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Open & Shut

A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations From the Fall 2006 issue of The News…

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

From the Fall 2006 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 32.

“I think they were probably sincere in their anxiety that publicizing this program might jeopardize it. And, you know, that’s all fair, but when they stir up a partisan hatefest and impugn your integrity and patriotism, that is, to borrow a word from the White House list of talking points, disgraceful.”

Bill Keller, executive editor of The New York Times, on the Bush administration’s reaction to the Times story about a government program to monitor international bank transfers, in the Sept. 18 issue of New York magazine.


“Taxpayers have a right to know where that money is going, and you have a right to know whether or not you’re getting value for your money.”

President Bush, signing into law a bill that will create a Web site listing government grants and contracts on Sept. 26.


“Personnel. It’s a word we hear all of the time, but if you read the Open Meetings Law from beginning to end, if you read the Freedom of Information Law from beginning to end, it’s not there. It has become a catchall, it’s a trap, it is crap.”

Robert Freeman, executive director of the New York State Department of State Committee on Open Government, speaking Sept. 7 about the withholding of records that are ‘personnel matters’ to the office of the Lockport (N.Y.) Union-Sun & Journal.


“Every leak is a victory for our enemies who plot to kill us, because we tell them something about our knowledge, our intelligence capacity and our perspective on their capability.”

National Security Adviser Frances Fragos Townsend during a Sept. 26 press briefing, after portions of the National Intelligence Estimate were leaked to the media.


“We find that the supervising judge’s approach is not sufficient to address the potential chilling effect referenced by the newspapers, as the unavoidable effect is that the essential ‘filing cabinets’ of the newspapers are transferred to the custody and control of the executive branch of government.”

Justice Thomas G. Saylor, writing for the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, ruling Oct. 6 that the state attorney general did not justify the need to seize computers of reporters for the Lancaster, Pa., Intelligencer Journal.


“I would also like to say something I know Terry would have wished me to say: Independent, unilateral reporting, free from official strictures, is crucial; not simply to us as journalists, but to the role we play in a free and democratic society.”

David Mannion, editor in chief of British broadcaster ITN, after a coroner concluded Oct. 13 that the death of reporter Terry Lloyd during the Iraq invasion was unlawful.


“I cannot and will not betray the promises I have made over the past three years. It is not, as our chief legal counsel likes to say, in our DNA. If I were to break those promises, I would be tossing aside everything that I believe as a journalist and a person of integrity.”

Mark Fainaru-Wada, a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, to the court on Sept. 21. Fainaru-Wada and a colleage face jail for refusing to divulge their sources.


“The power wielded by the major multi-national corporations is enormous and growing. The freedom to criticise them may be at least as important in a democratic society as the freedom to criticise the government.”

Baroness Hale of Richmond of Britain’s House of Lords in her Oct. 11 opinion, ruling in favor of the Wall Street Journal Europe in a libel lawsuit.


“The only way accountability doesn’t exist is if you believe that the military is not committed to it, and that the people involved in the program are not committed to it.”

White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, answering questions Oct. 16 about how the public can be sure new interrogation guidelines are being followed.