TV news is often not all that informative. Sometimes that's because the reports are so short–a few hundred words. But then there are TV reports that manage to use their short space to garble the details of a story completely. ABC correspondent Jonathan Karl's piece about the Senate confirmation hearing for Obama's CIA pick John Brennan fit into the latter category.
Reporting on the news that President Barack Obama plans to nominate his terrorism adviser John Brennan to be head of the CIA, the New York Times writes that critics had been "claiming that…Brennan had supported, or at least had failed to stop, the use of interrogation techniques like waterboarding."
That Brennan was a torture supporter is not a claim, though–it's a matter of public record.
Newsweek's Mark Hosenball writes (12/22/08): The head of Obama's intel transition team, John Brennan, was the leading candidate for CIA chief until he was slammed by liberal bloggers for not doing enough while serving as a top CIA and anti-terror official to oppose Bush. Actually, "liberal bloggers" hadn't "slammed" Brennan for "not doing enough…to oppose Bush"; they criticized him for being an ardent public defender of rendition and "enhanced interrogation tactics," which is a euphemism for torture. Since Obama campaigned as an opponent of such policies, Brennan would have been a dubious choice to be his top CIA official. One [...]
The New York Times yesterday (12/3/08) described problems that President-elect Barack Obama faces in managing the transition at the Central Intelligence Agency. CJR's website has an item today (12/4/08) critical of the piece as a "dramatic example" of the Times' slanting its intelligence reporting toward sources who "don't think that anyone who formulated or acquiesced in the current administration's torture policies should be excluded as a candidate for CIA director, or prosecuted for possible violations of criminal law." The CJR piece has some interesting back-and-forth with Times editors. I was struck by this passage in the Times article: Last week, [...]