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Meg Greenfield

  • Washington, under Democrats and Republicans, has a profoundly neurotic attitude toward 'the people.' It is built on equal parts of suspicion, loathing, fear, respect and dependence.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • We don't solve problems so much as we colonize them. First comes the problem, then come the 'pilot projects' and the speeches and the legislation ... and then the consultants and bureaucrats and the contractors and subcontractors ... and the next thing you know there is a settlement the size of Virginia living on it.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • In government and out, there are vast realms of the bureaucracy dedicated to seeking more information, in perpetuity if need be, in order to avoid taking action.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • In Washington it is an honor to be disgraced. By that I mean you have to have been somebody to fall.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • Among all the complaints you hear these days about the crimes of the media, it seems to me the critics miss the big one. It is that especially TV, but also we of the print press, tend to reduce mess and complexity and ambiguity to a simple story line that doesn't reflect reality so much as it distorts it. ... What bothers me about the journalistic tendency to reduce unmanageable reality to self-contained, movielike little dramas is not just that we falsify when we do this. It is also that we really miss the good story.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • There is such a thing as tempting the gods. Talking too much, too soon and with too much self-satisfaction has always seemed to me a sure way to court disaster. ... The forces of retribution are always listening. They never sleep.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • Our political scene is more volatile and given to sudden switches and memory lapses bordering on soap-opera-type amnesia (epidemic, total and terminal) than any other I know of. We are fickle and we are insatiable in our appetite for new news, new issues, new biases, new clichés ... It's not just (as another cliché, lifted from Andy Warhol, has it) that individuals all seem to get their 15 minutes of celebrity in this country; everything gets only 15 minutes.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • Everyone seems to be running against a liar, but nobody seems to be one. Odd — I mean, the math doesn't work out.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • Since when do grown men and women, who presume to hold high government office and exercise what they think of as 'moral leadership,' require ethics officers to tell them whether it is or isn't permissible to grab the secretary's behind or redirect public funds to their own personal advantage?

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • Every program develops a constituency. That's why it's such perfect hell trying to cut anything, not just good programs, but also dopey ones, spectacularly cost-ineffective ones and some that are, by any known measure, at least three quarters of a century out of date.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • If you were starting from scratch to invent an instrument that could impose fiscal discipline, the last one on earth you would come up with is the United States government.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • Ninety percent of politics is deciding whom to blame.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Newsweek ()
  • Thin skin is the only kind of skin human beings come with.

    • Meg Greenfield,
    • in Deborah Tannen, The Argument Culture ()

Meg Greenfield, U.S. journalist

(1930 - 1999)

Full name: Mary Ellen Greenfield.