Required reading: Rich on Cheney

Today's Frank Rich column on Dick Cheney's recent PR offensive is a must-read for two reasons. First, Rich offers some apt criticism of the way most of the media framed Cheney's efforts:

The déjà vu in the news media was more chilling. Rather than vet the substance of Cheney’s fulmination, talking heads instead hyped the split-screen “dueling speeches” gimmick of the back-to-back Obama-Cheney scheduling. Time magazine’s political Web site Photoshopped Cheney and Obama’s faces atop prize fighters’ bodies.

Most of the punditocracy scored the fight on a curve, setting up a false equivalence between the men’s ideas. Cheney’s pugnacious certitude edged out Obama’s law-professor nuance. “On policy grounds, you’ve got a real legitimate fight here,” David Gregory insisted on “Meet the Press” as he regurgitated the former vice president’s argument (“You can’t compromise on these matters”) and questioned whether the president could “really bring” his brand of pragmatism “to the issue of the war on terror.”

One New York Daily News columnist summed up Cheney’s supposed TKO this way: “The key to Cheney’s powerful performance: facts, facts, facts.” But the facts, as usual, were wrong.

Then--by way of explaining how Cheney's facts were wrong--Rich links to this extremely thorough assessment from McClatchy's Jonathan Landy and Warren Strobel, which details a number of "omissions, exaggerations and misstatements" from Cheney's American Enterprise Institute speech. Great stuff, and yet another reminder that we should all be paying close attention to McClatchy's national-security reporting.

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