Notable Quotables - 06/20/1994


Extremists on the March

"[Oliver] North had recruited legions of ultraconservatives and members of the religious right who are delighted with his promise to shake up Washington and fight for family values."
- ABC reporter Mike von Fremd, June 3 World News Tonight.

"[California Gov. Pete] Wilson's neophyte challenger, ultra-conservative computer whiz Ron Unz, spent $2 million of his own money and wound up with a surprising third of the vote."
- CBS reporter Bill Whitaker on CBS This Morning, June 8.

"Dolley Madison McKenna is a moderate Republican. But hold on - she feels like a stranger in her own party. Far-right conservatives want to stall her candidacy, so ask yourself this: can a middle-of-the-road Republican make it in today's GOP? Eye on America hits the campaign trail Monday on the CBS Evening News."
- CBS promo aired after 60 Minutes, June 12.

"This is not a new story in American politics in the sense that extreme fringes of both parties are the best organized, and they can take over the party, and when they do that, the party tends to fail at the polls. But there is always the risk that they succeed. And as a sort of lifetime moderate myself, I hate the thought."
- National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg, June 11 Inside Washington.

"Let's look at, for example, what happened in Virginia with Oliver North's nomination. The religious right was widely denounced after the '92 Republican convention, which they took over and disgraced the party in many ways. Are they solidifying their clout now?"
- NBC/Mutual Radio reporter Bonnie Erbe hosting PBS's To The Contrary, June 10.


Still Millions of Homeless?

"In terms of pure numbers, Britain has nowhere near the homeless crisis the U.S. has. Here, studies show about one out of every 19,000 people is on the street. In the U.S., the ratio is an estimated 1 in 150."
- NBC reporter Linda Vester, May 31 Today. One in 150 would mean more than 1.5 million homeless.

Reality Check:
"The media have failed to avail themselves of actual, reliable data. The information, it seems, has been there for the taking, from Census Bureau and Labor Department studies to the findings of scores of foundations, urban-policy centers, local governmental agencies, authors and sociologists. After crunching more objective numbers, [author Christopher] Jencks came up with the almost certainly accurate 300,000-to-400,000 figure."
- Former CBS Morning News Executive Producer Jon Katz in the May 23 New York.


Failing to Coordinate That Dog-Ate-My-Homework Story

"The Washington Post, however, wasn't convinced. 'Nobody took that [the Lyons report] seriously because it was so incomplete,' says National Editor Fred Barbash. 'There was great frustration here because it was inadequately documented and supported. That's one of the reasons we kept a team on the story.'"
- From Alicia Shepard's article in the June American Journalism Review.

"Virtually everyone interviewed thinks that news organizations could and should have pursued Whitewater. 'The press really dropped the ball on the story, says The Washington Post's Marilyn Thompson, an editor now working with her paper's Whitewater team. Thompson adds that if she could replay the campaign she would 'want someone on the story for several months.'"
- From Terry Eastland's article in the Forbes Media Critic, Summer 1994 issue.


Ignorant of Reagan's Military Record

"[Reagan] was a bigger dodger than Clinton. At least Clinton, morally, you know, avoided Vietnam for a moral reason. It wasn't just to save his own skin. There's some evidence that Reagan was just trying to save his own skin, so that's a bad analogy."
- Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas, June 4 Inside Washington.

"I think the question of service is a fascinating one. Those of us who fought in Europe, combat soldiers, always had contempt, the most contempt, for people like Ronald Reagan who chose to sit out the war making training films in Hollywood. Bill Clinton's refusal to serve in Vietnam, I think, echoed a sense of the majority of the country and I think took some courage."
- Former NPR president Frank Mankiewicz, June 6 Fox Morning News.

Reality Check:
"Reagan applied for a commission in the U.S. Army Enlisted Reserve Corps on Feb. 27, 1935, when he was still a radio announcer in Des Moines. He was accepted for training as a cavalry officer, and...was made a second lieutenant on June 18, 1937...On Nov. 13, 1941, Lt. Reagan was subjected to physical examination at Fort McArthur, Calif., and declared 'permanently incapacitated for active duty due to compound myopic astigmatism - bilateral, severe - distant vision 6/200 both eyes without glasses.'"
- Reagan biographer Edmund Morris in a letter to The Washington Post, June 7.


Plumbing Paula's Problems

Trooper confirms Jones' visit Says he pointed out Clinton's room
- The Washington Post, June 11

State Trooper Rebuts Jones's Sex Allegations
- The Washington Times, same day


Chock Full of Choice in the Clinton Plan

"In fact, Clinton's prescription for change, more than any other politically viable reform proposal, would increase choice of doctors for most patients. 'Clinton's plan has, if anything, bent over backward to give people the maximum choice,' said Stanley Jones, a Sheperdstown, W. Va., analyst. But there's a catch: People would have to pay something extra for that freedom, although hardly the full cost that Merrill and her grandparents had to bear."
- Los Angeles Times reporter Edwin Chen May 29 news story.


Forced to Tax and Spend

"It's very hard to be a Democratic President right now, because Clinton came into office with two distinct problems. One is he had to cut the deficit, and the other is he had to spend a lot of money on programs. That was going to be a big fight. In the past, we used to elect Republicans to be fiscally conservative, and Democrats to spend money. Republicans didn't hold up their half of the job. Clinton had to do both."
- Washington Post columnist and former reporter E.J. Dionne on CNN's Late Edition, June 12.


Sacred Clinton?

"[Gubernatorial candidate Sheffield] Nelson still must face anger from some critics over his role in supplying reporters with a steady flow of tips on Whitewater - a story widely seen as having blasphemed not just the Clintons but all of Arkansas."
- USA Today reporter William Welch, May 24.

"Nelson faced anger over his leaks to reporters about the Whitewater controversy - a story widely seen as having blasphemed not just the Clintons but the entire state."
- Welch, next day.

"1. Impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things. 2. a. Act of cursing or reviling God... 3. The crime of assuming to oneself the rights or qualities of God. 4. Irreverent behavior toward anything held sacred, priceless."
- Definition of blasphemy in Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary.


- L. Brent Bozell III; Publisher
- Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- James Forbes, Andrew Gabron, Mark Honig, Steve Kaminski, Mark Rogers,
Clay Waters; Media Analysts
- Kathleen Ruff; Circulation Manager
- Deanna Ducher, Patrick Pitman; Interns