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Open & Shut

A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations From the Winter 2005 issue of The News…

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

From the Winter 2005 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 40.

“He is an agenda masquerading as a man, the proverbial pompous ass and, worse, a genuine threat to freedom of speech.”

&#151 Washington Post television critic Tom Shales in a November piece about outgoing FCC Chairman Michael Powell.

“I’m a big believer in the First Amendment, but often I’m incredibly uneasy about lines we have to draw. No one takes pleasure in trying to decide whether this potty-mouth word or that potty-mouth word is a violation of the law.”

&#151 Michael Powell at a 2004 symposium on indecency.

“You must have a free press that screams and hollers and makes your life miserable.”

&#151 Outgoing Secretary of State Colin Powell in remarks to a group of college newspaper editors

“I’m hoping the federal government is not going to put me in a position where I have to tell my 6-year-old son that I’m going away.”

&#151 Time magazine’s Matt Cooper, whose criminal contempt conviction is on appeal, in an interview with The New York Times.

“They put an ‘off’ button on the TV for a reason. Turn it off.”

&#151 President George W. Bush in a January interview with C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb.

“[Kerry] Gill called me back, angrily demanding to know how I discovered his e-mail address, which he said was not supposed to be ‘public.’ It was easy &#151 he was listed on a Web site as the department’s media contact.”

&#151 National Public Radio reporter Daniel Zwerdling on the difficulty in getting information on immigrant detainees from Gill, the official spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security’s division of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“I don’t feel I’m above the law. I don’t know any reporter that does feel that they’re above the law. What we feel is that we are doing what the framers of our Constitution would want us to do. We are the watchdogs for the public.”

&#151 WJAR television reporter Jim Taricani on an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show in November before his sentencing for criminal contempt of court.

“Effective immediately, no one in the Executive Department or Agencies is to speak with David Nitkin or Michael Olesker until further notice. Do not return calls or comply with any requests.”

&#151 Greg Massoni, Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich’s press secretary, in a November e-mail to state workers about two Baltimore Sun journalists.

“It’s not a question of freedom of speech. It’s a question of incitement to violence, and we don’t see why, here or anywhere else, a terrorist organization should be allowed to spread its hatred and incitement through the television airwaves.”

&#151 State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher on the department’s declaring Hezbollah TV station Al-Manar a “terrorist” organization.

“Freedom of information may be the greatest anti-terrorist weapon in the United States’ hands, because it allows everyone to think about potential terrorist threats and design anti-terrorism safeguards.”

&#151 New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Attorney General Patricia Madrid in a letter to Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Nils Diaz protesting NRC’s decision to withhold information from the public during hearings on licensing a proposed uranium enrichment factory.

Definitions:

Pimp (n.): 1. A man who solicits clients for a prostitute. 2. In certain contexts, can be “loose, figurative, slang language” that is “intended as a compliment,” and thus not capable of supporting a defamation claim. See Knievel v. ESPN, 393 F.3d 1068 (9th Cir. 2005). Usage: “Evel Knievel proves that you’re never too old to be a pimp,” captioning a Web-published photo of him with his arms around two women.