The Corner

What About Totenberg?

A commenter on my previous post notes “Nina Totenberg is still employed” at NPR. She is the legal affairs correspondent for NPR. Unlike Totenberg, Juan Williams was a news analyst; his job specifically gave him leeway to voice his opinion. NewsBusters has documented some of Totenberg’s greatest hits throughout the years. Note that she made these comments as a panelist on “Inside Washington,” a syndicated television show. Apparently, they all hew to NPR’s principles and ethics:

On Jesse Helms: “I think he ought to be worried about what’s going on in the Good Lord’s mind, because if there is retributive justice, he’ll get AIDS from a transfusion, or one of his grandchildren will get it.”

On Sam Alito: “I think that’s right. You know, they picked a woman, probably a nice woman, a woman you might hire if you were in a corporation but who had no constitutional law experience whatsoever and did things in successive weeks that each time made her look less and less qualified. And then, of course when she gets dinged, then we go back, as Ruth Marcus said, to some white guy.”

On the Bush administration: “People in administrations make short-term decisions, and I think the one to sort of go on the offensive publicly against Fox was not too bright. Now, the Bush White House did that, it just cut people dead, it froze them out, you know it froze whole institutions out, didn’t talk about it. It was much more like the Mob. When you talk about it, you diminish your influence.” 

On the Tea Parties: “Well, you know, I don’t know whether this really has any legs are not. You have to remember that at almost any given time any cockamamie proposition in America will have at least 25 percent of those polled supporting it. It was a good stunt. Whether the stunt really is more than a stunt remains to be seen. Obviously there are people who don’t like paying taxes, among them, probably some people at this table and certainly a certain individual whom I share a bed with doesn’t like paying taxes at all.”

On the Bush tax cuts: “Well, there are some relatively minor tax cuts and fixes in the first part of the week and then came the big benefit for investors in capital gains and all of that. Now, you know, I would benefit from that. Probably everybody here would benefit from that, but I just think it’s immoral to do that, not to mention fiscally irresponsible, when you’re cutting people who have nothing — from children off of Medicaid and mothers who depend on childcare losing the childcare and can’t work. And then what do they do? Go back on welfare? I mean, it is, it’s, I just think it’s immoral.”


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