Notable Quotables - 10/20/1997


1988: Turner's Whitewash, Peter's President, Homeless Voters


"Once the Kremlin was the home of czars. Today it belongs to the people....Atheist though the state may be, freedom to worship as you believe is enshrined in the Soviet Constitution."
- Narrator Roy Scheider during three-night TBS cable series Portrait of the Soviet Union, aired in March.

"When he entered the race nearly a year ago he had the courage to say that as President he would probably have to raise taxes. And he never recovered from his courage."
- ABC's Peter Jennings on Bruce Babbitt's withdrawal from the presidential race, World News Tonight, February 18.

"As a practical matter, the homeless won't get very far unless they can persuade a Republican to break with Ronald Reagan's policies or elect a Democrat."
- Newsweek Senior Editor Tom Mathews, March 21.


1989: Abortion Sadness, Remembering the '80s


"Sadly, many home remedies could damage a fetus instead of kill it."
- Newsweek Senior Editor Melinda Beck on self-performed abortions, July 17 issue.

"After eight years of what many saw as the Reagan Administration's benign neglect of the poor and studied indifference to civil rights, a lot of those who lived through this week in Overtown [rioting in a section of Miami] seemed to think the best thing about George Bush is that he is not Ronald Reagan...There is an Overtown in every big city in America. Pockets of misery made even meaner and more desperate the past eight years."
- Reporter Richard Threlkeld on ABC's World News Tonight, January 20.

The decade had its highs (Gorbachev, Bird)...and the decade had its lows (Reagan, AIDS)
- Boston Globe headline over two pages of '80s reviews by the paper's columnists, December 28.


1990: Loving Gorby, Missing the Berlin Wall, Bashing Reagan


"Gorbachev has probably moved more quickly than any person in the history of the world. Moving faster than Jesus Christ did. America is always lagging six months behind...I think we can get by easily with a $75 billion military budget. Those bombers and all of this stuff is an absolute waste of money and a joke."
- Ted Turner, "TV chieftain with an outspoken conscience," celebrated in the January 22 Time.

"Few tears will be shed over the demise of the East German army, but what about East Germany's eighty symphony orchestras, bound to lose some subsidies, or the whole East German system, which covered everyone in a security blanket from day care to health care, from housing to education? Some people are beginning to express, if ever so slightly, nostalgia for that Berlin Wall."
- CBS reporter Bob Simon on the March 16 Evening News.

"The bottom line is more tax money is going to be needed. Just how much will be the primary issue on the agenda when congressional leaders meet with the President later today, Wednesday, May the 9th, 1990. And good morning, welcome to Today. It's a Wednesday morning, a day when the budget picture, frankly, seems gloomier than ever. It now seems the time has come to pay the fiddler for our costly dance of the Reagan years."
- Bryant Gumbel opening NBC's Today, May 9.


1991: Gulf War Worries, The Rosa Parks of Sexual Harassment


"Remember all the chatter about a short war? Well, forget it."
- Time's George J. Church, March 4.

"And then there was Anita Hill, the poised daughter of so many generations of black women who have been burned carrying torches into the battle for principle. The cause of civil rights and social justice has so often fallen to them to defend. Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth were slaves by birth, freedom fighters by temperament. Rosa Parks was a tired seamstress who shoved history forward by refusing to give up her seat on the bus...The latest to claim her place in line is Anita Hill, a private, professional woman unwilling to relinquish her dignity without a fight."
- Time Associate Editor Nancy Gibbs, October 21 issue.


1992: Serene Gulag, Not Enough U.S. Casualties, Bush Bad, Clinton Good


A Gulag Breeds Rage, Yes, but Also Serenity
- New York Times story on last Soviet political prisoners being released, February 12.

"Greenpeace, the public interest organization, believes that the Iraqi death toll, civilian and military, before and after the war, may be as high as 198,000. Allied military dead are counted in the low hundreds. The disparity is huge and somewhat embarrassing. And that's commentary for this evening, Tom."
- NBC commentator John Chancellor a year after the Gulf War, March 12 Nightly News.

"The whole week was double-ply, wall-to-wall ugly...the Republican Party reached an unimaginable slouchy, and brazen, and constant, level of mendacity last week...(Bush) is in campaign mode now, which means mendacity doesn't matter, aggression is all and wall-to-wall ugly is the order of battle for the duration."
- Senior Editor Joe Klein on the Republican convention, August 31 Newsweek.

"Making headlines this morning: Bill Clinton comes up with a plan for the economy tax the rich, cut the deficit, and help just about everyone."
- CBS This Morning co-host Paula Zahn, June 22.


1993: Favoring Jesus Clinton, Great Marriages, Riots and Gorby


"If we could be one-hundredth as great as you and Hillary Rodham Clinton have been in the White House, we'd take it right now and walk away winners...Thank you very much and tell Mrs. Clinton we respect her and we're pulling for her."
- Dan Rather at a May 27 CBS affiliates meeting talking via satellite to President Clinton about his new on-air partnership with Connie Chung.

"Roger [Clinton]'s life is in some ways the story of any younger sibling clobbered by the spectacular success of the one who came before. The presidential brother syndrome. If your brother is Christ, you have a choice: become a disciple, or become an anti- christ, or find yourself caught somewhere between the two."
- Washington Post reporter Laura Blumenfeld, January 24 Style section story.

"She's [Hillary Clinton] ecumenical but prefers Italian and Mexican. The President fixes her eggs with jalapeno peppers on the weekends. One Christmas she served black beans and chili as part of a buffet. She carries Tabasco sauce wherever she goes...Valentine's Day at the Red Sage restaurant. Even at a romantic outing, the President can be the date from hell, talking to everyone but the girl he brung...Finally alone, they have 'painted soup' and the lamb baked in herbed bread. They exchange gifts and touch each other more in two hours than the Bushes did in four years."
- Time reporter Margaret Carlson, June Vanity Fair.

"If I'm a young black man in South Central L.A., where poverty is rampant and unemployment is skyrocketing, I see that Washington's promises of a year ago have gone unfulfilled, I see that perhaps for a second time, the court's inability to mete out justice in a blind fashion, why shouldn't I vent my anger?"
- Bryant Gumbel to Rep. Maxine Waters, April 15 Today.

"What do you do for an encore after ending the Cold War and reversing the arms race? How about saving the planet? That's the latest assignment for Mikhail Gorbachev, having assumed the presidency of the International Green Cross, a new environmental organization..."
- Time's "The Week" section, May 3.


1994: Voter Tantrum, Beast of Need, Hating Reagan, Thomas, and Jones


"Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two- year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums: the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming. It's clear that the anger controls the child and not the other way around. It's the job of the parent to teach the child to control the anger and channel it in a positive way. Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week...Parenting and governing don't have to be dirty words: the nation can't be run by an angry two-year-old."
- ABC anchor Peter Jennings in his daily ABC Radio commentary, November 14.

"To watch this President connect with people emotionally is an awesome thing. It's a raw, needy, palpable, electrifying thing that happens. There was no smile. It's as if he's soaking up the people like he's soaking up the sun, with the warmth pouring deep and direct into his political soul and recharging him, refilling him somehow once again with his own humanity and some sense of his role in the destiny of his country. Then, the hunger slaked the great beast of Need fed once again, it seemed you could almost see the gratitude pouring off his brow like sweat as he made his way."
- Washington Post reporter Phil McCombs, March 30 Style section story on Clinton vacationing in California.

"I was a correspondent in the White House in those days, and my work which consisted of reporting on President Reagan's success in making life harder for citizens who were not born rich, white, and healthy saddened me. My parents raised me to admire generosity and to feel pity. I had arrived in our nation's capital [in 1981] during a historic ascendancy of greed and hard-heartedness....Reagan couldn't tie his shoes if his life depended on it."
- New York Times editorial page editor (and former Washington Bureau Chief) Howell Raines in his book Fly Fishing Through the Midlife Crisis.

"Yes, the case is being fomented by right-wing nuts, and yes, she is not a very credible witness, and it's really not a law case at all...some sleazy woman with big hair coming out of the trailer parks...I think she's a dubious witness, I really do."
- Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas on Paula Jones, May 7 Inside Washington.

"I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease....He is an absolutely reprehensible person."
- USA Today columnist and Pacifica Radio talk show host Julianne Malveaux on Justice Clarence Thomas, November 4 PBS To the Contrary.


1995: Contract on America, Oklahoma Blame, Wishing AIDS on Helms


"When NBC Nightly News continues: in Washington, if they cut food stamps, who doesn't eat?"
- Tom Brokaw, March 22.

"The new Republican majority in Congress took a big step today on its legislative agenda to demolish or damage government aid programs, many of them designed to help children and the poor."
- Dan Rather, March 16 CBS Evening News.

"Next week on ABC's World News Tonight, a series of reports about our environment which will tell you precisely what the new Congress has in mind: the most frontal assault on the environment in 25 years. Is this what the country wants?"
- Peter Jennings in an ABC promo during the July 9 This Week with David Brinkley.

- Time reporter Dick Thompson in a February 27 story headlined "Congressional Chain-Saw Massacre."

"In a nation that has entertained and appalled itself for years with hot talk on the radio and the campaign trail, the inflamed rhetoric of the '90s is suddenly an unindicted co-conspirator in the blast."
- Time Senior Writer Richard Lacayo, May 8.

"I think he ought to be worried about what's going on in the Good Lord's mind, because if there is retributive justice, he'll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it."
- National Public Radio and ABC News reporter Nina Totenberg reacting to Senator Jesse Helms' claim that the government spends too much on AIDS research, July 8 Inside Washington.


1996: GOP Intolerance, Flattening Forbes, Unabomber Had a Bike


"Do you think this is a party that is dominated by men and this convention is dominated by men as well...Do you think before tonight they thought very much what happens in America with rape?"
- Tom Brokaw to rape victim Jan Licence after her victims-rights speech, August 13 GOP convention coverage.

"It was grand TV, well-scripted, well-staged, craftily designed for a broadcast image of tolerance and diversity that's starkly at odds with reality."
- ABC's Jim Wooten on Colin Powell's speech at the Republican convention, August 13 World News Tonight.

"If anything, talk radio in that part of the world is more anti-government. Sometimes it's, sometimes it's, you know, the government makes mistakes and there are justifiable grievances against government. But this is, this goes beyond that, it's excessive. And these people take it like salt in the wound. They drive around, they turn on their radio, they hear some vicious attack on government, and they think, 'You know, if you strike the government, you kill my daughter."
- Bill Moyers on the April 12 Today promoting that night's Dateline on the families of the victims of the Oklahoma City bombing.

CBS reporter Eric Engberg: "...Okay, how about Forbes' number one wackiest flat tax promise?"
Steve Forbes: "Parents would have more time to spend with their children, and with each other."
Former IRS commissioner Donald Alexander: "That's right. The sky would be blue all the time."
Engberg: "The fact is, the flat tax is one giant untested theory. One economist suggested that before we risk putting it in, we ought to try it out someplace, like maybe Albania. Eric Engberg, CBS News, Washington."
- Conclusion of February 8 CBS Evening News Reality Check segment on the Forbes flat tax.

"He (Ted Kaczynski) wasn't a hypocrite. He lived as he wrote. His manifesto, and there are a lot of things in it that I would agree with and a lot of other people would, that industrialization and pollution all are terrible things, but he carried it to an extreme, and obviously murder is something that is far beyond any political philosophy, but he had a bike. He didn't have any plumbing, he didn't have any electricity."
- Time Washington reporter Elaine Shannon talking about the Unabomber, April 7 C-SPAN Sunday Journal.


Dumbest Quotes of the Decade


"It's a morbid observation, but if everyone on earth just stopped breathing for an hour, the greenhouse effect would no longer be a problem."
- Newsweek Senior Writer Jerry Adler, December 31, 1990 issue.

"Tanks could crunch grass and other vegetation, knock down dunes and kick up sandstorms, said Ken Nagy, who teaches about deserts at the University of California at Los Angeles. 'Plants and animals there are already living on the edge,' he said, 'and this insult could be enough to push them over the edge."
- Boston Globe reporter Larry Tye on impact on war upon Iraq and Kuwait desert life, January 18, 1991.

"Clinton is giving the best evidence yet of his approach to leadership. It's about understanding, not threats; accommodation, not confrontation; about getting people (or at least Democrats) to sing the same song. The style is reminiscent of another patient, nonjudgmental figure given to hugging in public: Barney the Dinosaur."
- Newsweek reporters Howard Fineman and Eleanor Clift, August 9, 1993.

"I'm all news, all the time. Full power, tall tower. I want to break in when news breaks out. That's my agenda. Now respectfully, when you start talking about a liberal agenda and all the, quote, liberal bias in the media, I quite frankly, and I say this respectfully but candidly to you, I don't know what you're talking about. Now if you want to talk about an issue, what do I believe as a citizen of the United States of America, I can tell you what I believe in. I believe in a strong defense, clean water, and tight money."
- Dan Rather to talk radio host Mike Rosen of KOA in Denver, November 28, 1995.

"When you're talking about pure journalists, I mean reporters, when you're talking about reporters, not columnists, I don't think there's any liberal bias. I don't think there really ever has been."
- Los Angeles Times Senior Washington correspondent Jack Nelson on CNBC's Politics '96, March 9, 1996.


L. Brent Bozell III; Publisher
Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham, Editors
(Marc Ryan, Co-Editor, 1988-90)
Media Analysts 1988-1997:
Kimberly Bellissimo, Brant Clifton, Chris Crowley, Nicholas Damask, Eric Darbe, Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, James Forbes, Andy Gabron, Callista Gould, James Heiser, Mark Honig, Sally Hood, Kristin Johnson, Steve Kaminski, Marian Kelley, Tim Lamer, Richard Marois, Gesele Rey, Mark Rogers, Gerard Scimeca, Patrick Swan, Bill Thompson, Stewart Verdery, Dorothy Warner, Clay Waters