“Nobody comes out cleanly”

Jason Linkins is stunned by David Gregory's disinterest in getting to the bottom of who knew (and authorized) what and when:

David Gregory is talking about torture. He's talking about criminal behavior. He's talking about moral failings. And by his own admission, “nobody comes out cleanly.” By his own admission, everyone was “told what was going on.” Everyone “knew what was going on.” You'd think that such a target-rich environment would lead a journalist to scramble all available resources to pin down all the wrongdoing, get to the bottom of everything, ensure that the whole matter comes out into the light. You will not be able to watch David Gregory in the above clip and feel like he is even remotely inspired to follow the story. All you get is shrugging, stooped, passivity.

Linkins' whole piece is worth a read.

But when it comes to the media's seeming disinterest in finding the truth, there's an explanation sitting right there in the middle of Gregory's comments: “nobody comes out cleanly.”

That includes the media.

The elite media is stocked of people - many of them liberals, or sold as such - who supported torture.

Once a week or so, Jonathan Alter appears on MSNBC to talk about investigating torture. Well, Jonathan Alter supported torture. (To his credit, Alter seems more interested than many of his peers in finding out what happened, if not in punishing wrongdoing.) Richard Cohen -- “liberal” columnist for the Washington Post - still supports torture. You could spend days compiling other examples.

So, yes, last week's indications that the Bush administration employed torture in an effort to get people to say there was a tie between Iraq and 9/11 so they could justify their unnecessary war in Iraq should cause reporters to redouble their efforts to find out exactly what happened and who was involved.

But many of those reporters supported torture, and many of them supported the Iraq war. And most of those who didn't support the war did little to challenge the Bush administration's lies*. That probably has at least something to do with their passivity in following the story now.

* There are exceptions, of course. But the exceptions tend to be people you haven't heard of; people who end up on page A18, not NBC News.