Russell Baker Quotes

russell baker quotes



Like all young reporters - brilliant or hopelessly incompetent - I dreamed of the glamorous life of the foreign correspondent: prowling Vienna in a Burberry trench coat, speaking a dozen languages to dangerous women, narrowly escaping Sardinian bandits - the usual stuff that newspaper dreams are made of.


Those who remember Washington's cold war culture in the 1980s will recall the shocked reactions to Reagan's intervention. People interested in foreign policy were astonished when in 1985 he met alone at Geneva - alone, not a single strategic thinker at his elbow! - with the Soviet Communist master Gorbachev.


You can always tell folks from nonfolks. Folks like to feel good, like to smile for the camera when there's a big photo opportunity for a really good cause.


Gerald Boyd was a classic specimen of the self-made man. Born poor, he worked and studied his way up out of poverty under the guidance of his widowed grandmother.


Letter writing was clearly important to Reagan. Even as president he kept dashing off letters to friends, pen pals, media people, statesmen, critics, and the kind of people who write to presidents never expecting a reply.


Roosevelt's declaration that Americans had 'nothing to fear but fear itself' was a glorious piece of inspirational rhetoric and just as gloriously wrong.


Situation comedy on television has thrived for years on 'canned' laughter, grafted by gaglines by technicians using records of guffawing audiences that have been dead for years.


Strategic thinkers were naturally rattled to find this outsider fooling around with their work. They had been thinking strategically when Reagan was just another movie actor playing opposite a chimpanzee, for heaven's sake. They think Reagan is too naive, too innocent, to grasp the intellectual complexities of cold war strategy.


A skillful playwright might have a good time with the story of the assassination of President William McKinley, and especially with the three most flamboyant political figures involved: Mark Hanna, Theodore Roosevelt, and Emma Goldman.


It is fitting that yesteryear's swashbuckling newspaper reporter has turned into today's solemn young sobersides nursing a glass of watered white wine after a day of toiling over computer databases in a smoke-free, noise-free newsroom.


A group of politicians deciding to dump a President because his morals are bad is like the Mafia getting together to bump off the Godfather for not going to church on Sunday.


Inanimate objects can be classified scientifically into three major categories; those that don't work, those that break down and those that get lost.


When sudden death takes a president, opportunities for new beginnings flourish among the ambitious and the tensions among such people can be dramatic, as they were when President Kennedy was killed.


An educated person is one who has learned that information almost always turns out to be at best incomplete and very often false, misleading, fictitious, mendacious - just dead wrong.


Few expected very much of Franklin Roosevelt on Inauguration Day in 1933. Like Barack Obama seventy-six years later, he was succeeding a failed Republican president, and Americans had voted for change. What that change might be Roosevelt never clearly said, probably because he himself didn't know.


My natural instinct after doing something shameful is not to rush into the street boasting about it but to put on dark glasses and head for the next county, hoping nobody notices I've been in the neighborhood.


A man writing a letter is a man in the act of thinking, and it was an exercise Reagan obviously enjoyed. After his first meeting with Gorbachev, for example, he sent a 'Dear Murph' letter about it to his old friend George Murphy, a former senator and actor who had once played Reagan's father in a film.


There is a growing literature about the multitude of journalism's problems, but most of it is concerned with the editorial side of the business, possibly because most people competent to write about journalism are not comfortable writing about finance.


Children rarely want to know who their parents were before they were parents, and when age finally stirs their curiosity, there is no parent left to tell them.


It's always seemed odd to me that after a group of terrorists commits a vile and odious deed they rush messages to the public to claim credit for it.




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