Notable Quotables - 12/09/2002

Hyping GOP "Threat" to Clean Air

"The rollback of clean air rules is a bonanza for hundreds of the nation's oldest and dirtiest power plants. Under the change, those plants will be allowed to pump out more power and consequently more smokestack emissions without having to install costly anti-pollution equipment....The greatest threat may be to the Northeast. Power plants throughout the Midwest and Southeast spew heavy emissions that are carried by prevailing winds over New England. Under the new rules, environmentalists warn, the fallout will only get worse."
-Bob Orr on the November 22 CBS Evening News.

"The Republican Party collected $11 million from electric companies and their employees over the past two years. The energy industry gave the Bush campaign almost $3 million. With the White House and Congress now in Republican hands, more controversial environmental decisions are in the works....Changing clean air rules may be the first of many post-election attempts to alter long standing environmental policy."
-ABC's Barry Serafin on World News Tonight, Nov. 22.

"A lot of people, though, have been highly critical of the Bush administration on the environment. They say that you came to the EPA with incredibly strong environmentalist credentials. And yet, you know, every proposal that you've tried to put forward has gotten a kibosh by right-wing conservatives within the administration....The bottom line is do you, Christie Whitman, feel comfortable with the Bush administration's environmental policies?"
-Katie Couric to EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman on the December 2 Today.


Claire Denies the Obvious

George Will: "The media is in league with the professional hysterics in the environmental movement....What the administration would like to have - can't have given the media's disposition - is a reasoned discussion about the scientific tradeoff, economic tradeoff, between measurable improvements in public health and demonstrable costs."
Claire Shipman: "You can't just blame this on us. There are Republican governors who are very critical in the Northeast of what the administration is doing. That's not the media's fault."
Will: "The media make it extremely difficult, extremely difficult, to get a discussion like this going because it all comes down to who's putting arsenic in the child's water."
-Exchange on ABC's This Week, November 24.


Jennings' Unique Anti-Bush Spin

"The President said he is not encouraged by the weapons inspections currently being done by the United Nations in Iraq, even though the UN inspectors say that under the circumstances things are going quite well."
-Peter Jennings on the Dec. 2 World News Tonight.


"Inside Iraq today the weapons hunters made their rounds and, as CBS's Mark Phillips reports from Baghdad, for the first time since inspections resumed last week, they were not satisfied with what they found."
-Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News the same night.

"This is the beginning of a critical week in the showdown between Iraq and the coalition led by the United States. By Sunday we could know much more about the chances for war....[The] signals coming out of today's UN weapons inspection in Iraq were not encouraging."
-Tom Brokaw on NBC Nightly News the same night.


America the Real Threat to Peace

"Some of the President's critics take these encounters as a sign the President is not waiting for the weapons inspectors to do their jobs and that the U.S. may even be -  these are their words -  'goading' the Iraqis to lighting up their air defense systems."
-ABC's Peter Jennings, referring to confrontations between the U.S. and Iraq in the no-fly zones, on the November 20 World News Tonight.

Peter Jennings: "There has been rising anti-American sentiment in Saudi Arabia as there has been in many Arab countries. Just one of the ripple effects on the road to possible war with Iraq."
Jim Sciutto: "Across the Arab world, few would miss Saddam Hussein, but even fewer believe a U.S.-led war is the way to remove him. Even America's closest allies are reluctant....Many here see the U.S., not Iraq, as the greater threat to peace."
-ABC's World News Tonight, November 20.


Dueling Headlines in the Sand

"Bush Officials Praise Saudis for Aiding Terror Fight"
-New York Times headline, November 27.

"Bush Aides: Saudis Can Do More to Halt Terror Funds"
-Headline in the Washington Post the same day.


NPR Staff Sees Right-Wing Bias

Mara Liasson: "There's no doubt that the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal or the Washington Times or the New York Post or the commentary on Fox, is conservative and I think that they [Democrats] are extremely frustrated...they feel that they can't get their message out..."
Juan Williams: "It seems to me that there's some truth to it....It seems to me that there is more of a direct and sort of out there statement coming from Rush Limbaugh, and the Washington Times, and people who are willing to say look, we are outright proud to be conservative and here's what we stand for and we don't think theres any need to make an apology...."
Liasson: "Juan is right. There are more voices of opinion in terms of talk radio shows, editorial pages and they're not liberal."
-Discussion on Fox News Sunday on December 1, commenting on Al Gore's charge in the New York Observer that something will start at the Republican National Committee, inside the building, and it will explode the next day on the right-wing talk show network and on Fox News and in the newspapers which play this game.


A Conservative Is "Conservative"

"[Roy] Blunt, an ambitious conservative from Missouri, last week was unanimously elected majority whip, the third-ranking Republican leadership position."
-Washington Post reporter Jim VandeHei in a November 18 news story. During his House tenure, Blunt's votes earned him a 92 percent rating from the American Conservative Union (ACU). The liberal Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) awarded Blunt a lifetime rating of 7.

...But a Liberal Is a Centrist

"House Democrats unanimously elected Rep. Steny H. Hoyer to the number two post of minority whip yesterday, making him the leaderships most visible centrist..."
-Washington Post reporter Spencer Hsu in a November 15 news story. The ACUs lifetime rating for Hoyer is 8, while the ADA gave him a lifetime liberal rating of 83.


Weeping Over Liberal Losses

"Turning to the Nov. 5 election, he [Ted Turner] said he almost 'laid down and cried' over the results. 'My governor in Georgia was a great environmentalist but he got beat,' he said. 'And my poor senator...he's a war hero.' He asked the crowd of mostly environmentalists whether anyone favored war with Iraq. When no one raised their hand he said laughingly, 'Why didn't any of you vote?'"
-From a Nov. 23 Atlanta Journal-Constitution story by Shelley Emling on Turner's speech at the Environmental Defense 11th Annual Symposium the day before.


Blew Chance to Subvert Bush

"You did win the popular vote [and] many people say that can be interpreted as the failure of a mandate for our current President, and that you owe the people who supported you on Election Day, you needed to be their voice. Let me read a quick excerpt from a recent New Yorker article. It said that you should have been speaking out politely and firmly on the issues of the moment. Instead, quote, 'Instead he fell silent. He did not accept and apparently did not perceive the responsibility that his popular vote victory had laid upon him. The other day a Fox News poll had twice as many people saying they would have felt less safe with Gore in the White House than they do with Bush. Does this reflect a belief that Gore would have been less than vigorous in going after terrorists? Maybe, but perhaps it also reflects a recognition that at a crucial moment, he essentially left voiceless those who had placed their trust in him.'"
"Why didn't you speak out more vigorously on the issues of the day, particularly before September 11? One could understand how afterwards you didn't want to undermine the President's authority, but you had several months in which you could. Why not?"
-Katie Couric to Al Gore on NBC's Today, November 19.


Some Like It Hot

Bob Woodruff: "In Guantanamo Bay, Mohammed Sagheer was known simply as Prisoner 143....Swept up in the chaos of the war, he was handed over to the U.S. and flown to Cuba, blind-folded and tied....He says those who defied the rules were placed in solitary confinement small, air-conditioned cells. Sagheer, who had never seen air conditioning before, thought it was a kind of torture."
Mohammed Sagheer: "There was a small window in the roof and a light, and they pumped cold air from a hole in the ceiling. This was the punishment. The air was very cold."
Woodruff: "[Sagheer] claims the Americans promised him $2,000 in compensation for his ordeal, but all he has received is $100 from the government of Pakistan. And no one, he says, has even apologized."
-Story on ABC's World News Tonight on November 19.


Not Realizing Liberals Are Liberal

Andy Rooney: "Most news people I know tend towards the liberal direction, yes. You don't think thats true?"
Phil Donahue: "I think that most of the media think that homosexuals are people entitled to all the rights and the privileges in the Constitution. I believe that liberals, most liberals, are for choice in the matter of a womans reproductive capacity. If that's liberal, yeah, I think we're liberal."
Rooney: "It is liberal. Yes, it is liberal."
-Exchange on MSNBC's Donahue, November 19.