Notable Quotables - 11/10/2003

Liberal Film Disproves Liberalism?

"Under pressure from conservative groups, CBS has exiled its highest-profile sweeps project, The Reagans, to Showtime....If nothing else, this act of creative sabotage should put to rest the idea that the media are liberal."
-USA Today TV critic Robert Bianco, November 5.

CBS Feared Conservative Bullies

Jerry Bowen: "Some analysts contend the conservative pressure is part of the nation's ongoing culture war."
Martin Kaplan, USC Annenberg School: "There's a well-organized conservative movement in this country that's in charge of its version of the truth, and they swing a big bat."
Bowen: "James Brolin, who plays Reagan, wasn't talking, but his manager was."
Jeff Wald, James Brolin's manager: "And we seem to be in a very oppressive era where they can censor something before they even see it."
-CBS Evening News, November 4.

Brian Williams: "Do you believe what has happened here with this mini-series on CBS amounts to extortion?"
Media critic Michael Wolff: "Certainly capitulation...."
Williams: "So is it hyperbolic to say, you know, when we give all these speeches about freedom in the United States, you can go ahead and stretch your artistic freedom, make a movie about whatever you wish as long as it doesn't cross a certain political or societal group?"
Wolff: "Absolutely. If the group is well-organized and there is no group as well-organized as the right wing in America at this point in time, you're going to be in big trouble."
-CNBC's The News with Brian Williams, November 4.


Creating a "Soviet-Style Chill"

"His [Ronald Reagan's] supporters credit him with forcing down the Iron Curtain, so it is odd that some of them have helped create the Soviet-style chill embedded in the idea that we, as a nation, will not allow critical portrayals of one of our own recent leaders."
-Editorial in the November 5 New York Times.

Reagan Deserved Hitler Treatment

"If Hitler had more friends, CBS wouldn't have aired [its Hitler mini-series] either."
-Philadelphia Daily News TV critic Ellen Gray, as quoted by the Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes in a November 4 column.

Would He Appreciate the Lies?

"Michael, your dad comes, came from the Hollywood community, and he knows what the issues of artistic freedom are. How do you think he'd react?"
-ABC's Charles Gibson to Michael Reagan on Good Morning America, November 4.

Victory for the "Unholy Trinity"

"Hallelujah! The Gipper is safe and the hated liberal media humbled. It's a big victory for the 'Elephant Echo Chamber,' the unholy trinity of conservative talk radio, conservative Internet sites and the Republican National Committee....It's good to know that network docu-dramas are, forthwith, supposed to be 'true,' unless, of course, the truth is somehow 'offensive' to the myth, then we'll take the myth, as long as the myth corresponds to the reigning politics of the moment. One thing's for sure: When they make The Bush Dynasty docu-drama, that 'Mission Accomplished' banner won't be visible in the scene on the aircraft carrier."
-Senior Editor Jonathan Alter in a column posted on Newsweek's section of MSNBC's Web site, November 4.


If They Survive the Fire, Tax 'Em

"With his state ablaze, California's Governor-elect was in Washington today asking for federal relief and the question was asked: Could this be the major disaster Arnold Schwarzenegger, the candidate, said was the only way he'd raise taxes?"
-CBS's Sandra Hughes in an October 29 Evening News story about the huge wildfires in California.


Upset by Lack of Price Controls

"Canadians are spared higher drug prices, in large part, because of price controls....Every industrialized country has price controls on patented medications except the United States."
-ABC's John McKenzie on World News Tonight, Oct. 22.

GDP Surge "Falls Flat" for ABC

"In places like Georgetown, South Carolina, where the local steel mill has cut 450 jobs since June, the talk of a 7.2 percent growth rate falls flat....Many economists believe the jobless rate of more than six percent is unlikely to decline for months....While manufacturing continues to slump, the transportation and service sectors are hiring again, but new jobs seldom pay as much as old ones."
-ABC's Dean Reynolds World News Tonight, Oct. 30.

Abusing Rights, Not Saving Life

"Abortion rights take a historic hit from Congress. What do women face?...Good evening. It is one of the biggest developments in the battle over abortion rights since the Supreme Court's landmark ruling supporting a womans right to choose 30 years ago. Congress tonight gave final approval to legislation making it a crime for doctors to perform certain types of late-term abortions, legislation President Bush says he will sign into law."
-Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News reporting passage of a bill banning partial-birth abortions, October 21.

Bob Loves Tom's Talking Points

"If this is progress, I don't know how much more progress we can take."
-Democratic Senator Tom Daschle on October 28 after President Bush cited U.S. progress in Iraq as a reason why insurgents were increasing their attacks.

"The President said this week that we are winning and that this violence just shows that the other side is getting desperate. But if this is winning, you have to ask the question: How much of this 'winning' can we stand?"
-CBS's Bob Schieffer to Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) on Face the Nation, November 2.


Same Cliches? Must Be Vietnam

Author David Maraniss: "Eerily, in October of 1967, you had a President who was claiming publicly that he was going to prevail and that the press was getting it wrong, which has a lot of similarities with whats going on today."
Keith Olbermann: "....I was just old enough to understand the news in 1967, and I was struck, even then when I was a kid, by how unnaturally the wording of the statements coming out of the administration about the war seemed to me, even as an eight-year-old, that they were sort of set pieces rather than answers to questions. Again, your research virtually took you back in time. Are we hearing those same set pieces and cliches about Iraq that we did about Vietnam?"
-MSNBC's Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Nov. 3.


GOP: Most Extreme Party Ever

"Our political culture has not been infected by some virus from outer space, or from TV. The carrier was Newt Gingrich....Today's Republican Party is arguably the most extreme - the furthest from the center - of any governing majority in the nations history."
-Contributing writer James Traub in the New York Times Magazine, October 26.


Newsweek's Tardy Admission

"I think it was a colossal mistake....It was an error in judgment. The story inside, which I helped report and write, was, I think, a good one, but the cover line was over the top and the picture was mean. The picture was George Bush looking like an idiot, standing there in a yellow slicker aboard his powerboat....It was juvenile, you know, and I think we all recognize that and occasionally we make mistakes, and that was one."
-Newsweek's Howard Fineman on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning on October 29, referring to an October 19, 1987 cover which featured then-Vice President George Bush with the headline "Fighting the Wimp Factor."


We're Liberal Because We're Nice

"I think they [most reporters] are on the humane side, and that would appear to many to be on the liberal side. A lot of newspaper people - and to a lesser degree today, the TV people - come up through the ranks, through the police-reporting side, and they see the problems of their fellow man, beginning with their low salaries - which newspaper people used to have anyway - and right on through their domestic quarrels, their living conditions. The meaner side of life is made visible to most young reporters. I think it affects their sentimental feeling toward their fellow man and that is interpreted by some less-sensitive people as being liberal."
-Former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite to Time magazine's Richard Zoglin in an interview published in the magazine's November 3 edition.


Affleck's Foolish Fury

"The right-wing media, from Fox News to Bill O'Reilly to Rush Limbaugh - who is, now, I suspect, learning to appreciate the virtues of forgiveness and understanding and who, I am quite sure, is hoping the next judge he sees is a liberal - have kept up the sustained and strident and one-sided cry in defense of policies which are damaging and dangerous."
-Actor Ben Affleck in an October 14 speech to the liberal group People for the American Way, in an excerpt shown on MSNBC's Scarborough Country, Oct. 17.


Such Thoughtful Analysis

Craig Kilborn: "Use the words 'compassionate' and 'conservative' in the same sentence while being neither ironic nor scornful."
Actor/activist Tim Robbins: "That's a tough one. Neither ironic nor scornful?"
Kilborn: "Yeah."
Robbins: "Alright. F*** compassionate conservatives."
-CBS's Late Late Show, October 30. CBS bleeped the F-word.