Notable Quotables - 05/24/2004

We're As Bad As the Nazis

Fred Francis: "In the Arab street and much of the world, outrage has produced a consensus: Rumsfeld must go. In Egypt, Marabat Molson [ph.], considered a moderate journalist, says Arabs reject the Rumsfeld apology that still seemed more arrogant than contrite."
Marabat Molson: "He is reminding me of a sort of neo-Nazi character who's coming back to life and anything which is not American is wrong."
Francis: "In Cairo, anti-U.S. sentiment is so strong many here see no difference here between the actions of Saddam Hussein and George Bush....One Arab businessman [said], 'That is not Jeffersonian democracy. It's more like a lesson from Hitler's book, Mein Kampf.'"
-Story on the May 10 NBC Nightly News.


No More Moral Authority

"The damage is clear: After no weapons of mass destruction showed up in Iraq, the U.S. justified the war by saying that at least the human rights violations would stop - the torture, the abuse and the murders. Tonight, although the scale of this is much different, it is increasingly difficult for the U.S. to make that moral case around the world."
-Brian Williams opening the May 7 NBC Nightly News.

"Given tonight's new charges, perhaps Saddam's rape rooms were not closed after all."
-Keith Olbermann on May 7 after an MSNBC Countdown report on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's testimony about the existence of even worse abuse photos.

"The front page of a Baghdad paper shows the defiled prisoners and the caption: 'This is the freedom and democracy that Bush promised us.' Psychologically, if not in fact, these pictures shred the last good reason to feel righteous about having gone to war."
-Time's Nancy Gibbs in the May 17 edition.


Bush Poisoned World Opinion

"We have waged pre-emptive war unilaterally, spurned international cooperation, rejected United Nations participation, humiliated allies, discounted the need for local support in Iraq and incurred massive costs in blood and treasure....Whether he wins or loses in November, George W. Bush's legacy is now clear: the creation of a poisonous atmosphere of anti-Americanism around the globe."
-Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria in a column published in the magazines May 17 issue.


Jennings Touts Castro's Critique

"There was an enormous anti-American demonstration in Cuba today. A couple of hundred thousand people showed up to demonstrate new restrictions imposed by the Bush administration on money transfers and travel to Cuba. The Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, also criticized the war in Iraq and said that President Bush was trying to impose what he, Mr. Castro, called 'world tyranny.'"
-Peter Jennings on ABC's World News Tonight, May 14. Neither CBS nor NBC covered the rally staged by Cuba's communist leadership.


Rooting for Rumsfeld's Removal

"Tonight, new photographic evidence of Iraqi prisoner abuse. President Bush finally apologizes, but will he fire Defense Secretary Rumsfeld?"
-Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, May 6.

"Pressure is building on Secretary Rumsfeld to step down. Tomorrow's edition of the highly-respected international news weekly, The Economist, calls on Rumsfeld to resign."
-NBC's Jim Miklaszewski on the May 6 Nightly News.

"Democratic Senator Joseph Biden said, 'Accountability is essential. If the answers are unsatisfactory, resignations should be sought,' and he specifically cites you as one of those who has to be questioned about responsibility. Can you imagine any circumstance, any consequences of the investigation that would cause you to resign for this?"
-ABC's Diane Sawyer to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on the May 5 Good Morning America.

"This story resonates in so many ways. Just to emphasize how worked up the Democrats are on Capitol Hill, Congressman Charles Rangel of New York has filed articles of impeachment against the Secretary of Defense for his conduct of the war in Iraq and his handling of the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib."
-Peter Jennings on ABC's World News Tonight, May 6.


More Like a Media Drumbeat

"Despite the President's support, there's a steadily growing political and public opinion drumbeat calling for Rumsfelds resignation."
-NBC's Jim Miklaszewski on the May 11 Today, the same day a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll reported only 31 percent of the public wanted Rumsfeld to quit while 64 percent wanted him to stay.


Reminder: We're Not Good Guys

"The pictures of the prisoners at Abu Ghraib are hard to look at. They will make it easier for foreigners to hate America, but they will also make us take a hard look at ourselves. We like to think that we're the good guys, but we're not. Not always. We learned this lesson last in Vietnam, in a village called My Lai. In March of 1968, Charlie Company of the 11th Light Infantry Brigade, came to My Lai and killed many unarmed men, women, and children. The plaque in the My Lai Museum lists 504."
-CNN's Bruce Morton on the May 4 Inside Politics.


Mark Doesn't Get Rush's Humor

"John McCain, the Arizona Republican, an authentic American naval hero who spent five and a half years being tortured in a North Vietnamese prison, is outraged, truly outraged by what Americans did to Iraqi detainees in the...infamous Abu Ghraib prison. But Rush Limbaugh, conservative talk master and armchair commando disagrees. Limbaugh dismissively compares the sadism to a college fraternity hazing at Yale: 'This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation.' John McCain embodies American values. Too bad Rush Limbaugh doesn't begin to understand this nations values."
-Mark Shields making Rush Limbaugh his "Outrage of the Week" on the May 8 Capital Gang on CNN.


Kerry vs. the "Chickenhawks"

"What kind of absurd political twilight zone is it where George Bush and Dick Cheney can make John Kerry look like an unpatriotic chicken by focusing attention on his combat duty in Vietnam?...What is the word that has more gall than gall? Nerve? Cheek, chutzpah, conceit, arrogance, condescension?...Where do these people come off impugning John Kerry's Vietnam era guts and patriotism? John McCain, Colin Powell, Tom Ridge or Chuck Hagel might have some moral standing, but not these chickenhawks."
-Former CBS Evening News producer Dick Meyer in a column posted April 30.

Have We Been Too Pro-Bush?

"Is it, do you think, I mean this is a criticism that we get a lot, particularly from the Left, that we in the media generally have not been aggressive enough in reporting on bad news and that we have been too willing to accept the administrations message on good news?"
-CNN anchor Aaron Brown to former CBS and NBC correspondent Marvin Kalb, now a senior fellow with Harvard's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy, on the May 11 NewsNight.


"Awful" If U.S. Succeeds in Iraq

"The other day, while taking a break by the Al-Hamra Hotel pool...I was accosted by an American magazine journalist of serious accomplishment and impeccable liberal credentials....She came to the point. Not only had she 'known' the Iraq war would fail but she considered it essential that it did so because this would ensure that the 'evil' George W. Bush would no longer be running her country. Her editors back on the East Coast were giggling, she said, over what a disaster Iraq had turned out to be. 'Lots of us talk about how awful it would be if this worked out.'"
-British journalist Toby Harnden, a reporter for the London Daily Telegraph, in an article published in the May 15 edition of The Spectator, a British-based weekly, recounting a conversation at a Baghdad hotel.


No Tough Questions for Teddy

"Do you feel that we risk blurring the line between ourselves and the people were supposed to be protecting U.S. citizens from?"
-NBC's Matt Lauer to Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy during an interview on the May 13 Today. Lauer failed to ask about Kennedy's May 10 statement that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management - U.S. management.


Searching for a Dark Cloud

Peter Jennings: "The good news today is that more Americans went back to work last month. Employers added 288,000 new jobs in April, which was beyond economists' expectations. That is two consecutive months of solid growth. When you look at the kind of work people are getting, however, the news is a little less encouraging...."
Besty Stark: "While the trend is healthy, around the country, job growth is spotty....Nine states still have unemployment rates of six percent or higher. And nine of the nation's ten largest metropolitan areas have fewer jobs today than they did three years ago when the recession began."
-ABC's World News Tonight, May 7.

Time to Put Bush Out to Pasture

"Maybe Bush should take a cue from a fellow Texan, former President Lyndon Baines Johnson, who also had some cowboy characteristics. LBJ, after mismanaging the Vietnam War that so bitterly divided the nation and the world, decided he owed it to his political party and to his country not to run for re-election. So, he turned tail and rode off into the sunset of his Texas ranch. How do you say deja vu in Cowboyese?"
-USA Today founder Al Neuharth in his weekly USA Today column, May 14.