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Notable Quotables - 12/30/1996

 

BYE-BYE BRYANT: Gumbel's Years of Liberal Advocacy


Editor's Note:
January 3 will be Bryant Gumbel's last day after 15 years as co-host of NBC's Today. By my count Bryant Gumbel has co-hosted Today just seven mornings in December, but I assume he'll be back most of the December 30-January 3 week, his last. USA Today "Inside TV" columnist Peter Johnson reported December 23 that CBS and ABC and are fighting to land Gumbel: "ABC News is considered the front-runner, but ABC News chief Roone Arledge says not to count out NBC, which he predicts will make "a major move to keep him.' Gumbel ' is terrific. Anybody would love to have him.'" Anybody, that is, interested in promoting liberals and denigrating conservatives.

A special good-bye salute to Bryant Gumbel, our bountiful Babylon of biased bombast. Here are highlights from 1989 through 1996.

1989
"Blacks have looked at the past eight years and seen this administration retreat from civil rights, retreat from affirmative action, make South Africa no priority, continue to see a greater disparity economically between blacks and whites, foster a spirit of racism that hasn't been seen in 20-plus years."
- To Bush campaign manager Lee Atwater, January 19 Today.

"Largely as a result of the policies and priorities of the Reagan administration, more people are becoming poor and staying poor in this country than at any time since World War II."
- July 17 Today.

"This test is not going to tell you whether you're a racist or a liberal."
- Previewing his prime-time special The Racial Attitudes and Consciousness Exam, September 5 Today.

1990
"It is certain the President won't mention the T word, and yet taxes are very much at the heart of what all our potential solutions are. How long can both sides pretend that a hike's not needed?"
- January 31.

"The missteps, poor efforts, and setbacks brought on by the Reagan years have made this a more sober Earth Day. The task seems larger now."
- April 20 Today.

"The bottom line is more tax money is going to be needed....It's a Wednesday morning, a day when the budget picture, frankly, seems gloomier than ever. It now seems the time has come to pay the fiddler for our costly dance of the Reagan years."
- Gumbel leading off Today, May 9.

1991
"Tonight the NBC News program Expos, looks at incidence of sexual harassment in [federal low-income] housing....Well, I guess that's where the problem began. Actually, it was when the budget was taken out of the affordable housing market during the Reagan years and thus, the problem came about."
- To reporter Michele Gillen, September 20 Today.

Reporter Lea Thompson: "...So you can't depend on government police to do this for you. We did find this flammable sleepwear everywhere we went."
Gumbel: "Lea, Lea, real quick. Why is the government abdicating its responsibility on this? Is this another holdover from the Reagan years and the cutbacks?" Thompson: "Absolutely. And somebody's gotta do something."
-Exchange on Today, November 13.

1992
"The boom years following World War II saw the economy take off, giving rise to the growth of the great American middle class. The rising standard of living meant homes, cars, TVS, college for the kids - all in all, a piece of the American dream. But in the Reagan years, economic erosion set in, so much so that the middle class now finds itself in ever-deepening trouble."
- January 22 Today.

"We keep looking for some good to come out of this. Maybe it might help in putting race relations on the front burner after they've been subjugated so long as a result of the Reagan years."
- On the Los Angeles riots, April 30, 1992 Today (Gumbel refused to condemn the rioters).

1993
"It's early yet, but for at least trying to address the deficit in a more serious fashion than anyone in 12 years, what kind of early marks do you give Bill Clinton?"
- To author Gerald Swanson, March 17 Today.

"In the greedy excesses of the Reagan years, the mean income of the average physician nearly doubled, from $88,000 to $170,000. Was that warranted?"
- To the AMA's Richard Corlin, March 31 Today.

"If I'm a young black man in South Central L.A., where poverty is rampant and unemployment is skyrocketing, I see that Washington's promises of a year ago have gone unfulfilled, I see that perhaps for a second time, the court's inability to mete out justice in a blind fashion, why shouldn't I vent my anger?"
- To U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), April 15 Today.

1994
"It's been written that being black in America is like being a witness at your own lynching. Why didn't your experience make you more resentful than you are today?"
- To criminal-turned-Washington Post reporter Nathan McCall, March 22 Today.

"We've got an awful lot to talk about this week, including the sexual harassment suit against the President. Of course, in that one, it's a little tough to figure out who's really being harassed."
- Today, May 10.

"You're aligned to a party which owes many of its victories to the so-called religious right and other conservative extremists who are historically insensitive to minority concerns. That doesn't bother you?"
- To U.S. Rep.-elect J.C. Watts (R-Okla.), November 9 Today.

1995
"You called Gingrich and his ilk, your words, 'trickle-down terrorists who base their agenda on division, exclusion, and fear.' Do you think middle class Americans are in need of protection from that group?"
- To about-to-be House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, January 4 Today.

"Janet Reno has asked for an independent counsel to investigate charges against HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros. Commerce Secretary Ron Brown is being investigated. Questions have been raised about Transportation Secretary Federico Pena. Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy resigned under pressure, as did Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. The Clinton White House seems to be having a hard time retaining high-profile minorities particularly. Do you think, Senator, they are being held to a higher standard in Washington than their white predecessors?"
- To Senator Ted Kennedy, March 15 Today.

"This comes at a time when Republicans are looking to gut the Clean Water Act and also the Safe Drinking Water Act. What are our options? Are we now forced to boil water because bottled water is not an economically feasible option for a lot of people?"
- To Natural Resources Defense Council lawyer Erik Olson, June 1 Today.

"Two weeks after his acquittal, we'll see how O.J. Simpson is still being treated as if he were guilty."
- October 16 Today.

1996
"While he appeared to be empathetic, his policies caused enormous suffering for those who were least able to afford it."
-Referring to Ronald Reagan on the October 10 MSNBC InterNight.