Saturday, May 23, 2009

NPR hosts Obama-Cheney debate

President Obama engaged former vice president Dick Cheney in a heated debate last week on both administrations' use of torture and other violations of human rights.

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."


Anonymous said...

"But the real battle for President Obama is not in outshining Dick Cheney but persuading a reluctant Congress and public that he can shudder NPR without compromising the ability of the Pentagon to disseminate propaganda." -- Don Begoneaway

b-g!p-nk!f-zzy!b-nny! said...

Well, consider too that the "opponents" have been found to be blood relatives - and that allllll the rest of the mainstream media swallowed this pre-fab quasi-smackdown bones n' all.

I live to shrug another day.

miranda said...

Great analysis, as always. I'm sure you meant "shutter," but "shudder" is the more apt verb whenever one is speaking of the Cheney Torture Tour.

Anonymous said...

"Obama, Cheney face off on torture."

How can they "face off' if they are facing in the same direction?

That One (McCain's phrase, not mine): "Please, Mr. Cheney, Sir. Can I close Gitmo?"

"No, Obi, we need to keep that open for vacationing Muslims."

"OK, Mr. Cheney. You're the man."

Anonymous said...

Obama is little ,ore than cheney appeaser.

Obama's Guantánamo Appeasement PlanI'm not sure who Obama thinks he is fooling, but he is certainly not fooling the intelligent part of the electorate who just got him elected.

And if he actually believes he can get RE-elected without our help, he is only fooling himself.

he won't get my vote again, that is for certain.

I don't vote for liars.

Anonymous said...

I wonder: How can Obama's proposal of "prolonged detention" without trial be reconciled with the US Constitution? Or with habeas corpus?

What utter rubbish. What quackery.

Obama apparently studied Constitutional Law at Harvard.

That makes one wonder: What precisely is it that Harvard Law School teaches, anyway?

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