A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations
From the Spring 2006 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 32.
“What are you [journalists] thinking, reporting on NSA wiretapping or secret prisons in Eastern Europe? Those things are secret for a very important reason — they’re super depressing.”
— Comedian Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents Dinner April 29.
“I think what they did is worthy of jail.”
— Conservative commentator William Bennett on April 18 in reaction to Pulitzer Prizes being awarded to Dana Priest of The Washington Post for reporting about the CIA’s secret prisons in Europe and James Risen and Eric Lichtblau of The New York Times who exposed domestic spying by the National Security Agency.
“He says we should go to jail because we have damaged national security, but he hasn’t made the case that we have actually damaged national security. So either we didn’t damage national security and this is part of a campaign to intimidate the media into not reporting things, or he knows something that is classified and he’s in the same boat we are.”
— Dana Priest of The Washington Post in response to Bennett’s comment in Editor & Publisher April 20.
“I don’t have a problem with the public knowing. It’s a law. Anytime you are involved with something that is regulated by government, it’s all public record.”
— Mark Edelsheiser, owner of a convenience store in Ottumwa, Iowa, in a Feb. 24 Des Moines Register story about information the newspaper requested from the Iowa Lottery.
“This administration has engaged in secrecy at a level we have not seen in over 30 years.”
— David Gergen, White House adviser to Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan and Clinton on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” March 5.
“Under the government’s theory, in fact, countless conversations and publications that take place every day are criminal acts. “
— March 23 Washington Post editorial on the government’s prosecution of two former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
“I can say categorically that the vast majority of all the information squirreled away behind the classification stamp has nothing to do with national security. Nothing. You could throw 90 percent of it out the windows up and down Pennsylvania Avenue and nothing of value to national security would be lost.”
— Hodding Carter, State Department spokesman from 1977 to 1980, now with the University of North Carolina, in a keynote speech for National FOI Day, March 16.
“I don’t want the Feds poking around in my files after I die.”
— Reporter-commentator Daniel Schorr in a May 5 column in The Christian Science Monitor about the FBI seeking to search the files of the late journalist Jack Anderson.
“I don’t think we ought to go to Congress, which we cover, and like other lobbyists, try to get a law which benefits us.”
— Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus on a proposed federal shield law at a May 8 journalism program at Stanford University.