Notable Quotables - 05/18/1998

Wolf's So-Called Objectivity

"John, what is the White House strategy right now in dealing with all of these late breaking developments involving this so-called scandal?"
-CNN Late Edition host Wolf Blitzer to John King, May 3.

Not Another Costly Counsel!

"I can hear people out there saying, 'What? Another one?" I mean, Brian Ross reported that it's already cost something like $63, $73 million for the previous six. How much is this going to cost?"
-Good Morning America host Kevin Newman to ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on the independent counsel assigned for Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, May 12.

"At a time when many Americans are uneasy about the work of independent counsels, and the Clinton administration is downright fed up, another counsel appointment may be in the offing...The prospect of another independent counsel probe may have taxpayers seeing dollar signs. After all, in some people's minds, investigating the Clinton administration has become a costly cottage industry."
-CNN anchor Judy Woodruff's first two introductions on the May 11 Inside Politics, before the probe was announced.

Incivility, Put in Perspective

CBS reporter Mark Knoller: "Dan Burton referred to the President, as a quote, 'scumbag.' It sent the incivility index in Washington to a new low. But the President made a strategic decision not to respond in kind to the vulgar name-calling."
Clinton: "A President can not repair the breaches in a country, cannot unify a country, and cannot lift its vision if he takes personally personal assaults."
-CBS News Saturday Morning, April 25.

 Reality Check:
"The use of a two-syllable vulgarity by the Chairman was rather ambitious."
-Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry, April 23.


Get This Harsh, Outrageous Stand

Reporter Thalia Assuras: "Democrats in New Hampshire walked out on the Speaker this week because of his harsh words against the President."
Newt Gingrich: "That you have the right to know what happened if a law is broken."
-May 9 CBS Evening News.


Tonight's Special: CNN vs. Burton

"Tonight, a CNN special report, 'Burton vs. Clinton.' Thank you for joining us. It is a remarkable political and personal battle, even for a President who has been under attack from Day One, even for a Congressman known for harsh words and partisan hardball. As we will explain in the next hour, 'Burton vs. Clinton' is about the Webster Hubbell tapes and so much more, including Dan Burton's power, his tactics, and even his personality."
-Judy Woodruff introducing CNN's May 5 prime time special "Burton vs. Clinton."

"Dan Burton pulled a stunt that was so outrageous it enabled Democrats today, this week to seize the initiative. They were able to distract attention from Starr's campaign to build a case for a cover-up and have enabled Democrats to try to discredit the whole investigation as partisan and unfair. Starr and Burton and Gingrich have been doing that all along. Their behavior has allowed the White House to depict them as zealots and partisans out to get the President, and Democrats hope that discredits anything they could turn up."
-CNN political analyst Bill Schneider, same program.

"In this tale of truth, lies and audiotapes, the media is smack in the middle of a confusing, complicated, and constantly changing story. Critics say journalists were too late to question being handed only a one-hour edited version out of 150 hours of recorded jail house conversations....News organizations argue that there is intrinsic news value when the chairman of a major congressional committee releases information, but there is no doubt that some are somewhat uncomfortable with the role they played in this episode. But are they uncomfortable enough to change the way the media is covering this continuing saga in the nation's capital?"
-CNN reporter Linda Pattillo on the media, same program.


Media Too Scandal-Obsessed?

"At least he did acknowledge the presence of network correspondents this time Claire. In the last news conference he pretty much avoided all of you. Most of the questions that did come from what we would call the prominent members of the White House press corps had to do with the Lewinsky scandal. Is there a possibility that he is only building more political capital by letting you ask those questions, batting them away and the American public beginning to say there is a kind of obsession with the subject?"
-Tom Brokaw to NBC reporter Claire Shipman on MSNBC after Clinton's April 30 ; press conference.

Rather's "Personal Life" Spin

"President Clinton today said little and shrugged off any similarity between a federal court rejecting his assertions of executive privilege in the Ken Starr investigation of his personal life, and the Richard Nixon executive privilege claims during the crimes of Watergate. But, President Clinton's spokesman Mike McCurry put it bluntly, and I quote, 'In Watergate crimes were committed,' unquote."
-Dan Rather, May 6 CBS Evening News.

"In a CBS News poll out tonight just 29 percent believe Starr is conducting an impartial investigation of President Clinton. And 57 percent want Starr to drop his investigation of the President's personal life."
-Rather, May 8.


Immoral House Republicans

"You're also talking to people who are not popular because they closed the government; they're not popular because they never came up with campaign finance reform, which they promised - that could be a moral issue, too, taking money from people to vote. So morality covers a lot of areas and some of the people you're talking to have the questionable morals themselves."
-CNN's Larry King to Focus on the Family head James Dobson, May 6 Larry King Live.


Hunt's Helping of Burton Bashing

"I think the idea of taping a prisoner is absolutely good, desirable, should happen, and if they say something incriminating, it ought to be used against them by a prosecutor. But to go to what Tom Lantos said, I think what Dan Burton did, if the Justice Department had done it, it would have been against the law, would have made Joe McCarthy proud. And one more point I would make is that these tapes were selectively edited and given Dan Burton's track record, I would not be at all surprised if we find out that some of it was done quite dishonestly."
-Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt on CNN's Capital Gang, May 2.

"I think Republicans are doing a rendition - remember that old Zero Mostel parody Springtime for Hitler? I think that's what they're doing. The moral charge against Bill Clinton is being led by Newt Gingrich, the only Speaker in history to be sanctioned for unethical conduct, the most unpopular political figure in America. Dan Burton, the committee chairman, now has, at least according to the Washington Times, has his staff wearing latex gloves because he says left-wingers are sending him condoms in the mail. His staff aide, Mr. Bossie, most reporters I know think was a duplicitous wacko."
-Hunt, May 9 Capital Gang.


Dan Burton Plays Pinochet?

"From the outset of the campaign finance hearings, Dan Burton has been a lightning rod for partisanship and accusation. His adversaries say he has run the committee with authoritarian zeal, that he's steamrolled Democrats and shattered precedent."
-CNN Washington Bureau Chief Frank Sesno beginning a profile of Burton, May 4 Inside Politics.


Buy This Deadly Book 

The Communist Manifesto is well worth the $12 that Verso is asking. Despite the hype, its message is a timeless one that bears repeating every century or so: The meek shall triumph and the mighty shall fall; the hungry and exhausted will get restless and someday - someday! - rise up against their oppressors. The prophet Isaiah said something like this, and so, a little more recently, did Jesus."
-Time columnist Barbara Ehrenreich in an April 30 book review for the Web site Salon.


White House Disavows Hillary, Rather Disavows Republicans

"President Clinton is sending his top Middle East negotiator, Dennis Ross, back to Israel tonight at a crucial point in the peace process. This amid new Republican attacks aimed at First Lady Hillary Clinton for remarks she made yesterday telling international students that she favors the idea of a Palestinian state. The White House says that's just her opinion."
-Dan Rather, May 7 CBS Evening News.


For Bashing the NRA: ****

"It could easily be argued that any movie that upsets the National Rifle Association has to be worth something. The Long Island Incident: The True Story of Carolyn McCarthy is worth plenty and, as it happens, will give the NRA fits. Hooray.... News footage of Babsy's [Executive Producer Barbra Streisand] pal Bill Clinton is included showing him favoring the assault weapon ban. The bill passes but then a new Congress comes in and then-Sen. Bob Dole (not shown on-screen) vows to have the bill repealed. Dole likes to romp around TV now, in commercials and sitcom cameos, playing the cuddly geezer. The film is a reminder that in his day he was one of the most vicious hatchet men ever to wield an ax in Washington. Eventually McCarthy is entreated to run for Congress, and though she's a Republican the Republicans are happy with their incumbent, dull Daniel Frisa. So McCarthy runs as a Democrat and fries Frisa in the election. You'll want to cheer."
-Washington Post television reviewer Tom Shales in a May 2 review of the May 3 NBC movie.


L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher
Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
Eric Darbe, Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen,
Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
Kristina Sewell, Research Associate
Michelle Baetz, Circulation Manager
Rebecca Hinnershitz, Karen Sanjines, Interns