Notable Quotables - 09/08/1997


Diana's Death: It's a Conservative's Fault


Dan Rather: "What about the businessmen, the media moguls of tabloid sleaze who pay these photographers big bucks for what they do?"
Richard Threlkeld: "...Until [Rupert] Murdoch the paparazzi business was just small potatoes."
Andrew Neil, of The European: "In this country, Murdoch set new rules. He was prepared to pay big money for these pictures."
Threlkeld: "Murdoch stuck the pictures on the front pages of his London tabloids, The Sun and News of the World. He made a fortune and used it to buy the New York Post, TV Guide, 20th Century Fox, Fox TV and Sky TV."
Neil: "There would be no Rupert Murdoch empire in America if it hadn't been for the money from The Sun and the News of the Worldin Britain."
- September 3 CBS Evening News, minutes after a seven minute interview with a photographer who was at the crash scene. Rather asked him very tabloidish questions, such as: "Could you see her?" and "Could you see her breathing?"

Mike Espy: Too Good to be Corrupt

"When you look at the charges, you can't help but characterize them, if you see normal indictments how should I put this euphemistically slightly chicken-turdish. The amounts really are small, they are inflated. He may have been a real scuzzball soliciting tickets and plane rides for his girlfriend, but really, this is not the kind of thing we should have independent counsels doing. We ought to let the Justice Department do it."
- National Public Radio reporter Nina Totenberg, August 30 Inside Washington.

"I'm sure he probably thought it was penny-ante stuff and that nobody would pay that much attention and was confident that none of these gifts, football tickets in the skybox, something else here, plane trips and that kind of thing, was enough to corrupt him because he was confident in his own character. I know Mike Espy and I know he is a man of character. I think this is a case of a very bright, good man having done some stupid things. He is not corrupt."
- Gannett News Service reporter Deborah Mathis, same show.


Bi-Coastal Divide on Minnesota's Welfare

Study Casts Doubt on Incentives To Get Those on Welfare to Work
- New York Times, August 28

Study Gives Minnesota Welfare Program Rave Reviews
- Los Angeles Times, same day

Condemning Its Own Reporting

Anchor Brian Williams: "He [Clinton] proudly pointed out that a year after he signed welfare reform into law the rolls are down, way down nationwide. And as NBC's Gwen Ifill reports, not all of the predictions of disaster have come true."
Ifill: "The homeless shelters were supposed to be overwhelmed. The soup kitchens overflowing. But that nightmare hasn't materialized, so far."
- August 12 NBC Nightly News.


Tom Brokaw: "In Southern California, the welfare reform requirements could have a disastrous effect. That's the conclusion of a university study out today. Too much expected too soon of too many."
George Lewis: "Today's USC study predicts that welfare reform will push thousands of people deeper into a life of poverty and overwhelming personal problems....And homelessness could rise by as many as 190,000 people....Most everyone thought that overhauling the welfare system would be a good idea. Now, there are new concerns being raised about the human consequences of doing that."
- NBC Nightly News, April 10.


CNN on North Korea: Famine is Bad Luck, Not Communist Tyranny

"It depends on whom you talk to. The international relief agencies, some of the people who work there say that the plight of the people here is not just the fault of Mother Nature, that it's also the government's economic policies and agriculture policies. Government officials dispute that and they say this is solely a problem generated by Mother Nature and only Mother Nature can solve this problem. So there's a real dispute about the blame in this case, but General Kim Jong Il has been personally involved in this. He has ordered all of the entire army, hundreds of thousands of troops, into the countryside to help the farmers try to harvest what crops will survive."
- CNN International President Eason Jordan from North Korea, August 13.

"Clearly, this call [for reconciliation with South Korea] comes at a time when North Korea is deeply troubled with famine as a result of natural catastrophes that have occurred over the last three years."
- Jordan on the CNN special "Inside North Korea," August 14.


Another Episode of "The Cold War: We Were Right All Along"

"[Tran Quang] Co pointed out what has become especially obvious since the demise of the Soviet Union: Vietnam was not a tool of world communism. The theme resounded passionately throughout the conference. It means that the central premise of the American motivation to defend South Vietnam was false. If these concepts seemed like echoes from the past, they were. Much of what the Americans were being told, and were now accepting, the antiwar movement had argued 30 years before."
- Former New York Times Vietnam correspondent David Shipler in The New York Times Magazine, August 10.


Tainted Meat? More Government, Please

"In other words, the Congress will not give the U.S. Department of Agriculture the power to recall food on its own. We are joined this evening by the Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman. Mr. Glickman, why won't they give it to you?...And as a result, is Congress putting Americans at risk?"
- Peter Jennings, August 21 World News Tonight.

"This month's outbreak of food poisoning from ecoli-contaminated beef is just the latest incident of food-borne illness in this country, adding to a growing belief that more stringent measures are needed to protect America's food supply."
- NBC's Jodi Applegate, August 26 Today.


Liberal Media Bias Acknowledged....

"Is the overall national media somewhat liberal in its tendencies, especially in the mid-range of reporters and editors? I would say so. It's based in New York, it's based in Washington with a little side-league in Atlanta and a couple of other places. I don't think there's much doubt. I think everybody needs to be a wary consumer. That's of Fox, that's of CNN, that's of Newsweek. We are in an age of labeling. There's labeling on the food, there's gotta be labeling on the media."
- Newsweek Washington reporter Howard Fineman on CNBC's Hardball, August 18.


...And Denied

"Scholar after scholar has disputed, in studying the actual content of the press, what you've just blithely handed out that it's this left-wing media. That's a charge from the '50s. That's not the current press. Tom Patterson no, the bias is a bias against politicians of all kinds, not a bias for one side or other."
- Ellen Hume, Director of the PBS Democracy Project, reacting to Bob Novak's assertion the mainstream media are "tilted to the left." July 27 CNN Reliable Sources.

"I don't think voting for Clinton makes you a liberal. I mean, Bill Clinton isn't even a liberal, and second, if you're liberal, does that mean you can't be fair? What hypocrisy that we sit around and talk about the press like it's some sort of 'they.' It's us. Are we too liberal? N-o....The bias is in favor of bad news and you go after whoever is in power, and the name of the game is kill the king, which is why Bill Clinton does not get a free ride."
- Newsweek's
Eleanor Clift on The McLaughlin Group, July 5.