A recent collection of funny, fascinating, nonsensical or just notable newsworthy quotations
From the Winter 2007 issue of The News Media & The Law, page 48.
“If the government wins in this case, every reporter’s notebook will be available to the government for the asking.”
— Eve Burton, general counsel for Hearst Corp., on the case that may land two San Francisco Chronicle reporters in prison, in The New York Times.
“Here, a student allegedly walked into an unlocked room between the locker rooms at the high school and encountered one teacher on top of the other with one of the teacher’s bare buttocks showing. For the teachers involved and the school district to even entertain the idea that the teachers retained a subjective privacy interest . . . is patently ridiculous.”
— Montana Supreme Court Justice James C. Nelson in a Dec. 12 dissenting opinion regarding two teachers who said an investigation should be withheld from a newspaper for privacy reasons.
“I’m not representing The New York Times. I’m perfectly happy to throw them overboard.”
— Michael Carvin, attorney for Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), in an Oct. 31 hearing. Boehner has sued Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), who disclosed to the Times a tape of an intercepted phone call involving Boehner.
“It’s aimed at scuzzball reporters who have not a shred of human decency.”
— Virginia state Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, proposing a bill to allow charges against reporters who enter private property to report on deaths and other traumatic events.
“I never heard of such a gratuitous, wholesale attack on the press.”
— Virginia state Sen. Henry Marsh about the failed reporter-trespass bill.
“National security must be above politics. In a democracy, transparency in government has to be honored and protected. To classify information for reasons other than the safety and security of the United States and its interests is a violation of these principles.”
— Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann, introducing a Dec. 22 Op-Ed in The New York Times partially redacted by a CIA review board at the White House’s request.
“We’re suggesting there’s been a tear in the First Amendment right now, and it’s widening.”
— Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), speaking about federal shield legislation he has co-sponsored to the Wall Street Journal.
“It’s like they don’t understand dialogue in public is fundamental to building consensus even if it means getting jabbed when you go in the wrong direction.”
— Washington Post reporter Dana Priest, about the Bush administration, in Quill.
“Public records are for the public, not for providing cover for informants.”
— Miami attorney Thomas Julin in a Miami Herald article revealing prosecutors and judges altered official court records to hide the felony convictions of two informants.
“We owe you information that’s accurate, to the extent we have it. And of course, we don’t always have accurate information. We need to try to be precise when we’re not certain.”
— Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in a Jan. 18 speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
“Let’s see if we can keep from doing this, its’s [sic] just a witch hunt. He can do that, but let’s not assist, if we can help it.”
— Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez, in an e-mail mistakenly sent to a Dallas Observer reporter instead of to Valdez’s legal adviser, after the reporter requested copies of internal affairs complaints of four sheriff’s department employees.
“I have almost been killed in Iraq 20 or 30 times — really almost killed. I’ve lost count. Do these people really believe that we were all risking our lives for some political agenda?”
— Dexter Filkins, a former Iraq war correspondent for The New York Times, in Nicholas Kristof’s Nov. 28 column.
“I appreciate that the presses rolled on this and as my father would have said, ‘When the media shines the light on the government’s wrongdoing, the cockroaches go scurrying for cover.'”
— Kevin Anderson, son of late journalist Jack Anderson, speaking after the FBI dropped its requests for the elder Anderson’s papers to the Deseret (Salt Lake City) Morning News.