Notable Quotables - 02/04/1991


CBS: Truth is the First Casualty

"Someone once said the truth is rarely pure and never simple. It's never truer, that saying, than it is in the early stages of war. Truth is frequently the first casualty of any war, and it will be in this one. It's inevitable."
- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 16.

"Now the evidence, Bill [Plante], is that the Israelis are, as we speak, in the process of retaliating against the Iraqis for the six, at least six, Scuds that hit Israel....We'll try to keep you up to date on this story with the most accurate information possible."
- Dan Rather during prime time war coverage, January 17.


Assigning Credit

"High-Tech, Low-Casualty Success in War So Far Owes Much to Jimmy Carter's Defense Planning"
- Wall Street Journal, January 22

"War technology a Reagan legacy"
- Washington Times, January 21

"When you talk about the spending during the Reagan years on defense, you're talking about absolute abdication of responsibility to domestic policy and issues in this country, and it's totally without regard to the fact that these people were spending hundreds of dollars on toilet seats, not even this advanced technology."
- Washington Post reporter Juan Williams on Inside Washington, January 19.


High-Tech Prospects

"High-Tech visions aren't impressing many on the ground"
- Boston Globe, January 23, page 8

"Electronic wizardry should visit ground war, too"
- Same paper, same day, page 9


ABC: The Conveyors of Truth

"While many people think that we as reporters are whining and that this is a time of war, we are really the conveyors of truth in a very critical time and people need to know that truth."
- ABC reporter Judd Rose on Prime Time Live, January 24.

"Peter, we are getting word from, again, a very reliable source that there may have been as many as twenty nerve gas victims taken to a Tel Aviv area hospital this morning. This is the first word, first hard word, of perhaps unconventional weapons used in this assault this evening."
- ABC's Dean Reynolds at about 9 pm Eastern, January 17.


Day of Infamy?

"Another day that's sure to live in infamy"
- Rocky Mountain News headline, January 17

"A new generation of Coloradans will now forever remember, with their parents and grandparents, one black moment on one awful day in history, when everything came to a halt and the future looked like a yawning abyss."
- Beginning of story under headline, by reporters Mark Brown and J.R. Moehringer.

Liberating Kuwait, Oppressing the Baltics: Same Thing

"Yet there was a bizarre similarity between what Gorbachev and Bush felt compelled to do last week. Each was resorting to force in the name of law and order."
- Time Editor-at-Large Strobe Talbott, January 28.


War Against the Pentagon

"Why are you trying to put your hands so far into our business? We're not trying to tell you how to run the war. We're just trying to cover it. Why do you want to control us so completely?"
- Reporter Arthur Kent to Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams on NBC's America: The Realities of War, January 27.

"I just hope that the American people are not being ignored as they were in the case of the Grenada invasion, as a matter of policy."
- Walter Cronkite on CBS, January 16.

"It is a political lesson they've learned, that if you show the public too much of the gore and the horror of war, they're going to turn against that war. Sanitizing the war for the purpose of keeping American morale, interest in the war, support for the war high is almost criminal."
- Walter Cronkite on CNN, January 25.

"A 57 percent majority believes that the military should increase its control over reporting of the war....Nearly eight in ten Americans (78%) say they believe the military is not hiding bad news from them and is telling them as much as they can under the circumstances."
- Times Mirror poll release, Jan. 31.


SDI: Sam Donaldson's Ignorance

Sam Donaldson: "Well, we spent billions of dollars for those Star Wars systems, and I haven't seen a Star Wars system in Iraq, George, I haven't seen a B-2 bomber in Iraq."
George Will: "I'm sorry, Sam. When you see a Patriot shooting down an incoming missile, you're seeing strategic defense and you're seeing Star Wars technology protecting little old you."
Donaldson: "Do you know the difference between a Scud missile, which is what the Iraqis have, and let's say an SS-18, which the Soviets have, or an SS-24? Patriot cannot shoot that down, George."
Will: "And there's more to SDI than the Patriot as you will learn to your pleasure sooner or later."
Donaldson: "So far there's been about seven billion dollars to SDI and fortunately the Congress is about to cut that off."
- Exchange on ABC's This Week with David Brinkley, January 20.


Capital Gains and Iraq

"Here you have this war being fought by middle-class kids from middle-class families, taking the brunt of this, and the President, apparently, according to reports, plans to propose a tax cut that at least looks as though it benefits the rich people in this country."
- Lesley Stahl complaining to Richard Darman on Face the Nation, January 27.


Top Concern: Angry Plants and Animals

"Tanks could crunch grass and other vegetation, knock down dunes and kick up sandstorms, said Ken Nagy, who teaches about deserts at the University of California at Los Angeles. 'Plants and animals there are already living on the edge,' he said, 'and this insult could be enough to push them over the edge.'"
- Boston Globe reporter Larry Tye, January 18.


Warming to Jimmy

"The more people see of this Jimmy Carter, the more likely they are to warm to him. Negative feelings toward Carter's personality clouded the public's perception of his White House achievements. A more open Jimmy Carter may lead to a more objective assessment of his presidency."
- Los Angeles Times Washington Bureau Chief Jack Nelson in Jimmy Carter: Speaking Out on PBS January 4.


- L. Brent Bozell III; Publisher
- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Brant Clifton, Nicholas Damask, Steve Kaminski, Marian Kelley, Tim Lamer; Media Analysts
- Jennifer Hardebeck; Circulation Manager