Notable Quotables - 06/24/2002

Stephanopoulos Still Spinning

"I've always worked hard to be fair, to ask challenging questions of both sides, to make sure that I was being analytical without being ideological."
-ABC's George Stephanopoulos on, June 18.

"If I were biased, I don't believe I would have gotten the job."
-Stephanopoulos to Newsday's Verne Gay as quoted in a story June 19, the day after he was named anchor of ABC's This Week program beginning in September.


Dan Detects Devious Speech Plot


"Good evening. Congress held its first open public hearing today on U.S. intelligence foul-ups, blunders and failures, and it was not a pretty picture. President Bush moved to take the spotlight away from the hearing and capture the headlines by suddenly asking for national television time tonight to announce what the White House calls a, quote, 'major reorganization' of the U.S. government."
-Dan Rather opening the CBS Evening News before President Bush's June 6 speech announcing plans to create a consolidated Department of Homeland Security.

"The timing of President Bush's address is no coincidence. It comes on the day Congress held the first public hearings on the embarrassing string of foul-ups by the CIA and the FBI in the months and weeks before the September 11th attack on America and their devastating failure to detect, break up, and possibly in some way foil the plot."
-Rather opening CBS's prime time coverage that night.


It's All the Same to Ted


"The Palestinians are fighting with human suicide bombers, thats all they have. The Israelis...they've got one of the most powerful military machines in the world. The Palestinians have nothing. So who are the terrorists? I would make a case that both sides are involved in terrorism."
-CNN founder Ted Turner in an interview with Britains Guardian newspaper published on June 18. In a statement read by CNN's anchors on June 18, Turner said, "I regret any implication that I believe the actions taken by Israel to protect its people are equal to terrorism."


Ted Who? Handy CNN Disclaimer


"Ted Turner's views are his own and they do not in any way reflect the views of CNN."
-CNN's Inside Politics anchor Judy Woodruff, reading a statement from CNN management on June 18.


Aaron "Here's My View" Brown


"An American citizen, Abdullah al Muhajir is being held in a military brig with no access to a lawyer, none of the other rights afforded to a citizen, because the government says he is part of a terrorist plot to detonate a dirty bomb. He has been held uncharged for a month and now has been declared an enemy combatant, which, according to the Attorney General, is the legal justification for this extraordinary action. I'm not a lawyer, and I have no idea whether this guy was planning something terrible or not, nor am I especially interested in seeing a bunch of terrorists running around the country blowing up buildings and killing lots of people while they are out on bail. But I'm also not especially interested in seeing the government deny citizens their most basic protection against governmental abuse."
-Aaron Brown opening CNN's NewsNight on June 10.

"The Bush administration is touting the detention of this American al-Qaeda as having thwarted a potentially deadly terrorist attack, but many defense attorney's are asking the same question that you're asking: Were basic American rights trampled in the process?"
-CNN Pentagon reporter Jamie McIntyre on NewsNight's "whip" segment plugging his subsequent story.


"Asking Questions" From Soapbox


"Without doing what my favorite boss accuses me of sometimes doing, excessive hand-wringing, how can we not ask questions about this matter? Here you have a man denied a lawyer, a formal charge, the presumption of innocence, something absolutely antithetical to American life - how can we avoid asking questions about the law in this case? What kind of reporters would we be? And I don't honestly believe even the most critical viewer, if he took a step back, would want us to stop asking these questions not taking a stand, not saying this is right and that is wrong, but asking questions."
-Aaron Brown on NewsNight the next night reacting to criticism of how he opened his June 10 show.


Brown's Narcissism Scolded


"I'm not interested in what Aaron Brown is not interested in, and I wonder if this is some kind of new trend in anchoring. This guy, Aaron Brown, and I really don't like to be personal, but there's a real principle here. He uses the first person singular pronoun the way carpenters use nails: always 'I', 'I', 'I.'"
-Fox Newswatch host Eric Burns on FNC, June 15.


Embracing Liberal "Rollback" Term


"President Bush today approved a rollback in clean air regulations that would have required utilities to improve pollution controls when they boost production. CBS's John Roberts reports on the impact of this rollback environmental and political."
-Dan Rather on the June 13 CBS Evening News.

"Environmental groups and some Democrats were furious about the decision of the administration, calling the move a huge rollback of the Clean Air Act."
-Tom Brokaw properly attributing the "rollback" term to the policy's opponents, June 13 NBC Nightly News.


Attorney General Joe McCarthy


"'Send me,' it says on the Statue of Liberty, 'your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.' Well, some of them maybe. If they have visas and are from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria, they now pose national security concerns and must be fingerprinted and photographed. This registration system, Attorney General Ashcroft said, would eventually be expanded to other visitors who posed a security concern. What would the standards for that be? Well, they'd be secret, that's what. It's a little like the search for communists in the government after World War II. There were some, of course. But a lot of innocent people had their names blackened and their careers damaged during the hunt."
-Bruce Morton in his "Last Word" commentary on CNN's Late Edition, June 9.

It's Patriotic to Pay a Death Tax?



"Karl Rove declared war on the estate tax....You know, the tax only one-half of one percent of Americans pay? Falsely cloaking themselves in concern for family businesses already protected, the Bush administration refused all compromise, like raising the already generous exemption to $7 million. What will fathers say to the age-old question now: 'What did you do during the war, Daddy?' Fight to destroy al-Qaeda and avenge the deaths of three thousand U.S. citizens? Or wage war to protect Americas luckiest and wealthiest?"
-Time columnist and reporter Margaret Carlson's "Outrage of the Week" on CNN's Capital Gang, June 15.


Times Editor Doodled Lewinsky


"[Washington Bureau Chief Jill] Abramson is a friend of the columnist Maureen Dowd, who is as close to Raines as any reporter on the paper is; a portrait that Raines once drew of Monica Lewinsky is on her office wall."
-From Ken Auletta's profile of New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines, June 10 New Yorker.

Longtime Colleague Agrees Dan Rather Is "Transparently Liberal"


"I thought he [former CBS News correspondent Bernard Goldberg] made some very good points. There is just no question that I, among others, have a liberal bias. I mean, I'm consistently liberal in my opinions. And I think some of the, I think Dan [Rather] is transparently liberal. Now, he may not like to hear me say that. I always agree with him, too, but I think he should be more careful."
-CBS's 60 Minutes commentator Andy Rooney on Goldberg's book, Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News, on CNN's Larry King Live, June 5.


But "Not a Peep" from the Press


"[In 1996] I wrote...that 'The old argument that the networks and other 'media elites' have a liberal bias is so blatantly true that it's hardly worth discussing anymore.' I was a correspondent at CBS News at the time and the op-ed started the TV version of World War III. I was taken off the air for several months; there was even talk that CBS News might fire me for uttering such blasphemy. Several of my colleagues went public with their displeasure. Bob Schieffer told the Washington Post that for me to say there was liberal bias at the networks was a wacky charge. Andrew Heyward, the President of CBS News, also spoke to the Post, calling me a 'misguided missile.'
"But now we have Andy Rooney, a very big name in the world of television news, publicly saying that Bias was filled with 'some very true things' and it's like a tree falling in the forest. The silence, as they say, is deafening. Here's Mr. Rooney saying what right-wingers have been yelling about for years - that Dan Rather is 'transparently liberal' (even I never said that!) and not a peep outside the Internet."
-Bernard Goldberg in a June 12 Wall Street Journal op-ed on the media's non-reaction to Rooney's remarks.


Just Another Day at the Beach


Diane Sawyer: "Through the course of all these years, right, it hasn't, you haven't been without spasms of anger at me?"
Novelist Annabel Davis-Goff: "A good deal less than you think. You cast yourself in this very good sport. Is it true that Max [Davis-Goff's son and Sawyer's stepson] engaged in a wrestling match on a beach when you were wearing a bikini?"
Sawyer: "Yes, true."
Davis-Goff: "Yes, alright."
-Conversation between film producer Mike Nichols's ex-wife Davis-Goff and current wife Sawyer on Good Morning America, June 11.