Meet the Press: 12 Years of Unchallenged Cheney Claims about Iraq and Al Qaeda

Chuck Todd figured the best way to engage in journalism after the release of the Torture Report was not to invite one of the many interrogators who objected to torture or, having performed it, learned that it damaged them as much as the detainee (Kudos to ABC and CNN for having done so), but instead to invite Dick Cheney on to defend anal rape (which Todd did not call anal rape).

And while Todd had a Tim Russert style gotcha — Dick Cheney predicting 20 years ago that overthrowing Saddam would lead to the disintegration of Iraq and untold chaos — when Dick Cheney explained that 9/11 changed that earlier analysis, Todd offered the most impotent rebuttal, noting that the report undermines that claim, without doing any of several things:

  • Rather than engaging in “report says he says” two side false equivalency, point out that the evidence — the facts — refute that
  • Pointing out the new evidence, offered by Carl Levin this week, that Cheney had knowingly and repeatedly lied on Meet the Press about this topic
  • Reminding Cheney that CIA and DOD set off to find a way to “exploit,” not just “interrogate” detainees, and on the measure of producing false confessions to be used propaganda, the torture was a key part of starting an illegal war that led to the death of 4,000 Americans and untold Iraqis

Todd, of course, did none of those things.

I guess Meet the Press believes they’ll return to the glory of the Tim Russert era if they do the same thing Tim Russert did in his last years, offer Cheney a platform to lie and lie and lie.

For 12 years now, Meet the Press has been willing platform for unchallenged Dick Cheney lies.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including Vice, Motherboard, the Nation, the Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse in Grand Rapids, MI.

9 replies
  1. Ed Walker says:

    And, just as Dan Froomkin predicted, Dick Cheney ate Chucktodd for lunch, with fava beans and a nice Chianti.

  2. tofubo says:

    http://fletcher.tufts.edu/multi/texts/BH241.txt

    Art. 147. Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts, if committed against persons or property protected by the present Convention: wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including biological experiments, wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person, compelling a protected person to serve in the forces of a hostile Power, or wilfully depriving a protected person of the rights of fair and regular trial prescribed in the present Convention, taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.

    Art. 148. No High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by another High Contracting Party in respect of breaches referred to in the preceding Article

    obama and holder (and to a lesser extent the speaker o teh house/sen majority leeder) do not have the option not to prosecute, or they themselves are in breach

  3. ess emm says:

    On Face The Nation Peggy Noonan said Dianne Feinstein was “undignified” to use Twitter to respond to Brennan’s lying news conference.

    Yeezus. These are the ossified very serious people that dominate Sunday morning teevee. They L O V E and W O R S H I P authority.

  4. Bitter Angry Drunk says:

    I’ll always believe that the invasion of Iraq happened, primarily, because the upper-class twits at the PNAC convinced Cheney and his underlings that would be so easy to take the country, replace Saddam with Chalabi or some other puppet and get all the oil.

    Still, I’ll never get over Cheney’s sane stance in 1994. Could he possibly be telling the truth when he says 9/11 changed his mind? Is Cheney, in addition to being an evil old SOB, that much of a dullard/pants-wetting chicken shit?

  5. Don Bacon says:

    Or, Cheney –“I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having Chucktodd for dinner. Bye.”
    .
    “Todd, of course, did none of those things.”
    .
    But if Chuck Todd challenged the Great Cheney on Meet the Press, Chuck would find himself chucked from MTP, and he knows it. That’s the system working as it is designed to do, and we must accept that it exists.
    .
    Thoreau: “I came into this world, not chiefly to make this a good place to live in, but to live in it, be it good or bad.”

  6. dugsdale says:

    I think it’s partly the PNAC lobby that added momentum to the Iraq debacle, but let’s not forget that Cheney and his cohorts dropped the ball big time on 9/11, almost literally laughing off all the warnings and intelligence. As big as their dereliction and arrogance were, their overreaction needed to be even bigger. Some of them must have realized how hugely they’d screwed up, but there’s nothing like a little torture to quiet your sense of shame. (I’m assuming they were/are capable of it, I know, although contradicted by any evidence to the contrary.)

  7. Peterr says:

    MTP measures its power by a couple of things.
    .
    1) Ratings. Ratings means money and money talks.
    .
    2) The stampede of guests. The more folks want to be on MTP, the better MTP feels about themselves. “We must be important, because all these people want to appear on our show.”
    .
    3) The quiet whispers, the private phone calls, and the asides from Senior Administration Officials, Highly Placed People, and other distinguished Unnamed Sources. “We must be important, because all these important people call us to get their stuff out.”
    .
    All three of these could be indicators of importance and influence, as a media outlet carefully analyzes the events of the day and comes to be seen as an impartial teller of truth.
    .
    All three of these could also be indicators of having sold out, currying favor, and playing to those in power, as a media outset puts pursuit of truth behind pursuit of power.
    .
    Put me in the camp that believes MTP falls into the latter category. See “Tim Russert, testimony at the trial of Scooter Libby”. Nothing seems to have changed since then. Indeed, MTP seems to be doubling down on Russert’s coziness with power strategy for returning to their former glory. Good luck with that, boys.

  8. cinnamonb says:

    Hi there –

    ABC actually talked to interrogators who objected to torture? Really – I’m sorry I missed that – can anyone detail which program or when? I’d be appreciative! I have tended to watch ABC WNT but don’t always catch it.

    However, I did catch Martha Raddatz’ very obsequious report on Brennan’s press conference on 12/11 and called them immediately to object.

    FAIR site had a post about “equal time for torturers” – and here’s a link if anyone missed it/ is curious or whatever:
    http://fair.org/take-action/action-alerts/equal-time-for-torturers/

  9. Kathleen says:

    Todd is such a wienie when it comes to asking challenging questions. Well unless he is talking down the ladder challenging someone who will not challenge his new position. Russert did supply Cheney with endless opportunities to lie with softball challenges coming from Russert. Soon after the invasion of Iraq Russert allowed Cheney to start setting the stage for more sanctions, possibly a military attack on Iran with Cheney repeating unsubstantiated claims about Iran’s nuclear program. Todd following in Russert’s foot steps

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