Notable Quotables - 09/16/2002

Terror Warning a Phony Ploy?

"Can you assure the American people that this elevated threat alert is not part of the administration's effort to convince people that the danger is such that military action against Iraq is necessary?"
-ABC's Terry Moran to White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer at a Sept. 10 briefing shown on CNN and FNC.


ABC's Anti-War Drumbeat


"It's no secret, now, that a great many American allies are very opposed to attacking Iraq unless the President makes a better case for it....With this many allies arrayed against an American invasion of Iraq, the question becomes, what would it mean for the United States to go it alone?"
-ABC's Peter Jennings, World News Tonight, August 21.

"Even the optimists say if it were to go on for months, if Saddam Hussein eludes capture, then the cost to the American economy is likely to be heavy."
-ABC's John Cochran, World News Tonight, August 22.

"There are legal scholars who....say it would be unprecedented, a violation of the United Nations charter, and a reversal of nearly 200 years of U.S. policy to act only in response to an attack or the immediate threat of one.'
-ABC's John Yang, World News Tonight, August 29.

"Now to the increasingly angry U.S. rhetoric against Iraq. The former South African President Nelson Mandela said today he is appalled by the U.S. threats. He said an attack would cause international chaos."
-ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, World News Tonight, Sept. 2.

"This business of attacking Iraq has been promoted so vigorously by some members of his administration, and running into such opposition, the President is now obliged to work harder at convincing people that what he wants is the right thing."
-Jennings on World News Tonight, September 4.


Dictatorship Same as Democracy


"Beyond his [President Bush's] opinion that the world will be better off [without Saddam Hussein], did he present any concrete evidence of Iraq on the verge of nuclear planning, nuclear bombs, or any other thing that would really be different than what Israel has today?"
-Question from Hearst's White House columnist Helen Thomas at the White House briefing, Sept. 4.


Jennings' One-Track Mind

"The prospect of war with Iraq caused anxiety on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down more than 355 points to close at 8308. On the Nasdaq, stocks were down 51 points. Investors expressing concern about the United States and about the state of the world in general."
-Peter Jennings on ABC's World News Tonight, Sept. 3.


"A report today that the manufacturing sector of the economy is still struggling helped to send stock prices sharply lower."
-CBS's Dan Rather on the same nights Evening News.

"The stock market sent a giant pessimistic signal after America's factory business reported new orders were not what they had hoped in August. That triggered giant sell orders."
-NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, same night.


Terrorism: Revolution of the Poor


"I think very definitely that foreign policy could have caused what has happened [last September 11]....It certainly should be apparent now -  it should be, for goodness sakes understood now, but it is not - that the problem is this great division between the rich and the poor in the world. We represent the rich....Most of these other nations of Africa, Asia and South America and Central America are very, very poor.... This is a revolution in effect around the world. A revolution is in place today. We are suffering from a revolution of the poor and have-nots against the rich and haves and that's us."
-Walter Cronkite on CNN's Larry King Live, September 9.

Conservatives Have the Real Bias

"I think we're going to see some interesting revisitations of journalistic history. For example, as the Iraq debate plays out of a war, Im hearing a lot of echoes of the early '60s, when people were saying it was unpatriotic to report the debate over Vietnam....When you look at what the conservative columnists are saying, they're expressing a perception of opinion, and they're the best witness on it."
-New York Times Executive Editor Howell Raines denying his newspaper's coverage of Iraq has been biased, on the September 3 NewsHour on PBS.


Maybe If He Was Bottle-Fed...

"My mother....was pretty anti-American. And so I was, in some respects, raised with anti-Americanism in my blood, or in my mother's milk at least."
-Peter Jennings, who was raised in Canada, on the September 6 Late Show on CBS.


Ashcroft Akin to Gestapo, SS


"One of the interesting things about this German story thats coming out is they had like 90 pages of particulars of this cell and it makes you think - they were leaving trails and clues all over the place - if we'd really been watching and paying attention we could have headed off 9/11. But the German prosecutorial system was pretty laid back and didn't want to be John Ashcroft, you know, they didn't want to be the SS, they had that worry there, no Gestapos. And so it was a great place for terrorists to operate."
-Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on the August 31 Inside Washington, referring to German surveillance of an al Qaeda group before 9/11.


U.S. War Against Human Rights

"Recovery and debris removal work continues at the site of the World Trade Center known as 'ground zero' in New York, March 25, 2002. Human rights around the world have been a casualty of the U.S. war on terror since September 11."
-Reuters News Service caption for a photo of the destroyed World Trade Center site which was distributed with a story by Richard Waddington headlined, "Rights the first victim of 'war on terror,'" September 3.

Strike Back By Driving Small Cars


"There's another form of revenge which is a little less obvious....If we were to really live well - and by that I mean being less greedy, taking better care of our poor and our needy, and stop making impossible demands on our planet's resources - I think we would plunge our enemies into shame....If we were to make sure new American cars got 40 miles to the gallon, we wouldn't need any more oil from Saudi Arabia. We could tell the Saudi royals to stuff it until they changed their ways."
-CBS's Bob Simon on Sunday Morning, September 8.

Do We Detect a Theme?

"Should the Democrats be in favor of freezing the Bush tax cut?...Would it be better to freeze, postpone, the Bush tax cut?...Why not freeze the tax cut rather than spend the Social Security surplus?...Democrats are reluctant to say, 'We have to freeze the tax cut,' because you're afraid it's politically unpopular...As part of a budget summit, would you be in favor of freezing the Bush tax cut?...But, Congressman Davis, you did come to office with a $5.6 trillion surplus, and it's gone, and a third of that can be directly attributed to the tax cut."
-Tim Russert's questions to Reps. Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Tom Davis (R-VA) on the Sept. 1 Meet the Press.


Dream Question for Democrats


"Is now the time for the President to be proposing new tax cuts, particularly ones that seem to benefit wealthy investors more than they do middle- and lower-income Americans?"
-CBS's John Roberts to Democratic party chief Terry McAuliffe on the September 1 Face the Nation.


Scolding the Founding Fathers

"The Founding Fathers did brilliantly on many things and abysmally on one. They lived in a white, Anglo-Saxon society and they did not deliver equality and justice for all. Their one great failure was race. In America, race has been the most divisive issue ever since."
-Peter Jennings introduction to the final installment of his six-part mini-series In Search of America, September 7.


Relaying Liberal Spin...

"The Senate Judiciary Committee is rejecting another one of President Bush's judicial nominees. By a 10-to-9 vote along strict party lines, Texas Supreme Court Justice Priscilla Owen's bid to step up to the appellate court was defeated. President Bush calls the vote shameful. But the move was not unexpected. Committee members contend Owen was not qualified for the position - at least the Democrats contend that."
-CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wolf Blitzer Reports, September 5.

...vs. Challenging Liberal Spin

"The 10-to-9 vote marked the first time in history the Judiciary Committee rejected a President's nominee who had received the American Bar Association's unanimous appraisal as, quote, 'well qualified' for the federal bench."
-Brit Hume on FNC's Special Report, September 5.

Wishing for a Squishier NRA

Matt Lauer: "Have you ever gotten up one morning, read the newspaper or seen the news about a particularly horrific crime or event that involved a shooting and thought even for a second, I may be on the wrong side of this issue?"
NRA President Charlton Heston: "No, I never felt that."
Lauer: "Never wavered?"
-Exchange on NBC's Today, September 5.


CNN Goes Out on a Limb

"Experts Agree: Al Qaeda Leader Is Dead or Alive."
-On-screen graphic during a story about Osama bin Laden's fate on CNN's 2pm Live From... program on September 3.