The Talking Dog

June 7, 2009, All the euphemisms fit to print

Glenn Greenwald continues to kick ass as he brings truth to power. This Salon piece documenting "liberal" news oulets, the N.Y. Times and National Palestine Radio ("NPR"), and their specific refusal to call torture torture, no matter how obvious that what they are describing ("intensive interrogation" [that occasionally results in death]) is torture, just hits it out of the park. The specific context is peculiarly alarming: an Obama Administration proposal to try to streamline guilty pleas leading to the death penalty. Just... cause for... concern?

Look folks... I don't like Khalid Sheik Mohammad any more than you do (and unlike many of you, I was across the street from the WTC on you-know-when, and I actually know people who died)... but if the simple act of demonizing someone long enough leads to the ability to execute them without due process of law... that is not in any sense consistent with a free, democratic republic governed by the rule of law. There's no room for discussion on that point. And I don't care that the President who is proposing it is a college classmate of mine whose campaign I supported and worked for.

As this discussion also involves the Obama Administration's efforts to whitewash and cover up (and indeed ratify and thereby become complicit in them) many of the excesses(!) of the Bush Administration, these "liberal media" outlets also show us that they are "bipartisan".

Andy's blog (note my own comment) gives us another observation of a manifestation of the apparent death of objective, mainstream journalism, at least in some quarters.

Newspapers and broadcast media have always had an axe to grind; some outlets were better than others, to be sure, but it was understood there was a basic tension between "the Fourth Estate" and the powerful that they are covering. That tension and "covering" seems to have been replaced by fawning, and indeed, "cowering". It's both laziness, and an imperative to serve corporate interests that own the outlets. Again, not unprecedented, but it does make our jobs as informed and responsible citizens all the harder (even as the internet allows us to have news and views the world over readily available).

All I can say is to take everything with a grain of salt, and not trust any one particular source (unless, like this blog (!) they have a track record of accuracy and objectivity (!)) I suppose if they torture me enough, even I might say torture isn't torture... but that's what it would take.