Notable Quotables - 07/31/2006
Bush, America’s “Dictator”
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift: “[Russia’s Vladimir Putin is] the only one of those leaders who goes in there [the G8 summit] with a commanding popularity among his own people, because he is perceived to be an effective dictator. What we have in this country is a dictator who’s ineffective.”
Chrystia Freeland, Financial Times: “But, he’s not a dictator! I mean, no, we can’t use these terms so loosely.”
Clift: “So, don’t use that so loosely? Well, we have an authoritarian President who is ineffective.”
Freeland: “No, he’s not authoritarian....You guys, you guys can elect your Presidents and there can be a free choice. That’s not the case in Russia.”
— Exchange on The McLaughlin Group, July 15. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
Economic Progress or Dirty Trick?
“Last year, the White House predicted this year’s deficit would be $423 billion. Now, according to today’s projections, this year’s deficit will come in, in fact they say, at $296 billion, mostly because of increased tax revenue from corporations and wealthy Americans. Now, many economists and administration critics say the White House has deliberately inflated its own deficit projections in the past few years to score political points when the actual numbers came in lower.”
— Brian Williams on the July 11 NBC Nightly News.
Andrea’s Unnamed “Critics Say...”
“What role has the U.S. played? Today, U.S. diplomat David Welch arrived in Israel but, critics say, too late, 17 days after the first Israeli soldier was captured....Tonight, critics in both parties say the administration has been so focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, it has failed to pay enough attention to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.”
— NBC Chief Foreign Affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell on the July 13 Nightly News.
...Exactly What Andrea Thinks
“There’s a lot of criticism about the way the administration has not gotten involved in diplomacy when this crisis was building and has let it spiral out of control. And it’s all because we’re bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan....The President has not picked up the phone and, and exerted himself. We still are a superpower, no matter how constrained we are because of Iraq and Afghanistan....I think they’re distracted.”
— Mitchell on The Chris Matthews Show, July 16.
CNN’s Terrorist Propaganda Show
Reporter Nic Robertson: “Israel says it targets Hezbollah’s leadership and military structure. Hezbollah wanted to show us civilians are being hit....”
Hezbollah “press officer” Hussein Nabulsi, shouting to CNN’s cameraman: “Just look. Shoot. It is civilians, buildings. Look at this building. Is it a military base? Is it a military base, or just civilians living in this building?”
Robertson: “...As we run past the rubble, we see much that points to civilian life, no evidence apparent of military equipment.”
— CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, July 18. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“[Hezbollah] has very, very good control over its areas in the south of Beirut. They deny journalists access into those areas....You don’t get in there without their permission.... There’s no doubt about it. They had control of the situation. They designated the places that we went to, and we certainly didn’t have time to go into the houses or lift up the rubble to see what was underneath.”
— Robertson on CNN’s Reliable Sources July 23, admitting Hezbollah controlled his original report.
Don’t Forget Bush’s Quagmire
“It should be noted that in the thirteen days since the Israeli/Lebanese crisis began, more Iraqi civilians have died  than Lebanese . And more U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq these past two weeks  than Israeli soldiers have died in their conflict .”
— ABC’s Charles Gibson on World News, July 24.
Keith’s Conspiracy Zone
“It will perhaps be the enduring contribution to American political speak by the creators of the just-concluded NBC series The West Wing: ‘Take out the trash’ day. In the fictional Bartlet White House, the day, usually a late Friday afternoon, when bad or damaging news is released by the press office to be lost amid the traditional diffusion of a weekend. Our number two story in the Countdown: ‘Take out the trash’ day could also be a Tuesday if much of the news-consuming public is monitoring a war far from the halls of the Capitol, where a Senate Committee just happened to hear that the reason there was no Justice Department review of the warrantless NSA domestic spy program is that the President ordered that there not be one.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Countdown, July 18. The date for the NSA hearing was set in late June, before the fighting between Israel and Hezbollah began.
Airing Alarmism, Burying Balance
NBC’s Tom Brokaw: “About ten percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by ice, most of that in the polar regions. But if enough of that ice melts, the seas will rise dramatically and the results will be calamitous. Scientists are keeping a watchful eye on the largest concentrations of ice on the planet: Greenland and Antarctica.”
Professor Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University: “If we lose a significant part of either of them, coastal civilization as we know it will disappear.”
Brokaw, over computer-generated video showing buildings and statues under water: “If this worst-case scenario should occur, in the coming centuries New York could be abandoned, its famous landmarks lost to the sea.”
Dr. James Hansen, Goddard Institute for Space Studies: “Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami — they would all be under water.”
— From Brokaw’s two-hour Discovery Channel special, Global Warming: What You Need to Know, excerpt shown on the July 15 NBC Nightly News. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“Brokaw scoffs at the notion that there are ‘any remaining doubts humans are behind temperature rises,’ while [the Goddard Institute’s Dr. James] Hansen says ‘99.5 percent of scientists say we know what’s going on.’ You’ll find more dissent at a North Korean political rally than in this program, which would have benefited from contrarian views, perhaps from MIT’s Richard S. Lindzen or William Gray, the world’s foremost expert on hurricanes and a critic of global-warming orthodoxy. Both are serious scientists, yet neither appears to be in Brokaw’s Rolodex.”
— Dave Shiflett in a review of Brokaw’s special posted on BloombergNews.com, July 14.
Tom’s Truth vs. “Lies” and “Crap”
“The Republican staff on the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works put out a press release blasting the global warming documentary the Discovery Channel is running on Sunday. They don’t have any facts to dispute what’s in it, so they smeared the host. ‘Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw’s lack of objectivity and balance on the issue of global warming appears to have tainted his upcoming documentary,’ they wrote. They add that ‘viewers should not expect a scientifically balanced view of the climate.’ That’s right, boys. Tom did not include the falsehoods, the lies, and the crap. And your tax dollars paid for that press release, by the way.”
— MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann branding two GOP staffers as his runner-up choice for “Worst Person in the World!” on Countdown, July 12.
ABC: Gorbachev Ended Cold War
“As we said, the President is heading for a meeting with world leaders in Russia. And Mikhail Gorbachev, the Russian leader who changed the world, helping end the Cold War, sat down to speak with our senior national correspondent Claire Shipman, who’s reporting this morning from St. Petersburg.”
— ABC’s Diane Sawyer introducing a report on Good Morning America, July 12.
“Mikhail Gorbachev is generally regarded as the man who broke down the ‘iron curtain’ that separated the communist world from the West and thawed the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union.”
— ABC’s Claire Shipman beginning a report summarizing Gorbachev’s criticisms of current U.S. foreign policy, posted on ABCNews.com July 12.
Legend of “Independent” Dan
Dan Rather: “We had a lot, a lot, of corroboration of what we broadcast about President Bush’s military record. It wasn’t just the documents. But it’s a very old technique used, that when those who don’t like what you’re reporting believe it can be hurtful, then they look for the weakest spot and attack it, which is fair enough. It’s a diversionary technique.”
CNN’s Larry King: “You’re saying that was a fair report, I mean that was — you believe that report to this day?”
Rather: “Do I believe the truth of the story? Absolutely.”
— Exchange on CNN’s Larry King Live, July 12. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
“Well, they call you names when you insist on being inde-pendent....It’s important for the American people to understand that a journalist or journalistic enterprise that’s willing to be truly independent, and fiercely independent when called upon, and dedicated to pulling no punches and playing no favorites have become in recent years a bit of an endangered species....Certainly, I didn’t do it perfectly. A lot of people think I did it lousily. Maybe I did. And I’ve got my scars and got my wounds. And yes, people always want to put a sign around you and call you something bad if you refuse to report the news the way they want it reported.”
— Dan Rather, later on the same July 12 broadcast. (With WMV video clip/MP3 audio)
SUVs Destroying the Human Race
“Dependency on oil, look at our gas prices, look at health rates. We just can’t keep consuming ourselves into extinction.”
— Actor Brad Pitt on NBC’s Today, July 18, where he was promoting a project of the group Global Green, founded by ex-Soviet dictator Mikhail Gorbachev.
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