Asked “why does it matter” what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “knew or did not know” about the “enhanced interrogation” of terror suspects, Newsweek's Evan Thomas and NPR's Nina Totenberg failed to address Pelosi's hypocrisy in now condemning others for what she knew about years go, as both dismissed the relevance of her evolving memory.
On Friday's Inside Washington, Thomas insisted “it doesn't” matter, maintaining “this is all noise, this is all noise.” Totenberg declared “I don't think it matters, except that it is a diversion that is encouraged by former Bush people who don't want to have this conversation.” On the facts, Totenberg came down on Pelosi's side as she charged the CIA “did mislead” the Speaker: “I think it's entirely plausible -- and maybe even probable -- that the CIA told the technical truth in a way that did mislead Nancy Pelosi.”
Thomas, Editor at Large with Newsweek after stints as Assistant Managing Editor and Washington bureau chief, contended “Rush Limbaugh is good” for the Republican Party since he'll “take it down as low as it can go” so Republicans “make complete fools of themselves” and “then maybe,” Thomas yearned, “a moderate can come in and rescue them.”
Commenting two weeks ago, on the same program, about Senator Arlen Specter's switch from the Republican to Democratic Party, Thomas declared Republicans are now “exactly like the Labor Party in England in the 1970s. They're letting their extremists take them straight down.” As if that would upset Thomas and the Washington press corps.
Inside Washington is a weekly show produced and aired over the weekend by Washington, DC's ABC affiliate, but first broadcast Friday night on the local PBS station.
From Inside Washington aired Friday night, May 15:
GORDON PETERSON, MODERATOR: Why does it matter what Nancy knew or did not know, Evan?
EVAN THOMAS: It doesn't. This is all noise, this is all noise. I mean, it was inevitable that we were going to do bad things. We did them. It was also inevitable that at that time, policy makers were going to go along with it, as did journalists. You go back and look at that period, and lots of people were talking about well we're going to have to do some rough stuff here. For us to all to be all righteous about it now I think is really a waste of time.
CHARLES KRAUTHMMER: That's why it is important, because everybody now is righteous. We forget that, as Evan says, at the time, under those circumstances, given the blindness that we had about al Qaeda and the threat out there and the prospect of getting real information out of three guys who knew a lot, it was a reasonable thing to do. And Pelosi's acquiescence, as with the acquiescence and even encouragement of many in the press and all over America, indicates that at the time, a reasonable person, as she is, would have concluded it was the right thing to do. That's why it's important.
NINA TOTENBERG: I don't think it matters, except that it is a diversion that is encouraged by former Bush people who don't want to have this conversation. And I think it's entirely plausible -- and maybe even probable -- that the CIA told the technical truth in a way that did mislead Nancy Pelosi. But there are some people who should just stay off television, and she's one of them.
THOMAS: Rush Limbaugh is good for the party. Drive it all the way down, take it down as low as it can go, make complete fools of themselves, because it's always darkest before the dawn, and then maybe a moderate can come in and rescue them.