Notable Quotables - 06/26/2000

Words Anchormen Never Used to Describe the "War on Poverty"

"We're going to take 'A Closer Look' tonight at the plans for an anti-missile defense system. The one that has never been proven to work and may never work."
- Peter Jennings, June 12 World News Tonight.


This Summer, The End Is Near!

"Good evening. This could be a summer to survive. CBS News has been told the government will officially report tomorrow that temperatures in this country, so far this year, are the warmest since they started keeping records. This is one reason the summer could be especially dangerous. It will also be expensive. Gasoline prices are so high the government is looking into possible gouging. Heat waves are forcing up power prices, forcing rolling brownouts and hot enough to buckle freeways in California. The hell fires in the West are getting worse, whipped up by near hurricane force winds as an ultra-drought builds in the West, Southwest, Midwest and Southeast. CBS is going to take you around the nation tonight to look in depth as summer is, by the calendar, officially about to begin."
- Dan Rather opening the June 13 CBS Evening News.


Clarence Thomas = Aunt Jemima

"No matter what George Curry accomplishes during the remainder of his journalistic career, he will be remembered for one thing: he was the editor who slapped a portrait of Clarence Thomas wearing an Aunt Jemima-style handkerchief on a 1993 cover of Emerge magazine. That shocking image outraged Thomas supporters, of course, but it crystallized the disgust that many African-Americans had begun to feel about the ultraconservative legal philosophy of the U.S. Supreme Court's only black member....That's the uncompromising voice that made Emerge the nation's best black news magazine for the past seven years."
- Time national correspondent Jack E. Whites "Dividing Line" column on what will be lost with the demise of the liberal black magazine Emerge, June 12 Time.

Non-Expansion = Restriction

"And from the U.S. Supreme Court tonight a ruling that further restricts patient rights as they attempt to deal with their HMO's."
- Tom Brokaw introducing a June 12 NBC Nightly News story on the Court ruling that patients do not have a right to sue their HMO in federal court.


Republican Fairy Tales and Lies

Diana Olick: "So why has such a tax, that punishes the little guy, lasted 84 years? Because, some say, the Republican story is more like a fairy tale."
Olick to Robert McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice: "The argument we're hearing from Republicans over and over is that small businesses need help."
McIntyre: "Well, that's because they don't want to tell the truth. Imagine if they got up on the House floor and said we want to give a hundred million dollars to Bill Gates or Warren Buffett or some other really wealthy person? They'd be laughed out, so they have to lie."
Olick: "The fact is, because of large tax exemptions, the farms and businesses Republicans are talking about make up just three percent of all taxable estates. The rest are the really rich."
- June 9 CBS Evening News story on the inheritance tax.

"If the Republican-sponsored plan pulls through, it would eliminate current federal estate taxes. The cost: a cool $105 billion....The Democrat's plan, with a slimmer $22 billion price tag, was geared toward providing targeted estate tax relief for family farmers and small business owners. And where would the extra $88 billion provided for in the GOP plan end up? In the bank vaults of Americas wealthiest families. In other words, says [Time White House correspondent Jay] Branegan, everyone involved in this debate was out to please someone. 'The Democrats wanted a cut that would benefit Democrats, and the Republicans were pushing for a plan that would appeal to their core constituents, he says. Namely, the rich."
- Time Daily online reporter Jessica Reaves, June 9.


More Federal Funding for Tubas

"But is this the way its going to be? I mean, when people like VH-1 come in and they donate money like this, it's great, but it is private and public partnership. Why can't we find a way, even through the federal governments assistance, to make sure this is a basic part of education?"
"From what I understand now, the federal government supplies about nine percent of funding for schools. Local and states provide the rest. Can you offer states incentives? Can you say to them, look, we'll provide more funding if you take it upon yourselves to make music education part of your basic curriculum?"
- Matt Lauer querying Bill Clinton about VH-1's "Save the Music" effort to put instruments in schools, June 16 Today.

Making Excuses for Albert

ABC News reporter John Cochran: "People who are fighting for campaign finance reform say neither Bush nor Gore has a monopoly on hypocrisy."
Scott Harshbarger, Common Cause: "What you have here is once again the people seeing elected officials saying one thing, promising one thing and doing completely the other."
Cochran: "You can expect both camps to bend the rules on money. Today it was Gore's turn. Faced with sagging polls, it was not a hard decision to use soft money."
- End of story on the DNC launching pro-Gore soft money ads after Gore promised not to air soft money ads first, June 7 World News Tonight.

"Everyone agrees the system is corrupting politics, but there is no chance for reform anytime soon. Today it was the Democrats, but Republicans are poised to launch their own air war to help Governor Bush."
- Reporter Bill Plante, concluding June 7 CBS Evening News story.

Bryant Gumbel: "Ironically, on the day of the Senate vote [on campaign finance disclosure], the DNC started running a new $25 million ad on behalf of Al Gore in 13 different states. Anger you, disappoint you, surprise you?"
Senator John McCain: "Doesn't surprise, doesn't anger. The Vice President said he wouldn't be first, so he contradicted himself."
Gumbel: "In fairness to him, he said the Republicans had already started running theirs. He said he wouldn't if they didn't, and he says they started in California."
- CBS's The Early Show, June 12.


Helen's Commencement Claptrap

"All you have to do is look around you and see that there is so much to be done to make this a more equal society. For starters, don't let the politicians chip away at the New Deal and the Great Society programs like Social Security, Medicare, that puts a floor beyond which the elderly, the sick, the powerless do not starve or lack for medicine or shelter....
"Members of Congress have bottled up a gun safety bill, refused to vote on it....The world is also a more dangerous place because Congress turned down the nuclear test ban treaty. That vote deprived the United States of its moral authority to urge other nations not to test or build nuclear weapons. So you see, there is a lot of work cut out for you."
- Former UPI White House reporter Helen Thomas during her May 19 commencement address at the University of San Francisco, shown by C-SPAN on June 17.


Making Trouble for George W.

"The Governors run for the White House has put the Texas death penalty system under a microscope. Numerous investigations have found that some convictions were based on the testimony of jailhouse snitches, that some defense attorneys were found incompetent or they offered little defense for their client at all."
- Reporter Bob McNamara, June 12 CBS Evening News.

"Texas executes more convicted killers than any other state. Governor George W. Bush has presided over 131 executions and says he's confident that every one of those who went to their deaths was guilty, but an investigation published in the Chicago Tribune claims that incompetent defense attorneys and dubious testimony has, in fact, cast great doubt over many of those executions. In a moment well look at the case of a man on death row in Texas who says he's innocent, but he still faces execution in ten days."
- Good Morning America co-host Nancy Snyderman introducing a June 12 segment before a look at Texas death row inmate Gary Graham.

"Under special scrutiny these days, Texas, which leads the nation in executions. Another report by the Chicago Tribune reviews 131 inmates executed by Governor George W. Bush. It finds dozens of cases in which inmates were executed despite serious questions about the competence of their defense and the reliability of key testimony: 43 included defense lawyers publicly sanctioned for misconduct; 23 relied on testimony from jailhouse informants, among the least credible of witnesses; 40 involved trials in which almost no defense was even presented....This issue may dog Bush the entire campaign."
- NBC reporter Lisa Myers, June 12 Today.


We Dont Have a Vacation Czar?

"Americans are working more and getting less vacation time than people in any other industrialized nation....I feel strange saying, I never stopped to think about the fact there is no official U.S. policy on vacation time."
- Today host Matt Lauer to Escape magazines Joe Robinson, a proponent of mandated vacation, June 12.


Professor Estevez on Guns

"Americans seem to be more comfortable with a gun in their hands than their genitals, and that's something that really just blows my mind. I'd certainly rather have a blow job than a bullet in the head. And you can quote me on that!"
- Actor Emilio Estevez in the June 14 "CyberTalk" column on the Entertainment Weekly magazine Web site.