Playing the Left on TV

Regular NewsHour left/right panelists Mark Shields and David Brooks were off on April 18. Sitting in on the right was former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson. In the liberal chair was Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus, who is not exactly known for her strong progressive views.

And in fact, Marcus established that fact right from the start on the debate over torture, showing (once again) that a good TV leftist is usually not, well, a leftist:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Ruth, to you first. The release of these Bush administration-era interrogation memos and, simultaneously, the decision not to prosecute the CIA agents who carried them out–right move, wrong move by this administration?

RUTH MARCUS, Washington Post: Right move on both, and a very brave move on both. The president opened himself up, as he knew he would, to criticism from the right, as in the Wall Street Journal op-ed that was referenced in the previous piece, that by disclosing this he was making America weaker.

And he opened himself up to a firestorm of criticism from the left that he was–I know actually how much criticism you can get for this, because I wrote a few months ago that I didn’t think these folks should be prosecuted, and I was called a torture-enabler. And I don’t think of myself that way.

And so the left is very unhappy about the failure of prosecutions. They’re latching onto this hope that maybe some of the higher-ups will be prosecuted, and I honestly do not think that that’s going to happen.

In a world where torturers don’t think of themselves as torturers, it’s not surprising that torture-enablers don’t think of themselves as torture-enablers. But what else are you supposed to call people who argue that laws against torture shouldn’t be enforced?

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.