Notable Quotables - 03/11/1996


Pat Buchanan's Free Ride

New York Times Washington Bureau Chief R.W. Apple: "But to hear poor Pat crying about how badly he's being treated."
CNN anchor Bernard Shaw: "I'm surprised he said that with a straight face."
Apple: "He gets such a free ride from people."
- Exchange on CNN's Reliable Sources, February 18.

Reality Check:
"Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the Russian ultra-nationalist, embarrassed Pat Buchanan today by embracing him as an ideological soulmate. `Today,' said Zhirinovsky, `there is a presidential candidate in America who is not afraid to speak the truth, that truly the Congress of the United States is an occupied territory of Israel. Your press,' Zhirinovsky went on, `is occupied, and all of your finances. Americans don't manage those. Israel does, through American Jews or Negroes.' The Buchanan campaign immediately issued a message of rejection to Zhirinovsky. It's not that Buchanan hasn't expressed some of the views that Zhirinovsky echoed, but perhaps he'd never realized how ugly they sounded until he heard them in the mouth of a genuine bigot."
- Ted Koppel concluding a February 23 Nightline profile of Buchanan.

"But he is worse than oblivious to the political sewage. It is the medium he has chosen to swim in. Sometimes this evil nonsense takes the form of language....In waging the culture wars, he introduces a hateful ethnic dimension. Almost all the 20th century's horrors (the slaughter of the Armenians, Stalin's starvation of the Ukrainian kulaks, the Hitler Holocaust) have begun with a demonization of others. Buchanan has a genius for techniques that bundle his enemies together and subtly satanize them."
- Time essayist Lance Morrow on Buchanan, March 4.

"Are you, as some of your critics charge, interested in being a kind of moral dictator?"
- Dan Rather to Buchanan on 48 Hours, February 22.


Fun and Games at Today

Jane Pauley: "Didn't you say Senator `Nole' earlier in the program?"
Bryant Gumbel: "Yes I did, yes I did, yes I did, yes I did. And Mr. Puke-anan."
- February 20 Today.

"By being so nice to Pat Buchanan and treating him as a good guy with bad policies, are we not all guilty of legitimizing his views and putting a smiling face on a hateful voice?"
- NBC Today co-host Bryant Gumbel on what he asked the show's political roundtable off-air, quoted by Peter Johnson in the Feb. 22 USA Today.

Bryant Gumbel: "Pat Buchanan, good morning."
Pat Buchanan: "Hi Bryant, how are you?"
Gumbel: "I'm fine, thank you."
Buchanan: "Welcome back [from vacation]."
Gumbel: "Thank you very much, sir, I appreciate that. I wish I could say the same to you."
- March 6.

Tim Russert: "Bob Dole has to avoid giving in to Pat Buchanan in terms of public perception."
Katie Couric: "Right, because didn't that, Gwen, nail the Republicans in '92 because so many moderate Republicans were turned off by the likes of Pat Buchanan and Marilyn Quayle. Don't they have a danger of doing the same thing this go round?"
- Exchange on Today, March 6.

"We're seeing an increasing number of examples of reduced tolerance these days, now I'm not speaking specifically of Tennessee. Is this a case of the religious right trying to intimidate others, being somewhat out of control?"
- Bryant Gumbel to Tennessee State Senator Steve Cohen, an opponent of a resolution that urges residents to "observe, teach and display" the Ten Commandments, February 26.

Those Evil Right Wing Anti-Communist Hardline Communists

"In his address to the Security Council, Cuba's U.N. Ambassador said that the increased U.S. sanctions, his words, `cater to the extreme right wing in an election year.' Isn't there some truth to that?"
- Bryant Gumbel to U.N. Ambassador Madeleine Albright in discussion about Cuba, February 27 Today.

"Sources inside and outside the Cuban government have told us that the timing of last week's shootdown may not have been as simple as Cuba just defending what it claims to be a violation of its airspace. These sources tell us a right-wing faction within the Cuban government felt softening relations between the United States and Cuba had gone a bit too far and that the door should not be opened any wider."
- CBS reporter Art Rascon from Havana, March 1 Evening News.


Bob Herbert, Fount of All Compassion

"The party is dominated by characters like Phil Gramm, Pat Buchanan, Bob Dole, Newt Gingrich, Dick Armey and Alfonse D'Amato. When they gallop across the national landscape they remind you of the Wild Bunch. You couldn't extract a half-pint of compassion from the entire assemblage. Small children run at the first sight of them....The Republicans could win with a candidate who is cheerful, moderate and willing to exhibit a dollop of compassion. Maybe they should draft Bill Clinton."
- Former NBC News reporter Bob Herbert in his New York Times column, February 9.

Beating Up on the Whistle-Blower

"The test is not the names people call you or accusations by political activists inside or outside your own organization. The test is what goes up on the screen and what comes out of the speaker. I think the public understands that those people are trying to create such a perception because they're trying to force you to report the news the way they want you to report it. I am not going to do it. I will put up billboard space on 42nd Street. I will wear a sandwich board. I will do whatever is necessary to say I am not going to be cowed by anybody's special political agenda, inside, outside, upside, downside."
- Dan Rather reacting to CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg's charge that the networks have a liberal bias, March 6 New York Post.

"Forgive me, but I thought it was a little facile. I don't agree with Bernie on that. I don't think that people are by-and-large conservative or liberal. I mean he was making the point that they tend to be more liberal. I think that we are anti-establishment. I think that journalists, you know, can make their bread and butter going after the establishment, whoever the establishment happens to be. And whether that establishment is conservative or whether that establishment is liberal makes very little difference to most of my colleagues."
- Ted Koppel on Goldberg's charge, February 29 Charlie Rose on PBS.

Cronkite: Capitalism Ruins the Media

"Journalists....are fully capable, willing and anxious to do a superior job of reporting the difficult stories. The problem is with their employers who have chosen to abandon their public responsibility in favor of stockholders' demands for maximization of profit. Adequate profits clearly are necessary for survival - but stockholder greed demands superprofits. The investment in a public service essential to the successful working of our democracy is required to pay off like an investment in the rest of the stock market. To play the downsizing game, the boards and their executives deny to their news managers enough funding to pay for the minimum coverage necessary to serve their consumers well....A more responsible press depends not upon individual journalists but upon more responsible owners. That is the bottom line."
- Letter to Newsweek from Walter Cronkite which appeared in the February 26 issue. (Italics his.)

Fan Mail

"I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have been named twice in your December 18, 1995 edition featuring The Best Notable Quotables of 1995. To be attacked by a mob of lunatics like your panel of judges is truly an honor. I will cherish it nearly as much as I do the condemnation I received from Louis Farrakhan's followers for criticizing the Million Man March and his recent tour of Third World dictatorships. Please select me again!"
- Time national correspondent Jack E. White in a February 27 letter to the Media Research Center.


- L. Brent Bozell III, Publisher; Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, James Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
- Kathleen Ruff, Circulation Manager; Jessica Anderson, Bruce Fraser, Interns