When things began to get really bad, a group called the Media Research Center (MRC) designated itself monitor of the egregious leftism loping around in the mainstream press, mostly on television. Most of the guilty insist they are mere mainstreamers, centrists ("nobody here but us moderates") - yet surely they know better. They betray themselves when they open their mouths.
(Disclaimer: For several years I served on the MRC panel selecting the year's most egregious quotations, a role filled more recently - as in December - by a staff colleague.)
So before 2005 tracks too far, herewith a sampler of 2004 remarks by some of the nation's loftiest pressies. For obvious reasons, many of the quotes (the MRC terms them "Notable Quotables") reflect a singular bias. . .
NBC's Tom Brokaw, Aug. 31 during the Republican convention, with Sen. Susan Collins on his MSNBC show "Brokaw in New York":
You and Olympia Snowe, the other senator from Maine, are known as moderate women. You have no place in this convention. The (Republican Party) platform does not seem to speak to a lot of women in this country. It's anti-abortion, it does not expand stem cell research, and on other social issues in which women have some interest - for example, gay unions - is formally opposed to that. Do you think that this platform and this party is doing enough to reach out to moderate women across the country?
Former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite, Oct. 29, on CNN's "Larry King Live":
I have a feeling that (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. The advantage to the Republican side is to get rid of - as a principal subject of the campaign right now - get rid of the whole problem of the al-Qaqaa dump, explosive dump. Right now that, the last couple of days, has I think upset the Republican campaign.
Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales in a Jan. 21 Style section review of President Bush's 2004 State of the Union address:
The best reaction shots were those of Ted Kennedy, whose stature seems to grow right along with his nose year after year after year. Kennedy has now reached a grand moment in the life of a senator; he looks like Hollywood itself cast him in the role. Seriously . . . Kennedy looked great, like he was ready to take his place next to Jefferson on Mount Rushmore. He gives off the kind of venerable vibes that some of us got from an Everett Dirksen way back when.
Newsweek Managing Editor Jon Meacham during pre-debate coverage on MSNBC, Sept. 30:
(John Kerry) also could make a virtue, it seems to me, of the so-called flip-flopping. The greatest flip-flop in American history is Lincoln, (who) in his first Inaugural was not for emancipation and then two years later he was. Is that statesmanship or is that a flip-flop?
Former "World News Tonight/Sunday" anchor Carole Simpson, at a Nov. 8 C-SPAN-covered National Press Club forum, on her nationwide travels for ABC News talking to high-schoolers about how to interpret the news:
When you tell me, 'Let the states decide,' that scares me - OK? I've got a little map here of (the) pre-Civil War (United States), free versus slave states. I wish you could see it in color and large. But if you look at it, the red states are all down in the South, and you have the Nebraska Territories, the New Mexico Territories, and the Kansas Territories. But the Pacific Northwest and California were not slave states. The Northeast was not. It looks like the (Electoral College) map of 2004.
ABC's Peter Jennings on Dec. 14, 2003 - the day of the announcement of the capture of Saddam Hussein (Jennings said this following the MRC's compilation for 2003):
There's not a good deal for Iraqis to be happy about at the moment. Life is still very chaotic, beset by violence in many cases, huge shortages. In some respects, Iraqis keep telling us, life is not as stable for them as it was when Saddam Hussein was in power.
CBS anchor Dan Rather, in a teaser to a report on the "CBS Evening News" on March 31 - the day four American civilians were killed and mutilated in Fallujah:
What drives American civilians to risk death in Iraq? In this economy it may be, for some, the only job they can find.
San Francisco Chronicle reporter Kevin Fagan, on June 10 - five days after the death of Ronald Reagan:
Before Reagan, people sleeping in the street were so rare that, outside of skid rows, they were almost a curiosity. After eight years of Reaganomics - and the slashes in low-income housing and social welfare programs that went along with it - they were seemingly everywhere. And America had a new household term: 'the homeless.'
CBS "60 Minutes" correspondent Morley Safer, recalling Reagan June 14 on CNN's "Larry King Live":
I don't think history has any reason to be kind to him.
U.S. News & World Report Editor-at-Large David Gergen during MSNBC's live coverage following Georgia Democratic Senator Zell Miller's speech to the Republican Convention, Sept. 2:
Miller's speech was a speech of hate, it was a speech of venom. This is a man who started his political career with Lester Maddox and last night he imitated Lester Maddox. Lester Maddox, as we all know, was a segregationist, but he was a man of hate. Zell Miller is not a segregationist, not that at all. . . . (But) I grew up in the South. I've seen the face of anger. I've seen the face of hatred. . . . There are lines in politics and that speech went over the line.
Bill Moyers, March 26, on his PBS show "Now":
Even if Mr. Bush wins re-election this November, he, too, will eventually be dragged down by the powerful undertow that inevitably accompanies public deception. The public will grow intolerant of partisan predators and crony capitalists indulging in a frenzy of feeding at the troughs in Baghdad and Washington. And there will come a time when the president will have no one to rely on except his most rabid allies in the right-wing media. He will discover too late that you cannot win the hearts and minds of the public at large in a nation polarized and pulverized by endless propaganda in defiance of reality.
NBC White House Reporter David Gregory, Sept. 1 on MSNBC, prior to Vice President Cheney's address to the Republican Convention:
One of the obstacles for Dick Cheney tonight is the fact that he has become a dark figure. . . . There are those who believe that Dick Cheney has led this administration and this president down a path of recklessness, that maybe his approach, his dark approach to this constant battle against another civilization, is actually the wrong approach for ultimately keeping America safe.
Dan Rather to John Kerry, July 22, on the "CBS Evening News":
Speaking of angry, have you ever had any anger about President Bush - who spent his time during the Vietnam War in the National Guard - running, in effect, a campaign that does its best to diminish your service in Vietnam? You have to be at least irritated by that - or have you been?
CNN's Aaron Brown, Nov. 10, on "NewsNight" as he displayed a Stars and Stripes front-page photograph of U.S. troops in Iraq receiving medals:
Look at this picture here, if you can, (and the headline): 'Troops' Bravery Honored in Iraq.' These are all Purple Heart winners. Someday, one of them will run for president and someone will say they didn't earn the Purple Heart. Welcome to America.