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Open & Shut

From the Fall 2004 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 32. A recent collection of funny, fascinating,…

From the Fall 2004 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 32.

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

"I don't take this personally. I don't think that you personally hate me. I think what you've been doing is dangerous to free speech. I don't think just against me. I think things have gotten way out of control."

Shock jock Howard Stern to FCC Chairman Michael Powell during a radio call-in show

"There's no proof that secrecy will ensure good investments. But it's true that secrecy can conceal bad investments."

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott after ruling that information about investments that receive public money should be publicly disclosed

"Let the alert be loud and clear: Don't use this stuff."

Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute about a Bush administration video about its education law that comes across as a news story but fails to make clear the "reporter" involved was paid with taxpayer money

"In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now."

NASA scientist James Hansen to a University of Iowa audience

"I'm not going to tell you how we're going to do it, but it's going to be fair and balanced."

House Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton, R-Texas, after telling the Maximum Service Television Association that the panel will investigate accuracy and fairness of television news broadcasts


Judy Miller v. The United States


"We are very troubled at this brazen intrusion into our relationship with our sources, which is unconstitutional and endangers our free press."

George Freeman, associate general counsel for The New York Times, after the paper sued Attorney General John Ashcroft seeking to block the Justice Department from obtaining telephone records of calls between two journalists and their confidential sources



"This is really not about me. It is about the ability of all journalists to do our job by having people who trust us know that their identities will be protected if they come to us with allegations of wrongdoing or disagreement with policy." — New York Times reporter Judith Miller in an interview with The Wall Street Journal


"[T]o give meaning to the guarantees of the First Amendment and to thereby strengthen our democracy, it is now time for Congress to follow the lead of the states and enact a federal shield law for journalists. Without one, reporters like Judy Miller may be imprisoned. More important, the public will be in the dark about the actions of its elected and appointed government officials. That is not what our nation's founders had in mind."

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., chairman and publisher of The New York Times, and Russell T. Lewis, chief executive officer of The New York Times, in an Oct. 10 editorial


"I do find it absolutely, utterly amazing that Judy Miller is suddenly the poster child for the kind of reporting we want in


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in an interview with AlterNet, an Internet news publication




Freshen up (v.): When applied to a restaurant's menu offerings and the makeup on its cross-dressing wait staff, a subjective statement about taste and an expression of viewpoint concerning a need for improvement, which "logically cannot be read to imply the food served is unwholesome or fails to meet health standards." Themed Restaurants Inc. d/b/a Lucky Cheng's v. Zagat Survey, 781 N.Y.S.2d 441 (Aug. 19, 2004). Usage: "God knows 'you don't go for the food' at this East Village Asian-Eclectic rather you go to 'gawk' at the 'hilarious' 'cross-dressing' staff who 'tell dirty jokes', perform 'impromptu floor shows' and offer 'lap dances for dessert'; obviously, it 'can be exhausting', and 'weary well-wishers suggest they 'freshen up the menu and their makeup.'" 2004 Zagat Survey for New York City Restaurants