The Media Research Center is out with another edition of our bi-weekly Notable Quotables newsletter, a compilation of the latest outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes in the liberal media. Highlights from this issue include: Network reporters contrasting left-wing union protests in Wisconsin with recent uprisings against brutal Middle Eastern dictators, and journalists suggesting a “coordinated” Republican “assault on unions,” with MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski badgering Governor Scott Walker: “How this is not an attempt to crush the unions.”
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A “Coordinated” “Assault” on Unions — “Have Governors Gone Too Far?”
“What began as a battle over one state budget is now being billed as a national assault on unions.”
— CBS’s Cynthia Bowers on the February 18 Evening News.
“Is there a coordinated Republican political agenda to this attack or this effort, this pointed effort at unions?...There are many states that have denied collective bargaining rights that also have very large budget deficits. So in some ways, it doesn’t sort of make sense, this idea that the unions really are to blame.”
— Fill-in co-host Ann Curry to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on NBC’s Today, February 23.
“We’ve seen the public employees say, ‘We’ll pay more for our health care and pensions, but you can’t take away our rights.’ Have the governors here gone too far?”
— ABC’s George Stephanopoulos to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on Good Morning America, February 23.
Fighting Dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya — and Wisconsin
“Today, we saw America’s money trouble meet a reality, a human reality, as teachers, nurses, tens of thousands of state workers took to the streets in this country protesting cuts by the governors, saying to these governors, a promise is a promise. One lawmaker looked out at the crowds gathered in the Wisconsin capital today and said it’s like Cairo moved to Madison.”
— Diane Sawyer opening ABC’s World News, February 17.
“This week: people power making history. A revolt in the Midwest and a revolution sweeping across the Middle East....Populist frustration is boiling over this week — as we’ve said, not just in the Middle East, but in the middle of this country as well.”
— ABC’s Christiane Amanpour opening This Week, February 20.
“The images from Wisconsin — with its protests, shutdown of some public services and missing Democratic senators, who fled the state to block a vote — evoked the Middle East more than the Midwest. The parallels raise the inevitable question: Is Wisconsin the Tunisia of collective bargaining rights?”
— New York Times reporters Michael Cooper and Katharine Seelye, February 19.
Scolding Walker’s “Attempt to Crush the Unions”
“So Governor, explain to us how this is not an attempt to crush the unions, given that collective bargaining is the last thing on the table? What does collective bargaining have to do with deficits and spending?”
— Co-host Mika Brzezinski to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, February 22.
Confused Clift: “Since When” Does an Elected Official Represent “the People”?
Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan: “They call it collective bargaining. It is collusive bargaining. What you’ve got, these unions put enormous amounts of money in, they get their buddy in the governor’s chair, then they get together, they cut a deal, give them a sweetheart contract and give it to the taxpayers. What this Governor, Walker, is saying, ‘Those days are over. We’ve got somebody representing the people now, and this is going to be an adversary proceeding between you folks and us.’”...
Newsweek’s Eleanor Clift: “Since when does Scott Walker represent the people? He’s representing the moneyed interests that helped him get elected — including lots of money from the Koch brothers.”
— Exchange on The McLaughlin Group, February 26.
Democratic Guest Stunned by MSNBC Host’s Absurd “Racist” Claim
Clip from RNC ad: “Stop Obama and his union bosses today. The Republican National Committee is responsible for the content of this advertising.”
Host Lawrence O’Donnell: “The Republican Party is saying that the President of the United States has bosses, that the union bosses this President around, the unions boss him around. Does that sound to you like they are trying to consciously or subconsciously deliver the racist message that, of course, of course a black man can’t be the real boss?”
Ex-Governor Jennifer Granholm (D-MI): “Wow, I hadn’t thought about the racial overtones....”
— MSNBC’s The Last Word, February 25.
America, the “Swaziland and New Guinea” of Human Rights
“And now, family leave. A new report from Human Rights Watch found 178 nations guarantee paid leave for new mothers and many new fathers — as much as 16 months in Sweden. So where does America fall? At the bottom of the list with Swaziland and New Guinea.”
— ABC’s Diane Sawyer on World News, February 23.
Dave Disputes Reality, Wants More Taxes on the Rich
Senator Rand Paul: “If you look at the income tax, the top one percent pay about a third of the income tax. The top 50 percent — those who make $70,000 and above — pay 96 percent of the income tax, so the middle class and above are paying all of the income tax....”
Host David Letterman: “Right, I think there’s something wrong with those numbers. I don’t know what it is exactly, but I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with them....I don’t think it makes sense to me. You look at these people in Wisconsin, and we’re talking about, you know, the people we’ve been talking about, why don’t we just raise the taxes and let these folks have their collective bargaining, have their union representation and go back to their jobs?”
— CBS’s The Late Show, February 24. The latest IRS data (from tax year 2008) show the top one percent of tax returns accounted for 20 percent of adjusted gross income but 38 percent of federal individual income taxes paid.
— Rich Noyes is Research Director at the Media Research Center. You can follow him on Twitter here.