Notable Quotables - 05/18/1998
Wolf's So-Called Objectivity
"John, what is the White
House strategy right now in dealing with all of these late
breaking developments involving this so-called scandal?"
-CNN Late Edition host Wolf Blitzer to John King, May 3.
Not Another Costly Counsel!
"I can hear people out
there saying, 'What? Another one?" I mean, Brian Ross
reported that it's already cost something like $63, $73 million
for the previous six. How much is this going to cost?"
-Good Morning America host Kevin Newman to ABC legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin on the independent counsel assigned for Labor Secretary Alexis Herman, May 12.
"At a time when many
Americans are uneasy about the work of independent counsels, and
the Clinton administration is downright fed up, another counsel
appointment may be in the offing...The prospect of another
independent counsel probe may have taxpayers seeing dollar
signs. After all, in some people's minds, investigating the
Clinton administration has become a costly cottage
-CNN anchor Judy Woodruff's first two introductions on the May 11 Inside Politics, before the probe was announced.
Incivility, Put in Perspective
CBS reporter Mark
Knoller: "Dan Burton referred to the President, as
a quote, 'scumbag.' It sent the incivility index in Washington
to a new low. But the President made a strategic decision not to
respond in kind to the vulgar name-calling."
Clinton: "A President can not repair the breaches in a country, cannot unify a country, and cannot lift its vision if he takes personally personal assaults."
-CBS News Saturday Morning, April 25.
"The use of a two-syllable vulgarity by the Chairman was rather ambitious."
-Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry, April 23.
Get This Harsh, Outrageous Stand
Reporter Thalia Assuras:
"Democrats in New Hampshire walked out on the Speaker this
week because of his harsh words against the President."
Newt Gingrich: "That you have the right to know what happened if a law is broken."
-May 9 CBS Evening News.
Tonight's Special: CNN vs. Burton
"Tonight, a CNN special
report, 'Burton vs. Clinton.' Thank you for joining us. It is a
remarkable political and personal battle, even for a President
who has been under attack from Day One, even for a Congressman
known for harsh words and partisan hardball. As we will explain
in the next hour, 'Burton vs. Clinton' is about the Webster
Hubbell tapes and so much more, including Dan Burton's power,
his tactics, and even his personality."
-Judy Woodruff introducing CNN's May 5 prime time special "Burton vs. Clinton."
"Dan Burton pulled a stunt
that was so outrageous it enabled Democrats today, this week to
seize the initiative. They were able to distract attention from
Starr's campaign to build a case for a cover-up and have enabled
Democrats to try to discredit the whole investigation as
partisan and unfair. Starr and Burton and Gingrich have been
doing that all along. Their behavior has allowed the White House
to depict them as zealots and partisans out to get the
President, and Democrats hope that discredits anything they
could turn up."
-CNN political analyst Bill Schneider, same program.
"In this tale of truth,
lies and audiotapes, the media is smack in the middle of a
confusing, complicated, and constantly changing story. Critics
say journalists were too late to question being handed only a
one-hour edited version out of 150 hours of recorded jail house
conversations....News organizations argue that there is
intrinsic news value when the chairman of a major congressional
committee releases information, but there is no doubt that some
are somewhat uncomfortable with the role they played in this
episode. But are they uncomfortable enough to change the way the
media is covering this continuing saga in the nation's
-CNN reporter Linda Pattillo on the media, same program.
Media Too Scandal-Obsessed?
"At least he did
acknowledge the presence of network correspondents this time
Claire. In the last news conference he pretty much avoided all
of you. Most of the questions that did come from what we would
call the prominent members of the White House press corps had to
do with the Lewinsky scandal. Is there a possibility that he is
only building more political capital by letting you ask those
questions, batting them away and the American public beginning
to say there is a kind of obsession with the subject?"
-Tom Brokaw to NBC reporter Claire Shipman on MSNBC after Clinton's April 30 ; press conference.
Rather's "Personal Life" Spin
"President Clinton today
said little and shrugged off any similarity between a federal
court rejecting his assertions of executive privilege in the Ken
Starr investigation of his personal life, and the Richard Nixon
executive privilege claims during the crimes of Watergate. But,
President Clinton's spokesman Mike McCurry put it bluntly, and I
quote, 'In Watergate crimes were committed,' unquote."
-Dan Rather, May 6 CBS Evening News.
"In a CBS News poll out
tonight just 29 percent believe Starr is conducting an impartial
investigation of President Clinton. And 57 percent want Starr to
drop his investigation of the President's personal life."
-Rather, May 8.
Immoral House Republicans
"You're also talking to
people who are not popular because they closed the government;
they're not popular because they never came up with campaign
finance reform, which they promised - that could be a moral
issue, too, taking money from people to vote. So morality covers
a lot of areas and some of the people you're talking to have the
questionable morals themselves."
-CNN's Larry King to Focus on the Family head James Dobson, May 6 Larry King Live.
Hunt's Helping of Burton Bashing
"I think the idea of taping
a prisoner is absolutely good, desirable, should happen, and if
they say something incriminating, it ought to be used against
them by a prosecutor. But to go to what Tom Lantos said, I think
what Dan Burton did, if the Justice Department had done it, it
would have been against the law, would have made Joe McCarthy
proud. And one more point I would make is that these tapes were
selectively edited and given Dan Burton's track record, I would
not be at all surprised if we find out that some of it was done
-Wall Street Journal's Al Hunt on CNN's Capital Gang, May 2.
"I think Republicans are
doing a rendition - remember that old Zero Mostel parody Springtime
for Hitler? I think that's what they're doing. The moral
charge against Bill Clinton is being led by Newt Gingrich, the
only Speaker in history to be sanctioned for unethical conduct,
the most unpopular political figure in America. Dan Burton, the
committee chairman, now has, at least according to the Washington
Times, has his staff wearing latex gloves because he says
left-wingers are sending him condoms in the mail. His staff
aide, Mr. Bossie, most reporters I know think was a duplicitous
-Hunt, May 9 Capital Gang.
Dan Burton Plays Pinochet?
"From the outset of the
campaign finance hearings, Dan Burton has been a lightning rod
for partisanship and accusation. His adversaries say he has run
the committee with authoritarian zeal, that he's steamrolled
Democrats and shattered precedent."
-CNN Washington Bureau Chief Frank Sesno beginning a profile of Burton, May 4 Inside Politics.
Buy This Deadly Book
The Communist Manifesto
is well worth the $12 that Verso is asking. Despite the hype,
its message is a timeless one that bears repeating every century
or so: The meek shall triumph and the mighty shall fall; the
hungry and exhausted will get restless and someday - someday!
- rise up against their oppressors. The prophet Isaiah said
something like this, and so, a little more recently, did
-Time columnist Barbara Ehrenreich in an April 30 book review for the Web site Salon.
White House Disavows Hillary, Rather Disavows Republicans
"President Clinton is
sending his top Middle East negotiator, Dennis Ross, back to
Israel tonight at a crucial point in the peace process. This
amid new Republican attacks aimed at First Lady Hillary Clinton
for remarks she made yesterday telling international students
that she favors the idea of a Palestinian state. The White House
says that's just her opinion."
-Dan Rather, May 7 CBS Evening News.
For Bashing the NRA: ****
"It could easily be argued
that any movie that upsets the National Rifle Association has to
be worth something. The Long Island Incident: The True Story
of Carolyn McCarthy is worth plenty and, as it happens, will
give the NRA fits. Hooray.... News footage of Babsy's [Executive
Producer Barbra Streisand] pal Bill Clinton is included showing
him favoring the assault weapon ban. The bill passes but then a
new Congress comes in and then-Sen. Bob Dole (not shown
on-screen) vows to have the bill repealed. Dole likes to romp
around TV now, in commercials and sitcom cameos, playing the
cuddly geezer. The film is a reminder that in his day he was one
of the most vicious hatchet men ever to wield an ax in
Washington. Eventually McCarthy is entreated to run for
Congress, and though she's a Republican the Republicans are
happy with their incumbent, dull Daniel Frisa. So McCarthy runs
as a Democrat and fries Frisa in the election. You'll want to
-Washington Post television reviewer Tom Shales in a May 2 review of the May 3 NBC movie.
Bozell III, Publisher
Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham; Editors
Eric Darbe, Geoffrey Dickens, Gene Eliasen,
Steve Kaminski, Clay Waters; Media Analysts
Kristina Sewell, Research Associate
Michelle Baetz, Circulation Manager
Rebecca Hinnershitz, Karen Sanjines, Interns