Notable Quotables - 10/27/2003

NPR's Angel of Death

NPR's Nina Totenberg: "Now they've got this guy [General Jerry Boykin], who's head of the intelligence section in the Defense Department, who's being quoted as telling various groups, while he's in uniform, that this [war] is a Christian crusade against Muslims. I mean, this is terrible, this is seriously bad stuff....I hope he's not long for this world."
Host Gordon Peterson: "You putting a hit out on this guy or what?...What is this, The Sopranos?"
Totenberg: "No, no, no....In his job, in his job, in his job, please, please, in his job."
-Exchange on Inside Washington, October 18.

"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."
-Totenberg reacting to Senator Jesse Helms' claim that the government spends disproportionately too much on AIDS research, July 8, 1995 Inside Washington.


Schlub's Act Sure Fooled Rubes

"The man behind the curtain is not the God of Family Values but a childless, twice-divorced, thrice-married schlub whose idea of a good time is to lie on his couch and watch football endlessly. When Rush Limbaugh declared to his radio audience that he was 'your epitome of morality of virtue, a man you could totally trust with your wife, your daughter, and even your son in a Motel 6 overnight,' he was acting....Granted, Limbaughs act has won over, or fooled, a lot of people. With his heartland pieties and scorn for 'feminazis' and 'commie-symps' like West Wing President Martin Sheen ('Martin Sheenski' to Limbaugh), he is the darling of Red State, Fly-Over America."
-Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas in the October 20 cover story, The Real Rush.

Smirking At Rush's Pain

"Rush Limbaugh has been more than a bit unkind to me more than once. He's also been unkind to Al Franken, who in turn has been unkind to him. He's taken shots at Michael Wolff, New York magazines media critic and Michael is hardly the retiring sort. So, here we all are, Al, Michael, and me, and the subject is Rush - made worse, no doubt, by the permanent smirk that seems to be attached to my face."
-CNN's Aaron Brown on the October 10 NewsNight after Limbaugh announced he was seeking treatment for an addiction to prescription pain medicine.


Conservative Positions = "Flaws"

"He helped end communism, reached out to Muslims by entering a mosque, sought reconciliation with the Jews by praying at the Wailing Wall....but his [Pope John Paul's] legacy is not without flaws. His staunch refusal to ordain women as priests and rigorous rejection of birth control, abortion and homosexuality, have alienated many."
-Allen Pizzey in an October 16 CBS Evening News story about the 25th anniversary of John Paul becoming Pope.

"For some, the celebrations will be bittersweet. The Pope's conservative views on abortion, contraception, divorce, woman priests and homosexuality have alienated many Catholics."
-NBC's Dawna Friesen on the October 12 Nightly News.

"Many of the Pope's critics have a hard time reconciling his outspoken championing of human rights, of human dignity with what they see as his somewhat authoritarian, antiquated view of women and sexuality."
-ABC's George Stephanopoulos on This Week, Oct. 12.


Background Checks for Parents

"Andrea Yates gained national attention when she drowned her five children in a bathtub. Deanna Laney told investigators she beat her three sons with rocks, killing two of them. Both mothers home schooled....It's hard to know how widespread abuse might be because the government doesnt keep track. It doesn't even know how many children are taught at home in this country. In eight states, parents don't have to tell anyone they're home schooling....Not one state requires criminal background checks to see if parents have abuse convictions."
-CBS's Vince Gonzales in the second of a two-part "Eye on America" exposing the "dark side" of the home schooling movement, on the October 14 Evening News.


U.S. "Fails" to Offer Socialism

Carole Simpson: "Even though the U.S. spends twice as much per person as any other developed country on health care, the U.S. is the only developed country that fails to provide universal coverage for all its citizens...."
Tim Johnson: "We have a country that wants to believe it is the best in everything, but until all of us embrace the idea that health care should be a right, not a privilege, our system cannot be glibly described as, quote, 'the best in the world.'"
-ABC's World News Tonight/Sunday, October 19.

Bush's America: Friendless, Failed

"Increasingly, it seems the Bush administration's foreign policy is running into trouble. The post-war picture in Iraq and Afghanistan is highly unstable. The road map to peace in the Middle East is in tatters. Theres growing unease over the possibility that North Korea and Iran are pursuing nuclear weapons. Friends of the United States are not supportive. Overall, the policies of the United States are still very unpopular around the world. The Bush Doctrine, a preference for unilateral military action and a disdain for multinational diplomacy, is under scrutiny more than ever."
-National Public Radio's Bob Edwards introducing a story on Morning Edition, October 17.


Portraying Iraq As All Bad News...

"Six months, that's how long it's been since we all watched that statue of Saddam Hussein fall. Six months since Operation Iraqi Freedom brought down the regime in Baghdad. But victory looked a lot different in the streets of Iraq today, with more violence and more deaths and with anti-American sentiment continuing to grow....Listening to the President today, he seems to think that this policy in Iraq is working. Given the repeated attacks there, how can that be?"
-Substitute anchor Dawn Fratangelo on CNBC's The News with Brian Williams on October 9, introducing a story by reporter Kevin Tibbles and then posing a question to CNBC military analyst Rick Francona.


...But Rejecting Any Responsibility

"If things are really bad in Iraq, bypassing the mainstream media wont make them any better, and thats what the Bush administration seems to be trying these days....There is, actually, a solution and it's deceptively simple: level with the American public about what is going wrong....What's been found in the way of weapons of mass destruction does not measure up to the pre-war warnings. When the administration starts dealing forthrightly with those issues, the good news will speak for itself."
-ABC's Ted Koppel on the October 15 Nightline.


Rooney Rues U.S. Dominance

"We should change our attitude toward the United Nations. There has to be some power in the world superior to our own....We should not have attacked Iraq without the OK of the United Nations....Now we have to live with that mistake. We're living with it, and too many of our guys are dying with it."
-CBS's Andy Rooney in what correspondent Mike Wallace billed as a "serious" commentary at the conclusion of the October 12 60 Minutes.


ABC's Concocted "Tantrum"

Linda Douglass: "Schwarzenegger acknowledged that the recall campaign was the result of a statewide temper tantrum, that Democrats who run the legislature must be in shock and itching for revenge."
Arnold Schwarzenegger: "Shall we rebuild our state together, or shall we fight amongst ourselves? For the people to win, politics as usual must lose."
-ABC's Good Morning America, October 8. In his victory speech October 7, Schwarzenegger made no references or allusions to angry voters, and no other news outlet reported that he had "acknowledged" any such thing.

Suddenly Touting Brilliant Reagan

"Is Governor Schwarzenegger going to govern like his predecessor, Gray Davis, who played political games, failed to reach out, didn't make tough choices? Or is he going to govern like another predecessor, who also campaigned against raising taxes...and he got into office and he right away faced reality, and he cut spending and he raised taxes. That was Ronald Reagan: $5 billion in today's dollars, and it paved the way, as Lou Cannon, his invaluable biographer tells us, for a very successful Reagan governorship."
-Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt on CNN's Capital Gang, October 11.


Still Smearing Clinton's Accusers

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan: "I think the media and the Democratic Party spent the 1990s saying, 'None of this matters. You can do anything to women. We'll beat 'em up, we'll put private eyes on them....'"
Time's Joe Klein: "Wait a second!...You can beat 'em up?"
Noonan: "As a matter of fact Bill Clinton was literally charged with that. He was charged with worse things than, than Arnold [Schwarzenegger]."
Klein: "He was charged with those things by lunatics. He was never legally charged with that."
Noonan: "Whoa! He was charged by Juanita Broaddrick. I don't think that it's fair to call her a lunatic."
Klein: "That? Yes, I do think that she was an extremist."
-Exchange on the October 12 Chris Matthews Show.


Do As I Say, Not As I Pee

Host Craig Kilborn: "You're an advocate for cleaner oceans, right?"
Actor/ocean protection activist Ted Danson: "Yes, yes."
Kilborn: "True or false: You have never relieved yourself in the ocean?"
Embarrassed Danson, after a long pause: "False."
-CBS's Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn, October 13.