Notable Quotables - 02/26/1996


Time Out! Eric Engberg's Story

CBS reporter Eric Engberg: "Steve Forbes pitches his flat tax scheme as an economic elixir good for everything that ails us....It's the kind of optimistic message people want to believe. But experts have trouble with many of Forbes' specific promises, like how the flat tax would boost economic growth."
Steve Forbes: "By removing obstacles, starting with the tax code, we are capable of growing at twice that rate."
Engberg: "Time out! Economists say nothing like that has ever actually happened...Forbes claims taxes can be lowered without adding to the deficit....That was called supply-side economics under President Reagan, less taxes equal more revenue. It didn't work out that way. Is it fair to say the last time we tried something like this we ended up with these hideous deficits?"
William Gale, Brookings Institution: "It's perfectly fair to say that, yes."
Engberg: "And that if we try it again, your fear is?"
Gale: "That we end up with the same problem again."
Engberg: "....Okay, how about Forbes' number one wackiest flat tax promise?"
Forbes: "Parents would have more time to spend with their children, and with each other."
Former IRS commissioner Donald Alexander: "That's right. The sky would be blue all the time."
Engberg: "The fact is, the flat tax is one giant untested theory. One economist suggested that before we risk putting it in, we ought to try it out someplace, like maybe Albania. Eric Engberg, CBS News, Washington."
- February 8 CBS Evening News.


Time Out! Goldberg Reacts

"There are lots of reasons fewer people are watching network news, and one of them, I'm more convinced than ever, is that our viewers simply don't trust us. And for good reason. The old argument that the networks and other `media elites' have a liberal bias is so blatantly true that it's hardly worth discussing anymore. No, we don't sit around in dark corners and plan strategies on how we're going to slant the news. We don't have to. It comes naturally to most reporters.....Mr. Engberg's report set new standards for bias....Can you imagine, in your wildest dreams, a network news reporter calling Hillary Clinton's health care plan `wacky?'..

"`Reality Check' suggests the viewers are going to get the facts. And then they can make up their mind. As Mr. Engberg might put it: `Time Out!' You'd have a better chance of getting the facts someplace else - like Albania."
- CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, February 13.


Time Out! Circle the Wagons! We're Blind to Bias!

"I've never regarded myself as an ideological warrior of any kind. It's too hard to get the facts straight and also have an agenda on my plate."
- Engberg quoted in USA Today, February 14.

His [Engberg's] hallmarks have always been fairness and accuracy."
- Dan Rather, quoted in the February 14 New York Post.

"People are just stunned. It's such a wacky charge, and a weird way to go about it....I don't know what Bernie was driving at. It just sounds bizarre."
- CBS News Chief Washington correspondent Bob Schieffer quoted by Howard Kurtz in the February 15 Washington Post.

"To accuse Eric of liberal bias is absurd."
- CBS News President Andrew Heyward, quoted by Gail Shister in the February 15 Philadelphia Inquirer.

"What is liberal bias? See again, when you use this blunderbuss criticism, I back off. If you want to be specific and say Brokaw did a piece that was obviously biased and not balanced, fine. Or I did a piece, or you did a piece, or you wrote a piece. But just to spray everybody, I disagree with that. Be specific."
- CNN anchor Bernard Shaw on Reliable Sources, February 18.


Time Out! He's Never Complained Before

"There's no suggestion here that this man went to CBS over a period of time and said, `Our stuff is all one sided, we've got to do something about this'....There's no suggestion that he has done that. He has simply stabbed this guy in the back."
- New York Times Washington Bureau Chief R.W. Apple on CNN's Reliable Sources, February 18.

Reality Check:
"Goldberg has told friends he feels badly about hurting Engberg, but that he has complained to CBS management about a liberal tilt for several years and been consistently ignored."
- Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz in a February 15 story.


Time Out! CBS Expert Corrects Engberg

"Well, and the fact of the matter is yes, we did balloon the deficit with the Reagan tax cuts, not because of the tax cuts - we doubled revenue....Congress went along and said, `Yeah, let's spend it all, and let's spend more than what we're taking in.' If we do the same thing under a flat tax scenario, yes, we're gonna have a huge deficit. But if we rein in the spending, we won't."
- CBS This Morning financial expert Daria Dolan, February 13.


Time Out! Takes a Negative Hit Man to Know One

"This year's `I'm Not a Politician, But I Play One on TV Awards,' go to: runner-up, Steve Forbes. True, he's never run before. But a McDonald's visit trying to show he is a regular Joe can't conceal the fact that this regular Joe has spent more on dirty-tricks negative ads than any other politician in history."
- Eric Engberg in the CBS News New Hampshire primary special, February 20.


It Runs in the Family

"Bill Clinton has not done everything right, but at least he cares for the common man. And tries to help everyone, not just the chosen rich and big business who support the conservative point of view. Anyone who would use a sticker `Hail to Rush Limbaugh' shows me an incredible lack of intelligence and understanding of what needs to be done."
- NBC Sports anchor Greg Gumbel responding to a February 6 letter from Bob Wagner of Homer City, Pennsylvania, who sent a copy to the Media Research Center.

From That Inclusive Liberal Media Which Can't Abide Conservatives...

"When Buchanan speaks I hear the driving, urgent undershadow of menace (promises of dark things, of retribution) that Senator Joseph R. McCarthy conjured; their voices are eerily similar, and, like Pat, Joe McCarthy had considerable personal charm."
- Time Senior Writer Lance Morrow, February 26.

"Gwen, those in the media and his opponents keep saying that Buchanan's too extreme to win the nomination. Is it impossible, or is that wishful thinking among those with more mainstream or inclusive views?"
- Bryant Gumbel, February 21 Today.


Is It a "Smear" Even If It's True?

"That February [1992], the Clintons were reeling. At first a media favorite for the Democratic nomination, Bill Clinton was being smeared as an adulterer and a draft dodger on the eve of the critical New Hampshire primary."
- Newsweek reporters Michael Isikoff and Mark Miller, February 5.


Brokaw, Behind Closed Doors

"And is there an American male who has not put on a pair of khakis, a pair of black loafers, white socks and rolled up his sleeves and looked into the mirror and thought secretly, I'm Gene Kelly?"
- NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw after a tribute to the late Gene Kelly, February 2.


- L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, James Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
- Kathleen Ruff, Circulation Manager; Jessica Anderson, Bruce Fraser; Interns