In Defense Of Anderson Cooper

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I've seen a few curveballs hurled at him this past week, but I have to say his coverage struck me as superb. I don't mean the ambush on the street - which he rightly downplayed given what everyone else was going through. I mean his unequivocal use of the word "lie" to describe the simple untruths that the Mubarak regime was disseminating: that violence was being fomented by the demonstators, not their own undercover thugs, that there was foreign influence, that the Muslim Brotherhood was controlling the revolt, etc, etc. James Rainey tries to make some hay out of this and ... totally fails.

He does make one good point, though.

What if journalists actually used the word "lie" to describe when the US government lies. Not spins but says something it knows is untrue and we can independently verify is untrue. It's funny but I don't remember a single moment on national television this past week when anyone described the tactics of Mubarak's and Suleiman's police as "enhanced interrogations" or their victims as "enemy combatants." And yet every single news outlet used those terms when deployed by Bush and Cheney. Yes, Egyptian torture was often far more sadistic. But the ability of a single man to arrest anyone and torture them - Egypt's Emergency Law - is indistinguishable in practice from John Yoo's and David Addington's view of American presidential power. As for the nature of the torture? Ask Jose Padilla, if he is still sane enough to speak.

One other media note: the best coverage I saw by far was by al Jazeera and BBC World News America. If you do not DVR or watch Matt Frei's and Katty Kay's 7 pm hour-long BBC America broadcast, you're missing a huge amount of what's going on in the world.

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