Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Oh, Joe! A Lily for you...

Oh, Joe! A Lily for you...

It has been a while since I awarded a "Lily," my own personal prize. I chose that name for statements that engender cynicism. The award is named after Lily Tomlin, who reputed to have said "No matter how cynical I get, it's hard to keep up."

Joe Scarborough wins for his recent defense of water boarding. A part of that defense was asking a rhetorical question that implies very strongly that water boarding is not torture.

When, he asked, did the liberal media, when did the people in Manhatten, when did the people in West Hollywood decide that water boarding was torture?

"I wasn't," he said, "at that meeting."

Joe is a commentator, discussing issues of the day every day. He has access to more information that I have, and more time to take it in, check it out and verify it. . So, I am cynical about his integrity in making this statement. It is well enough known for me to know that, it wasn't a meeting where that decision was made. That was decided at a trial. More than one trial. Three of them are described, here.

"In the war crimes tribunals that followed Japan's defeat in World War II, the issue of waterboarding was sometimes raised. In 1947, the U.S. charged a Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, with war crimes for waterboarding a U.S. civilian. Asano was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor.

"On Jan. 21, 1968, The Washington Post ran a front-page photo of a U.S. soldier supervising the waterboarding of a captured North Vietnamese soldier. The caption said the technique induced "a flooding sense of suffocation and drowning, meant to make him talk." The picture led to an Army investigation and, two months later, the court martial of the soldier.

"Cases of waterboarding have occurred on U.S. soil, as well. In 1983, Texas Sheriff James Parker was charged, along with three of his deputies, for handcuffing prisoners to chairs, placing towels over their faces, and pouring water on the cloth until they gave what the officers considered to be confessions. The sheriff and his deputies were all convicted and sentenced to four years in prison."

NPR, "Waterboarding: a tortured history"

It wasn't a meeting that decided that water boarding was torture. It was a law cases--it was trials.

So, if Joe Scarborough doesn't know that, what's he doing commenting on the news of the day? This is the kind of thing that politicians do (and he is a former Congressman)--they use cleverly worded statements that don't really lie but convey and promote untruth. Propagandists--that is people who want to persuade people of something that benefits the propagandist without regard for the truth of the matter--lie; sometimes they lie by commission and sometimes by omission, but they lie.

Later in the same show, Joe said to a guest "If you are going to be on my show, David, you have to provide accurate information."

A Lily for Joe. The category is Integrity.

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