Home > Editorial, Links & Videos to Know, Media > Dick Cheney: Hitler, Castro, & Cobra Commander All-In-One

Dick Cheney: Hitler, Castro, & Cobra Commander All-In-One


Watching the 2007 episode of Frontline entitled “Cheney’s Law” recently, one of the first comments I wrote down was that it felt like a conspiracy. Watching the piece further, my initial suspicions felt very justified.

The program’s thesis was essentially how during the Nixon trials now former Vice-President Dick Cheney decided that the President should have more power, and should essentially be above the law. So Cheney went searching for a political partner to help bring about this supposed dream, and found one in George W. Bush. Therefore, when 9/11 happened, the first thing Cheney thinks about is getting essentially unlimited power for the President, and through lots of shady happenings, he essentially got it. Now terrorists get to be tortured, secret councils are circumventing Congress to let the President do whatever the hell he wants, and what’s strangest of all is that President Bush is just a puppet, and Dick Cheney is just the evil puppet master lurking in the shadows.

There’s never any real visual evidence about anything. Most of the story is told from interviews with journalists from Newsweek etc. And most of the interviewees that were supposedly involved with the events told were very low-level, or at least people who even the most savvy follower of Washington politics would be hard-pressed to know. Frontline is making some very harsh accusations about the happenings of the Bush Administration here. They don’t have at least one major piece of evidence? Not one witness of any note? Sure, we have lots of menacing photos tilted sideways and whatnot to make Cheney and everybody else in the Bush Administration look devious as all get out, but hey, if it works for Ken Burns, then it can work for Frontline too.

The result feels like a shady special on the SyFy channel about Area 51. They might have some guy who says he’s been in. They might have people who say they’ve seen alien aircraft flying in the area. They even might have a blurry photograph or three. Point is, it’s all bullcrap. There’s no real evidence given because there isn’t any. If it was true, then it would be something short of common knowledge. If Cheney did circumvent Congress, you can bet your ass that one of the Congressman that was circumvented would raise hell about it to no end. Bush would be tried for War Crimes. There would be tell-all books. Somebody would sell their story to the media. But none of it ever happens to any extent because it’s all bullcrap. Smoke & Mirrors created by biased people trying to justify the pictures in their head.

Bush is not as stupid as he’s portrayed. Cheney’s not a conniving puppet master. They’re people. One I feel is pretty sincere about most of his actions. One shot a guy once and has one of the least friendly faces in political history. They’re not stereotypes. They’re not Saturday Night Live characters. They’re not folk legends from Robin Hood. All people have things like motivations behind them. The characters created by the media in the 00s are not real people.

I’m not defending either Bush or Cheney in this argument. I’m just making an observation based on my knowledge of how people act. So why did the media at large, including this Frontline piece act the way they did?

To put it simply, the 00s were a crappy decade for politics. Think of it as the 60s to the 90s’ 50s. Things were easy in the 90s. Our attacks were relatively minor. The Cold War had just ended. The economy was pretty nice. And we didn’t have any pronounced enemies or wars because everybody was plotting. When the 00s came along, the good times ended and everything that had been building for the past decade hit the fan and scattered in a billion different directions. Terrorism went on the rise. North Korea & Iran looked threatening. The economy went to crap. Bush got elected twice. And until Obama, none of the Democratic candidates looked that appealing. All this added up to a decade that was run on emotion. We didn’t know how to process all these new problems, so we just grabbed whatever was next to us and started beating the crap out of each other both physically and verbally.

I believe that Bush mishandled a lot of things, but he was sincere in almost everything he did. I believe this is how history should remember him. Unfortunately for him and us, it’s going to take decades to get a handle on what the hell just hit us. Just look at the 60s. We just now got a good handle on how all that connected together. Why Vietnam happened. What all the social change meant, etc.

Of course when Frontline makes documentary about the inside politics of the Bush administration almost two years before the man even leaves office, it’s easy to see why the piece doesn’t feel as credible as it should. You need time for these things to breathe. To get prospective. This is a major problem with the program, especially since Frontline is an investigative documentary series that’s investigating before the case is even finished. Or at least a case that’s not at a suitable point for investigation.

Does that mean we just stop looking into things as they happen? No. But that’s why we have pundits, bloggers and various newspaper people. Still, all of them have a very present-tense aspect about them, as if to say that what we’re saying is tentative. These current issue Frontline pieces are preaching this stuff as if a 5-year window makes it all gospel. If you state non-facts as fact, then that confuses people and misinforms them, thereby creating the current disastrous series of national debates the past few years.

Note: They actually do a lot of pieces where they don’t even give the events a 5-year window. They did a piece about ObamaCare a year after the fact, and the result was a very tired piece since the program had almost no prospective, new at least, on the issue.

So, what did we learn today?

1: Don’t jump to conclusions
2: Give history room to breathe
3: Nothing is ever as concrete as it seems
4: The 00s sucked
5: Misinformation will be the death of this nation.

But that doesn’t mean all Frontline is bad. Just most of their current issue series. They also do a lot of great investigative pieces that bring about debates and problems at an appropriate time to talk about them. But those are for another post at another time. In the meantime, watch “Cheney’s Law” for yourself and be the judge.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/v/?id=frol02s16cq56&w=514&h=366

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