Here’s an altogether amazing column from David Broder, the longtime Washington Post columnist. Broder, often called the “dean of the Washington press corps,” argues against prosecution of anyone involved in the development and execution of the program to torture detainees.
The column, to be published Sunday, is dense with the usual contemptuous regard for fact. For example:
Obama needs to take it on himself, as he started to do — not pass the buck to Attorney General Eric Holder, as he seemed to be suggesting in his later statements on the issue.
This — in a column arguing against prosecutions because of their political consequences — is amazingly un-self-reflective. Apparently, Broder has already forgotten that the Bush administration thoroughly politicized the Department of Justice as a PR instrument to rationalize every criminal action it wanted to take. Now, Broder turns right around and, ignoring the proper independent operation of the DOJ himself, urges Obama to effectively intervene in the agency’s work in order to protect criminals for political reasons.
I love this succinct graf too:
But having vowed to end the practices [of torture], Obama should use all the influence of his office to stop the retroactive search for scapegoats.
Astounding. First is the odd phrase “retroactive search,” as if that’s something unusual. Exactly what criminal investigation is not “retroactive”? Perhaps Mr. Broder prefers to investigate crimes before they occur?
Then there’s the most amazing of all: use of the word “scapegoats.” It’s another one of those Orwellian language moves for which the press has become infamous. They’re not criminals or suspected criminals. They are scapegoats. If you conduct an investigation and find plenty of evidence of a criminal act, how are you scapegoating anyone? Is someone beside the suspected people responsible for the torture? Teletubbies? Mr. SquarePants? Monica Lewinski?
I suppose he means the suspects are scapegoats in a political game. So, if there’s a political motive present for anyone advocating prosecution, the crimes should be ignored? In the world of David Broder and the rest of the Washington political and media class, apparently so.
As another example of the delusional self-aggrandisement of the punditry, check out this video of David Gregory, recently cited by Glenn Greenwald. At the beginning of the video, Gregory, who is the host of Meet the Press, says he’s going to do some analysis. What follows is literally a recitation of talking points. There’s no “analysis” at all. It’s the verbal equivalent of linking to other people’s writing.