“The President goes on national television on Tuesday night from Fort Bragg to talk about Iraq. I don’t think he’ll be coming there in a flight suit this time. No ‘Mission Accomplished’ sign.”
— CNN’s Aaron Brown reviewing the next day’s newspaper headlines on the June 24 NewsNight.

Iraq: Like Vietnam, or Worse


“Sixty percent of the American people now say things are going badly in Iraq. About 56 percent say it wasn’t worth going to war in the first place. Remember, Senator, at the beginning of the war there were some who were saying this could be our next Vietnam and those comments were greeted with outrage. Now a couple years down the road, should we revisit those comments?”
— NBC’s Matt Lauer to Senator John McCain on Today, June 21.

“The phraseology is going to be very reminiscent of the Vietnam era and the credibility gap...because what people see on their television screens and hear from the commanders on the ground is at enormous variance with the happy talk out of the White House....It’s worse than Vietnam because Vietnam was a tiny country with no strategic importance and we could declare victory and leave. Iraq is at the nexus of terrorism and oil and it’s a war that we don’t know how to win and can’t afford to lose.”
— Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group, June 18.

“According to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld the insurgency could last another 12 years....I think most Americans say, ‘Oh my goodness!’And they gasp because that seems like such an extended period of time for these very powerful, very tenacious insurgents to have control of the situation....It must be very frustrating at times to see things unraveling so.”
— Katie Couric to Condoleezza Rice on Today, June 28.

Today’s Media Pessmism Would Have Smothered U.S. Revolution

“I have to say, too, if that war [the Revolutionary War] had been covered — this is the most important year in the most important conflict in our history — if it had been covered by the media, and the country had seen now horrible the conditions were, how badly things were being run by the officers, and what a very serious soup we were in, I think that would have been it, too.”
— Historian David McCullough, author of 1776, a book about the American Revolution, during an appearance on CNBC’s Tim Russert on June 18.

Let’s Blame Ken Starr for 9/11

Bob Schieffer: “I have always wondered: Do you think that had it not been for Monica Lewinsky and the scandal that was swirling around Bill Clinton, that we as Americans would have recognized earlier what a threat that Osama bin Laden posed? Because every time that Clinton would take action, when he’d fire the missiles at what was supposed to be the terror training camp, people asked, ‘Is this wagging the dog? Is this something to divert us from talking about Monica Lewinsky?’”
Washington Post reporter John Harris: “I think that’s the great tragedy of Bill Clinton’s record on terrorism, that he understood the threat of Islamic terrorism generally, Osama bin Laden specifically, and yet he was not able to infuse his own government or the country at large with that sense of urgency.”
— Exchange on CBS’s Face the Nation June 12, where Harris was promoting his new biography of Bill Clinton.

Liberals Just “Too Complex”

Host Chris Matthews: “Right now, there’s a highly successful conservative cable network called Fox. Why isn’t there a highly successful liberal network?”
Bill Moyers: “I don’t understand it. I think the people who run television think that liberals and progressives don’t get worked up about anything. I think that they think that they’re too subtle, too complex, too erudite, let’s say, to really defame them, and I think they don’t want that kind of television....The people out in the country who listen to Fox News, who listen to Rush Limbaugh, they like red meat. And, you know, by nature, it’s very hard for a liberal to throw red meat simply because the issues are more complex than you can reduce down to a soundbite.”
— Exchange on MSNBC’s Hardball, June 10.

Skipped Durbin’s Slime, But...

“Good morning, President Bush’s right-hand man under fire. Did Karl Rove go too far in his comments on liberals and 9/11?”
— Matt Lauer opening NBC’s Today, June 24. Today did not mention Democratic Senator Dick Durbin’s June 14 speech equating U.S. military interrogators to Nazis until June 22, the morning after Durbin apologized.

“One of the most powerful people in the Bush administration has drawn intense criticism today for some remarks he made last night about liberals, conservatives and the reaction to 9/11. Karl Rove is the President’s senior advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff. Last night, it’s safe to say, he was not attempting to reach across the aisle.”
— Substitute anchor Elizabeth Vargas on ABC’s World News Tonight, June 23. World News Tonight did not report Durbin’s speech until after his apology a week later.

Durbin: Still Classier than Rove...

“The Washington Times: ‘Rove’s mockery of 9/11 liberals riles Democrats.’ Karl Rove making, I thought, some silly comments in a week of silly comments, with the dumb Dick Durbin comments for which he apologized. Mr. Rove will not apologize, I guarantee you.”
— CNN’s Aaron Brown going through the next day’s newspaper headlines on NewsNight, June 23.

...and Republicans Are Worse

“A Democratic politician says something that crosses a line, gets blasted for it, and later apologizes. Business as usual? Not when it revolves around the word ‘Nazi,’ and when the outcry comes from leaders in the Republican Party whose own members and supporters have used that word, even made it a suffix — i.e., ‘feminazi.’ Words used to attack the opposition.”
— MSNBC’s Alison Stewart filling in as anchor of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, June 22.

Media Win Either Way

Host Chris Matthews: “Hillary Clinton did great at school, she spoke at her class graduation, she’s one of the smartest kids in the class. John McCain, one of the least academic at Annapolis. What’s that tell us?”
Time’s Joe Klein: “It tells us that it’ll be an interesting match-up between the two of them.”
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell: “That would be such a great race!”
Matthews: “Oh! Pray for it! Bread and butter. Wouldn’t that be the greatest? McCain against Hillary.”
— The Chris Matthews Show, June 12.

Don’t Call Us Liberal!

Newsweek’s Evan Thomas: “Is this attack [on public broadcasting’s budget] going to make NPR a little less liberal?”
NPR legal correspondent Nina Totenberg: “I don’t think we’re liberal to begin with and I think if you would listen, Evan, you would know that.”
Thomas: “I do listen to you and you’re not that liberal, but you’re a little bit liberal.”
Totenberg: “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s a fair criticism, I really don’t — any more than, any more than you would say that Newsweek is liberal.”
Thomas: “I think Newsweek is a little liberal.”
— Exchange on the June 26 Inside Washington.


Keith: Really, I’m Not Political

“A lot of my personal worldview is unmistakably sympathetic to things in a liberal playbook, but honest to God, I have been called a reactionary by some on the far left, a liberal by some on the far right and I’m insulted by both terms. My point of view is about delivering information and context. It has nothing to do with a political point of view.”
— MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, as quoted in a June 9 Houston Chronicle profile by Mike McDaniel.

Reporters Cheer Dan’s Agenda

“How do you feel about the fact that journalists seem to have done more work in reviewing the 60 Minutes reporting than they have in examining the underlying story about President Bush?”
— The only audience question that drew sustained applause for Dan Rather when he appeared as keynote speaker at the Investigative Reporters and Editors conference June 4, an event shown on C-SPAN June 11.


Give Mother Earth a Hug

“Our best efforts will be for naught if we fail on another front: if we fail to love our mother, Mother Earth. It will do us little good to achieve peace on earth if earth becomes a dead planet....Individually and collectively, you’re also stewards of the air we breathe, the water that we drink, wild lands and creatures large and small. Develop a sense of proportion about your personal and professional needs. Eschew excess and embrace moderation in your consumption habits. Sackcloth and kelp soup are not required, but the Buddhist reminder of the need to live lightly on the earth is a helpful guide to the daily habits and needs of us all.”
— Former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, delivering the commencement address at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, June 12.

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