MSNBC treats torture investigation as political game

Blog ››› ››› JAMISON FOSER

MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell and Reuters' Jon Decker just had an exchange that illustrates the media's troubling tendency to view potential investigations into illegal torture as a political matter:

Norah O'Donnell: "John, if you open this book, and you start editing this book, and going through it page by page, then what about the Democrats in Congress, some that may have had briefings on these very types of harsh interrogation tactics?

Jon Decker: That's a really good point, Norah. There is concern that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, during course of the briefings she got on these harsh interrogation tactics, essentially gave tacit approval to them. And there may be some other senior Democratic leaders that were privy to these discussions given to them, by senior military and intelligence officials, that may be caught up in these memos as well. So I think that is something that Democrats need to be concerned about and also think about before they move forward with this call for a truth commission.

O'Donnell and Decker could have treated the possibility that Democratic leaders in Congress were aware of torture* as all the more reason to get to the bottom of who knew and approved of what, and when. Instead, they used the possibility to warn Democrats against pursuing the question further. That's how you would expect to see Cheney loyalists behave - but it's odd to see journalists issuing a political warning to Democrats, and to suggest that political considerations rather than finding the truth should drive officials' actions.

* Note also that O'Donnell and Decker kept calling it "harsh interrogation."

Posted In
Justice & Civil Liberties, Interrogation
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