A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations
From the Spring 2008 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 40.
“I was being charged with the crime of ‘committing journalism.’”
— New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak, who was jailed in Zimbabwe where he was reporting on the country’s elections.
“When the courts and the prosecutors go after a reporter’s livelihood long after she has left the story, it shows a level of contempt for journalists’ principles, but more importantly for the public’s right to know.”
— Paul K. McMasters, a leading First Amendment expert and former ombudsman at the Freedom Forum, referring to former USA Today reporter Toni Locy.
“I think the case is more than Bilal Hussein. He was part of a much larger issue, which is who is going to control the flow of information from the battlefield.”
— Attorney Paul Gardephe speaking about the Associated Press photographer who was held for more than two years by the U.S. military.
“Simply put, defendant may not evade judicial scrutiny by failing to publish its labyrinthine process for reviewing FOIA requests.”
— U.S. District Judge Robert Brack in a case brought by an activist group against the National Nuclear Security Administration.
“It’s not just the New York Times and Washington Posts of the world that are facing subpoenas.”
— University of Arizona law professor RonNell Andersen Jones, author of a new study, which found a sharp increase in the number of subpoenas seeking confidential information from news outlets and journalists.
“This is the selective control of information that led us into the war in Iraq. And then we don’t get all of the information at the briefings that are even in the newspaper reports, which sometimes are a lot more accurate and more comprehensive.”
— Rep. Gary L. Ackerman (D-N.Y.)
“If you’re going to start taking pictures of me, you’re liable to get shot.”
— Chairman of one of the country’s biggest coal mining companies, Don Blankenship of Massey Energy, told an ABC News reporter before grabbing the reporter’s camera.
“You can’t threaten the readers of an American newspaper.”
— Michael Lacey, executive editor of Village Voice Media, which owns the Phoenix New Times.
“I know that the press that disclosed security secrets that should have remained so also revealed the disgrace of Abu Ghraib, a disgrace that made it much harder to protect the American people from harm. Thus, despite concerns I have about the legislation, I have narrowly decided to support it.”
— Arizona Sen. John McCain, explaining his decision to support federal shield law legislation.
“If you guys want to see my e-mails, come on by. … Anyone who writes an e-mail should figure it’s going to be published on the front of The New York Times, and if they don’t want it published there, then don’t write the e-mail.”
— Bill Graham, an attorney and Republican candidate for governor of North Carolina.
“Privacy trumped open government.”
— Bill Rogers, executive director of the South Carolina Press Association, commenting on the passage of a new law that exempts names of concealed weapons permit holders from the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
“Yeah, I took the photos but I didn’t make it worldwide.”
— Lynndie England, the public face of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, told a German news magazine about why she blamed the media for the controversy.