Notable Quotables - 07/21/2003


"Most Trusted Name in News" Pushes Phony Anti-Bush Smear

Aaron Brown: "There is, as you know, a story that's been circulating on the Web today that there was at some point a conversation between the President and a CIA consultant where the consultant directly told the President that this African uranium deal was bogus. Do you have any reporting that supports the idea that the President was directly told it was fake before he included it in the State of the Union speech?"
David Ensor: "I have no way to confirm that story, and it is somewhat suspect I would say, but we'll have to check it."
-Exchange on CNN's NewsNight on July 9. The Internet news site which originated the story had acknowledged it was a hoax and published a complete retraction four hours before Brown repeated the charge on his newscast.

"CNN is a pure journalistic network that tries and has ingrained in its DNA, good reporting, straight, et cetera, whereas, I think cable is very good with provocative, opinionated stuff. CNN, when I was there and now, still doesnt want to have opinionated talk show hosts."
-Former CNN News Group Chairman Walter Isaacson on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews on July 9 shortly before Brown promoted the false Internet story.


No Correction, Just a Lecture

"The President campaigned for the job in part on the notion that he was the anti-Clinton, a man who said what he meant, meant what he said, no sentence parsing needed. Square that with today and critics who say you've got a bonanza for sentence parsers and at least the makings of a credibility gap."
-CNN's Aaron Brown on the July 14 NewsNight, his first newscast since promoting the bogus anti-Bush story. Brown did not acknowledge or correct his own error.


Instant Expert

NBC's Tom Aspell: "You know, it's more than 110 degrees here every day now in Baghdad. You see these people [without electricity] cooking a meal outside in the hot sun over an open fire - it's really quite unbearable and so easy to fix if they'd just rolled in and brought a lot of power lines and really did make a concentrated effort, I'm sure things would calm down a lot sooner."
Don Imus: "How long have you been there?"
Aspell: "Two days. But it feels like about two years."
-Exchange on the July 10 Imus in the Morning radio show simulcast on MSNBC.


CBS Knew Headline Was False

"Bush Knew Iraq Info Was False."
-Headline on a July 10 story about President Bush's pre-war charge Iraq had sought to acquire uranium from Africa. CBS's Web site later changed the headline to "Bush Knew Iraq Info Was Dubious."


ABC's Anti-War Beat Goes On

"On World News Tonight, the Bush administration admits that a vital argument for going to war against Iraq was not true."
-ABC's Peter Jennings introducing his July 8 newscast.

"We begin tonight with the Bush administration's credibility. Today in Europe and Africa and in the Congress, the administration is being pressed to defend its public justification for going to war in Iraq."
-Jennings beginning the July 9 World News Tonight.

"The firestorm over false intelligence that President Bush used to help justify war in Iraq is intensifying."
-ABC's Claire Shipman anchoring World News Tonight/Saturday, July 12.

"On World News Tonight this Sunday, new details on just who approved that controversial passage in the Presidents State of the Union address as the White House continues to deflect questions. Did the President mislead the nation on the road to war with Iraq?"
-ABC's Dean Reynolds beginning World News Tonight/Sunday on July 13.


He's Not Kidding

"Why are the Democrats so much more willing than the Republicans to make political sacrifices in the name of procedural fairness or of good government? Maybe Democrats are just nicer, but a more philosophical view is that liberals are committed to, are in fact bedeviled by, ideals about process that do not much preoccupy conservatives, at least contemporary ones. Liberals put their faith in such content-neutral principles as free speech, due process, participatory democracy. Is that too lofty? Then maybe we should say that today's liberals, unlike today's conservatives, don't believe in any particular set of ends ardently enough to blind themselves to the means they are using to achieve them."
-Contributing writer James Traub in the New York Times Magazine, July 6.


Hyping Homeless in the Cities...

"On any given day, the nation's economic downturn can be measured by those down on their luck - and that population is on the rise. There are now more homeless families on the street than ever before, up an estimated 19 percent....There are more homeless families now in Manhattan than since the Great Depression."
-CBS's Lee Cowan on the July 3 Evening News.

"Tonight, we're going to show you a new true face of homelessness in America. Today's homeless are families, and the families you will meet have done everything right and yet there's no place for them. Still, they struggle to find a home....There are more families homeless in New York City now than at any in the last 20 numbers, it's estimated, not seen since the Great Depression."
-NBC's John Hockenberry on the July 4 Dateline.


...And Hunger in the Heartland

"It's only mid-morning in Logan, Ohio, but some of the food is already running low. Twice a month in this small town on the edge of Appalachia, groceries are given away. You could call it a 'line of the times' because, in a growing number of American communities, making ends meet means waiting for a handout....Many are embarrassed, and didn't want to talk to us, but they're far from alone. Each year an estimated 30 million Americans go hungry."
-CBS's Cynthia Bowers on the July 10 Evening News.


Rich Newsies Scoff at Tax Cuts

Peter Jennings: "The President's tax cut is beginning to show up. Will three extra dollars stimulate the national economy?..."
Dean Reynolds: "Lisa Burke, a law librarian from California, who makes $35,000 a year, is getting just $3 more every two weeks....[Scott Linnborn] may use some of his windfall to restore that '57 Chevy in his garage. And at 15 bucks a week, he figures the job would be done in about 20 years."
-ABC's World News Tonight, July 8. A $15 per week tax cut would save Linnborn $780 each year.


Regulation to "Save Your Life"

"Federal health officials hope action they took today will cut health care costs related to obesity. Elizabeth Kaledin reports on a new food labeling regulation that could help save your life."
-John Roberts introducing a July 9 CBS Evening News story about government rules requiring labels to include the amount of trans fatty acids in packaged foods.


Howard Dean? He's No Liberal!

"He insisted on balancing the budget above all else. He went from being against the death penalty to supporting it in limited cases. He refused to fund social programs without making sure the state could pay its bills first. 'His being called a liberal is one of the great white lies of the campaign,' said Tom Salmon, a fellow Democrat and Governor of Vermont for two terms during the Nixon-Ford era."
-The Washington Post's Evelyn Nieves in a July 6 profile of former Vermont Governor and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean.

"Dean's record isn't radically left-leaning. He advocates a balanced federal budget. He is an abortion-rights advocate and opposes drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, yet he received top ratings from the National Rifle Association and supports the death penalty in some cases, like terrorism or the killing of police officers or young children."
-The Boston Globe's Sarah Schweitzer in a June 23 profile of Dean.

Judy Woodruff: "The rap on Dean is that the Burlington Birkenstock crowd, people who put Dean signs in bars called the Red Square, can't take their man to the White House, that he's just too far left."
Vermont reporter Peter Freyne: "His entire time in Vermont politics, going back to his days in the legislature, as Lieutenant Governor and as Governor in the '90s, there was never a sentence in any newspaper in the state of Vermont that contained the word liberal and Howard Dean."
-CNN's Inside Politics, July 11.


Tyranny Is Bad for Children, Too

"I grew up in the Vietnam era, which is probably one of the signal events of my life and I think affected everybody of my generation. And we used to have a little framed sign hanging in our bedroom, my wife and I, that said, 'War is not good for children and other living things,' and I believe that. So I don't like covering war and I hate to see them occur."
-ABC Good Morning America co-host Charles Gibson on CNN's Larry King Live, July 2.


Hillary's Little Helper

"She [Senator Hillary Clinton] should thank you, Barbara, because after you did the interview, after you did that interview with ABC News with Hillary, first time she was speaking out about the book, talking about it, the next day 300,000 copies flew off the shelves of that book. So Barbara, she owes you a big thank you."
-Former CBS News correspondent Meredith Vieira to Barbara Walters on ABC's The View, July 10.