We’re as Bad as the Terrorists
NBC’s Matt Lauer: “You admitted that there were these CIA secret facilities. Okay?”
President George W. Bush: “So what? Why is that not within the law?”
Lauer: “The head of Amnesty International says secret sites are against international law....Are you at all concerned that at some point, even if you get results, there is a blurring the lines of, between ourselves and the people we’re trying to protect us against?”
— Interview shown on NBC’s Today, September 11. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“I have no sympathy for those suspected 9/11 ringleaders....But I’m glad they took them out of those secret CIA prisons. For me, it’s a matter of national security — ours. Democracies have no business running secret prisons. That’s what our enemies do....Real security begins with remembering who we are. We gain nothing by adopting the methods of our enemies.”
— Former anchor Bob Schieffer delivering a “freeSpeech” commentary on the September 13 CBS Evening News.
Bush’s Failure vs. TV’s “Reality”
“Five years later there are more questions, more uncertainty. After all, five years later the Taliban are back in Afghanistan, Iraq is on the verge of anarchy, Iran is more dangerous than ever. Five years later there have been no more attacks on the U.S., but the terrorists are still out there.”
— Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw on Today, Sept. 11.
“This is the kind of speech that he could have given three years ago, not five years after 9/11. The American public now has been through a lot in five years, Chris, and with all due respect to the President, they’ll be measuring his rhetoric versus the reality that they see almost every day in their newspapers and on television.”
— Brokaw to Hardball host Chris Matthews on MSNBC after the President’s speech to the nation, September 11.
Our Behavior to Blame for 9/11?
“Some people who hated Americans set out to kill a lot of us and they succeeded. Americans are puzzled over why so many people in the world hate us....We’re trying to protect ourselves with more weapons. We have to do it I guess, but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn’t make so many people in the world want to kill us.”
— CBS’s Andy Rooney, 60 Minutes, September 10. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
MSNBC’s Countdown to Insanity
“The polite phrase for how so many of us were duped into supporting a war on the false premise that it had something to do with 9/11 is lying by implication. The impolite phrase is ‘impeachable offense.’...When those who dissent are told time and time again — as we will be, if not tonight by the President, then tomorrow by his portable public chorus — that he is preserving our freedom, but that if we use any of that freedom, we are somehow un-American; when we are scolded, that if we merely question, we have ‘forgotten the lessons of 9/11;’ look into this empty space behind me and the bipartisanship upon which this administration also did not build, and tell me this: Who has left this hole in the ground? We have not forgotten, Mr. President. You have. May this country forgive you.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on September 11, ending his Countdown with a commentary from the site of the World Trade Center. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“In four simple words last Friday, the President brought into sharp focus what has been only vaguely clear these past five-and-a-half years....‘It’s unacceptable to think,’ he said. It is never unacceptable to think....This is a frightening and a dangerous delusion, Mr. President.... Between your confidence in your infallibility, sir, and your demonizing of dissent, and now these rages better suited to a thwarted three-year old, you have left the unnerving sense of a White House coming unglued, a chilling suspicion that perhaps we have not seen the peak of the anger, that we can no longer forecast what next will be said to, or about, anyone who disagrees. Or what will next be done to them.”
— Olbermann on MSNBC’s Countdown, September 18, reacting to Bush’s statement that “It’s unacceptable to think that there’s any kind of comparison between the behavior of the United States of America and the action of Islamic extremists who kill innocent women and children to achieve an objective.” (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Tom’s “Patriot Tax” Will Unite Us?
“There have been some sacrifices in terms of gasoline prices and certainly there have been enormous sacrifices on the part of the families who sent young ones off to the war in Iraq....A lot of people have talked about a ‘Patriot Tax’ on energy, for example, might be a way of reminding people of what we need to do....There has been a failure on the part of the political leadership of the administration to bring the country together.”
— NBC’s Tom Brokaw on Today, September 11.
Tough Questions for Hillary
“Do you actually like campaigning?...I mean, people literally want to shake your hand....I asked the Senator if she’s better in person than on television. She says it’s what everybody tells her....You must scratch your head sometimes, though. I mean, either you’re too liberal, you’re not liberal enough....If you could pick an adjective that you hope people would use to describe you, what would it be?”
— Some of ABC Nightline co-anchor Cynthia McFadden’s questions to Hillary Clinton, from a September 7 profile in which McFadden spent a full day with Clinton.
No Fun If Rove Won’t Be Hung
“I’ll tell you why the Richard Armitage thing was sort of a big yawn and why we didn’t cover it that much, is because, first of all, everybody was anticipating a Karl Rove indictment, and that would have been a huge, huge story....Well, guess what? Karl Rove was not indicted. The air went out of the balloon at that particular point.”
— CBS’s Gloria Borger on CNN’s Reliable Sources, September 17, discussing the paltry coverage of news that Armitage was the source who first told columnist Robert Novak that Joe Wilson’s wife worked for the CIA.
Fill-in host Kathleen Matthews: “Bottom line, what’s the significance of this, Evan?”
Newsweek’s Evan Thomas: “Nothing! Nothing! This is a big zero of a story that most of the American public has ignored, Washington has been feverishly consumed by, and it means something for [ex-Vice Presidential aide] Scooter Libby, who may go to jail but, so it has some personal consequences, but in the great sum of American body politic, it means nothing.”
— Inside Washington, September 15.
Another Dirty Trick: Cheap Gas
CNN’s Bill Schneider: “Gasoline prices have already fallen at least 36 cents a gallon or 12 percent since they reached the peak in July. That’s good news for Republicans....The drop in prices may last a couple of months, long enough to get through the November election. Could that be what the oil companies want?”
Tyler Slocum, Public Citizen: “81 percent of their money goes to members of the Republican Party. I cannot say for sure whether or not they are influencing prices to assure that outcome, but it is, I think, more than just a coincidence that we’re seeing an easing of prices at a time of running up to a very, very important election.”
— CNN’s Situation Room, September 15.
Liberal Fantasy: Bush as Al Gore
“[President Bush] bluntly told Detroit that it was embarrassing that Chinese automakers had better fuel efficiency, he classified SUVs as cars, and he imposed a stiff gas tax with a rebate for the working poor. To pay for it, he abandoned his tax cuts for the wealthy, reminding the country that no President in history had ever cut taxes in the middle of a war. This President would be damned if he was going to put more oil money into the pockets of Middle Eastern hatemongers who had killed nearly 3,000 of our people. To dramatize the point, he drove to his 2002 State of the Union address in a hybrid car. Sales soared.”
— Newsweek Senior Editor Jonathan Alter in “An Alternate 9/11 History,” September 18 issue.
When Muslims Riot, Blame Pope
“I think it was an attempt to start a dialogue. I think it was a clumsy attempt....He did it in about as heavy handed and misguided way as I think possible....I would, if I were the Pope — I think he needs to give a important, serious address about his view of Islam historically.”
— Newsweek’s Jon Meacham on ABC’s Good Morning America, Sept. 18, referring to violent protests following the Pope’s quoting of a 14th century Byzantine emperor.
Beware of Dangerous Christians
Co-host Rosie O’Donnell: “As a result of the [9/11] attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people, we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries.”
Co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck: “But do you understand that, that the belief funding those attacks, okay, that is widespread. And if you take radical Islam and if you want to talk about what’s going on there, you have to-”
O’Donnell, interrupting: “Wait just one second. Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam [loud applause] in a country like America where we have a separation of church and state. We’re a democracy.”
— ABC’s The View, September 12. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Penn: Bush Damaged Mankind
“I mean, the devastation of the situation [in Iraq] is pretty simple. Right now, you know, what these party clowns like Don Rumsfeld could be described as, as far as I’m concerned, except for the enormous damage he’s done this country and mankind — and our President — and saw that they’re getting out there and they’re beating this drum.... this war on terror, boom, boom, boom. Drown out the reality of what’s really happening....I think he’s [President Bush] devastated our democracy.”
— Actor Sean Penn on CNN’s Larry King Live, Sept. 14. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
PUBLISHER: L. Brent Bozell III
EDITORS: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes, Tim Graham
NEWS ANALYSTS: Geoffrey Dickens, Brad Wilmouth, Megan McCormack, Mike Rule, Scott Whitlock and Justin McCarthy
RESEARCH ASSOCIATE: Michelle Humphrey
CIRCULATION MANAGER: Jennifer Bookwalter