Notable Quotables - 01/28/1997


Spoiled Spin on Tainted Meat

"A federal jury in North Carolina ordered ABC television today to pay the Food Lion supermarkets five and a half million dollars in punitive damages. That's in connection with an undercover news investigation that proved to be true...Important to note that the truth of the report was never at issue in the lawsuit, not even challenged, only the journalistic techniques."
- Dan Rather on the CBS Evening News, January 22.

Reality Check:
"Food Lion claimed 'the unedited footage provides an extraordinary look at how a network news magazine can create false impressions,' and that 'ABC producers and editors used a combination of staged events and selective editing to fit a preconceived story line and systematically fabricate a story to deceive the public.' In one specific instance, Food Lion claims that when ABC used hidden-camera footage of a Food Lion employee talking about how she had cooked a batch of out-of-date chicken, it edited out the part where she says she brought the matter up with her manager, who directed her to throw the chicken away."
- New Republic media columnist William Powers, January 20.


U.S. News Under Jim Fallows: More Liberal Bias More Often

"But there's another reason why all but nine of the 225 House Republicans backed Gingrich: deep reservations about the man next in line, the hard-right majority leader, Dick Armey. Just as Dan Quayle's lack of gravitas led many Republicans to pray for the health of George Bush, Armey's ideological stubbornness and hot-headed rhetoric inspire in his colleagues protective optimism about Gingrich....In a House brimming with mean-spirited rhetoric, Armey stands out."
- U.S. News & World Report Senior Writers Kent Jenkins Jr. and Paul Glastris, January 20 issue.


"Gore's commitment to the world of big ideas is no pose. Unlike John F. Kennedy and Adlai Stevenson, who became darlings of the highbrow set without fully earning the honor, Gore is truly engaged in the life of the mind...Had the younger Gore not become a Congressman at 28, a Senator at 36, and Vice President at 44, he might have become the sort of essayist who aspires to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters."
- U.S. News Senior Writer Timothy Noah, January 27 issue.


Absolving Clinton

"There's been a lot of talk lately, as you know, printed and so forth, about the Lincoln Bedroom and the people who stay here. And obviously a lot of them are your friends. And I don't think anybody would begrudge somebody having guests in their own house. Some of them, though, it seems apparently you didn't know quite as well. And we're wondering if you might feel let down a little bit by your staff or by the DNC in their zeal to raise funds?"
- Question from Washington Post reporters in interview published Jan. 19.


Hillary's White House Hell

CBS reporter Martha Teichner: "Health care was just the beginning. She has been the subject of a non-stop, ceaseless litany of investigations. Three at the moment being conducted by Whitewater special counsel Kenneth Starr. Speculation she may be indicted continues."
Hillary Clinton: "I expect this matter to drag out as long as it is to anyone else's advantage to drag it out and then it will end. I mean no one likes to be accused of having done anything improper or wrong. It becomes frustrating when you know that people are saying things that aren't true, but you just learn to live with it and you just go on day after day and..."
Teichner: "But how do you do that though in the climate of a non-stop four- or even eight-year bashing?"
- January 19 CBS Sunday Morning. (Teichner and Hillary were classmates at Wellesley College.)


Illegal Taping? Don't Let It Distract from Nailing Newt

"I'm not trying to minimize the offense here, though I would have to suggest that the ones of Speaker Gingrich look considerably more severe than Mr. McDermott's."
- Chicago Tribune reporter Ellen Warren on CNN & Company, January 16.

"As a political matter, the Republicans managed brilliantly on the last two weekends of television talk shows to keep the focus where they wanted....Of course, they could not have done it without the Democrats' giving them a clear field. The first weekend the Democrats had available a Time magazine article suggesting that the leadership, possibly waving campaign money, put pressure on two ethics committee members to write an extraordinary letter telling colleagues to vote for Mr. Gingrich for Speaker. The Democrats hardly brought it up. Then last weekend the Democrats effectively failed to make their case that the taped conversation, whatever its ancestry, showed that Mr. Gingrich had broken his promises to the ethics committee."
- New York Times reporter Adam Clymer, who first reported the contents of the GOP cellular phone conversation, in a January 16 "news analysis."

"The New Republic points out this week that the book [To Renew America] leans heavily on copyrighted materials developed for Newt's college course by the tax-exempt group that is at the center of his current problems. That could well be a violation of IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt organizations from transferring assets to private individuals. It also calls into question Gingrich's claim that he's no Jim Wright - the Democratic Speaker whose ouster he spearheaded - because he never sought to line his own pockets. After taxes, his royalties would have stuffed his pockets with something like $300,000 - the amount of his fine. Maybe he should hand it over. If nothing else, it would prove that even when you can't count on the rule of law in Washington, there's always poetic justice."
- Conclusion to Time Senior Editor Richard Lacayo's story, January 27 issue.


Shaw Fawns

"A very, very special day for this President when you recall that four years ago he came to this city, he was expecting so much. His mother was at his side there at the Inaugural. She passed away a year later. And when you look at what was besetting the United States, a four trillion dollar deficit, budget problems, foreign policy problems. The budget deficit now has decreased. There seems to be relative peace in Bosnia. The Middle East, the breakthrough of the Hebron agreement, a lot has gone on in four short years."
- Bernard Shaw during CNN Inauguration coverage, January 20.


God, I Admire You

"Tribe's detractors think his arrogance is finally catching up with him. 'He was his usual glib self,' one veteran practitioner sniffed after the argument. But Tribe has a lot to be arrogant and glib about. There is still no one better on his feet, no one better able to respond to questions from the justices with a fully developed and usually persuasive response. But sometimes he seems too nimble, too cerebral, too able to see contradiction and ironies and nuances light-years before the justices and other mere mortals are able to. Especially coming in the last quarter of a two-hour argument, he seemed to make the justices' heads hurt. Baryshnikov probably has had the same effect on dance aficionados - too much dazzle to take all at once. Maybe Tribe needs to slow down and simplify his routine the next time out - and dance the macarena instead of Swan Lake."
- USA Today reporter Tony Mauro in the January 13 Legal Times.


CBS: Clueless Broadcasting System

Larry King: "I'm told by our producers, that a lot of calls, so rather than make it microscopic here, are complaining about advocates being hired by television stations. [Robert] Shapiro was on one side in the Simpson trial, he's hired. [George] Stephanopoulos is now at ABC - that we're not getting balance."
Dan Rather: "I think that's a valid criticism. I'm concerned about it. Look, a Bill Moyers came out of the Lyndon Johnson White House and became one of the great journalists of all time."
King: "But a major liberal, self-confessed."
Rather: "Ah, is he? I don't want to get into that, but he was terrific. I do think, personal opinion, it's gone too far."
-Exchange on Larry King Live, January 13.


- L. Brent Bozell, Publisher; Brent H . Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
- Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen, Jim Forbes, Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
- Kathy Ruff, Marketing Director; Carey Evans, Circulation Manager; Brian Schmisek,Intern