Notable Quotables - 05/12/2003

Saddam the Feminist Champion

Tom Brokaw: "NBC News 'In Depth' tonight. In the aftermath of the war on Iraq, new anxieties for some of the countrys educated, successful women. Although many may be glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein, many are also worried that a new government could set them back...."
Mike Taibbi in Baghdad: "While the end to the Saddam regime means a return to long-denied freedoms for all Iraqis, it may also mean at least a temporary rollback of some hard-won freedoms for millions of Iraqi women....While Saddams regime brutalized women - rape, torture, even beheadings - his secular government also gave women more rights than their counterparts in many other Islamic countries."
-NBC Nightly News, April 22.


Okay, Maybe We Exaggerated

"Pillage and plunder: 7,000 years of Iraqi history, the history of civilization itself, smashed and robbed in just days of frenzied looting....Stolen in broad daylight were 170,000 statues, clay tablets, pottery, jewelry and other historic relics, many from the first stirrings of civilization. All told, billions of dollars lost. All thats left, tears and empty shelves."
-ABC's Dan Harris reporting on looting of the national museum in Baghdad, Good Morning America, April 18.

"The country has been a living archive of man's earliest history where real connections can be made between then and now, which is why the Pentagon is being so widely criticized for not protecting the history when it captured the capital city. The U.S. is now guarding the entrance to Iraqs national museum, but the damage has already been done."
-Peter Jennings on World News Tonight, April 18.


"The looting at the national museum may not have been as extensive as some people first reported. A Marine colonel whos been investigating tells us today that hundreds of items have been recovered from smugglers, Iraqis have returned items they may have had for safekeeping, other pieces have been found in the rubble, and it turns out that many pieces were removed before the war. Twenty-seven so-called 'significant pieces' were stolen, some of them priceless, but those who said that more than 150,000 items were looted appear to be wrong."
-Jennings on World News Tonight, May 1.

Too Much American Courage...

"We didn't see what happened when Marines fired M-16s. We didn't see what happened after mortars landed, only the puff of smoke. There were horrors that were completely left out of this war. So was this journalism? Or was this coverage?"
"It was a grand and glorious picture that had a lot of people watching, and a lot of advertisers excited about cable TV news, but it wasn't journalism, because I'm not sure Americans are hesitant to do this again - to fight another war, because it looked to them like a courageous and terrific endeavor."
-MSNBC's Ashleigh Banfield during a speech at Kansas State University, as quoted by Topeka Capital-Journal reporter Matt Moline in an April 24 story posted on the newspaper's Web site.


...Too Little of Saddam's Terror

Aaron Brown: "Were you able to report completely everything you knew about the regime [of Saddam Hussein]?"
New York Times Baghdad reporter John Burns: "Anybody who told you that he was able to tell everything without restraint would not be telling you the truth....There could have been a little bit more forthrightness...both in the print and in the broadcast media. The dominant feature of this society for 23 years was fear and terror. I don't think that there was any society on Earth by the spring of this year that compared with it, except possibly North Korea, about which we know very little. I think that too much of the reporting reflected that very little."
-Exchange on CNN's NewsNight, April 30.


ABC: Bush + Helmet = Dukakis

George Stephanopoulos: "For those who grade presidential photo-ops, this was an A++. I mean, look at the pictures of the President on the flight deck - he looks like one of the pilots. I'll say one thing, he was very careful to take that helmet off before he got out on the flight deck. Nobody wants a picture in a helmet looking like, remember back in 1988, Michael Dukakis in the tank...."
Diane Sawyer: "Put up that picture of Michael Dukakis for a minute, George, because as we know, it sometimes can be tricky to be seen among the military, unless you can carry it off. How could you be sure? Do you think he [Bush] tried on the suit beforehand? Am I being too cynical?"
Stephanopoulos: "No, I think he probably did."
-Exchange about President Bush's visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln on Good Morning America, May 2.


Sailors Better Off in War Zone

"Today in San Diego, the supercarrier USS Abraham Lincoln finally docked after nearly 10 months at sea. We'll have more on the reunion with eager loved ones in just a moment, but these soldiers, of course, are coming home to a sober reality as well. An economy that, if anything, is struggling more than it was when they set sail. The government said today the unemployment rate is up to six percent. More than half a million jobs were lost in the last three months."
-ABC's Claire Shipman anchoring the May 2 World News Tonight.


"Record High" Unemployment?

Gwen Ifill: "The President wants to talk about the economy. Today in a speech, that speech we referenced earlier in Santa Clara, this is what he had to say:"
President George W. Bush: "The unemployment number is now at six percent, which should serve as a clear signal to the United States Congress we need a bold economic recovery package so people can find work."
Ifill: "The unemployment rate is at record highs, and somehow he says this is Congress' fault."
CNBC's Gloria Borger: "This is, this is total spin. I mean, it's just incredible spin. And they need a tax cut. But guess what? Republicans can't agree on a tax cut, so you have a situation, six percent unemployment. It has not been this bad since 1994 when it was 6.1 percent - 500,000 jobs lost over the last three months."
-Exchange on PBS's Washington Week, May 2.


NPR Host's Radical Rant

"We are currently a nation at war and the free flow of information and ideas is never more important than it is at times like these. But monopolies choke that flow, allowing only the information and ideas that facilitate that other flow - the flow of dollars into their pockets....I won't spend a lot of time telling you about what actors, directors, producers, journalists and others went through in the Red Scares of the 1940s and '50s. Creative people went to prison, had their careers ruined, their marriages broken up, and, yes, there were suicides, all because politicians found communism, or rather the fear of communism, a fruitful political issue. Ladies and gentlemen, you do not want to return to that era. Witch burning is an ugly chapter in our history. It should not be revived, even if it's good for business."
-NPR Morning Edition host Bob Edwards in an April 8 speech at the University of Kentucky, excerpts of which were reprinted in the April 20 Louisville Courier-Journal.


Gephardts "Conservative" Plan

"Raising personal income tax rates for the wealthy may seem left-wing in today's politics (though it hardly hurt the economy when President Clinton did it in 1993). But what's truly amazing is how 'conservative' this liberal Democrat's proposal really is. It acknowledges that the private health-care system we've got is here to stay. Canada does not beckon. This plan requires no new bureaucracy, no complex regulation and no overhaul of the health-care delivery system....The whole thing essentially just swaps one kind of tax relief for another."
-Jonathan Alter in the May 5 Newsweek, referring to Dick Gephardt's plan to repeal Bush's tax cut to fund a plan paying employers to provide universal health insurance.


High Taxes a Boon, Not a Burden

"One thing that Democrats and Republicans have given President Clinton credit for is that deficit reduction plan that he put in place in 1993. It did at least help, help prevent the deficit from going up, and probably helped spur the economic recovery along at the margins. Just as the first President Bush's deficit reduction plan in 1990 and 1991, though it probably hurt him in his presidential campaign because he had to break his 'no new taxes pledge,' probably did help the economy."
-ABC's George Stephanopoulos on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, May 2.


Record Spending or Deep Cuts?

"States, localities spend at record pace."
-Headline in USA Today, April 25.

"Deep Cuts Have Not Closed Deficit in Many States, Report Says."
-Headline in the New York Times, April 26.


7:15: Katie Shows She's Clueless

"There's an article in the Style section of the Washington Post this morning. It says you've logged 26 years of personal minutiae, filling 4,400 two-by-three inch notebooks, color-coded by season. An example: '12:17' - this is when you made the announcement - Ascend stage, stumble, regain balance; 12:18: Applause, 'Where the Streets Have No Name,' plays (U2); 12:19: Clap, wave; 12:20: Adjust tie (red, white stripes); 12:21: Double thumbs up; 12:22: Sing along with National Anthem, right hand on heart.' What, what do you do this for?!"
-Katie Couric to Senator Bob Graham on Today, May 7, apparently unaware the article she was quoting from was a spoof of the presidential candidates diary.