Notable Quotables - 04/22/1996


Unabomber: Really a Swell Guy

"He wasn't a hypocrite. He lived as he wrote. His manifesto, and there are a lot of things in it that I would agree with and a lot of other people would, that industrialization and pollution all are terrible things, but he carried it to an extreme, and obviously murder is something that is far beyond any political philosophy, but he had a bike. He didn't have any plumbing, he didn't have any electricity."
- Time Washington reporter Elaine Shannon on C-SPAN's Sunday Journal, April 7.

"I can't bring myself to hate the Unabomber. Quite the opposite; I find his story curiously affecting. The original Unabomber - the anonymous, hooded fellow, hiding behind aviator glasses - was uninteresting, a freak, a nobody. But Theodore Kaczynski is someone very interesting indeed...I envy his disobedience....the [manifesto] tells us what we all know: that American society can be a powerfully compromising, deadening, even saddening force....If Kaczynski proves to be the Unabomber, he is nobody's hero, certainly not mine. The bomber murdered three people, and might well have many more, all by design. Coincidentally, Kaczynski invaded our front pages just before Easter Sunday, mute, pathetic and manacled before his captors. But maybe he accomplished what the Unabomber set out to do, to make us think about ourselves, and the society that drove him to madness."
- Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam, April 10.


Unabomber: He's No Leftist...

"One source told the San Francisco Examiner that Kaczynski was `disgusted with the widespread drug use and liberal politics' at Berkeley. Maybe so: the Unabomer [sic] manifesto is harshly critical of leftism."
- Newsweek Senior Writer Tom Morganthau, April 15 issue.

"Yet no one, either at Michigan or Berkeley, remembers Ted having any contact with the leftists he would later excoriate in his manifesto."
- Time Senior Editor Nancy Gibbs, April 15. The Unabomber manifesto begins: "The Industrial Revolution and its consequences have been a disaster for the human race."


....But the Right Wing's Still to Blame for Oklahoma City

Bill Moyers, promoting April 12 Dateline NBC on Oklahoma City victims: "They're angry now that, most of the people who were killed were connected, in one way or the other, to the federal government. They thought of themselves as public servants. Then politicians and talk radio turned them into faceless bureaucrats, and finally the terrorists turned them into victims, and they're angry."
Bryant Gumbel: "You mention talk radio. They have some very hard feelings about talk radio and the hate being spewed by some of those on the far end of the spectrum."
Moyers: "If anything, talk radio in that part of the world is more anti-government today than ever. The airwaves are saturated with hostility, it's just an unremitting vilification of government. Sometimes it's, sometimes it's, you know, the government makes mistakes and there are justifiable grievances against government. But this is, this goes beyond that, it's excessive. And these people take it like salt in the wound. They drive around, they turn on their radio, they hear some vicious attack on government, and they think, `You know, if you strike the government, you kill my daughter.'"
- Exchange on Today, April 12.


Brown's Death: Great PR!

"There has been a huge push to get rid of the Commerce Department and this has been, I don't want to sound too cynical, but this has been a great PR experience, in a way, for the Clinton administration's view of how to use the Commerce Department to promote American business. I think it will be very difficult now to kill the Commerce Department."
- National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg on Inside Washington, April 6.


Gumbel: Decency Over Politics

"Although many have praised Ron [Brown] lavishly, I understand that no Republicans have yet expressed condolences to the Brown family. Is that politics as usual, or is that just plain bad manners?"
- Bryant Gumbel to Rep. Charles Rangel, April 10 Today.

"Out of respect for the memory of Ron Brown and his grieving family, I am not anxious to prolong this story. Like most people, I hoped that decency would prevail over politics. Those involved will have to live with the truth."
- Gumbel's press statement, next day.

Reality Check:
"[GOP Chairman Haley] Barbour told Gumbel after the plane crash that killed Brown last week, he issued a statement praising Brown and expressing his `deepest sympathy' to Brown's family. Barbour made similar comments on his GOP-TV cable show."
- April 11 Washington Post story by Howard Kurtz.

"Though Republican leaders did not attend the memorial service or funeral, several sent condolence notes to the Brown family. In addition, Mr. Gingrich, the House Speaker, made special arrangements for Mr. Brown to lie in repose on the catafalque used for President Kennedy's coffin."
- April 12 Washington Times story by Laurie Kellman.


If Only Conservatives Would Let Liberals Solve Problems

"Let me go to the minimum wage though for a minute...Ten million people would be affected by it. Most of them live at or below the poverty level. And this Congress which is trying to cut the Earned Income Tax Credit, which conservatives used to tell us was the alternative, and refuses to do anything about the minimum wage makes Marie Antoinette look like Mother Teresa. It is just an outrage!"
- Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt, March 30 edition of CNN's Capital Gang.

"If high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred, by all means, the Clintons must be held accountable. But my head spins to think of the time and energy the White House, Congress, special prosecutors and legions of lawyers have spent digging up and rehashing eye-glazing Whitewater details when they could have been solving the country's problems."
- USA Today reporter Leslie Phillips reviewing James Stewart's Whitewater book Blood Sport, March 25.


Policing Police Shows

"I hope I'm not the only one to notice that Nash Bridges, Max Swift, and The Sentinel are all indifferent to the rules against breaking and entering, search and seizure, and even kidnapping. Warrants are an inconvenient waste of time and the Miranda warning is never uttered except contemptuously. This same contempt for pious legalities, this coarsening of our thin blue line has also shown up recently on Law & Order, NYPD Blue, and even Homicide. It used to be that we could count on TV to oppose the death penalty as we could rely on it to favor integration. But you can't watch any cop show these days without hearing an angry centurion gloat about the options of lethal injections and electric chairs. Imagine that: Society has reduced television to the lowest common denominator, which is a lynch mob."
- John Leonard on CBS Sunday Morning, March 24.


Bloody Cleanup in Aisle 13

"The safety of car seats, cribs, and toys are the concerns of all you conscientious parents. Well, now you can add shopping carts to your list. According to a recent study, shopping cart related injuries account for 25,000 trips to the emergency room every year. At least two deaths have occurred in related incidents. In the last three years, 2,000 children were hospitalized from shopping cart injuries such as skull fractures, concussions, cuts, and bruises."
- Today co-host Katie Couric, March 20.


Just Four Years Until CBS Gets a Normal Anchor

"I'd love to, but that's not going to happen. You can sooner expect a tall talking broccoli stick to offer to mow your lawn for free. Television is a young person's game, and I'm living on borrowed time."
- Dan Rather when asked if he'd like to remain anchor past 2000, in the Los Angeles Times, March 9.


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