Tuesday, May 26, 2009

McClatchy Bureau and Cheney: No contest

AS THE NEWSPAPER universe continues to shrink, you need only to look to the widely respected McClatchy Washington Bureau to be reminded of the value of professional reporting  in sustaining the life of a free (and informed!) society.   With a handful of reporters the bureau  continues to challenge the iconic New York Times and Washington Post in delivering incisive reports   on stories that might have died on the major dailies'  cutting-room floors.  The McClatchy team was virtually alone when it dug in against the Bush Administration's  virtual free ride in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.    Belatedly, the mainstream media giants  confessed they should have been more attentive to the fine print in the Bush story-telling. But by then, the brief war promised by the White House fiction writers had gone far beyond Donald Rumsfeld's  mere "shock and awe" skirmish in the sands of Iraq to a deadly encounter with unseen opponents that continues to this day. Thank you, McClatchy bureau, for your vindicated effort to warn us.

But here we are six years after the fact and we find Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz touring the network and cable media microphones with their version of how President Obama has made America less safe in contrast to  Bush, Cheney et al who made us more secure.  Cheney, of course is trying to cover his own rear end while looking for a big bankroll publisher to offer him millions in a book deal.   And Liz, it's now being reported, is thinking about running for public office.  In other words, they're just a couple of ordinary folks out to make a living.  

Not so fast,says the McClatchy Bureau. Responding to Cheney's speech to the American Enterprise Institute,  a right-wing outfit that is Cheney's choir for his sermons,  the McClatchy reporters  Jonathan S. Landay and Warren P. Strobel simply destroyed Cheney's fantasizing about torture and the White House's self-absorbed image of a humane interrogator. The reporters meticulously cut away many of Cheney's statements at the AEI as outright lies.  In example after example, Cheney was shown to be in serious conflict with military authorities, the FBI and other high level sources.  

For instance, in defense of waterboarding and other messy forms of torture, Cheney declared such measures "prevented the violent death of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of innocent people."  And he quoted Adm. Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence,  to that effect.  But Blair actually said he wasn't sure whether other means  could not have obtained the same  information, adding: 
"The bottom line is that these techniques hurt our image around the world, the damage they have done to our interests far outweighed whatever benefit they gave us and they are not essential to our national security."
There are many others that you can find on the McClatchy Website that show Cheney to be no more truthful than  a sidewalk shell-game artist.  But you must be careful:  He's still at-large, armed with wacky ideas and should be considered dangerous. 

It would be best to rely on the wisdom of Jim Van Nostrand, the McClatchy Web editor, who once told a reporter of how the bureau goes about its honored  business:  

                                "You just have to trust your sense of smell."



1 comment:

John said...

The republican deflection of the issue.
Makes me want to run and grab a tissue.
Torture is wrong, it isnt fancy
Dont be layin the blame on Nancy
No crime by Bush, none of this would ensue.