At what point do we call them the family of mass intimidation and simply stop playing into the Cheney clan’s tired old terror tactics?
Liz is the latest. Cheney child number one made the headlines this week, with an innuendo-laced video questioning the loyalty of lawyers who represent Guantanamo detainees. "The Al Qaeda 7: Who are they?" Asks the voice on a video released by Cheney’s supposedly nonprofit, non-partisan new hit squad. (They call it an advocacy group?)
Liz is playing from a battered old family play book. Shortly after September 11, it was her mother out there, accusing people of lack of patriotism. Lynne Cheney teamed up with Senator Joseph Lieberman to release a report which accused colleges and universities of being the "weak link in America’s response" and naming 117 professors and students whom they called "short on patriotism" and "hostile to the US and western Civilization"
Not to be outdone by his women, barely a month has passed between 2001 and today in which Darth Vader patriarch Dick Cheney didn’t accuse some Democrat or another of endangering the homeland. The former vice president’s training in bait and snitch dates back to the 60s when when he spied on Students for A Democratic Society meetings, jotting down names for his then-boss Donald Rumsfeld in an attempt to cut government funding for public colleges.
Teachers, lawyers, politicians, in case it’s not entirely clear, the Cheney’s aren’t too hot on the independent professions of a free democracy, but they are red hot for the contemporary equivalent of red-baiting and they’ve gotten it down pat, how to harness the money media to do their bidding.
After all, it’s thanks to the media it works. Even concerted attacks on campus progressives, lawyers, and political candidates don’t successfully discredit their targets without the help of the media who carry the allegations and innuendos. Facts be damned, it’s the accusations that do the work: intimidating scholars, chilling freedom of expression, driving lawyers and politicians out of the line of fire.
The media – like FOX – who went ahead this week and obediently printed the names of the Cheney-tagged "7" place the dead horse heads in the beds. Without them, the Cheney mob are simply name callers.
It’s time the media started greeting Cheneyisms with the reaction they deserve. Snore. And most important of all, silence.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv which broadcasts weekdays on satellite TV (Dish Network Ch. 9415 Free Speech TV) on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter.com.