Thursday, April 30, 2009

Scott Horton: Broder & Bybee Both Defending the Torturers

Photo: Solar eclipse 1900

I'm a bit behind on some of my reading so I just read the April 27 post by Scott Horton today. In Horton's post he addresses the recent Broder column that I addressed briefly in one my postsWhat a wonderful dissection of Broder. This piece by Horton simply puts my small effort to shame.

You must read it!

Scott Horton also has a piece up on the Daily Beast that gives us the latest on the Spanish prosecution of the Bush Six.

And here is a wonderful discussion that Horton and  Bruce Ackerman have about Jay Bybee and the infamous "torture" memos that supposedly gave torture it's legal rationale. 

This is information that our corporate media won't let you see on cable TV.

NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll: Torture

Photo: Crowd to meet Teddy Roosevelt at Chicago 1912

Two days ago the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll was released.  The respondents in this poll self identified themselves as: 24% very liberal or somewhat liberal, 35%  moderate, 35% very conservative or somewhat conservative  and 6% were not sure. 

In other words 76% of respondents were not liberal "score-settlers."

This poll asked a few more detailed questions about torture than usual and actually used the word "torture" on a couple of questions. The poll's respondents  agreed that we tortured (53% to 30%). They also indicated (46% to 44%) that "harsh interrogation techniques helped the U.S. by extracting valuable information to stop terrorism."  They were not, however, asked the followup to that question about whether they thought we should continue to use torture. 

On the investigation question the poll only asked about criminal investigations. It did not ask about an independent panel which means that the number of people wanting "investigations" may in fact be just as high as other polls that showed more people in favor of investigations than not. For instance on a USA/Gallup poll in February, 62% of respondents wanted some type of investigations - 38% wanted criminal investigations and 24% wanted an independent panel. This NBC/Wallstreet journal does not give those who may favor an independent panel over criminal investigations the option to choose that method.

36c. Do you think that there should be a criminal investigation about whether torture was committed during the time of the Bush administration or not?

Because the poll didn't ask about "investigations" the WSJ was able to manipulate the discussion about investigations by making this accurate yet also misleading statement in their news story about their poll:

Further, a clear majority, 61%, opposes a criminal investigation into whether torture was committed during the Bush administration. The White House has sent mixed messages on this matter.

I find the last question in this poll  particularly interesting:

36d. Suppose that there is a criminal investigation, please tell me whether the following people should be or should not be included in any criminal investigation about whether torture was committed during these interrogations?


Bush administration lawyers who wrote memos 

53% should - 40% should not -  7% not sure

The Intelligence Agencies who directed the interrogations

53% should - 42% should not - 5% not sure

Dick Cheney

49% should - 44% should not - 7% not sure

George W. Bush

48% should - 44% should not - 5% not sure

The people who conducted the interrogations

43% should - 52% should not - 5% not sure

That's right, if there were  a "criminal" investigation more respondents favored holding our top officials accountable including Dick Cheney and George Bush. The only people they don't want held accountable are the people who conducted the interrogations. While the number of people wanting to have Bush included in a criminal investigation is within the margin of error, the number of people who want Cheney included is not. While these respondents weren't asked about other officials such as Rumsfeld, Rice, etc.  I can't imagine that they would exclude these other officials if they included Bush and Cheney.

So for those of us who want these people held legally accountable we know that most people recognize that we tortured so we don't have to convince them of this fact. What we need to address is the distortion in the media that torture works (Kiriakou example) and the almost unanimous agreement among our beltway media personalities that we shouldn't have criminal investigations/prosecutions because it will tear the country apart, etc. We need to start pressing them on why they think following the rule of law will tear our country apart so that we can reveal that this is a false argument. 

In addition,  based upon my previous post about the NYT poll  we need to focus our efforts on the TV personalities who are doing this because most people still get their news from the TV.

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New York Times/CBS News Poll: Torture

Photo: Crowd at Union Square between 1910 - 1915

On April 27, 2009, the most recent New York Times/CBS news poll was released. 

Within that poll were a number of questions on the torture issue. Although there was no question asking respondents their views about having an investigation. There was a question that asked about Congress holding hearings. This question gives a distorted view about the general discussion about investigating torture because a lot of us who want investigations don't want Congress involved and would have answered no to that question. And because this was the only question about investigations it really does not give us much understanding about the level of support for investigations.

68. Do you want Congress to hold hearings to investigate whether the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees,  the use of wiretaps and other Justice Department broke the law or don’t you think that’s necessary?

34%   Want hearings

62%   Don't think necessary

4%     Don't know

Question 63 was a very encouraging question because it shows that the public does not think waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques are ever justified.

63. Do you think it is sometimes justified to use waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques from a suspected terrorist, or are these tactics never justified?

37%    Justified

46%    Never Justified

  7%    Depends

 10%   Don't know 

The poll also shows that the public overwhelmingly believes that waterboarding is torture.

64. In a procedure known as “waterboarding,” interrogators produce the sensation of drowning in a restrained prisoner either by dunking him in water or pouring water over his face. Do you consider this procedure a form of torture, or not?

71%   Torture

26%   Not Torture

  3%   Don't Know  


As in the other recently released polls we discover that the majority of the people with these views are not liberals. 

How would you describe your views on most political matters? Generally do you think of yourself as a liberal, moderate or conservative?

22%   Liberal

42%   Moderate

29%   Conservative

   7%   Don't know or N/A


For those of us who are trying to get the media to tell the truth on this issue, the question below is important. Americans still get most of their news from TV so this is where we should primarily direct our attention.

Where do you usually get most of your news about what's going on in the world today - from the newspapers, or radio, or television, or the internet, or someplace else?

16%    Newspapers

  5%    Radio

60%    TV

15%    Internet

  1%    Someplace else

  2%    Don't Know or N/A     


The NYT story that accompanied the release of this poll only said this about the torture issue:

The poll found broad support for Mr. Obama’s approach on a variety of issues, including one of the most contentious: whether Congress should investigate the harsh interrogation tactics authorized by George W. Bush. Sixty-two percent of Americans share Mr. Obama’s view that hearings are unnecessary.

UPDATE: Question 63 might not be as positive as I first thought. See my post on the Pew poll.

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When the President Does It, That Means It's Not Illegal

President Nixon at Inaugural Ball 1973 - Photo by Richard K. Hoffmeister

Cenk Uygur has a disturbing piece in Huffington Post today that provides quotes from a  Q & A session following a recent Condi Rice speech at Stanford. The quotes are a chilling reminder that the pardon of Richard Nixon had the unintended consequence of allowing future administrations to use Nixon's, "when the president does it, that means it's not illegal," as a green light for committing  their own crimes. 

Our establishment media personalities are doing the country a grave disservice when they advocate that there should be no prosecutions for torture. If we ignore the criminal behavior of the Bush administration by not prosecuting then this dangerous idea that the president is above the law will live on and be used again in a future administration to commit even more crimes. You can check out the Uygur piece here.

Quotes from Condi:

"The president instructed us that nothing we would do would be outside of our obligations, legal obligations under the Convention Against Torture."

"I didn't authorize anything. I conveyed the authorization of the administration to the agency, that they had policy authorization, subject to the Justice Department's clearance. That's what I did."

"The United States was told, we were told, nothing that violates our obligations under the Convention Against Torture, and so by definition, if it was authorized by the president, it did not violate our obligations under the Convention Against Torture." (emphasis added)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Artifices of Designing Men

 Children in costumes w/flags at Jones Park, 1918 - George Eastman Hse. Collection

I had no blog post earlier today because after reading these three sorry opinion pieces I was at a loss for words. Thankfully I was able to borrow some words from one of our founding fathers, Samuel Adams, to expose the first two opinion pieces for what they represent and to give the author of the third piece a clue about what this fight is really all about. 

Thanks Mr. Adams, you've given this citizen renewed courage to continue the fight.

"The liberties of our country, the freedoms of our civil Constitution are worth defending at all hazards; it is our duty to defend them against all attacks. We have received them as a fair inheritance from our worthy ancestors. They purchased them for us with toil and danger and expense of treasure and blood. It will bring a mark of everlasting infamy on the present generation – enlightened as it is – if we should suffer them to be wrested from us by violence without a struggle, or to be cheated out of them by the artifices of designing men." - Samuel Adams”

Update: Some good news on this day of bad opinions. Sabra at Democratic Underground posted this news piece.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fixing The Media Misinformation That Claimed that Waterboarding Worked

When will the rest of the establishment media follow the New York Time's lead by admitting that former CIA officer, John Kiriakou's statements about the effectiveness of waterboarding, that they reported, were false? Will the truth about this previous misinformation about waterboarding be reported  far and wide like the lies of Kiriakou were reported? Or will the media turn this misinformation into disinformation by deliberately failing to retract it? And can even this belated admission help put the "misinformation" toothpaste back in the tube? 

The ball is in your court now establishment media. Let's see what you do with it.

Brian Stelter, NYT
April 27, 2009

In late 2007, there was the first crack of daylight into the government’s use of waterboarding during interrogations of Al Qaeda detainees. On Dec. 10, John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who had participated in the capture of the suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002, appeared on ABC News to say that while he considered waterboarding a form of torture, the technique worked and yielded results very quickly.


His claims — unverified at the time, but repeated by dozens of broadcasts, blogs  and newspapers — have been sharply contradicted by a newly declassified Justice Department memo that said waterboarding had been used on Mr. Zubaydah “at least 83 times.”

Some critics say that the now-discredited information shared by Mr. Kiriakou and other sources heightened the public perception of waterboarding as an effective interrogation technique. “I think it was sanitized by the way it was described” in press accounts, said John Sifton, a former lawyer for Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group.

Update: Glenn Greenwald has more information about the widespread media falsehoods about waterboarding and the role Brian Ross, whose original interview of Kiriakou got the misinformation started, has played in disseminating additional falsehoods about Khalid Sheikh Mohammad.

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Cutting Through the Media Distortions on the Torture Issue

Photo: Performing Monkey, 1900 - George Eastman House Collection

 did a great job posting a diary on Daily Kos that gives us the results  from the newly released Gallup poll that I mentioned in an earlier post. Please visit his diary to get his analysis of this poll. He's more optimistic than I am and hopefully he's right and I'm wrong.


According to Gallup 51% of the American people want to see an investigation into the use of "harsh" interrogation techniques and 42% do not (as Buhdydharma notes they do not use the word "torture" in their survey).  On the surface this appears to be good news because there are more Americans in favor of investigations than those who are against. But the poll also tells us that the more the American people follow this story in the "media" the more inclined they are to not favor an investigation  - 40% favor and 58% oppose.  This is dire news for anyone who wants our country to follow the rule of law and hold accountable those who are responsible for these crimes. 

This poll also troubles me because in their last poll Gallup's results showed that 62% of Americans wanted investigations with 39% of those 62% wanting criminal investigations and 24% wanting an independent panel. So the number of Americans wanting investigations has actually decreased according to Gallup, going from 62% to only 51% in only 2 months time.

The graphic below about another question in the poll also illustrates the troubling reality of having a media that refuses to truthfully cover this story (here, here, here here, & here and countless other examples)


Like many others on the web I've published numerous blog posts where I document how our establishment media is not telling the truth on this issue and are in fact, deliberately distorting the information that the public receives about this issue. Unfortunately my readership and the combined readership of other bloggers does not come close to the readership/viewership that our establishment media has at their disposal. As a consequence, we are losing the argument on this issue through trickery.

I think the only way for us to get out the truth on this issue is to either have someone in the Obama administration lead the charge for investigations (Obama or Eric Holder) or we must find another way to force the media to cover the truth on this issue. 

I don't think there is anyone in the Obama administration that will get out in front on this issue so I think we need to develop a new strategy.  I think part of that strategy requires finding a group of well known public figures ,who represent all views on the political spectrum, who would be willing to lead the charge on this issue. We need these people to start writing op-ed pieces and to start appearing as guests on cable TV so that the people don't get such a one sided view. In addition, I think we need to get out in our own neighborhoods and creatively get a non-partisan message out to our fellow citizens so that we can cut through the media filter.

We know from past experience that it's very rare for our government to do the right thing unless they are forced to do so by the people. With our chattering class running a propaganda campaign to change perceptions about this issue, in order to do the bidding of their masters, we are losing the ability to force action on this issue. We must, therefore, in my opinion brainstorm to come up with ideas like I stated above to fight the establishment campaign that seeks to get rid of this issue. If we don't, the next time Gallup does their poll the numbers will be even worse. And once those polls show that the majority of Americans do not want investigations our establishment media will broadcast that information day and night and our politicians will no longer feel any need to address this issue.

I know that soon we will have more information released that may make it impossible for the media to control this issue but I don't think we should count on that happening. I think we must begin putting together a strategy on this asap.

Matt Drudge: Establishment Media's Go-to-Guy For "News" Ideas

Photo: Magic Lantern slide of a dog jumping through a hoop/Nat'l Media Museum

Once again we have confirmation that Matt Drudge is the go-to-guy for "news" ideas for our establishment media. 

Gabriel Sherman from The New Republic was  on the Morning Joe show this morning talking about his new piece about Matt Drudge called Underground Man, that appears in The New Republic. Sherman gushed about Matt's tabloid style and how valuable he is to mainstream media. Boy, you just can't make this stuff up. GROAN. 

Of course everyone on the Morning Joe show just loves Drudge. Yeah, we can tell. Big surprise. 

My god, how can such clueless people get these jobs?

Here's a snippet from the Underground Man 

Drudge remains one of the most powerful figures in journalism. In the Web 2.0 era--with media outlets unveiling increasingly complex sites that feature multiple avenues for readers to contribute, from comments to Tweets--the Drudge Report doesn't look like much: just an old-fashioned layout consisting mostly of links to articles in other publications, alongside the occasional breaking news story of its own. And yet, because it draws up to 20 million hits per day--and, more importantly, because it is read religiously by Washington's reporters, political operatives, and cable news producers--the site retains a striking ability to dictate what appears in the mainstream press. Indeed, one of journalism's unofficial parlor games these days consists of mining Drudge's site for clues to his proclivities--so that one might figure out how to gain his favor and earn a valuable link.

Drudge owes both his stature and his accompanying fortune--sources believe he makes millions per year off his site--essentially to one thing: his appetite, during the Lewinsky era and afterward, for rummaging further into the lives of public figures than mainstream journalists were willing to go. And that's ironic when you consider the reason that his appearance at the Clinton concession speech created such a frenzy: For the past few years, Matt Drudge has gone almost completely underground.

After reading this piece I think that maybe the New Republic should seriously consider bringing back Stephen Glass, what do you think?.

Did David Gregory Accidentally Open His Own "Pandora's Box"?

Did anyone else get the impression that David Gregory was a bit peeved at King Abdullah's answers to Gregory's questions about torture? I mean, really, here Gregory has this whole narrative thing going about torture and Abdullah is just not cooperating. How dare he disagree with the beltway narrative about torture. The nerve of some people.  

Do you think that maybe his irritation with King Abdullah in this earlier Meet the Press segment is what might have caused the Goodwin (who also disagreed with the narrative) comments about torture to be left off in one of the Meet the Press videos on the MSNBC website that I wrote about in my previous post? Could Gregory be that petty? Hmmmm, I wonder.

Meet the Press: The "Missing" Goodwin/Meacham Segment

Photo: Two men with a female spirit by National Media Museum taken around 1920

I discovered a very curious thing on the video page of the MSNBC  website. 

I went to the MSNBC website because I wanted to watch the Doris Kerns Goodwin/Jon Meacham segment from Sunday's Meet the Press show to review some things that were said in that segment. 

There were 3 videos on the website that included  Goodwin & Meacham in the video. The first video I looked at was some type of after the show, extra online video that I didn't need. The second video was of the actual Goodwin/Meacham segment that I wanted, however, it curiously ended before Goodwin gave her views about the torture issue (the very part I wanted to see).  I then checked the third video which, fortunately for me, contained the entire Meet the Press episode, including the missing footage that I wanted to see.

Even though I finally found what I wanted I still thought it was really odd that they would have the specific Goodwin/Meacham segment on video but not the entire segment. Why would they go to the trouble to make a video of the Goodwin/Meacham segment and then leave out the end of the segment?  

Below is a snippet from the transcript where you will see what played just before the video ended and then what was missing from the video. I think it's very interesting.

MR. GREGORY:  But there's--this is a question of leadership.  Again, what critics would say, if you look at how this president handled the bonus question with AIG, he knew that in the scheme of things it was not the biggest deal to this administration.  And yet when the politics shifted, he stood up and said, "Yeah, those bonuses are table--terrible, and I'm angry." Perhaps the leadership moment there was to say to the country, "Calm down, it's not the most important thing." Here on this memos now he seems to be shifting positions because he's got a left wing of his party that says there must be accountability from the Bush administration.  The politics of looking backward are tricky.

MR. MEACHAM:  They are hugely complicated, and my sense is we have not seen the end of this story.  I think that they are keeping some options open.  I'm personally in favor of a 9/12 Commission, where we find someone like Jack Danforth and Sam Nunn and do some something like the 9/11 Commission where you review the entire war on terror.  Did rendition work, did the unmanned aerial drones, as well as the, the interrogation techniques?  And I, I suspect that what they've shown themselves to be are quite pragmatic, quiet realistic. That was the AIG example you raised.  He didn't want to jump on it.  There was a huge moment of populist rage.  But remember, it was just a moment.  I mean, it burn, it burned very quickly.  And what's going to happen, for all the stylistic points, all the temperament points, he's going to be judged on whether this stuff works.

MR. GREGORY:  Right.

MR. MEACHAM:  And whether the, whether the economy comes back and how he confronts still unforeseen national security challenges. (end of tape )

Missing from tape:

MR. GREGORY:  Isn't this question about torture, Doris, if you put it in an historical context, we have to ask the large question, which is can you defeat an enemy like al-Qaeda without compromising the nation's character?  Can you?


MR. GREGORY:  I mean, is that a debate that should go forward?

MS. GOODWINI mean, one has to hope so, that it's possible to do; as everybody was saying before, that the moral values of our nation are what we are known for abroad.  I think the interesting question about why he wanted to look forward instead of back, I think he recognizes, as all leaders do, that you only have a certain number of resources in time, focus and imagination. And if the country goes off on a jag, you're going to lose--look at even now, we've been talking about torture this morning rather than maybe what should have been talked about if he had his way, which was this new speech that he just made about the importance of every time you have a tax increase you're going to have to use that to go for the tax cut.  Every time you have a increased spending, you're going to have to have some sort of reduction in spending.  That's a big thing he was talking about.  You lose, you lose command of the airwaves with these things, and I think that was his initial instinct of hoping that somehow we could put this behind us.  But once that elephant is in the room with that CIA memo...

MR. GREGORY:  Mm-hmm.

MS. GOODWIN:  ...options are lost.  They're going to have to do something.

MR. MEACHAM:  I, I, I disagree a little bit.  I think that the, to go to your phrase of politics of looking back, is the mature thing to do.  And if we are right about our first point that the people can handle a lot of things, then finding a smart, moderate, intelligent way to look back, find out what this history of these seven years can teach us about how to fight terrorism, as you say, can we do this and preserve our moral values?  Well, Abraham Lincoln didn't.  FDR didn't.  Great war presidents have always committed great sins, whether it's suspending habeas corpus or detaining Japanese...

MS. GOODWIN:  Incarcerating, incarceration.

MR. MEACHAM:  ...Japanese-Americans.  And so life is messy.  Life is complicated.  But we have to understand this history, because if we don't then we--I think we're unilaterally disarming, in a way, as we push forward.

MS. GOODWINHow could I go against looking back at history?  I must yield to your greater judgment.

MR. MEACHAMThere you go.  There you go.  There you go.

MR. GREGORY:  Yeah.  But, Doris, I--you know what's--talk to people, and they want to know, you know, what's he like?  What are president's like?  How do they make decisions?  And somebody close to the president said he's got a very disciplined mind.  What do we know about how he makes decisions?

MS. GOODWIN:  Well, it sounds like one thing he does is to bring people into the room and ask them to debate different sides of the issue so that he can get alternative points of view, and that what I've heard him say, or other people say, is that he asks people who have been quiet in the room, "Speak up. I want to hear what you said." That's a very healthy thing.  Again, going back to FDR, there was a certain time when he was in a room and he was explaining a pet project and everybody said, "Oh, it's great, Mr. President.  It's great." George Marshall didn't say a word.  He said, "George, what do you think?" and Marshall said, "I don't agree with you at all, Mr. President." Instead of being mad at him, he lifted him 34 feet up--not 34 feet up, 34 generals up to become his chief.  And I think that's the way you want to have a president to make decisions, to have as many points of view there, listen to them and then think, think.

MR. GREGORY:  All right, we're going to leave it there.  Thanks both of you very much.  And congratulations to Jon Meacham...


MR. GREGORY:  ...who won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography on Andrew Jackson, "American Lion." Well deserved.  And two Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and historians here, thank you very much.

We're going to continue this discussion on line with Jon and Doris, and ask some questions that our viewers have submitted via e-mail and Twitter.  Watch our MEET THE PRESS Take Two Web extra.  It's up this afternoon on our Web site.  Plus, look for updates from me throughout the week.  It's all at  And we'll be right back.


MR. GREGORY:  A program note before we go.  Tonight as part of Green Week, MSNBC premieres "Future Earth:  Journey to the End of the World" reported by Lester Holt.  It airs at 10 PM Eastern and Pacific time.

That's all for today.  We'll be back next week.  If it's Sunday, it's MEET THE PRESS.


A very interesting part to leave out, isn't it?

Now I'm sure MSNBC will say it was just an accident (or a ghost was in the machine) and maybe that's all it was, but you just gotta wonder -  Did they not want us to see Doris Kerns Goodwin going off the reservation by disagreeing with the beltway narrative?  Or did they not want us to see Jon Meacham make a very unconvincing and quite frankly a patently absurd argument about George W. Bush, torture and his place in history? 

Can you imagine trying to pretend that George W. Bush is one of the"great war presidents" just because he committed great sins. How's that for turning history on it's head. We consider these "great sins" by other presidents as blots on their otherwise good record but Meacham evidently thinks that Bush is great because of his great sins even though he has a lousy record in every other area too. Gee, I wonder if Meacham will get another Pulitizer for pushing this kind of mushy, dishonest nonsense? Do you think maybe he's auditioning to write W's biography? He did say that his next book was going to be about George H.W. he hoping to get W's story too? 

UPDATE: Jon Meacham has written an eye opening piece for this weeks edition of Newsweek  where Glenn Greenwald pointed out that he makes this disturbiing statement:

That is not to say presidents and vice presidents are always above the law; there could be instances in which such a prosecution is appropriate, but based on what we know, this is not such a case.

In viewing his comments from the Meet the Press video and his comment in the Newsweek piece one gets a better sense of  Meacham's views about abuse of power and about how he applies the lessons of history.  

While most historians would view examples of previous president's abuses of power as major mistakes on a presidents record, Meacham views these abuses of power as nothing more than precedents to be exploited by future presidents to justify committing similiar abuses of power in the future. This twisted view of history would certainly explain both his stunning statement in the Newsweek column and his equally stunning statements from his Meet the Press appearance where he cites the "great sins" of "great war presidents" as an excuse to defend the illegal torture authorized by George W. Bush.

The "Incomplete" Video

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Why is the Washington Post Pushing One Point of View on Torture?

Photo description: Helene Sardeau often conveyed contemplation, serenity and humanism in her work. Her first major commission, Slave (1933) was executed for a sculpture garden in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. She sculpted under the pseudonym "Sardeau" even after she married fellow painter George Biddle. Creator/Photographer: Peter A. Juley & Son

Tonight I sent the email below to the
Washington Post's Ombudsman, Andy Alexander. Mr. Alexander has done some really good things since he's been at the Post so I thought if anyone would try to do something about the slanted opinion page at the Post it would be Mr. Alexander. 

While I have no illusions that Mr. Alexander will be able to change the high number of one-sided opinions published by the Post I was so frustrated tonight that I thought I'd at least try to do something to make them see that they are losing their readers. I think all of us want to see a variety of opinions from a variety of perspectives but what we don't want to see is one view to be pushed down our throats which is what the Post has been doing on the torture issue.

Dear Andy,  

Today the Post reported on the results from it's most recent Washington Post/ABC poll. In that poll 51% of respondents supported investigations for torture, 47% did not and 2% had no opinion. When you looked at the internals of the poll it showed that 23% of the respondents self identified as liberal, 39% as moderate and 35% as conservative. In other words, even if every liberal polled said that they wanted investigations (23%) that meant there were still 26% of the respondents who wanted investigations who were not liberal. In fact there were more non-liberals who wanted investigations than there were liberals who wanted investigations yet the Post consistently frames this issue as a left vs. right issue. 

Tonight I logged onto the Post's site and saw this on the home page: 

The Torture Debate

Scheuer:    The Bin Laden Scenario 
Danner:     Who's to Blame? 
Gerson:     Memos Understandable 
Broder:      No to Prosecutions 

Of the four opinion pieces listed only 1 of them advocates for accountability. This is why the Post is losing it's readers. We see a newspaper determined to push one point of view and to marginalize all others. 

I've seen all kinds of pieces written on line by rank and file conservatives against torture where they even call the Republicans who support torture, "Rubber hose Republicans". This is not just a left vs. right issue but if you read only the Post you would never know that. 

This truly is a right vs. wrong issue and unfortunately the Post has chosen to push the view that there should be no accountability for torture over and over and over. I keep trying to defend the Post but even I find that harder and harder to do these days. I keep finding myself having to write pieces on my blog where I'm critical of what is in the Post. Have they lost their minds? Do they not want readers? 

I don't expect a response from you but I felt I needed to alert you to this information and hopefully you can pass it along to someone at the Post who might still care about the readers and this newspaper.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Washington Post/ABC Poll Shows: It's Not Just Liberals Who Favor Investigations into Torture

If you read today's Washington Post article about their most recent poll results you might come to the conclusion that on the question of whether to investigate torture that the public is evenly divided and that this is just a partisan issue. In other words it's all about Republicans vs. Democrats or liberals vs. everyone else. 

If you concluded this though, you'd be wrong.

Obama Off to Solid Start, Poll Finds
But Release of Memos on Detainee Interrogations Reveal Deep Partisan Split

Americans also split about evenly on whether the new administration should investigate whether the kind of treatment meted out to terrorism suspects under the Bush administration broke laws, with 51 percent in favor of such inquiries and 47 percent in opposition. About seven in 10 Democrats support such action; a similar proportion of Republicans opposes it. As a candidate, Obama said: "I would not want my first term consumed by what was perceived on the part of the Republicans as a partisan witch hunt, because I think we've got too many problems to solve."
Here is the actual question from their poll:
31. Do you think the Obama administration should or should not investigate whether any laws were broken in the way terrorism suspects were treated under the Bush administration?

Should:  51%        Should not:  47%        No opinion   2%

The Post tells us in their article that 7 in 10 Democrats are in favor of investigations and that a similar number of Republicans are not, yet they don't tell us anything about how Independents break down on this question. Curiously, nor do they give us any of this breakdown information in their raw numbers. Which makes one wonder why not?

Questions 32-33 held for future release. (are these the breakdowns?)

In reporting the results about this new Washington Post-ABC poll the Post also conveniently ignores the fact that of those poll respondents who favor investigations into the torture question, most of the 51%  were not liberal. That's right, the lie that the establishment media has been consistently pushing on the public that only "lefties" favor accountability for torture is debunked by the Post's own poll. How do I know that most of the respondents who favor investigations weren't liberal? Because even though you can't find information about the breakdown of Republicans, Democrats and Independents who took this poll, you can find information about the political leanings of the people taking this poll in the Poll's raw numbers. 

908a. Would you say your views on most political matters are liberal, moderate, or conservative?

So before questions are even asked in this poll we know that 23% of the participants are liberal and 74% of the participants  are not.

The Post's own poll results exposes the lie that liberals are the only ones who want accountability on this issue. Liberals were the lowest represented group in this poll and yet the poll still shows more respondents favor investigations than those who don't. I think somebody was trying to manipulate this poll and despite their best efforts you just can't hide the fact that there were still more Americans in favor of holding Bush administration officials accountable than were not and of those people the majority were NOT liberals.

Even if all the liberals taking this poll (23%) favored investigations that would still mean that 26% of the 51% of respondents who favored investigations were either moderates or conservatives. Why did the Post deliberately hide this fact from readers? Why paint this as a partisan issue?

Another interesting thing about this poll is that the Post reveals that there are fewer people who identify themselves as Republicans now (even though they included no such Party breakdown info in their raw numbers).

There is a warning sign for the GOP in the new poll: 21 percent of those surveyed said they identify as Republicans, the fewest to do so in a Post-ABC poll in more than 25 years. Last fall, Democrats outnumbered Republicans at the polls by the biggest margin in network exit polls going back to the 1982 midterms.

What this means is that there are more and more former Republicans who no longer identify with the Republican party. This information is crucial because the Post claims in their story that there is a partisan divide on this issue yet if you have more and more Republicans abandoning the Republican party is there really a partisan divide in this country or are more and more Americans just rejecting the ideas of the Republicans, including their ideas on torture? 

If only 21% identify as Republicans and you have 35% who identify themselves as conservatives in this poll it would appear that Republicans are not only losing moderates but conservatives as well. And how many of those conservatives are part of the 51% who favor investigations into torture? We don't know because the Post didn't reveal that information, perhaps because it doesn't agree with their view that only liberal score-settlers want accountability for torture. 

Of the 51% who favor investigations into torture the Post doesn't say what percentage favor criminal investigations over an independent panel. I don't know if they didn't ask the question or this is one of the questions that they say are being "held for future release? It's an important question because in order to have full accountability on torture you must have not only an investigation but the possibility of penalties if the investigation reveals that laws were broken. 

This isn't the first poll that our establishment media has tried to manipulate to support their view of no accountability on torture. In the last USA/Gallup poll their results showed 62% of the public in favor of  investigations and of that 62% there were 38% who favored criminal investigations, 24% who favored an independent panel, 34% who favored doing nothing and 3% who had no opinion and yet the media deliberately tried to hide the fact that more people favored criminal investigations over independent panels. 

Gallup has confirmed that they will be putting out new poll results about torture on Monday. It will be interesting to see if their poll results are distorted by the establishment media in the same way that the Post-ABC poll was done today. 

Anyone want to take  bets?