Quotes from the Media
1. "Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have."
-- Richard Salent, Former President CBS News.
2. "News is what someone wants to suppress. Everything else is advertising".
former NBC news prez Rubin Frank
3. "If CBS NEWS were a prison instead of a journalistic enterprise, three-quarters of the producers and 100 percent of the vice presidents would be Dan's bitches."
---Bernard Goldberg, author of Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News
4. Helen Thomas (White House Correspondent): Ari, what makes the President -- I'm taking note of his wide-swinging threats in speeches recently. What makes him think that he has the right to go into a sovereign country and bomb the people?
MR. FLEISCHER: His threats?
Helen Thomas: Any country. Yes, he's --
MR. FLEISCHER: Would you like to be more specific?
Helen Thomas: Does he think he can go beyond Afghanistan or anywhere else?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President has made it clear to the American people that the United States, in the wake of an attack on our country, will defend itself. And as a result of defending ourselves, you can see what is happening in Afghanistan. The President has said that this is a war against terrorism because terrorists continue to pose a threat to the United States and to others around the world, and that he is involved in phase one of defending this country against terrorists, and he will continue to do so.
Helen Thomas: What gives him the authority to go into other countries and bomb them, which is what he is threatening to do?
MR. FLEISCHER: The right as the Commander-in-Chief to protect and defend the American people.
5. "The real wonder is why the White House still provides press credentials to such a political activist."
--Brent Baker, Media Research Center commenting on Helen Thomas performance at White House press conference.
6. Bill O’Reilly: "I want to ask you flat out, do you think President Clinton’s an honest man?"
Dan Rather: "Yes, I think he’s an honest man."
O’Reilly: "Do you, really?"
Rather: "I do."
O’Reilly: "Even though he lied to Jim Lehrer’s face about the Lewinsky case?"
Rather: "Who among us has not lied about something?"
O’Reilly: "Well, I didn’t lie to anybody’s face on national television. I don’t think you have, have you?"
Rather: "I don’t think I ever have. I hope I never have. But, look, it’s one thing-"
O’Reilly: "How can you say he’s an honest guy then?"
Rather: "Well, because I think he is. I think at core he’s an honest person. I know that you have a different view. I know that you consider it sort of astonishing anybody would say so, but I think you can be an honest person and lie about any number of things."
Exchange on Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, May 15.
7. "You said that the air strikes are deliberately designed not to hit residential centers, but you also say that the Taliban is hiding weapons, stockpiling weapons in residential areas. Have you ruled out the possibility of dropping leaflets days in advance of an air strike to get residents out and saying, ‘This could become a military target’? Is that something, without discussing future operations, could you see that possibly coming to fruition?"
Question from an unidentified male reporter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Oct. 30 military briefing.
8. "More trouble at the nation’s amusement parks, two dozen people injured. Why won’t Congress let the government regulate those parks?"
ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas, previewing an upcoming story on the July 31 World News Tonight.
9. "The Pentagon as a legitimate target? I actually don’t have an opinion on that, and it’s important I not have an opinion on that as I sit here in my capacity right now....I can say the Pentagon got hit, I can say this is what their position is, this is what our position is, but for me to take a position this was right or wrong, I mean, that’s perhaps for me in my private life, perhaps it’s for me dealing with my loved ones, perhaps it’s for my minister at church. But as a journalist I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be."
ABC News President David Westin at a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism event on Oct. 23 shown four days later on C-SPAN.
10. "We all know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist....To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack."
Steven Jukes, global head of news for Reuters News Service, in an internal memo cited by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz in a Sept. 24 article.
11. "What an exhilarating moment it must have been for her the first First Lady in history to be elected to public office. There, for all the nay-sayers to see, was the woman who had finally come into her own, free at last to be smart, outspoken, independent, and provocative, all qualities she had been forced as First Lady, to ‘hide under a bushel.’ Still she was voted one of America’s most admired women. Just wait. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet."
End of "On My Mind" ABCNews.com commentary by ABC anchor Carole Simpson, January 7.
12. "George W. Bush was so indifferent to the world that in the years before he became President he made only two overseas trips, both for business, neither for curiosity. No wonder he wants to break the missile treaty, alienate NATO, ignore global warming and reinstall Russia and China as enemies: Those foreign countries scarcely exist in his imagination. Why go to Australia when you have the Outback Steakhouse right here at home?"
Movie reviewer Roger Ebert in a July 24 Chicago Sun-Times op-ed.
13. "Arsenic in the water. Starting up the Cold War. Make as much carbon dioxide as you like. Laugh about it. Bush has set himself up as a huge target. And the arsenic is going to be the equivalent of what your boss [Newt Gingrich] did with cutting school lunches."
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift, addressing Tony Blankley, on the McLaughlin Group, March 24.
14. "Adios, surplus. When retired boomers dine on dog food, will they say thanks for that $600?"
Newsweek’s "Conventional Wisdom" box, assigning President Bush a "down" arrow, Sept. 3 issue.
15. "On Capitol Hill, the Republican-controlled House voted mostly along party lines tonight to pass President Bush’s federal budget blueprint. This includes his big tax cut plan, partly bankrolled, critics say, through cuts in many federal aid programs for children and education."
Dan Rather on the March 28 CBS Evening News.
16. "The Bushes held their first state dinner. POTUS served buffalo meat, wore cowboy boots and welcomed Clint Eastwood. Meanwhile, the rest of America priced horse meat."
Summary of previous week’s events according to Newsweek’s "Conventional Wisdom" in the magazine’s September 17 issue.
17. "So, I’m getting less chips, paying the same amount of money. Is that legal for them to do this?"
CBS’s Julie Chen questioning Carol Foreman Tucker of the Consumer Federation of America about companies charging the same price for smaller snack food packages, January 3 Early Show.
18. Bill Maher, host of ABC’s Politically Incorrect: "I do think, if it turns out that this beautiful young girl is gone, I think, and he [Condit] is responsible in some way, you have to look to Ken Starr for a little bit of guilt."
Larry King: "Why?"
Maher: "Because, you know, Ken Starr made it so that you, in the old days, you had an affair with somebody, and you know, okay, you had an affair. The press didn’t report it. They didn’t make a political criminal case of it. Now, it’s almost like you have to get rid of them."
Exchange on CNN’s Larry King Live, July 27.
19. "The American Civil Liberties Union is very concerned about your resolution. They are saying basically that those young people who choose not to participate are targeted for harassment. And the New York City school system has a lot of people, a lot of students and perhaps even teachers who are not American citizens, isn’t that correct?"
"But part of the thinking behind some of the criticism is that perhaps maybe an addendum to a renewing of, of a symbol of patriotism that perhaps the school systems across the country really should be thinking about renewing a lesson about tolerance?"
Questions from NBC’s Ann Curry to school board head Ninfa Segarra, about having the Pledge of Allegiance recited in New York City public schools, Oct. 19 Today.
20. "What are you, a bunch of Jesus freaks? You ought to be working for Fox."
CNN founder Ted Turner on Ash Wednesday to CNN employees with ash marks on their foreheads at Bernard Shaw’s retirement party, as reported March 6 on FNC’s Special Report with Brit Hume.
21. Diane Sawyer: "Watching you and watching you cover the news over the past year, you are so much about passion for politics, and it doesn’t matter to you, I mean I really mean this."
George Stephanopoulos: "Thank you."
Sawyer: "You’ve been completely non-partisan in covering the news."
Exchange on ABC’s Good Morning America, July 24.
22. "The New York Times is middle of the road. There is no active, aggressive, important publication of the left in America. And so as a consequence, The New York Times when compared to The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page may be considered to the left of it. But to call The New York Times left-wing is absurd."
Norman Pearlstine, Editor-in-Chief of Time-Warner magazines, on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal on May 24, responding to former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg’s point that Dan Rather’s belief that the Times’ editorial page was merely "middle of the road" showed Rather’s cluelessness on the issue of liberal media bias.
23. "Since September 11, the word ‘terrorist’ has come to mean someone who is radical, Islamic and foreign. But many believe we have as much to fear from a home-grown group of anti-abortion crusaders."
Reporter Jami Floyd on ABC’s 20/20, November 28.
24. "My daughter, who goes to Stuyvesant High School only blocks from the World Trade Center, thinks we should fly an American flag out our window. Definitely not, I say: The flag stands for jingoism and vengeance and war. She tells me I’m wrong the flag means standing together and honoring the dead and saying no to terrorism. In a way we’re both right....[The flag] has to bear a wide range of meanings, from simple, dignified sorrow to the violent anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry that has already resulted in murder, vandalism and arson around the country and harassment on New York City streets and campuses."
The Nation’s Katha Pollitt in an Oct. 8 column.
25. "I do not believe the memory of the 7,000 plus people who were killed in these most horrendous acts of terrorism are honored by going out and killing other civilians. We went alone, we went alone when we bombed Tripoli at night, a crowded city where old people and children were sleeping. 1986, Reagan. We killed Qaddafi’s kid, and lots of other children. One person said, well, several people, ‘well, he’s adopted’ they said of the kid. And we got Pan Am 103, Lockerbie. Tell those loved ones, it was December 21, my birthday."
Phil Donahue on FNC’s The O’Reilly Factor, Sept. 25.