"As for The Lost Empire, Confucius says skip it."
-Howard Rosenberg, The Los Angeles Times, on the shortcomings of NBC's glossy two-parter.
"Had Tauzin and company really tried to censor or intimidate the networks, that would have been interesting, but it is damn near impossible to imagine. As a comprehensive report on media lobbying by the Center for Public Integrity demonstrates, when it comes to mutual back-scratching, the primates in the National Zoo have nothing over the networks and Congress."
-Eric Alterman, The Nation, on the travesty of recent Tauzin-led hearings in Congress on the networks' election-night debacle. According to a CPI report, the Louisiana representative received more PAC money from media companies than any other candidate.
"Once, they could ignore teenagers, figuring that they would watch the networks because they had no choice. The changes in the past decade have left those executives feeling rather like children after a visit to the planetarium, realizing that they are not the center of the universe but only a speck in the cosmos."
-Julie Salamon, The New York Times, on the problem facing advertisers and executives at the networks due to the unpredictable habits of 12- to 17-year-olds.
"That's not true. I didn't do sleaze. There were times that I did things that were a little sleazy, but I didn't do shows on my neighbor's collie dog having sex with my neighbor's wife."
-King of '80s trash TV Morton Downey Jr., speaking in 1998 on the distinction between him and Jerry Springer. Downey died last week. Excerpted from The Baltimore Sun.
"According to another student, Murdoch noted that, with the exception of a single donation in his native Australia, he never made political contributions before he acquired American media properties. Of course, he learned pretty quickly how to gain access to politicians in the U.S."
-Peter Keating, on Salon.com, covering the media baron's question-and-answer session with Columbia School of Journalism professor Al Gore.
"Let's face it: Some kids are just knuckleheads who would set themselves on fire or pounce on a toddler even if all they ever watched was Rugrats. But when a kid's behavior becomes dangerous to them or their playmates, somebody has to take the fall."
-Cheryl Everette, Gist.com, on assigning responsibility when reality allegedly imitates TV.
"TV has not gone through a major consolidation yet. Just wait until the Federal Communications Commission lifts the limits on station ownership. It's going to look like radio's game of monopoly all over again."
-KWGN Denver General Manager Derek Dalton, as excerpted from an interview with Joanne Ostrow, Denver Post.
"George W. validates the indignation I have always felt when asked to omit my middle initial-most memorably on one occasion when producers were trying to shorten a television news script. Looking for a word here or there that could be sacrificed, they finally suggested I drop the 'R' in my signoff, Irving R. Levine. I held my ground. 'No,' I said, 'I'd rather drop the 'B' in NBC.'"
-Irving R. Levine, The New York Times.
"First Will & Grace, now Will & Guido."
-Howard Rosenberg, The Los Angeles Times, on Italian-American stereotyping in CBS comedy Some of My Best Friends.
"51 million viewers were watching The Mole, JAG, Three Sisters and Titus on ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. The minute the four networks switched over to the interior of the House for Bush's speech, they lost 15 million viewers."
-Richard Stengel in Time.