Rather: Clinton "An Honest Man"
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.
Conservatives Want It Their Way
"I think the tag, you know, somehow or another, 'he's a bomb-throwing Bolshevik from the left side' that's attached to me, is put there by people who, they subscribe to the idea either you report the news the way we want you to report it, or we're gonna tag some, what we think negative sign on you. There are people in the world that way, that, you know, part of growing up is to recognize not everybody is going to love you, and believe me, I recognize that."
- Part of Dan Rather's response to Geraldo Rivera's question "What I can't figure out is why you rub the right so wrong. What is it about you that generates such ferocious criticism from one side of the American political spectrum?"
- CNBC's Rivera Live, May 21.
No Liberals In Sight
"Democrats have been saying that [Bush's tax cut] gives too much money to the rich and a compromise is emerging that would bring it [the top rate] down to about 36 percent. Conservatives are very unhappy about that. There also appears, Peter, to be agreement on expanding the amount, increasing the amount of income covered by the 15 percent tax bracket, that's the lowest tax bracket right now. But Democrats are also pushing to add a new lower bracket, ten percent. Some Republicans are supporting that. Conservatives don't like that either."
- Linda Douglass, ABC's World News Tonight, May 9.
Outrageous Prayer Scandal
"Within the massive Justice Department, with about 135,000 employees worldwide, some who do not share Ashcroft's Pentecostal Christian beliefs are discomfited by the daily prayer sessions - particularly because they are conducted by the nation's chief law enforcement officer, entrusted with enforcing a Constitution that calls for the separation of church and state....Ashcroft declined to comment on the devotional meetings, and reporters have not been allowed to attend."
- Washington Post reporter Dan Eggen, in a May 14 front-page article headlined "Ashcroft's Faith Plays Visible Role at Justice; Bible Sessions With Staffers Draw Questions and Criticism."
Bush-Cheney Like Clinton-Gore
CBS reporter John Roberts: "For eight years, Republicans pounded Bill Clinton for his role as the fundraiser-in-chief. Tonight George W. Bush steps into the spotlight with a $20 million gala, the first mega-fundraiser of his presidency."
Scott Harshbarger, Common Cause: "It's classic business as usual. It's exactly what the Republicans criticized both Clinton and Gore for doing repeatedly."
Roberts: "Critics complain that President Bush is selling the White House the same way President Clinton did with his fundraising coffees and
sleep-overs in the Lincoln bedroom. They point to last night's party for big money donors at the Vice President's official residence."
- May 22 CBS Evening News.
"Both Democrats and watchdog groups are calling it more of the same, and tonight the President is under fire for abusing a system he promised to fix. Busloads of top contributors to the Bush campaign and the Republican Party wined and dined last night with the Vice President at his residence, government property....Political watchdog groups joined Democrats, charging the Cheney reception is no different than the Clinton White House coffees or Vice President Gore's events [video clip of Gore at Buddhist temple] that prompted an investigation."
- Reporter Campbell Brown, May 22 NBC Nightly News.
Phew! At Least the Rich Get Less
"They're going to do the right thing. They're not going to give such a break to rich people. They're not going to lower the top rates by as much as Bush would want and that's the right outcome."
- Newsweek Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas on a tax cut compromise, May 12
Yearning For Carter's Expertise
"Let me tell you what former President Jimmy Carter had to say [about Bush's energy plan]. As you know, he had to deal with an energy crisis of his own back in the 1970s. He's accused President Bush of using, quote, 'scare tactics to promote drilling on federal lands and other environmental atrocities.' So you're saying these aren't scare tactics?"
- Question from NBC's Matt Lauer to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, May 18
"But George, nobody's willing to come out and do the Jimmy Carter thing, and say, 'Tighten your belts, turn off the lights and get real here.'"
- ABC's Diane Sawyer commenting to George Stephanopoulos, May 16 Good Morning
Liberal Donation To All Mankind
"With Mother's Day coming up this Sunday, we wanted to salute the hard work, integrity and love moms show us every day, so this morning we invited three women who have made their own special contribution to motherhood and, as I said earlier, to all of mankind, in fact. Donna Dees-Thomases founded the Million Mom March...Donna, you organized the Million Mom March, and it really was such a grassroots movement of stroller moms, right? Tell me how it came about."
- Katie Couric's introduction and question to anti-gun activist Donna Dees-Thomases, NBC's
Today, May 11.
Drastic Cuts?!? We Wish!
"The Democrats have not fought back as effectively. The Lexus and the muffler, the wealth argument didn't work as well. I think what might have worked is, 'Look, government is going to end as we know it.' If the spending cuts get passed that are going to have to fund this tax cut, Republicans will get their wish. Bob [Novak] will get his wish. Government will be drastically reduced."
- Time's Margaret Carlson, CNN's Capital Gang, May 19.
"Congress is pushing toward final passage of a slightly modified version of President Bush's budget and tax cut plan. Now comes the hard part- actually putting the tax cuts into effect while making the numbers add up and holding down spending. Many critics say this plan doesn't add up, that there's no way to bankroll big tax cuts while at the same time saving Social Security, providing prescription drug coverage for seniors, and spending more on education, defense and other programs. CBS's Bob Schieffer on Capitol Hill has more tonight about a blueprint that leaves out the fine print."
- Dan Rather, CBS Evening News, May 8.
Chutzpah from Partisan & Parser
"Upfront tonight, another kind of killing: character assassination. This man, Ted Olson, could soon be at the center of the most contentious and intensely partisan Senate confirmation hearing in years [for Solicitor General], based on whether he told the truth about his ties to a viciously anti-Clinton effort called the Arkansas Project....[The tied committee vote] foreshadows confirmation hearings in the full Senate that many predict could be payback for the grossly out-of-proportion impeachment of Bill Clinton, not to mention the Supreme Court's decision to hand the presidency to George W. Bush."
- Geraldo Rivera, CNBC's Rivera Live, May 17.
"What they say is it was literally true, but misleading. And what would you say to critics who say that's just the kind of legalistic parsing that you and Mr. Olson criticized Clinton administration officials for during the Monica Lewinsky and Watergate investigations? Whitewater, excuse me."
"The Solicitor General is supposed to serve both the President who appoints him and the Supreme Court, has this special role. Is it possible then that perhaps Mr. Olson, because of his long record as a partisan, is simply too partisan for this appointment and maybe that's what Democrats are upset about?"
- Questions from ABC's George Stephanopolous to Kenneth Starr, May 20 This
Clift: "Thank God" for Democrats
"[The Republicans] want to pack the courts with their ideological favorites and accomplish on the courts what they can't do legislatively - the culture war that Pat [Buchanan] is talking about. And the Democrats, thank God, have finally gotten some spine and they're going to fight this."
- Newsweek's Eleanor Clift, May 12 McLaughlin Group.
Bias By Mistake
"I think there is a mainstream media. CNN is mainstream media, and the main, ABC, CBS, NBC are mainstream media. And I think it's just essentially to make the point that we are largely in the center without particular axes to grind, without ideologies which are represented in our daily coverage, at least certainly not on purpose."
- ABC's Peter Jennings, CNN's Larry King Live, May 15.
Dan "Woo-Woo" Rather
"So how did the train escape in the first place? Turns out the engineer meant to set three brakes as he got off in a Toledo switching yard, but one of them turned out to be the throttle. And so it was woo-woo and good-bye train."
- Imitating a train whistle, May 16 CBS Evening News.
Publisher: L. Brent
Editors: Brent H. Baker, Rich Noyes
Media Analysts: Jessica Anderson, Brian Boyd, Geoffrey Dickens,
Paul Smith, Brad Wilmouth
Interns: Ken Shepherd, Julie Hall
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