Notable Quotables - 02/18/2002

Ted Turner: "Brave" Terrorists Were Driven by "Abject Poverty"

"The reason that the World Trade Center got hit is because there are a lot of people living in abject poverty out there who don't have any hope for a better life....I think they [the 19 hijackers] were brave at the very least."
-AOL Time Warner Vice Chairman and CNN founder Ted Turner in February 11 remarks at Brown University, as reported by Gerald Carbone in the February 12 Providence Journal. The next day, Turner issued a statement: "The attacks of Sept. 11 were despicable acts. I in no way meant to convey otherwise."

U.S. Patriotism Could Mar Games

Matt Lauer: "You are expecting a greater wave of patriotism here in the United States, in this particular time, than other countries have shown when theyve hosted the games."
Lloyd Ward, U.S. Olympic Committee President: "I certainly expect the stands to be rocking. I expect the flags to be flying. And you know, the expression of patriotism is fine for any country that hosts the Olympics. We want to express our nationalism as a part of the world's community and I expect to see that."
Lauer: "But we have to also be careful and draw a line not to let our patriotism get in the way of the games in general."
-Exchange on NBC's Today, February 7.

"Obviously, the opening ceremony, the games themselves will be very patriotic in feel. And yet sometimes the international community can interpret that as arrogant nationalism. Obviously, you've gotta balance those two things. Are you all, clearly youre mindful of that. How are you, how are you going to do that?"
-NBC's Katie Couric questioning Salt Lake Olympic Committee Creative Director Scott Givens on Today, Feb. 8.


Bush "Conjuring Up" Threats

"What he has done is made, for the first, time a clear connection between nuclear proliferation and bio-terrorism and his war on terrorism. He may be trying to lay the predicate for some pinpoint strikes. What this is really about is...conjuring up an imminent threat so when he releases his budget next week and he goes to Congress he can get money for the missile defense shield. This is more about domestic politics and keeping the country focused on war instead of red ink and recession."
-Newsweek's Eleanor Clift on the February 2 McLaughlin Group, criticizing Bush's naming of Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an "axis of evil."


Media Doing Democrats' Work

"I was surprised and, frankly, disappointed that the President did not tackle the Enron situation very frontally: talk about Enron, talk about the abuses of the open market system that he himself so fervently believes in and plan out a course of action. I think he did deal with it obliquely and I think that was a mistake. But I have to tell you I don't see the Democrats, at this point, who have taken a lot of money from all these folks, too, I don't see that they're very gutsy on this issue either. It's the media right now that's leading this charge; it's not the Democrats."
-U.S. News & World Report Editor-at-Large David Gergen on ABC's Nightline following the State of the Union address on January 29.


Bush's Plan: Enron For Everybody

"It looks as if he is not spending this huge popularity he has to do anything that is not in keeping with the conservative dreams of his party: tax cuts; privatizing Social Security. The biggest contradiction in the speech was to say that Enron in fact, without mentioning Enron as a result of that, we needed to look at 401(k)s and reform them, and then saying, 'But, at the same time, we should privatize Social Security,' in which we'll simply make an Enron for everybody in the country."
-Time's Margaret Carlson discussing the State of the Union speech on CNN''s Inside Politics, January 30.

"This budget is about as credible as an Enron accounting statement....Unlike previous wartime budgets, this one proposes tax cuts for the wealthy, takes care of every corporate interest. It is, as I said last week, a guns-and-caviar budget. It talks about Social Security reform, provides no money at all. You can't reform Social Security when you're raiding Social Security."
-Wall Street Journal Executive Washington Editor Al Hunt on CNN's Capital Gang, February 9.


"Need to Hear" Liberal Views

Diane Sawyer: "Jane Fonda joins us now, provocative as ever, talking about President Bush, talking about her celebrated and now-ended marriage to the high-voltage Ted Turner, and her passion for improving the lives of young girls around the world....You need to hear what she has to say."
Nancy Snyderman: "This is the Jane Fonda you need to know: working with young women in Third World countries; giving them information about basic human rights, sexuality, self-worth."
-ABC's Good Morning America, January 31.


Clinton Better Than Dessert

"In a crowded conference room at the Waldorf, some 300 world leaders in politics, industry and finance were held spellbound by a freewheeling, solo seminar conducted by someone whose idea of a great meal was the Mexican platter at the White House mess: former President Bill Clinton, the ultimate Davos Man, always ready to expound on globalization until the last top-dog dies....
"Dapper in a double-breasted blue blazer and hand-held microphone, the man the official program described as Founder, William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, held forth on North Korea, the Middle East, Enron and health care. At one point, he welcomed a guest star, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres of Israel, who declared, 'I wish we'd had just a few more months, then we'd have peace in the Middle East.'"
-Todd Purdum and David Sangers front-page New York Times article, "It Was Clinton at Waldorf Instead of Dessert," February 5.


Walkers "Poetic" Attitude

"I've met many fighters in many different wars and the thing that strikes me is theres a certain coldness and a certain attitude they have. This guy struck me as a guy who should be going to poetry readings."
-Journalist Robert Young Pelton, who interviewed John Walker Lindh for CNN, giving his view of Walker to CBS's Sandra Hughes for the January 21 Evening News.


Global Warming Groupthink

Mark McEwen: "Up and down the East coast, it's coming our way, but we will probably see just rain in the big cities."
Bryant Gumbel: "We never get any snow."
McEwen: "Do you think it's global warming?"
Gumbel: "Yes, yes."
McEwen: "Do you, Jane?"
Jane Clayson: "Yeah."
McEwen: "We're's global warming."
-Exchange on CBS's Early Show, February 6.


"Honest" Bill Also "Dishonest"

"I think the fact that someone has told a lie, even a big lie or maybe several big lies over a lifetime, does not mean that they're an inherently dishonest person....I believe in redemption and that Bill Clinton is he an honest person? I think he is an honest person. Did he lie? Yes, he lied, and on those occasions he was dishonest."
-Dan Rather on the Feb. 7 Imus in the Morning radio show, which is simulcast on MSNBC, defending his comment from May 15, 2001 on FNC's The OReilly Factor that Clinton was "an honest man" and that "you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."


Trumpeting Phony Liberal Claims

Mark Strassman: "Enron was America's seventh-largest corporation, but four of the last five years the company paid not one dime in federal income taxes. To many Americans, that in itself is a scandal."
Robert McIntyre, Citizens for Tax Justice: "Whether it's a big corporation or a rich person, if they avoid paying their fair share of taxes, the rest of us get stuck with the bill."
-CBS Evening News, January 18.

Reality Check:
"A close review of Enrons financial statements and interviews with tax specialists and accountants indicate that Enron...paid federal taxes because of what is called the alternative minimum tax. That is a separate tax system designed to ensure that most companies pay some tax when they earn a profit, no matter how many tax reduction techniques they use."
-The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler in a Feb. 3 article, "Enron Appears to Have Paid Taxes," which rejected the CTJ's conclusions. CBS did not correct its story.


Greta's Idea of Unbiased Research

Greta Van Susteren: "[President Clinton] tripled the budget in terms of counter-terrorism between '95 and 2000, both the FBI and the CIA....He signed orders to go out and get Bin Laden, to kill Bin Laden....What I'm confronting you with are facts that at least the New York Times lays out - "
Fox News Political Analyst Dick Morris: "Facts that your spin doctors are giving you to spout on this show."
Van Susteren: "No, I got this out of the New York Times!"
-Exchange during a discussion of a Wall Street Journal op-ed in which Morris related Bill Clinton's lack of interest in combating terrorism while he was President, on Van Susteren's new FNC program On the Record, Feb. 7.


Send Bus Money

"A Canadian, [ABC's Peter] Jennings has earned a reputation in some quarters for being tougher on the United States than rivals Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather. If so, he attributes it to a global perspective he gained from many years of reporting in Europe and the Middle East.
"I tend to see the United States through a variety of prisms, he admitted. I'm not one of those members of Congress or the leadership of the country who is proud not to have a passport, which I believe is utterly foolish.
"When people really decide they're going to get pissed off at me, they still, on rare occasions, send me bus money to go home to Canada."
-From Atlanta Constitution reporter Steve Murray's February 8 story about Jennings' visit to Atlanta.