Actually, the debate never happened; the two men were in completely different locations, each attacking the policies of the other administration and defending their own positions in speeches in front of friendly audiences unable to challenge them. Nonetheless, ME presented them as a face-to-face debate between the two men, alternating soundbites from each.
Yes, this is the same Dick Cheney who determinedly avoided all forms of open information and accountability during the eight miserably long years he was VP, and who has every motivation to cover up the various crimes committed under his reign in the Bush administration. So one might reasonably ask, Who gives a shit what Dick Cheney has to say now?
Well, evidently NPR does, because they gave Cheney equal billing with the president in a piece titled "Obama, Cheney: Different Views on National Security." The title is offensive not only because it presents Cheney's views as equally relevant as the current president's, but also because it refers to the crimes of torture, the prison at Guantanamo Bay, and indefinite detention without trial, as simply "national security." (At least the extended web version of the "debate" is titled "Obama, Cheney face off on torture.")
And in case you were wondering who won the debate, Steve Inskeep introduces the article with:
"Cheney warned that the new administration was tearing down the policies that kept America safe, yet the new president also faces criticism for keeping the essence of many Bush administration policies in place."I am not going to get into the details of the misreprentations and dissembling in both speeches. These have been covered well elsewhere. My point here is to just to ask why NPR decided it was appropriate to present Cheney's blatantly self-serving propaganda as anything remotely relevant to current policy.
Don Gonyea attempted to explain it by saying: "The administration seemed to relish the mano a mano competition, pitting the popular Mr. Obama against an unpopular former vice president."
Actually, it was NPR that seemed to relish it most. And, of course, Gonyea couldn't help but jump into the make-believe debate himself, with his own thoughts on just how darn difficult it is to stop torturing people:
"But the real battle for President Obama is not in outshining Dick Cheney but persuading a reluctant Congress and public that he can shudder Guantanamo without compromising security."