JONATHAN ALTER QUOTES

American journalist (1957- )

The key to fixing education is better teaching, and the key to better teaching is figuring out who can teach and who can't.

JONATHAN ALTER, Newsweek, Jun. 15, 2009

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Tags: education, teaching


Election night. Fairmont Hotel. NBC News calls the election for Obama, and Valerie Jarret says, "You won." And the President says, "I'll believe it when I hear it on FOX."

JONATHAN ALTER, book signing at Politics & Prose Bookstore, Jul. 2, 2013

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Tags: Barack Obama


By laying the groundwork for a system centered on home ownership rather than the public housing popular in Europe, the New Deal made possible the great postwar housing boom that populated the Sun Belt and boosted millions of Americans into the middle class, where, ironically, they often became Republicans.

JONATHAN ALTER, The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope

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Obama was willing to compromise and Republicans were not. That's not a biased statement. One of my problems with the limitations of journalism is that straightforward descriptions of reality are seen as being biased.

JONATHAN ALTER, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 16, 2014

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Tags: journalism


The only reason the House hasn't done even more damage is that the Senate often sands down the most noxious ideas, making the bills merely bad, not disastrous.

JONATHAN ALTER, "Tom Delay's House of Shame", Newsweek, Oct. 9, 2005

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Tags: Congress


I think it's a terrible system, but money in politics is like water running downhill -- it finds its way.

JONATHAN ALTER, book signing at Politics & Prose Bookstore, Jul. 2, 2013

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Tags: money, politics


My own story isn't typical, because none is. Every patient reacts a little differently, both biologically and psychologically. The only constant in cancer is inconstancy; the only certainty is a future of uncertainty, a truism for all of modern life but one made vivid by life-threatening illness.

JONATHAN ALTER, "Living with Cancer in America", Newsweek, Apr. 8, 2007

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Tags: cancer


Almost no one under 60 remembers what fundraising was like before Watergate. Until the 1970s, campaign money was collected by "bagmen," familiar characters from the world of organized crime. As fans of Boardwalk Empire know, a bagman is a political fixer who walked around with stacks of $100 and $1,000 bills. At lower levels, he used brown paper bags. In presidential campaigns, the cash was more likely to be in briefcases. Classier that way.

JONATHAN ALTER, "Money, Politics, and Campaign Finance", Newsweek, Oct. 31, 2010

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Tags: politics


Millions of Americans would still despair in the eight long years of the Depression that lay ahead and many of their individual dreams would be dashed on the rocks of economic hardship. But collectively, the country was in a new place, with a new confidence that the federal government would actively try to solve problems rather than fiddle or cater to the rich. Hope was no longer for Pollyannas; the cynics about the American system were in retreat.

JONATHAN ALTER, The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope

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The basic problem is with the business model of journalism. That business model is premised on the idea that talk is cheap and reporting is expensive.

JONATHAN ALTER, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 16, 2014

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