There are times when I read the The New York Times – or, atleast, look at the front page – when I think that newspapers, and especially the New York Times, are all that is standing between us and politicians running wild. That a free press is critical to democracy. Then there are times when I think the papers will do anything, print anything, the politicians want.
For as long as I can remember, waterboarding has been torture. Everybody called it torture. When we learned about the Spanish Inquisition _ and it is interesting that, in a burst of PC religious tolerance, it was called the Spanish Inquisition not the Catholic Inquisition – waterboarding and burning at the stake were highlights. It was defined as torture by the Geneva Convention that we signed. I was taught we didn't do stuff like that – Nazis did stuff like that, North Koreans – it was one of the main reason we were better than them.
Then we start torturing and the New York Times – as well as the Los Angeles Times – started referring to waterboarding as enhanced interrogation. The NYT defend the new terminology by saying it is
somewhat misleading and tendentious to focus on whether we have
embraced the politically correct term in our news stories.There seemed and still seems to be no recognition that what the paper called torture for fifty or sixty or seventy years – and has now been changed – is more than just a politically correct nicety.
When the wars started and the military said that it would embed journalists, there was a short dust-up about whether they could still be objective. But journalists are already embedded: they are embedded with the Washington establishment and they are not objective. Hell, they are part of the Washington establishment. Actually and even worse, they may be objective but are afraid to say anything negative.
As an aside, for some strange reason – unknown to me – the only thing that seems to break loose from the blackhole of sympathetic and sycophantic news coverage of Washington elites by other Washington elites, are sex scandals or racist remarks. A politician – especially a powerful politician like the president – lies about, say, WMD's; the papers go along.End aside.
When, Stephen Colbert, speaking at the White House Correspondents Dinner, attacked the stupid things George Bush was doing, the journalist were shocked. It was rude. As if unnecessarily going to war isn't rude. No wonder torture has become enhanced interrogation.