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Open & Shut

A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations. From the Fall 2003 issue of The News…

A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations.

From the Fall 2003 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 48.

“There is no such thing as democracy in the dark.”

— Arnold Schwarzenegger, then-California gubernatorial candidate, in a Sept. 18 speech touting his support of stronger public disclosure laws. The following day, a spokesman for Schwarzenegger admitted that all of the actor’s campaign workers were required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

“Our business is to report news, not to slam the door on it.”

— Steve Huntley, editorial page editor of The Chicago Sun-Times, in support of Robert Novak’s July 14 column in which the name of an undercover CIA agent was reported.

“There is a high level of public interest in this question, and I’m not sure I understand why everything must be kept confidential.”

— Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, on releasing reports to the public detailing the hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

“This is kind of bad news.”

— Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee, on a federal judge’s order that five reporters reveal confidential sources used in stories written about Wen Ho Lee.

“I have no idea whether we’ll find out who the leaker is, partially because, in all due respect to your profession, you do a very good job of protecting the leakers.”

— President George W. Bush, speaking with reporters after an Oct. 7 cabinet meeting.

“I think transparency in government works. Whenever you have to use a Freedom of Information request on a government body, there is no excuse. I mean what is this, national security?”

— Massachusetts State Sen. Mark Montigny, responding to reports that state officials were 33 days late in responding to FOI Act requests for environmental tests done on shellfish beds in Buzzards Bay.

“No prosecutor should have access to any reporter’s notes, no matter what the investigation is. I don’t like it when the government investigates reporter’s sources or reporters.”

— Carl Bernstein, former Washington Post reporter, on efforts by the Justice Department to uncover the source that leaked the name of a CIA agent to the press.

“It doesn’t affect you unless you’re a terrorist or a criminal.”

— FBI agent Louis Flores, in defense of the USA PATRIOT Act, at a Sept. 24 debate at California State University, Fullerton.

“It is the government’s responsibility to keep the government’s secrets secret. It is not the press’ responsibility. [O]ur basic obligation, then, is to share information with the public.”

— Washington Post columnist David Broder, on “Meet the Press” Oct. 5.

“No one believes in our First Amendment civil liberties more than this administration.”

— Attorney General John Ashcroft, in a Sept. 15 speech to the National Restaurant Association in Washington, D.C.