David Broder wants to sweep away Bush/Cheney torture allegations, earning the Media Putz award
Originally published on MediaPutz.com on September 10, 2009
There is something to be said for longevity, unless of course, you stay past your prime. David Broder has stayed so long past his prime that his name is forever linked, so going on past the point of relevance will forever be known as pulling a “Broder.”
David Broder isn’t the only mainstream journalist who thinks Dick Cheney needs to be protected from an investigation of torture activities. But his rationale, hypocrisy, and his ability to convince the MSM that he has a shred of dignity make him much more dangerous.
In a column from last Thursday, Broder outlined his thought process for why Dick Cheney shouldn’t be “standing in the dock.”
“Cheney is not wrong when he asserts that it is a dangerous precedent when a change in power in Washington leads a successor government not just to change the policies of its predecessors but to invoke the criminal justice system against them.”
By Broder’s logic, we shouldn’t use the criminal justice system if laws were broken because the executive branch is being charged. But wait a minute, we seem to recall that he was upset about another president who broke a law.
“I called for Bill Clinton to resign when he lied to his Cabinet colleagues and to the country during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”
After all, in this same column, Broder made what would seem to be an empathic statement of belief:
“I agree on the importance of accountability for illegal acts and for serious breaches of trust by government officials — even at the highest levels.”
But he goes on to tell us why Bush and Cheney shouldn’t be investigated.
“In times like these, the understandable desire to enforce individual accountability must be weighed against the consequences. This country is facing so many huge challenges at home and abroad that the president cannot afford to be drawn into what would undoubtedly be a major, bitter partisan battle over prosecution of Bush-era officials. The cost to the country would simply be too great.”
Ah, the Broder logic: when times are bad, we shouldn’t punish malfeasance (Watergate, Bush’s torture allegations) that happen to occur under Republicans.
Because after all, Broder did say this about the Bush/Cheney activities:
“Similarly, the administration’s resistance to setting and enforcing clear prohibitions on torture and inhumane treatment of detainees in the war on terrorism raises legitimate questions about its willingness to adhere to the rule of law. From the first days after Sept. 11, Bush has appeared to believe that he is essentially unconstrained. His oddly equivocal recent signing statement on John McCain’s legislation banning such tactics seemed to say he could ignore the plain terms of the law… If Judge Samuel Alito is right that no one is above the law, then Bush’s supposition deserves to be challenged.”
That was back on January 19, 2006. In 2009, Broder feel differently — because times are bad, missing the cruel irony that the policies of Bush/Cheney led to a lot of these current crises.
In the world of Broder, cost is when something bad happens to someone you like (Bush and Cheney), never mind the cost of not prosecuting, or even investigating egregious displays of willful lawlessness. The cost worldwide to our reputation has been severe, and will only get worse as time goes on.
After all, Broder didn’t like Clinton, so any damage to him, the presidency, or the country, justified or not, didn’t matter.
The hilarious part comes at the end of the column when he tries to justify his pretzel logic:
“When President Ford pardoned Nixon in 1974, I wrote one of the few columns endorsing his decision, which was made on the basis that it was more important for America to focus on the task of changing the way it would be governed and addressing the current problems. It took a full generation for the decision to be recognized by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and others as the act of courage that it had been.”
Except that the pardon wasn’t a courageous act; we never did get to find out definitively whether Richard Nixon planned the Watergate burglary or what his role was. This was information and context missing from the debate in later scandals, such as Iran-Contra (Reagan) and the countless George W. Bush scandals, including the torture allegations.
By hiding the truth and wanting to sweep serious problems underneath the national rug — in 1974 and 2009, David Broder violates everything that makes journalism what it should be. And once again, David Broder earns the Media Putz of the week award.
David Broder previously won the Media Putz on April 30, 2009.