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Torturers Get It From Fox TV

Does '24' encourage US interrogators to 'torture' detainees?

Some top military and civilian experts say yes, but others call accusation 'ludicrous.'
By Tom Regan | csmonitor.com

The Fox Broadcasting Company television show "24," which for the past five years has detailed "a single, panic-laced day" in which Jack Bauer – a heroic counter-terrorism agent, played by Kiefer Sutherland – must stop "a conspiracy that imperils the nation," is one of the US's most popular shows. But it may also be encouraging real-life interrogators to "go too far" when they question terrorist suspects.

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Re: Torturers Get It From Fox TV

WHATEVER IT TAKES: The politics of the man behind “24.”
by JANE MAYER
www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/070219fa_fact_mayer

Last March, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Virginia, joined Surnow and Howard Gordon for a private dinner at Rush Limbaugh’s Florida home. The gathering inspired Virginia Thomas—who works at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank—to organize a panel discussion on “24.” The symposium, sponsored by the foundation and held in June, was entitled “ ‘24’ and America’s Image in Fighting Terrorism: Fact, Fiction, or Does It Matter?” Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who participated in the discussion, praised the show’s depiction of the war on terrorism as “trying to make the best choice with a series of bad options.” He went on, “Frankly, it reflects real life.” Chertoff, who is a devoted viewer of “24,” subsequently began an e-mail correspondence with Gordon, and the two have since socialized in Los Angeles. “It’s been very heady,” Gordon said of Washington’s enthusiasm for the show. Roger Director, Surnow’s friend, joked that the conservative writers at “24” have become “like a Hollywood television annex to the White House. It’s like an auxiliary wing.”

The same day as the Heritage Foundation event, a private luncheon was held in the Wardrobe Room of the White House for Surnow and several others from the show. (The event was not publicized.) Among the attendees were Karl Rove, the deputy chief of staff; Tony Snow, the White House spokesman; Mary Cheney, the Vice-President’s daughter; and Lynn Cheney, the Vice-President’s wife, who, Surnow said, is “an extreme ‘24’ fan.” After the meal, Surnow recalled, he and his colleagues spent more than an hour visiting with Rove in his office. “People have this image of him as this snake-oil-dirty, secretive guy, but in his soul he’s a history professor,” Surnow said. He was less impressed with the Situation Room, which, unlike the sleek high-tech version at C.T.U., “looked like some old tearoom in a Victorian house.”

The Heritage Foundation panel was moderated by Limbaugh. At one point, he praised the show’s creators, dropped his voice to a stage whisper, and added, to the audience’s applause, “And most of them are conservative.” When I spoke with Limbaugh, though, he reinforced the show’s public posture of neutrality. “People think that they’ve got a bunch of right-wing writers and producers at ‘24,’ and they’re subtly sending out a message,” he said. “I don’t think that’s happening. They’re businessmen, and they don’t have an agenda.” Asked about the show’s treatment of torture, he responded, “Torture? It’s just a television show! Get a grip.”

In fact, many prominent conservatives speak of “24” as if it were real. John Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who helped frame the Bush Administration’s “torture memo”—which, in 2002, authorized the abusive treatment of detainees—invokes the show in his book “War by Other Means.” He asks, “What if, as the popular Fox television program ‘24’ recently portrayed, a high-level terrorist leader is caught who knows the location of a nuclear weapon?” Laura Ingraham, the talk-radio host, has cited the show’s popularity as proof that Americans favor brutality. “They love Jack Bauer,” she noted on Fox News. “In my mind, that’s as close to a national referendum that it’s O.K. to use tough tactics against high-level Al Qaeda operatives as we’re going to get.” Surnow once appeared as a guest on Ingraham’s show; she told him that, while she was undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer, “it was soothing to see Jack Bauer torture these terrorists, and I felt better.” Surnow joked, “We love to torture terrorists—it’s good for you!”
 

Re: Torturers Get It From Fox TV

excellent program! Way to go FOX!
 

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)
 

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