Notable Quotables - 04/25/1994


Hailing Harry Blackmun

"He was a lifelong Republican, but over the years, Harry Blackmun built a reputation as a liberal, sometimes defiant Justice, whose fierce protection of individual rights led some to anoint him the moral conscience of the court."
- Judy Woodruff on CNN's Inside Politics, April 6.

"As you know, Justice Blackmun was widely regarded as the conscience of the court. How damaging is his loss?"
- Bryant Gumbel to Senators Patrick Leahy and Hank Brown, April 6 Today.

"[Blackmun] underwent a highly public evolution from conservative to liberal jurist, becoming one of the court's most passionate defenders of constitutional liberties for ordinary citizens."
- Time's "The Week" section, April 18.

"Presidents sometimes get better Supreme Court justices than they deserve. After two mediocre nominees were rejected by the Senate in 1969-70, Richard Nixon finally chose Harry in baseball, where he passionately rooted for the hapless Chicago Cubs along with his hometown Minnesota Twins, he came to defend the underdogs in life: blacks, women, gays, aliens, native Americans."
- Time columnist Margaret Carlson, April 18.


The Sun Shines on Liberals

"Justice Harry A. Blackmun's retirement this summer will leave the Supreme Court with one obvious gap: it will have no judge willing to keep a thumb on the scale of the law to make it weigh in favor of `the little people.'"
- Beginning of Baltimore Sun Supreme Court reporter Lyle Denniston's story, April 7.

"When historians of the future tote up the many acts of prodigious ineptitude in the first year of Bill Clinton's presidency, they are likely to put at or near the top of the list his sacking of Lani Guinier - the spurned first choice to be the government's top civil rights official. Ms. Guinier's book, put forth as an answer to all her critics, is a good measure of what Mr. Clinton's surrender cost him, his administration and, perhaps, the nation. The book could rank as one of the most important political documents in the modern struggle for political freedom and equality for America's blacks."
- Denniston reviewing Guinier's book The Tyranny of the Majority, April 17 Baltimore Sun.


Blackmun: Not Liberal Enough

"[Clinton] should pick an unabashed liberal for the court...There hasn't been a liberal nominated since 1967...Blackmun's `liberalism' was apparent only against the right-wing backdrop at the court that emerged in the '80s."
- Newsweek Senior Writer David A. Kaplan's article, "Why the Court Needs a Liberal," April 18.


No Bias in Clift Stories

"I don't think she's an administration apologist....She is probably more liberal than most journalists, but in the pages of Newsweek she plays it straight. If you read her stories in Newsweek, I don't think you're going to find any kind of bias."
- Newsweek D.C. Bureau Chief Evan Thomas, April 18 CNBC's Tim Russert.

"Bill Clinton evoked sympathy and understanding by acknowledging marital problems on the famous 60 Minutes interview. His wife is too dignified for confessionals, but she could benefit from admitting that she, too, has occasionally yielded to temptation and made the wrong choices. The public might even be tickled to discover that the prim and preachy First Lady has a gambler's streak. Hillary's brief fling in commodities was possibly reckless, but it shows a glimmering of a more credible, if more flawed, human being."
- Eleanor Clift and Mark Miller, April 11 Newsweek story.


America Sucks

"On the American Agenda tonight we're going to look at an experiment in the state of Florida which may, in time, become a standard for the whole country. The United States has this unfortunate distinction: It is one of only two countries in the industrialized world, the other is South Africa, that does not guarantee basic health care for all its children. We have put the Florida experiment on the Agenda because while the state is trying to improve health care for the children, it is saving money." - Peter Jennings, April 5 World News Tonight.


Same Standard for Ed Meese?

"It was fun to learn about Yuppie Hillary, but the story belonged in the business pages, or perhaps the food section, where the Times usually runs its diagrams of cows."
- Newsweek media critic Jonathan Alter, March 28.

"I believe her story that it was smarts and luck and some good advice. Who of us at the age of 30 hasn't taken a few risks...of course, maybe she took some advice of some people who later ran into legal problems in terms of lawsuits, but I think all of us may have done that at one time or another. You can't be responsible for the entire lives of every broker and banker you ever run across."
- Time Washington reporter Elaine Shannon on Fox Morning News, March 31.


Leach in Peril?

Folks back home support Leach on Whitewater
- Washington Times, April 11

Rep. Leach, Critic of the Clintons, Faces Questions At Home, Underscoring Whitewater Risk for GOP
- Wall Street Journal, next day


The Aldrich Ames Chair in Media Studies Goes To...

"If you have information, print it. If it discloses state secrets, so be it. If the reporter learned them, chances are the enemy - whoever the enemy of the month happens to be - also knows them. But regardless, the newspaper's role in America is to tell the public what's going on. Newspapers aren't supposed to keep secrets; they're supposed to disclose secrets."
- Former NBC News President Michael Gartner in a USA Today column, April 14.


Squat Grannies Left Behind

"Galina's plight is the plight of Russia's babushkas. These squat grannies, bundled in kerchiefs and padded clothes, were once Russia's anchor. Even in the cruelest years of Stalinist oppression, they imparted a blend of peasant wisdom and socialist ideology to their offspring and grandchildren: work hard, respect authority, take care of your own, honor your elders....But Russia's encounter with market values has thrust the babushkas into a new and seemingly heartless world."
- Newsweek reporter Dorinda Elliott, March 28.

Diversity at The New York Times?

"In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected President. I knew of only one person in the newsroom who voted for Reagan, and it was Hilton Kramer, who was then the art critic, and then Hilton left a year or so if you're working in a newsroom that's full of Democrats, or liberal Democrats, it suggests something about how news may be handled or what a reporter might think is an interesting story...I didn't know any reporters, any editors, who supported Ronald Reagan. But what, 53 percent of the American people did? Well, that says something about modern journalism."
- Former New York Times reporter and critic John Corry talking about his book My Times on C-SPAN's Booknotes, March 27.


Publisher: L. Brent Bozell III
Editors: Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham
Media Analysts: Andrew Gabron, Mark Honig,
Kristin Johnson, Steve Kaminski, Mark Rogers
Circulation Manager: Kathleen Ruff
Interns: Clay Waters