The search for a fresh episode of Nurse Jackie left me looking down at my remote for a split second. It took no longer than that to get an injection of America's daily dose of Dick Cheney's patented fear mongering via talking knucklehead, ABC anchor, Charlie Gibson.
In television news everyone knows that the first words out of any anchor's pie-hole are the most crucial, most pertinent words of the newscast. Those verbs and nouns reflect what the editorial management considers to be the most important point to be made that day. ABC revealed much about itself last night.
As a clumsy finger accidentally punched up ABC World News Tonight, my painful, ongoing education in the recklessness of television news broadcasting graduated to a new low.
The long overdue release of CIA torture documents was the lead...well, sort of. In advance of the breaking the news, Mr. Gibson offered a pre-lead caveat. It was a quote from the nation's ubiquitous former Vice President and foremost king of national hysteria -- Dick Cheney.
This story, about newly released CIA documents, is crucial to maintaining a democratic, transparent, open, accountable government ... one in which the press is truly free to tell its citizens what the government's doing in their name. It cannot be interpreted by logical minds as anything but an attempt to become wiser, more knowledgeable and, therefore, more free.
But, as usual, up was down and down was up and in walked the unrelenting, omnipresent, Mr. Cheney. He was allowed to speak on the merits of the CIA story before it ran. His words were the first to set the context of the subject and, therefore, the most memorable and powerful.
As always, Mr. Cheney told Americans they were "less safe" now that the torture documents were released. It was no surprise that our national fear monger and professional pot-stirrer told Americans what he always has...that we should be shaking in our boots, paralyzed and afraid.
I'd like to refer Mr. Cheney to a quote from one of my favorite Civil War movies, and dedicate these words to his ongoing performance.
"They call this war a cloud over the land. But, they made the weather and then they stand in the rain and say 'Shit, it's raining."'
It's raining alright. And Mr. Cheney seeded the clouds and helped deliver the downpour. Now he baits us still...with fear of biological and nuclear war.
What Mr. Cheney is really afraid of is prison. If we count the lies he's told, it's nothing less than reckless professionalism to let this man deliver a pre-emptive lecture on any network at any time.
Let's count the duplicity, shall we? Although it may be redundant to point out, we cannot allow these facts to swirl down some memory hole. This is particularly true when the masters of news seem to be caught in the hole's gravity.
Mr. Cheney lied to Congress and got Americans into an illegal, self- serving war. He's dodging his own prison cell by screaming "fire" in our crowded, national movie theater.
As he tells this nation's citizens over and over that they are on the verge of being attacked by Weapons of Mass Destruction, we should ask him if those frightening, silence-inducing WMDs are the real kind or the imagined ones he told us we'd find in Iraq.
And while I am at it, this is a man who committed grievous offenses against his own nation by promoting the outing of a CIA operative whose job was, ironically, but not coincidentally, to look for WMDs!
As we finally see a modicum of effort by the mainstream media to focus on stories that shed light on the past nine years of dark secrets...why in the world would the one who gets to speak first be the person who made the rain in the first place?!
Charlie Gibson, it seems, should be demoted to weatherman. He certainly knows how to show us...even if by accident... which way his network sees the wind blowing.