Liz Cheney Demonstrates How Republicans Play the Media

It didn’t take Dick Cheney’s daughter long to rise to a leadership position among Republicans in the House of Representatives. Having been elected to Wyoming’s at-large seat in 2016, Liz Cheney became chair of the House Republican Conference (the third-highest ranked leadership role) in 2019. Her main task in that position is to communicate the party’s message to its members—the same one she communicated during her interview with Chuck Todd on Sunday.

Ostensibly, Cheney’s appearance was a chance for her to explain why she voted against a bill condemning “hateful expressions of intolerance.” But take a look at how she tossed all of that off and went on the offensive at about the 1:25 mark of this video.

The important thing for us to be focused on and to remember—the Democrats have been in charge now for about two and a half months in the House. In that time they’ve become the party of anti-semitism, the party of infanticide, the party of socialism. They’ve passed legislation that’s violated the First Amendment, the Second Amendment.

Cheney just laid out the Republican platform for 2020. Since they don’t have an agenda of their own, it will all be lies about their opponents. Here are the ones Cheney told in that clip:

  1. A bill that is focused on condemning “hateful expressions of intolerance” is labeled “anti-semitic.”
  2. Allowing parents to issue “do not resuscitate” orders for a baby destined to die is labeled “infanticide.”
  3. Embracing the kind of reforms that were part of the New Deal is labeled “socialism.”
  4. A bill that requires the disclosure of big donors is labeled a violation of the First Amendment.
  5. A bill that extends background checks for gun purchases on the internet and at gun shows is labeled a violation of the Second Amendment.

Those lies demonstrate why it is difficult, if not impossible, to have a rational discussion about politics these days. Republicans like Cheney don’t want to debate the issues. They know they’d lose if that happened. Instead, they employ lies to paint all Democrats—regardless of their positions—as extremists.

If you watch the video beyond the clip I quoted, you’ll see that Chuck Todd didn’t attempt to call Cheney out on those lies. He never even asked her to defend the statements, but simply let them stand. Todd doesn’t think it is the media’s job to correct lies, which is precisely why Liz Cheney’s father preferred Todd’s predecessor, Tim Russert, as a vehicle for getting his message out: he didn’t call out the lies either. Combined with the blatant propaganda of Fox News, that refusal to hold politicians accountable for what they say is something that Republicans have been exploiting for years.

It is that failure that causes so many people in the media to give credence to Republican claims that the Democratic party is lurching leftwards instead of examining their own addiction to symmetry.

Donald Trump has made himself the object of media scorn with his attacks on journalism and his constant lies. But too many reporters still give people like Liz Cheney a pass in search of symmetry. They wind up getting played by her lies, just as they were used by her father to start a needless war.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60.