Nov
25
2008

TV Allows Torture Talk Only 'in the Abstract'

Under the ironic headline "God Damn The God Damn Liberal Media" (A Tiny Revolution, 11/20/08), Jonathan Schwarz points out an astonishing quote

from Scott Horton's new article in Harper's on creating some kind of accountability for the torture conducted by the Bush administration (subscription required):

[I]n a 2006 radio interview, Dick Cheney said simply that the use of waterboarding to obtain intelligence was a "no-brainer."

Cheney at the time declined to refer to this practice as torture, preferring instead to describe it as "robust interrogation," and that reluctance has been echoed in the press. I myself was twice warned by PBS producers, in advance of appearances on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, that I could use the word "torture" in the abstract but that I was to refrain from applying it to the administration's policies. And after an interview with CNN in which I spoke of the administration's torture policy, I was told by the producer, "Thatâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s okay for CNN International, but we canâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢t use it on the domestic feed."

Schwarz closes, sarcastically: "As always, the question remains: why is the major U.S. media so incredibly left-wing?"

Read FAIR's magazine Extra!: "From Water Torture to 'Waterboarding': Media Rehabilitate Torture as Aquatic Sport" (5-6/08) by Isabel Macdonald