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Fox News Doesn't Want To Talk About Torture

Reported by Ellen - April 27, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Julie

On Friday, April 24th, on America's Newroom, in a segment entitled “Media Frenzy,” Liz Trotta was trotted out to criticize the media and the torture debate.

First stating that the release of the Bush “harsh interrogation tactics for terror suspects” memos have set off a “media frenzy, ” substitute host Jamie Colby went on to say, “The Obama Administration – reluctant to call the tactics torture – but some in the mainstream media seem eager to use that word, torture.” It's not only those in the mainstream media, however – Richard Armitage, a #2 State Department official in the Bush Administration, admitted that waterboarding is torture. And hey, the neo-con's guy, Rush Limbaugh, doesn't shy away from the use of the word “torture,” either, such as his claim that John McCain admitted to being broken by torture. Limbaugh even slapped himself on air in a mockery of torture.

“Could the media obsession with this story be dangerous?” she queried gravely.

On came Fox News contributor Trotta – yes, the same Liz Trotta who made the joke about assassinating President Obama.

Colby began with, “ . . . What about what we know and what is being talked about in the media? Is it too much, is it dangerous to national security?”

Trotta played the Fox News game nicely (you know, the one where the guest seeks every opening to say something negative about liberals), saying, “There's such a race to grab the high ground among the liberal journalists that your mind just spins.”

She described David Brooks, among others, as writing about how horrible all this torture is, “and then using the word 'torture'” – but also saying that the investigation that would lead to the prosecution of the prosecutors would only be a “look-back” at the Bush Administration.

Trotta said, “it's unclear what Obama's gonna do, but I would venture to guess that the lefties – and this is what's also being analyzed – that the lefties in the Congress are going to push him to take some action – because they're still fighting George Bush and there's nothing better that they would like than Cheney and Bush in jail.” I'm not sure who she's referring to specifically who wants Cheney and Bush in jail (although some probably do, particularly if it's proven that they broke the law) except maybe Richard Dreyfuss, who played Cheney in the movie “W,” and back in March said he thought Cheney belongs in jail.

This media expert said, “ . . . You have MoveOn.org and you have all the rest of the left-wing forces involved in this and they're talking to the media . . . “

“Don't forget,” she said accusingly, “the ACLU brought this all to a head under Freedom of Information . . . if you want to get a transcript of this you have to go to the ACLU website.” This is just the kind of right-wing dogma that makes me nuts – as if going on the ACLU website will automatically turn right-wing neo-cons into Janeane Garofalo. On the other hand, it sort of speaks to the fear the “righties” have of the “lefties.”

“So, you have a lot of posturing on this and a lot of people who are using the word 'torture' and then you have the very careful New York Times . . . after agitating for some action on this . . . calling them interrogations and not torture.” Careful with your facts, Liz. On April 7th, Times Topics had a piece on “Torture." On April 22nd, in News Analysis, NY Times' Scott Shane discussed the interrogations' effectiveness – and yes, he used the word “torture.” And on Saturday, April 25th, Op-Ed Columnist Frank Rich discussed torture – yes, he, too, used that “torture” word – in his column.

Colby helpfully added, “Let me just mention that in a Rasmussen poll 58% of Americans that were polled believe that the release of the information endangers the national security of the United States – just to present both sides of this story – I'm not sure that's getting out in every media organization.”

Just to be helpful to Colby in her quest to, you know, make sure we're presenting both sides of the story, I'd like to take that polling number another step. The Washington Post reported that “a third 'strongly oppose' that decision [to release the memos], about as many as are solidly behind it. Three-quarters of Democrats said they approve of the action, while 74 percent of Republicans are opposed; independents split 50 to 46 percent in favor of the decision.” Also, in a recent Time poll, in answer to the question “Has the release of the CIA's torture memos been damaging to U.S. intelligence gathering?,” 35% of those polled say yes, and 65% say no.

Splitting along partisan lines. Shocking.

Incidentally, Colby never answered her own question about whether this media obsession could be dangerous, but even though she forgot to do the whole journalistic integrity thing, she did remember to forward Fox News' agenda by sitting quietly while Trotta took some jabs at the libs and the ACLU – I mean, come on, it had the audacity to file a Freedom of Information request – and MoveOn.org for wanting just a little more clarification on the whole torture thing.

Journalistic integrity is way too much to ask for.

You can watch the video of this segment here.