Notable Quotables - 07/08/2002
Anti-Pledge Court: Unorthodox...
“The 9th Circuit has a reputation for unorthodox opinions. It is reversed more often than any other circuit.”
– ABC’s Jackie Judd on World News Tonight, June 26, reporting on a three-judge panel’s ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional because it contains the phrase “under God.”
...Or Just Plain Liberal
“The 9th Circuit based here in San Francisco is known for its liberal opinions, and those opinions have frequently been overturned by the Supreme Court, which is undoubtedly where this case is headed.”
– Correspondent John Blackstone on the same night’s CBS Evening News.
Relative to What?
“Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe predicted that the conservative Supreme Court will reverse the relatively liberal 9th Circuit court.”
– Conclusion of June 27 front-page story by USA Today reporter Martin Kasindorf.
Pledge Ban Had “a Lot of Merit”
“I may be the only person in the country that kind of sees both sides of this. I mean, I think, you know, if you’re going to join that issue, there was actually a lot of doctrinal merit on what the majority said. It’s an issue that you have to scratch your head and say, ‘OK, was it necessary to join the issue?’ And that’s what I’m not too sure [about].”
– New York Times Supreme Court reporter Linda Greenhouse, commenting on the 9th Circuit court ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, on PBS’s Washington Week, June 28.
Pushing GOP Intolerance Theme
“Let me just step back for a moment and ask you, what do you think it says about the Republican Party, that the only Republican African-American serving in the Congress is choosing to step down?”
– CNN’s Judy Woodruff questioning retiring Republican Congressman J.C. Watts on Inside Politics, July 1.
“In leaving, you un-integrate the House Republican Party.”
“But doesn’t it say something, then, about the House Republican Party, which will now be all white?”
- Charles Gibson’s first two questions to J.C. Watts on ABC’s Good Morning America, July 2.
PLO Spin Disguised as News
“President Bush’s thinly veiled call for Yasser Arafat’s ouster changes the ground rules for the search for a Middle East peace, but risks angering moderate Arabs he will need along the way and could inflame the region further.
“Mr. Bush’s surprisingly harsh speech conditioned U.S. support for even an interim Palestinian state on a newly elected leadership ‘not compromised by terror’ and many other demands, making his dangling promise of full statehood within three years difficult, if not impossible, for the Palestinians to achieve.”
– First two paragraphs of front-page news story by Carla Anne Robbins and Jeanne Cummings in the Wall Street Journal, June 25.
Bemoaning Bush’s One-Sided Plan
“We’re going to begin tonight with what the President has decided should be done to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians. In short, the President said today the Palestinians should get rid of their leader Yasser Arafat, get a new political and economic system, a new constitution, a new security service. And when the Palestinians have done that, the Bush administration will support a provisional Palestinian state. If this sounds like Mr. Bush has come down squarely on Israel’s side in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, that is how it looks in the Middle East and in Washington.”
– ABC’s Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, June 24.
“The President’s peace plan, or latest peace plan, for the Middle East continues to make waves, particularly the idea that has been out there since yesterday that Palestinians must somehow get rid of Yasser Arafat before the United States would support an independent Palestinian state. The Secretary General of the United Nations today said that could backfire because, he said, if the Palestinian people were to replace Mr. Arafat, the U.S. might be even unhappier with his successor.”
– Jennings on World News Tonight the next evening.
“President Bush has made his toughest and most detailed speech yet on the Middle East....To the Palestinians he said, ‘Get rid of Yasser Arafat and get yourself a new constitution.’ To the Israelis he said, ‘Eventually you must leave the territory that you’ve occupied since the 1967 war – the West Bank and Gaza Strip.’ Those two conditions alone make the President’s road to peace a long and arduous journey.”
– Tom Brokaw on the June 24 NBC Nightly News.
Linking Tax Cutters & Fraudsters
“The President in Cleveland today, warning that the current spate of business scandals could undermine economic recovery....It’s a daily drumbeat as the White House desperately tries to shield the President from the public’s anger over allegations of public fraud, a difficult sales job for this former executive who critics say has been too cozy with corporate America on everything from tax cuts to the environment and energy policy.”
– NBC’s David Gregory on the July 1 Nightly News.
An “Ultraconservative Neophyte”
“Compared to his son, Bush 43, he [former President George Bush] was much more knowledgeable about all things in the country, domestic and foreign policy, and he took a much more moderate approach. Bush 43 is really an ultraconservative. He follows in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan [more] than his own father. He’s a neophyte in foreign affairs, totally reliant on hardline advisors. He has a way to go. He’s a work in progress.”
– Hearst columnist and longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas comparing the two President Bushes in a WashingtonPost.com online chat on June 26.
...Who Has Reporters Trembling?
“I do think that out of fear of being called unpatriotic some reporters have muscled their questions, which should be more challenging than ever today. I think it’s more unpatriotic not to ask tough questions of the powers that be.”
– Thomas later in the same chat session.
Katie Couric: “You are also politically conservative.”
Yale Law Professor Stephen Carter: “Oh, I hope not. People, people say that, that’s not how I think of myself.”
Couric: “Well, you’re, you’re, considered, you, you don’t think that’s fair? Because you have been described frequently as a political conservative.”
Carter: “Well, liberals tend to call me conservative, conservatives tend to call me a liberal, and I like to think of myself as simply a guy with some kind of nutty ideas.”
– Exchange on NBC’s June 20 Today show, where Carter appeared to promote his new novel, The Emperor of Ocean Park.
Conceding the Obvious
“I am a liberal, which means I believe in dissent and I believe in listening to others.”
– PBS’s Bill Moyers to UPI reporter Pat Nason, June 26.
Katie Couric, Reagan Defender?
Katie Couric: “You talk about the, the media bias against Ronald Reagan and you use a quote in an opening from the Today show where we say, ‘An airhead, Ronald Reagan is an airhead.’ And we’re quoting Edmund Morris. But frankly in the book you make it sound as if I was saying that, rather than Edmund Morris....I really conducted an extremely challenging interview with him [Morris] because he did eviscerate Ronald Reagan in his book. It was a very, very unflattering portrayal. The Reagans were very unhappy with it, conservatives were very unhappy with it. Afterwards Edmund Morris was unhappy with the interview and Nancy Reagan called to thank me for my line of questioning. So I’m just wondering how that jibes with your contention that somehow I’m a Ronald Reagan basher?”
Author Ann Coulter: “Well, I didn’t call you a ‘Ronald Reagan basher’....What I said was, which is true, is that the Today show opened, I believe it was three days in a row, with the announcement: ‘Ronald Reagan was an airhead, that’s the conclusion of this new book by Edmund Morris.’ When Edmund Morris came on for that interview with you, he described that as a grossly unfair characterization....He said he described him as ‘an apparent airhead’ on a very first meeting and that the entire course of the rest of his book was contradicting that. So for the Today show to be opening three days in a row, ‘Ronald Reagan was an airhead,’ I’m sorry, that’s dishonest.”
– Exchange on the June 26 Today show. Coulter was on the program to promote her new book, Slander: Liberal Lies About the American Right.
“Good morning. The Gipper was an airhead. That’s one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan that’s drawing a tremendous amount of interest and fire today, Monday, September the 27th, 1999.”
– Couric’s original quote, in which she wrongly paraphrased Morris by omitting the word “apparent.” Today actually opened with the “airhead” quote two days in a row, September 27 and 28, 1999, and Couric’s interview with Morris was on a third day, September 29, 1999.
Republicans Are Like Communists
“The most absurd part of my escape from the unjust system is that I have exchanged one system that suppresses free opinion for another....The Republicans in the United States manipulate public opinion and sweep any controversial issues under the table.”
– Tennis star Martina Navratilova, who defected from communist Czechoslovakia in 1975, in comments made to a German newspaper and cited in a Reuters dispatch on June 26.
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