Beware of sketch artists

BEWARE OF SKETCH ARTISTS…. A group of right-wing House members, including Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Steve King (R-Iowa), and Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), hosted a press stunt in front of the Supreme Court yesterday. They argued that the American system of justice is too weak to try and convict terrorist suspects. That the American system of justice has already tried and convicted hundreds of terrorist suspects was an inconvenient, unaddressed detail.

But as Evan McMorris-Santoro noted, the real entertainment of the event was the quality of the reasoning.

[Trent Franks] said that a federal trial would give the suspects “a megaphone to speak to the planet,” which he said “only hastens the danger” of, literally, a nuclear terrorist attack.

When a reporter pointed out that federal trials aren’t televised, perhaps making the “megaphone” a little less likely, Republicans said there were other ways for terror suspects to peddle their propoganda from a U.S. courtroom — for example, sketch artists.

“What we’ve seen happen is artists draw pictures and this will be written up and there will be defense attorneys taking the global stage,” King said. “We are in an electronic era where they Internet and all these other media that we have will create a real time look at what’s going on in New York.”

Sketch artists? We can’t charge terrorist suspects and put them on trial because a sketch artist might draw a picture of a suspect in a courtroom, which in turn undermines our national security interests and “hastens the danger” of a nuclear attack?

Someone please remind me why the conventional wisdom is that conservatives are more credible on national security issues.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation