It's been nothing less than astonishing watching the media cover for Monday's leaked Department of Justice memo making the legal case for drone attacks against Americans.
Exposing the hypocrisy of this Wednesday was one of Fox News's liberal contributors Kirsten Powers who said of her colleagues on the left, "They're clearly hypocrites. They clearly don't really care about human rights. They only care if it helps them politically" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
MONICA CROWLEY: When the original Bush administration memo providing the legal framework and basis for enhanced interrogation techniques was leaked, and that was authored by a top Bush administration, Justice Department official named John Yoo, when that was leaked, the left went wild. They went into complete meltdown. They accused President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld of essentially ravaging the Constitution. They opposed EITs, they opposed rendition, black sites, those interrogations, indefinite detention, warrantless wiretapping, data mining, all of which with the exception as far as we know of interrogations, the Bush, the Obama administration, rather, has continued.
And so now we get this memo leaked from the Obama team that shows that they've done everything Bush has done except for interrogations and actually took it one step further to target American citizens who are suspected of engaging in terrorist activity. And yet, there is nothing with a few honest leftist intellectuals like Kirsten who will blow the whistle on this and say, “We need some intellectual consistency here. If we're going to attack President Bush for those counterterrorism policies, shouldn't President Obama be subjected to the same criticism?”
ALISYN CAMEROTA, HOST: Kirsten, how do you explain that even Democratic lawmakers haven't been as outspoken about this as they were about the previous War on Terror tactics that we talked about. And liberal commentators, in fact you took one to task on a different cable network for basically having a double standard when it came to what President Bush was trying to do and what President Obama is trying to do. How do you explain their silence?
KIRSTEN POWERS: I can't. You know, I mean, they're clearly hypocrites. They clearly don't really care about human rights. They only care if it helps them politically. That's all I can say. There are a couple of people who are great on this issue. Glenn Greenwald at the Guardian, Conor Friedersdorf out at the Atlantic. There are, you know, a couple of people that are very consistent on this, but for the most part, yeah, it's completely despicable.
The idea that, you know, you think that George Bush is a war criminal for water boarding three planners of 9/11 attacks, but you don't have a problem with the President having a kill list. Again, we knew he had a kill list before the election, this is not new information. We, it's just gotten worse because now we've seen that they're doing exactly what President Obama criticized Bush for which is basically making up, making the law fit around his already preconceived notions.
And what Obama is doing an un-Constitutional and it’s illegal. There's no question. There is no way you can argue that you can kill an American without due process, and that he's not being held accountable by the media, I mean, he has not even addressed this memo. Could you imagine if this was Bush?
CAMEROTA: Monica, take that up. Thee’s lots of people, obviously we’ve had our own legal experts on here talking about how the President is taking great liberties with the Constitution. They’ve gone further to say that he's actually sort of bastardizing the Constitution, but yet, this is not a topic that you're hearing, I mean, the New York Times took it up today.
POWERS: Yes, today, I mean, Abu Ghraib was on the cover of the New York Times for weeks, you know, which it should have been.
CROWLEY: But Kirsten is totally right when she says, “Can you imagine if this was President Bush?” If this were Bush, and he had a kill list targeting American citizens un-Constitutionally, going about it in a very shadowy way where you have some defense intelligence bureaucrat who’s making sort of arbitrary judgment about whether or not this American is engaging in terrorist activity or planning an imminent attack. It is an incredible slippery slope. If this had been the Bush administration, these same Democrats who are quiet now would be starting impeachment proceedings on this President.
POWERS: Or can you imagine if, as Robert Gibbs said when he was asked about Anwar al-Awlaki's son being killed, and he said, “Well, I guess he should have had a better father?” Can you imagine if Ari Fleischer had said something like that? I mean, this should not, they have to get to the bottom of this and not let the Administration get away with this.
Nicely said, Kirsten. Brava!
But you're wrong. Obama will get away with this.
Because folks like Powers, Crowley, others at Fox News, and conservative talk show hosts as well as bloggers will be the only ones in the media pushing back against this.
Obama learned in the previous four years that his press will support him in everything he does including what supposedly goes against their principles.
Maybe this means they really don't have any principles beyond winning elections and advancing their agenda.
Much as they turned a blind eye to President Clinton's philandering, their belief here likely is that Obama is in position to enact a number of policies they hold dear such as immigration reform, same-sex marriage, and climate change.
So what if a few Americans are killed by drones without due process. That apparently is trivial by comparison to issues liberal media members must feel are more pressing.
Or in the end is it really just about Obama and that these folks just can't bring themselves to criticize him even when he's behaving far worse than Bush ever did?
Whatever the case, America's media have once again failed the people they serve for their own political benefit.
As David Byrne was famous for saying, same as it ever was.