“A Superb Choice”
Co-host Meredith Vieira: “A lot of people think Al Gore is going to be the choice [for Person of the Year].”
Time managing editor Richard Stengel: “He’s had an extraordinary year. He’s had an extraordinary influence. There was a real tipping point this year in terms of people being conscious of the environment. So, he would be a superb choice.”
Vieira: “He’s on the short list?”
Stengel: “He’s on the short list.”
— Previewing Time’s Person of the Year selection on NBC’s Today, December 17. Gore wound up being the top runner-up to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Gushing Over “the Goracle”
“Before the movie, you were best known, of course, as the former U.S. Vice President, as the man who almost became President. Your critics ridiculed you as ‘Ozone Man,’ and then the movie [An Inconvenient Truth] came out.... You went from being ‘Ozone Man’ to ‘The Goracle.’ This became — the Nobel Prize became ‘The Goronation.’”
“We may not all agree about the politics of global warming or about the big solutions, but we can all do our own little part, and it will add up. And for that reason, this year, for the first time that I can remember, we can all share the Nobel Prize.”
— CNN International’s Jonathan Mann during a live, one-hour special about Gore’s Nobel Prize, December 10.
“For Uma Thurman, whose credentials on the subject of sexy are impeccable, there was no question that ‘the man’s adorable.’ ‘Of course he’s sexy,’ she said. ‘He seems to be flourishing and following his calling. It’s just the most enviable thing in the world, like watching a beautiful racehorse run.’ Al Gore, sexy man. The thinking girl’s thoroughbred.”
— The Washington Post’s Mary Jordan and Kevin Sullivan in a Dec. 12 Style section item about Gore’s Nobel Prize.
Hillary: “So Pure and Good”
“Presidential candidates, as we all know, have always been a great source of material and a great target of attack for late night talk show hosts....Look at these numbers. Of all the people that had jokes lobbed in their direction, catch the tally here: Hillary Clinton, no surprise, 198 shots she’s had to take — I bet they’re not positive — Giuliani [in second place] at 84, about half that....Is she a natural target because she’s so pure and good?”
— Chris Matthews talking about the effect of the writers strike on MSNBC’s Hardball, December 12.
Vulgar, Sexist Hillary Haters
“Sen. Hillary Clinton is facing an onslaught of open misogynistic expression. Step lightly through that thickly settled province of the Web you could call anti-Hillaryland and you are soon knee-deep in ‘bitch,’ ‘slut,’ ‘skank,’ ‘whore’ and, ultimately, what may be the most toxic four-letter word in the English language....Thanks to several thousand years of phallocentric history, there is no comparable vocabulary of degradation for men, no equivalently rich trove of synonyms for a sexually sullied male. As for the word beginning with C? No single term for a man reduces him to his genitals to such devastating effect.”
— Newhouse News Service reporter Jonathan Tilove in a news story published November 29 in the Seattle Times.
GQ’s Supersized Superstar
“His supersized fondness for life, humans, activity, accomplishment, makes you aware of your own negative mind. His seemingly boundless energy makes you aware of how prematurely you habitually pronounce yourself tired. A hopeful, almost naive quality he has (‘On this continent, under the most adverse circumstances, you find the highest percentage of the people that go through every day with a song in their heart’) feels somehow generational: vestigial evidence of the Summer of Love. His drive, his fame, the public nature of everything he does, makes you giddily grateful for the humble scale of your own life.”
— George Saunders in “Bill Clinton, Public Citizen,” the lead article in GQ’s Dec. 2007 “Men of the Year” edition.
Dutiful Democratic Mouthpieces
“On the broadcast tonight, was it a CIA cover-up? New fallout after revelations the CIA may have destroyed videotape evidence in the U.S. war on terror.”
— NBC’s Brian Williams opening Nightly News, Dec. 7.
“Tonight, charges of a cover-up by the CIA. Why were videotapes of its secret interrogations of al-Qaeda suspects destroyed?”
— ABC’s Charles Gibson on World News, December 7.
Katie Couric: “Tonight, serious allegations against the CIA.”
Sen. Ted Kennedy, with “Cover-Up” on screen: “Cover-up.”
Couric: “That’s what critics are calling the destruction of interrogation videos, and they’re calling for a criminal investigation.”
— Beginning of the December 7 CBS Evening News.
Blaming “Hate-Mongering Radio” and Bush for Lack of Civility...
“Besides a decided preference for operating in the dark, the Bush administration has contributed to the woes of the press in another way. It has helped create a toxic climate for the press by inflaming the polarization of our public. At least since the election of 2000, with its attendant questions of legitimacy, some of the wide, reasonable middle of the American electorate has gravitated to angry and intolerant fringes, right and left. There are many reasons for this — including the proliferation of partisan blogs, hate-mongering radio broadcasts and intemperate television shout shows — but a President plays a considerable role in setting the tone of public discourse, and the tone of public discourse in my country has been nasty. It has been nasty by design — dividing the electorate into mistrustful camps and pandering to their fears was an explicit strategy of the President’s political wizard, Karl Rove.”
— New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller in his Hugo Young Memorial Lecture in London, printed in Britain’s The Guardian newspaper on November 29.
...But Times Is Agenda-Free?
“We are agnostic as to where a story may lead; we do not go into a story with an agenda or a pre-conceived notion. We do not manipulate or hide facts to advance an agenda. We strive to preserve our independence from political and economic interests, including our own advertisers. We do not work in the service of a party, or an industry, or even a country. When there are competing views of a situation, we aim to reflect them as clearly and fairly as we can.”
— More of Keller’s lecture as printed in The Guardian.
Leftist Blather = Real Journalism
Host Bill Moyers: “This country has become two choirs, each side listening only to its own preachers. Should journalists take sides when everybody else is polarized?”
MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann: “The definition now of being on one side is to have not flag-wavingly supported the President in anything he wanted, not handed him carte blanche after carte blanche after carte blanche.”...
Moyers: “A lot of people think you’ve taken sides now. They think you’ve taken sides with the progressive or liberal story.”
Olbermann: “They didn’t say that a lot during the Lewinsky thing. I always find that kind of ironic as I’ve seen some of the criticism from the right. But what I’ve done on the air in the last 4 1/2 years, and particularly in the last year and a half since the special comments began, is really journalism.”
— Exchange on PBS’s Bill Moyers Journal, December 14.
Another Olbermann Absurdity
“The pathological presidential liar, or an idiot-in-chief. It is the nightmare scenario of political science fiction...a President manifestly unfit to serve, and behind him in the vice presidency, an unapologetic warmonger....Mr. Cheney has helped, sir, to make your administration into the kind our ancestors saw in the 1860s and 1870s and 1880s, the ones that abandoned Reconstruction, and sent this country marching backwards into the pit of American Apartheid. Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland — Presidents who will be remembered only in a blur of failure....You, sir, have no business being President.”
— Keith Olbermann in a December 6 “Special Comment” on MSNBC’s Countdown.
Nothing Democrats Can’t Fix
“It may be that no amount of hall decking can convince Americans to be jolly about the economy this holiday season....The drumbeat of bad news is producing national jitters....John Edwards has the message that’s most consistently appealing to people suffering from economic woes. But at the same time, the Clinton brand has a strong economic reputation.”
— ABC’s Claire Shipman, Dec. 12 Good Morning America.
George Pushes for Higher Taxes
“There was a statistic that came out this week from the Congressional Budget Office which was just stunning to me. It said that in the last two years — from 2003 to 2005 — the increase in income for the top one percent exceeded the total income of the bottom 20 percent. Given that, what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire and plowing that money into education?”
— Host George Stephanopoulos to former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan on ABC’s This Week, December 16.
No Hunger, Free Health Care, Too!
Lawyer Alan Shore (played by James Spader): “Let’s just consider what the $450 billion dollars we spent on Iraq could buy us. How about free health insurance for every uninsured family, $124 billion. Convert every single car to run on ethanol, $68 billion. Primary education for every child on the planet — all of them — $30 billion. Hey, end hunger in America, $7 billion.”
Judge: “You are not an accountant!”
Shore: “No, I’m a town crier, judge. We have to talk about the cost of this war in terms of human lives. It’s in the thousands.”
— Scene from the Dec. 11 episode of ABC’s Boston Legal.
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