To commemorate the Media Research Center’s 20th anniversary this month, we’ve just published a special expanded edition of our ‘Notable Quotables’ newsletter with more than 100 of the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes we’ve uncovered over the past 20 years. Earlier this week, I presented quotes showing the media’s hostility towards Ronald Reagan and other conservatives, and sycophantic coverage of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Today’s installment: America the Awful. On Monday, I recounted how many journalists offered sympathetic coverage of totalitarian communist regimes. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, too many journalists opted to take a harsher approach with their own country. In a commencement address at the State University of New York at New Paltz back on May 21, 2006, New York Times Publisher Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., exposed his extreme left-wing agenda as he railed against everything he saw as wrong with America:
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way. You weren’t supposed to be graduating into an America fighting a misbegotten war in a foreign land. You weren’t supposed to be graduating into a world where we are still fighting for fundamental human rights, whether it’s the rights of immigrants to start a new life, or the rights of gays to marry, or the rights of women to choose. You weren’t supposed to be graduating into a world where oil still drove policy and environmentalists have to fight relentlessly for every gain. You weren’t. But you are. And for that, I’m sorry.”
And, of course, Rosie O’Donnell took her America-trashing routine to ABC’s daytime line-up after Barbara Walters hired her to co-host The View. “As a result of the [9/11] attack and the killing of nearly 3,000 innocent people, we invaded two countries and killed innocent people in their countries....Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America,” O’Donnell railed on September 12, 2006. [Video (0:38): Windows (1.29 MB), plus MP3 audio (199 kB)]
Then on May 17, 2007, O’Donnell insinuated American troops were terrorists: “I just want to say something: 655,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Who are the terrorists?...If you were in Iraq, and the other country, the United States, the richest in the world, invaded your country and killed 655,000 of your citizens, what would you call us?”
Immediately after 9/11, some in the media claimed their professional obligation to be totally unbiased meant that they had to give the terrorists as fair a shake as the U.S. government:
“We all know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word terrorist....To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack.”
-- Steven Jukes, global head of news for Reuters News Service, in an internal memo cited by the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz in a September 24, 2001 article.
“The Pentagon as a legitimate target?...As a journalist, I feel strongly that’s something that I should not be taking a position on. I’m supposed to figure out what is and what is not, not what ought to be.”
-- ABC News President David Westin at a Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism event on October 23, 2001 shown four days later on C-SPAN.
Soon, however, journalists began singling out the U.S. for culpability:
“Recovery and debris removal work continues at the site of the World Trade Center known as ‘ground zero’ in New York, March 25, 2002. Human rights around the world have been a casualty of the U.S. ‘war on terror’ since September 11.”
-- Caption for a Reuters News Service photo distributed with a September 3, 2002 story by Richard Waddington headlined, “Rights the first victim of ‘war on terror.’”
“I decided to put on my flag pin tonight -- first time. Until now I haven’t thought it necessary to display a little metallic icon of patriotism for everyone to see....I put this on as a modest riposte to men with flags in their lapels who shoot missiles from the safety of Washington think tanks....I put it on to remind myself that not every patriot thinks we should do to the people of Baghdad what bin Laden did to us.”
-- Bill Moyers on PBS’s Now, February 28, 2003.
“I have a feeling that it [Osama bin Laden’s new videotape] could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I’m a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, that he probably set up bin Laden to this thing.”
-- Former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite on CNN’s Larry King Live, October 29, 2004.
“I just want to say: Who are we? We are people who have always been for inspections of prisons, for some degree of human rights, and now we’re defending neither.... We have now violated everything that we stand for. It is the first time in my life I have been ashamed of my country.”
-- NPR’s Nina Totenberg discussing secret CIA prisons for captured terrorists, Inside Washington, November 4, 2005.
“I don’t support our troops....When you volunteer for the U.S. military...you’re willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism....I’m not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn’t be celebrating people for doing something we don’t think was a good idea.”
-- Los Angeles Times columnist and former Time staff writer Joel Stein in a January 24, 2006 column.
“Some people who hated Americans set out to kill a lot of us and they succeeded [on 9/11]....We’re trying to protect ourselves with more weapons. We have to do it, I guess, but it might be better if we figured out how to behave as a nation in a way that wouldn’t make so many people in the world want to kill us.”
-- CBS’s Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes, September 10, 2006.
Tomorrow’s edition: A potpourri of media idiocy. To read the full issue, and watch any of the 50 video clips that accompany the issue, please visit www.MRC.org.