During a lull in tonight’s Red Sox-Indians game, I watched a little of a PBS Frontline documentary called “Cheney’s Law.” It seemed to be the standard left-wing narrative about how Vice President Cheney ran roughshod over the federal bureaucracy in a sinister plot to “define torture down.” In the few minutes I watched before returning to the ballgame, PBS misstated what the so-called Bybee torture memo said, falsely characterizing it as limiting the definition of torture to that which causes organ failure; tried to gin up sympathy for the terrorists at Gitmo; and used sound bites from former administration official turned critic Jack Goldsmith without injecting any of the nuance Goldsmith has tried to bring to the discussion.
But what caught my attention was the disparate photographic treatment of the various interviewees. Outright critics, such as Evan Thomas, were photographed normally. Jack Goldsmith seemed to be photographed at slightly closer range, though I wouldn’t swear to it. And John Yoo, the only person I saw defend the administration, was photographed so close up that you couldn’t see the top of his head.
I don’t know why PBS didn’t just affix the tag “bad guy” when Yoo was speaking. While they were at it, they could have called the documentary “Generic Anti-Bush Propaganda Film.”
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