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Politico sucks up to Dick Cheney with no Afghanistan follow up to win the Media Putz

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Originally published on MediaPutz.com on December 3, 2009

Politico

When Dick Cheney was in the role of vice president, the MSM treated him as if the boss called them on the carpet, showing massive amounts of undue reverence.

Even though Cheney is out of power, the MSM still showers him with respect shown for few politicians, and no Democratic ones.

Within this climate, Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei managed to shine in their reluctance to exhibit any sense of journalistic curiosity when talking with Cheney.

The timing of the interview centered around two current news stories: the release of the Senate report that essentially says we let Osama bin Laden through our grasp at Tora Bora, and the impending President Obama speech on the Afghanistan war.

We’re told the interview with Cheney lasted 90 minutes, yet the Senate report never came up. Or if it did, the response never made it into the interview.

Strike One.

Well, there was this passage from the interview:

But Cheney rejected any suggestion that Obama had to decide on a new strategy for Afghanistan because the one employed by the previous administration failed.

Cheney was asked if he thinks the Bush administration bears any responsibility for the disintegration of Afghanistan because of the attention and resources that were diverted to Iraq. “I basically don’t,” he replied without elaborating.

So Cheney gives a three-word quip to what would seem a vital question, and there is no follow-up. As the great philosopher/tennis player John McEnroe once noted, “You can not be serious.”

In the 1101-word article, there is very little sense of an interview and more of a olé press conference — where Cheney is the bull and the reporters stand back and hold up a red cape of passiveness.

There are two points late in the article when you get the sense that Allen and VandeHei might have asked a question. Not a tough question, but even the semblance of a question.

What were the two “radical” steps undertaken by Allen and VandeHei against this powerful figure. The questions looked like they were, “What do you think about Sarah Palin?” and “Would you run for president in 2012?”

Such hard-hitting questions.

We know all too well Cheney’s sense of cowardice, from his deferments during the Vietnam War to his undisclosed location syndrome. The bully in the room — Cheney – usually turns out to be the big coward. Not that Politico will ever find out whether this is true.

The sad part of this interview is that we have come to expect this brand of journalism from Politico: a bunch of insiders wanting to suck up to the powerful (unless they’re Democrats) and not rock the boat on society in the whole.

As emptywheel of FireDogLake.com notes, there is an eerie coincidence between Politico’s John Harris and Dick Cheney on Obama and exceptionalism.

Politico reporters Mike Allen and Glenn Thrush have individually won the Media Putz award. But this week’s winner is a team award. For displaying selective timidity when it comes to asking questions of the power structure in Washington, we award Politico the Media Putz of the week.

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Written by democracysoup

December 3, 2009 at 6:00 am

Posted in media criticism, MSM

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