A commenter to my earlier post points to an odd admission from one of the reporters on the Dick Cheney series:
The Washington Post changed its headline in today’s hard copy from “The Unseen Path to Cruelty” to “Pushing the Envelope on Presidential Power” in the electronic version. One of the article’s authors was just asked in a live chat why he omitted [a report of torture being approved of prior to January of 2002]. The Post’s Gellman said: “Oh, we’ve omitted a lot more than that.”
I’m not sure how to interpret Gellman’s statement. As a writer, one is loathe to let go of almost ANYTHING you’ve hunted down for a story, and every cut hurts — and that could be all there is to it. In the current atmosphere of mistrust for MSM output, however, it’s strange to be so cavalier about something that could be interpreted in a much more sinister way… (WHAT DOES CHENEY HAVE ON YOU, GELLMAN? WHAT?)
As for changing the name, well, if they bowed to conservative critics, that’s just chicken. Headlines change for all sorts of reasons (and, again, there could be some reason of space or style it changed), but the argument that there’s anything biased about a headline that uses the Veep’s own description of the practice is just silly.
Speaking of silly: I’m a little surprised that so many of you, especially for a crowd that appears to love Colbert and Stewart, would be offended by a response to the Cheney situation that attempted to find a bit of gallows humor in the whole affair. Just because it’s horrifying doesn’t mean it’s not also hilarious. I did an interview today about the series and the anchor said something about “why do you think Cheney takes so much ‘ribbing’?” I had to point out that we joke about Cheney because otherwise, the idea that this man at the highest levels of government considers himself unaccountable to anyone is too frightening to bear.
Maybe you all have stronger constitutions than I. Ba-dum-bump.
UPDATE: The old stomping grounds provides some further (somewhat wry, at the very least) insight:
Dick Cheney also didn’t care about black people. A particuarly fun subplot of the first Bush term is the way NSA adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell never had any clue what the hell Cheney was doing, as he took complete control over policies supposedly under the purviews of their agencies. All documents prepared for Rice were secretly funneled to Cheney, and she and Powell seemed to learn what their administration was up to primarily by watching CNN.