The Cheneys, the media, and the lack of accountability

THE CHENEYS, THE MEDIA, AND THE LACK OF ACCOUNTABILITY…. For months, Dick Cheney and Liz Cheney were practically everywhere, insisting that there were documents proving the efficacy of Bush-era torture, and demanding that they be declassified and released. Yesterday we saw the materials, and not surprisingly, they don’t support the Cheney claims.

Zachary Roth noted this morning, “It’s hardly news that Dick Cheney is a liar. But yesterday offered yet another exhibit in the case.”

But Greg Sargent does a nice job taking this a little further. Major news outlets — not just Fox News, but actual, legitimate outlets — hyped the Cheneys’ claims, giving both of them high-profile platforms on a nearly daily basis for several weeks. Will the media be equally aggressive now?

Have the big news orgs really decided that Dick Cheney’s previous claims that CIA docs proved torture worked were more newsworthy than what the documents themselves actually do prove?

So far the answer is Yes. While Cheney’s original assertions that the docs would prove torture worked garnered reams of stand-alone print and TV coverage, the fact that the docs themselves don’t actually prove Cheney’s claims was either not covered at all, buried deep in stories, or described in highly hedged language. […]

To be fair, there was tons of news yesterday. Maybe the news orgs will get around to doing big takeouts on this. But come on, Cheney and his daughter Liz were granted tons of print space and air time to claim for weeks that these docs would prove torture worked. Seems fair to expect aggressive, stand alone stories about what they do — and don’t — prove in the real world.

As of this morning, the only major outlet to do a stand-alone story on this was ABC News.

This afternoon, Politico ran a piece, but screwed it up by accepting Cheney’s baseless spin. CNN also had an item, but ran into the exact same problem.

It’s frustrating enough when bogus claims get vastly more attention than the truth, but it’s even worse when the facts come out and major outlets are still getting it wrong.