Top Story: Reagan the Airhead
"Good morning. The Gipper was an
airhead! That's one of the conclusions of a new biography of Ronald Reagan
that's drawing a tremendous amount of interest and fire today, Monday,
September the 27th, 1999."
-- Co-host Katie Couric opening Today.
"Good morning. For the first time President Bush is responding to the
controversial new biography of Ronald Reagan, and in particular the author's
assertion that Reagan was a great President, but an airhead."
-- Co-host Matt Lauer opening Today,
"I did not call him an airhead. The quote, as first published in The
Washington Post, dropped the word 'apparent' before 'airhead.'
What I said in the book that appears plainly on the page is I found him at
first an 'apparent airhead.' And the whole course of the book makes it
quite obvious that that first impression was wrong."
-- Edmund Morris, author of Dutch:
A Memoir of Ronald Reagan, September 29 Today.
Fictions Are Very Reaganesque
"The historical sleight of hand
has one virtue, aside from creating commercially valuable buzz. Trying to
thread one's way through what is made up and what is real in this book is
not unlike being around the actual Reagan, who invented statistics, replayed
movie plots as if they were history and answered questions with such
bewildering non sequiturs that interrogators were stunned into
silence....Morris is also a brilliant writer - of both fact and fiction. His
stylishness is so dazzling that the reader may want to forgive the
manipulation he has employed. Again, this re-creates the experience of being
around Reagan, who was so deeply likeable as a human being that even the most
querulous reporter could be charmed into protecting him from his own
-- Time Executive Editor
John F. Stacks, October 4 issue.
"Gun Down the 2nd
"Repealing the Second Amendment
is no cause for the faint-hearted, but it remains the only way for liberals to
trigger an honest debate on the future of our bullet-plagued society. So what
if anti-gun advocates have to devote the next 15 or 20 years to the struggle?
The cause is worth the political pain. Failing to take bold action condemns
all of us to spend our lives cringing in terror every time we hear a car
-- USA Today columnist
Walter Shapiro, September 17.
The Heartless Idiot Genius
CBS's Lesley Stahl:
"Reagan had such difficulty with the homeless. When he was President, the
country felt he was dismissive of the homeless."
Edmund Morris: "About the only time I ever got through
his epidermis was in the last month of his presidency when I said to him,
'Is there anything about your presidency you regret, Mr. President?' 'Oh
no, I've been very happy here.' But I said, 'You know, the homeless, for
example, they're all over the place.' And he said 'I don't think
that's such a serious problem.'..."
Stahl: "Was he compassionate. Did he care about
Morris: "No, I do not think he was compassionate."
Stahl: "This is character. This is important."
Morris: "It is important. I think Reagan regarded
misfortune as weakness. There was something undignified about poverty. He did
not think it was the duty of the state to do anything about poverty, but he
didn't like it, he didn't want to see it and felt the community should
take care of it."
Stahl: "You can't have admired him for that."
Morris: "No I did not."
-- Sept. 26 60 Minutes
story on Morris's Reagan biography.
Jack White: "And he was extraordinarily lucky in that he
wasn't brought down by the Iran-Contra scandal."
Columnist Charles Krauthammer: "Oh, come on."
White: "...It verged on treason. He was extraordinarily
lucky on that. He tried to turn the clock back on civil rights. There's a
whole history of problems with this guy that some of us don't join you in
the view that he's the most successful presidency."
Krauthammer: "People say he only had a single idea, he
hated communism, et cetera. Here's a man who had the subtlety, late in his
presidency, to understand Gorbachev and the opportunity he offered. Many of us
on the right attacked Reagan for being seduced by Gorbachev and we were wrong
and he was right. He ushered in the collapse of the Soviet empire, which is
the greatest achievement of the last 50 years."
Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas:
"He had kind of an intuitive idiot genius."
-- September 25 Inside
Bravely Standing for Censorship
"Well, however brave a stand
campaign finance reform may be, members of your own party have rejected it.
What's the matter with them? Why don't they get it?"
-- Good Morning America
co-host Diane Sawyer to Senator John McCain, September 27.
We Still Despise Linda Tripp
"A new broadside today against
the Clintons from Linda Tripp."
-- CNN anchor Judy Woodruff
reporting Tripp's lawsuit over the Pentagon leak of her personnel file,
Sept. 27 Inside Politics.
"I suspect a lot of people would find it the height of irony that Linda
Tripp files a suit for invasion of privacy."
"But you charge there was an attempt to smear Ms. Tripp. The only thing
that the Defense Department revealed was that she'd never committed a crime.
That seems to be rather favorable to her."
"But Mr. Kohn, the person who revealed the fact that she had committed a
crime was not the Defense Department, it was her own former stepmother."
-- Good Morning America
co-host Charles Gibson's questions to Tripp lawyer Stephen Kohn, September
Immediate Exploitation on Guns
Co-host Charles Gibson:
"I don't want to politicize this, and this is not the time for
political questions, but...do you think the 2000 campaign will largely be
Al Gore: "You said you didn't want to politicize it. I
can assure it's the last thing that I want to do, and I just don't want to
get into a discussion like that."
Gibson: "I'm just saying do you think that this is
going to be a discussion in the year 2000, this country will sit down and have
a frank discussion about guns?"
-- Exchange on the September 16 Good
Morning America, the morning after the church shooting in Fort Worth.
Raisa as Jackie and Hillary
"For Russians she was part
Jackie Kennedy, telegenic and fashionable, and part Hillary Clinton,
criticized for being too outspoken and too influential....While Raisa
Gorbachev may have been the wife of the country's last communist leader,
she'll almost certainly be remembered as the Soviet Union's first First
-- Reporter David Hawkins,
September 20 CBS Evening News.
Yippee! Unless You Root for GOP
"Confused by the news that
'Pitchfork' Pat Buchanan intends to join with 'Relic' Ross Perot's
branch of the zany Reform Party? More confused when you learn that together
they could try to tag team Jesse 'The Body' Ventura's libertarian wing
to win the party's presidential nomination? Relax. There is just one correct
response to these events: Yippee! Unless, of course, you are (a) George W.
Bush or (b) some other loyal Republican."
-- U.S. News/CBS
commentator Gloria Borger, September 27.
Bush's Pseudo-Religious Devotion
"He was looking for profundity
and he found a kind of pseudo-religious foolishness in that 'wave of
evil.' It's evil with a gun. That's what it is, and gun laws work, and
you have to support gun laws if you want to stop this."
-- Time's Margaret
Carlson on George W. Bush's reaction to the Fort Worth shooting, September
18 Capital Gang on CNN.
"Texas massacre spotlights Guv's slavish devotion to the NRA. Where's
the 'compassion,' Big Guy?"
-- Time's "Winners and
Losers" feature, September 27.
No Hateful Motives Here?
"Yet even if it [the claim that
Fort Worth shooter Larry Ashbrook mocked religion] is pious invention, it
gives a glimpse of the way some evangelical Christians, children and adults
alike, are thinking these days about the string of killings in the U.S. in
which they have been victims."
-- Time Senior Writer
David Van Biema, September 27.
"If 47-year-old Larry Ashbrook had a motive to his madness it apparently
died with him."
-- Reporter Bob McNamara on the CBS
Evening News, September 16.
"Authorities say the gunman then
entered the church sanctuary ranting anti-religious curses and opened fire on
a group of kids at a teenage prayer service..."
-- Jim Cummins on NBC Nightly
News, September 16.
ABC reporter Peggy Wehmeyer: "One witness said the
gunman appeared to be taunting Christians."
Teen Boy: "And someone pointed a gun at this man and
said your religion is all fake and he said no it's not, that I believe in
this with all my heart, basically."
Wehmeyer: "What worries many church leaders is that
active Christians are being singled out for their beliefs."
-- ABC's World News Tonight,
I'm Vice President and I'm Horny
"It may have been a bit more
than some of the 1,200 Democratic women at last week's Washington fundraiser
wanted to know about the real Al Gore. The Gores have decided that marital
bliss sells in the post-Monica era, so when Tipper called her reserved husband
to the stage, he made everyone know he was actually a tiger after hours. 'I
love it when she responds to me with her finger like that,' Gore said, 'I
-- Newsweek reporter Bill
Turque in an Oct. 4 profile of Gore.
Editors: Brent H. Baker, Tim Graham
Media Analysts: Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd,
Geoffrey Dickens, Mark Drake, Paul Smith, Brad Wilmouth
Research Associate: Kristina Sewell
Interns: Ken Shepherd
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