Friday, April 05, 2002


Bryant Gumbel will leave morning TV, ending 17 years of ante meridiem arrogance. His most recent gig brought the CBS "Early Show" from third place to, well, third place. The reason he won't be back is that this champion of the poor and downtrodden couldn't get the raise he asked for (he currently makes somewhere between $5 million and $6 million, according to Reuters). He will continue to host his HBO sports show.

In memoriam, here are some of Gumbel's more profound "fair and tough" comments (courtesy of the Media Research Center, which features video clips of Gumbel's comments):
Number 1: "This comes at a time when Republicans are looking to gut the Clean Water Act and also the Safe Drinking Water Act. What are our options? Are we now forced to boil water because bottled water is not an economically feasible option for a lot of people?" -- To Natural Resources Defense Council lawyer Erik Olson, June 1, 1995 Today.

Number 2: "Largely as a result of the policies and priorities of the Reagan administration, more people are becoming poor and staying poor in this country than at any time since World War II." -- July 17, 1989 Today

Number 3: "And Kathleen Willey also spoke about Linda Tripp, a Clinton-basher who seems to be at every ugly turn in this controversy. Tripp was outside the Oval Office when Willey emerged from her encounter with the President. Just how is it that Linda Tripp is so often conveniently involved in the President�s troubles? For some clues let�s bring in The New Yorker�s Jane Mayer, who has profiled the controversial Miss Tripp in this week�s issue. You write that co-workers often viewed her as an inveterate busybody. Has she always been a snoop and a gossip with a particular interest in other people�s romantic lives?" -- On Public Eye, March 17, 1998.

Number 4: "The bottom line is more tax money is going to be needed. Just how much will be the primary issue on the agenda when Congressional leaders meet with the President later today, Wednesday, May the 9th, 1990. And good morning, welcome to Today. It�s a Wednesday morning, a day when the budget picture, frankly, seems gloomier than ever. It now seems the time has come to pay the fiddler for our costly dance of the Reagan years." -- Leading off Today, May 9, 1990.

Number 5: "In the first two years this is a man [Clinton] who tried his best to balance the budget, to reform health care, to fight for gay rights, to support personal freedoms. Couldn�t those be considered doing the right things, evidence of true character?" -- To David Maraniss, MSNBC�s InterNight, October 10, 1996.

Number 6: "Do you give Bill Clinton credit for addressing serious issues that went untouched for 12 years -- deficit reduction, gun control, world trade, health care. He has certainly taken on tough issues, and made them not a question of if, but how much." -- To Mother Jones Editor Jeffrey Klein, January 7, 1994, Today.

Number 7: "We keep looking for some good to come out of this. Maybe it might help in putting race relations back on the front burner after they�ve been subjugated so long as a result of the Reagan years." -- On the Los Angeles riots, April 30, 1992, Today.

Number 8: "Scott, as you and I both know, a popular move these days is to make a titillating charge and then have the media create the frenzy. Given Kenneth Starr�s track record, should we suspect that he�s trying to do with innuendo that which he has been unable to do with evidence?" -- To CBS News reporter Scott Pelley, January 21, 1998, Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel.

Number 9: "If I�m a young black man in South Central L.A., where poverty is rampant and unemployment is skyrocketing, I see that Washington�s promises of a year ago have gone unfulfilled, I see that perhaps for a second time, the court�s inability to mete out justice in a blind fashion, why shouldn�t I vent my anger?"

-- To U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), April 15, 1993, Today.

Number 10: "We've got an awful lot to talk about this week, including the sexual harassment suit against the President. Of course, in that one, it�s a little tough to figure out who�s really being harassed." -- Today, May 10, 1994.
Goodbye, Bryant.

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