Bites of Quayle
During the August 23 Nightline Ted
Koppel drove home the media's case against the Indiana Senator:
"Quayle and his supporters throw a protective arm around the
National Guard as though the institution itself were under attack. It,
of course, is not. He and his apparent mediocrity and hypocrisy
On the Op-ed page of the September 1
Wall Street Journal NBC News President Michael Gartner offered his
assessment of Quayle: "His academic record is mediocre, his memory
(just how did he get into the National Guard?) is mediocre, his honesty
(he fudged his resume) is mediocre and his judgement (who would go off
on a golfing weekend, however innocent, with two pals and a female
"The fact of the matter is that I've
always said that I.Q. is a small part of the political world," San
Francisco Examiner Washington reporter Christopher Matthews charged
on the Sept. 17 McLaughlin Group. Matthews went on to blast
Quayle: "The minute he speaks his own mind, he reminds us of why
Lady Di isn't allowed to talk, the guy has nothing to say and when he
speaks it's frightening."
Referring to a couple misstatements
Quayle made, Matthews claimed: "He apparently doesn't know the
Holocaust occurred off this continent, he thinks it occurred on this
continent. He doesn't know it occurred in this century...He explains his
military policy in Europe on the basis of what Bobby Knight believes.
What can he do? Can he talk or think? Which one can he do?"
Just a few days before CBS This
Morning viewers saw Matthews, identified only as the show's
"political columnist," smirk and snicker through a report he
delivered on the same subject. CBS, however, failed to warn its audience
that Matthews is a former top aide to retired House Speaker Tip O'Neill.
Media overkill provoked a response from Washington
Post Ombudsman Richard Harwood who sharply criticized the staff of
his paper. "We had insufficient hard evidence at the beginning to
justify the excessive coverage that emanated from New Orleans. We were
late in working the records offices and officers in both Indiana and the
Pentagon. As a result, we published tentative and contradictory
information and hearsay," he wrote.
In an internal memo obtained by The
Washington Times, he continued: "It was not an issue in the
presidential campaigns of Gephardt, Hart, or Biden. It has not been made
an issue in the case of Dukakis who found refuge at Swathmore while tens
of thousands of World War II veterans were called back to pump it
through the paddies and mountains of Korea."
Most Americans agreed. A Gallup Poll
found 55 percent believed news organizations treated Quayle unfairly.
Maybe they agreed with what Senator Alan
Simpson concluded: "What is really hypocrisy, as I hear that word
bandied about, is to watch some pontifical powdered poop asking Dan
Quayle questions and know that that person was hiding out during the
Vietnam war carrying a Viet Cong flag."
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