Rarely does a CNN panelist come out swinging in defense of a Trump administration nominee while going after a Democratic Party senator. But on Wednesday, CNN's Philip Mudd, who like most on-air personalities at the network has been harshly critical of the Trump administration and its officials, reacted strongly to harsh questions California Democrat Kamala Harris directed at Trump CIA nominee Gina Haspel.
A February 2017 ProPublica story claimed that Gina Haspel, nominated as CIA director this week, "was more deeply involved in the torture of Abu Zubaydah" at a secret Thailand prison "than has been publicly understood." Thursday evening, the group published a correction admitting that Haspel wasn't even present when one of the program's primary targets was, according to the New York Times, waterboarded 83 times.
After last week’s episode on the plight of the illegal immigrant, Tuesday night’s episode of NCIS on CBS gives us the plight of the poor, innocent Guantanamo Bay detainee.
In professional-wrestling slang, a bad guy is a “heel,” and in a Tuesday piece, Adam Gopnik likened Republican politicians to heel wrestlers who aren’t completely up-front about how nasty they are: “You’re supposed to be maximally crazy, but you’re supposed to pretend to pay attention to the referee…You’re supposed to hit your opponent over the head with a chair, but you’re supposed to pretend to hide the chair you are about to hit him with.”
Gopnik hinted that another similarity between GOPers and grapplers is that both groups routinely engage in hype and theatrics. As for Republicans specifically, he wrote, “We know that even the most passionate believers in forced birth don’t actually believe that abortion is really like murder, and have no real desire to treat it as such; they just want to do all they can to make abortion once again difficult, dangerous, and heavily stigmatized. They are for torture, but they are ashamed of it, too, and would rather it were done far away and in secret.”
Not long before Joe Biden announced that he wouldn’t run for president, he drove Esquire's Pierce up a high wall (think the Green Monster) by saying, “I still have a lot of Republican friends. I don't think my chief enemy is the Republican party…I actually like Dick Cheney, for real. I think he's a decent man."
Pierce opined that Biden’s comments on Cheney were disqualifying (“Anyone who thinks Dick Cheney is a decent man does not have the judgment to cut his own meat, let alone lead the Democratic party”) and asserted, “Decent men do not oversee the outing of covert CIA agents. Decent men do not help deceive their country into a war and then walk away with the profits… Dick Cheney is the closest thing that American democracy has produced to a Goering.”
During its brief on air tenure, NBC’s Blindspot has already accused the Navy SEALs of churning out professional criminals, painted veterans as ticking time bombs wreaking havoc on their country, and blamed American indifference abroad for terrorism at home. Last night’s episode, “Split the Law,” continued the show’s ignoble trend, this time setting its sights on the CIA.
Monday was a big day for journalists to suggest similarities between mass murderers and Republicans. Newsweek writer Nina Burleigh claimed that certain of Timothy McVeigh’s “militia ideals have gone mainstream” in the GOP, but Esquire's Pierce really put the ideological pedal to the metal when he likened Dick Cheney to one of the all-time worst genocidal maniacs, opining that Cheney’s relatively high current political profile is akin to “giving Pol Pot a late-night TV gig.” (As a lead-in, Pierce also called Cheney “the most inexcusable American who ever lived.”)
Pierce’s item piggybacked on a Washington Monthly post by Ed Kilgore, whose tone toward Cheney was not much less harsh than Pierce’s. After quoting Reince Priebus’s remark that Cheney is “a top fundraising draw, in high demand,” Kilgore sniped, “I suppose this is an example of what the church calls the ‘glamor of evil’ in the Easter baptismal renewal vows."
The ability of tiny numbers of far-left fringe group demonstrators to get undue press attention virtually any time they want continues to be intensely annoying.
In mid-2007, Barack Obama made closing the prison at Guantanmo Bay a core promise of his 2008 campaign. That was 7-1/2 years ago. Obama has been in office six years. Gitmo is still open. So naturally, the aggrieved professional protesters at Code Pink organized a demonstration against Gitmo remaining active on yesterday's 13th anniversary of the prison's opening — at former Vice President Dick Cheney's house. They got far more ink and bandwidth than they deserved from the press, including Reuters — i.e., far more than nothing.
“What the average person is seeing right now,” declares the American Prospect’s Paul Waldman, “is an entire party mobilizing to defend the use of torture, whether they will call it by that name or not. And that looks to be having an effect on public opinion.”
During Monday night's edition of The Colbert Report on the Comedy Central cable channel, the faux conservative host celebrated the fact that “no one’s going to pay me to watch” the host of The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel “anymore, so f**k that noise!”
That comment was made during the final edition of a segment entitled “Formidable Opponent,” in which the blue-tied version of Colbert debated an imaginary, red-tied incarnation of himself.
On her 12 p.m. ET hour MSNBC show on Tuesday, host Andrea Mitchell could barely conceal her disgust while reporting on a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showing a majority of Americans supported the enhanced interrogation tactics used by the CIA after September 11th: "51% said that the procedures used, the interrogation enhanced tactics, which have been defined as torture, 51% said that they were acceptable under the circumstances. Only 28% said that they went too far."
On Monday night, Daily Show host Jon Stewart mercilessly attacked former Vice President Dick Cheney’s defense of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program after 9/11. During his opening segment, the Comedy Central host accused Cheney of loving “torture” and asked “what if, hypothetically, this treatment was perpetrated on someone who had been detained wrongly, surely that would soften Cheney’s Bronsonlike torture boner.”