My thoughts keep drifting to our first foray to the beach of the season this weekend, but I just can't shake the horror I have felt from the mainstream media "reaction" to the Dick Cheney-Barack Obama national-security cage match on Thursday. And the media's fawning obeisance to Liz Cheney, who is her father in a pants suit.
Lest I not be clear, as highly unusual as it was I think the former vice president had every right to defend at length the Bush torture regime, although I subscribe to the view that his out-of-the-bunker road show that commenced with the Obama inauguration is an effort to inoculate himself against possible future legal action and not just the work of a bald-faced saboteur. I believe that his daughter has no such standing or right, let alone any expertise.
But what keeps bothering the hell out of me is that a news media that was deeply complicitous in allowing Bush administration excesses -- from an immoral war to assaults on the rule of law -- to go substantially unchallenged once again rolled over in viewing the dueling speeches as a "debate," as if the subject were global warming or bank bailouts, and the dutiful daughter's nonstop media appearances to reinforce that view as really big news.
Lincoln-Douglas was a debate. Cheney-Obama most certainly was not. But by framing it as such, that complicit media tacitly endorses the former vice president's view that the administration did not torture and to declare its extreme interrogation methods as such is to libel the torturers and their dungeon masters.
At the end of the day Dick and Liz won the day by successfully framing the day in daddy's terms and not even a long soak in the ocean is going to wash that reality away.Cartoon by Pat Oliphant/Universal Press Syndicate