Notable Quotables: Blasting 'Ugly' 'Fear Talk' on Syria

November 23rd, 2015 8:57 AM

Now online: the November 23 edition of Notable Quotables, MRC’s bi-weekly compilation of the latest outrageous quotes in the liberal media. This week, journalists echo the Obama line on Syrian refugees, blasting Republicans for their "ugly" "fear talk," even as FNC anchor Shepard Smith scolds the "collective freak-out....We cannot resort to the tactics of the barbarians."

Meanwhile, ABC's Jon Karl confronts GOP candidate Ted Cruz: "You don't think it's un-American to say, only Christians, no Muslims?" And Scott Pelley scolds new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan for saying Obama is untrustworthy on immigration: "That's not wiping the slate clean. That's blowing chalk dust in the President's face." Highlights are posted below; the entire issue is posted online with 22 quotes at

Blasting GOP’s “Extreme,” “Ugly” “Fear Talk” on Syria

“The collective freak-out is on....Sometimes in the fog of terror, we forget what we believe in. We as individuals and collectively sometimes, we follow extreme forces within our own political system towards self-destruction....We cannot resort to the tactics of the barbarians....We must not let the rhetoric of potential and political extremists among us lead us to self-destruction.”
— Fox News anchor Shepard Smith on his November 16 Shepard Smith Reporting, discussing those who oppose more Syrian refugees coming into the U.S.

Anchor Lester Holt: “Heightened fears in the U.S. over Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks led the House to approve a bill today that would virtually halt all Syrian refugees from coming into the U.S. As NBC’s Andrea Mitchell shows us, the Republican frontrunners drummed up the fear talk today to a new level.”
Correspondent Andrea Mitchell: “Today, the fear about Syrian refugees got ugly on the campaign trail....”
NBC Nightly News, November 19.

“House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees. Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish.”
— Tweet from CNN global affairs correspondent Elise Labott, November 19. Labott later apologized and was suspended for two weeks.

Bashing Ted Cruz as “Un-American” for Syrian Response

“Presidential candidate Ted Cruz told ABC News today that he is pushing legislation to ban any Syrian refugees who are Muslim from coming into the United States....[To Cruz] You don’t think it’s un-American to say, only Christians, no Muslims?”
— Chief White House correspondent Jon Karl on ABC’s World News Tonight, November 17.

Stop “Blowing Chalk Dust” in Obama’s Face

“On your first day as Speaker, you said you were going to wipe the slate clean. And then in your very first news conference, you said the President has, quote, ‘proven himself untrustworthy on immigration.’ That’s not wiping the slate clean. That’s blowing chalk dust in the President’s face.”
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan on 60 Minutes, November 15.

Barack Obama = Nelson Mandela

“I think it [fighting climate change] is part of his four, five legacy pieces he’s going to be campaigning on the rest of his life....That and the opening in Cuba and health care, a lot of it a part of who he wants to be around the world: the next Mandela....I think he’s going to live in New York as a launching pad for a world figure. That’s my theory of Obama.”
— MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on the November 9 Hardball.     

MSNBC Attacks Republican “Radicals” and “Cuckoo” Economics

“But they were living in cloud cuckoo land when you actually look at the economics....It’s not even supply side economics. It’s right-wing cuckoo economics. And they’re all essentially talking about economics in ways that are out of touch, not only with political reality, but with what would happen with this country if their plans were enacted....They are radicals who want, you know, radical change in the American system.”
— MSNBC analyst Jonathan Alter appearing on The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell to comment on economic plans offered by Republican presidential candidates, November 10.

Snowden Missed Out on NYT “Back Massage”

Host Charlie Rose: “Suppose Edward Snowden had gotten on the phone to you?”
New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet: “I would have met him anywhere. I would have given him a back massage. I would have done whatever he wanted....I think Edward Snowden’s revelations were really important to an international debate and I wish they had been in The New York Times first.”
— Exchange on the November 9 Charlie Rose on PBS.

Katie Rues: Job of Abortionist Now “Harder Than Ever”

“The [undercover] videos inflamed already passionate critics, making it harder than ever for the organization to do its job. How tough is it to find clinicians who are willing to work at Planned Parenthood clinics and what kinds of challenges do they face?”
— Yahoo! global news anchor Katie Couric to Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, November 10.

Current GOPers Make Ronald Reagan “Look Like Abbie Hoffman”

“Generally, this field I feel, makes...Ronald Reagan look like Abbie Hoffman and Herman Cain look like Winston Churchill. But there were some competing voices from Rand Paul and Kasich was certainly agitated and seemed to try and, you know, bring the clown car under control, I thought.”
— Former West Wing actor Bradley Whitford on a post-debate edition of MSNBC’s Hardball, November 10.

To read the entire November 23 edition of Notable Quotables, please visit