Sunday, June 7, 2009


During the Bush years – come on you remember those long, loooonnnng Bush years – chances are you heard the name Mary Cheney a few times. The irony of the ultra-conservative Vice-President of the United States fathering a gay daughter was so delicious. Less visible was her older sister, Elizabeth. That’s odd, since “Liz” held high-ranking positions in the state department throughout the Bush years. That is, except for a break in 2004 when she interrupted her duties to work on her father’s re-election campaign. It was Liz’s job to gather the female vote, and by all accounts she did a stellar job. Still, if you ask the average American voter about Dick Cheney’s daughter, you’re likely to hear about Mary. Liz perfected the art of anonymity.

So, it begs the question: Why is Liz Cheney suddenly all over the airwaves, Internet news and information sites, and print publications? Her non-stop interviews running parallel with her father’s inexplicable media mongering is slightly suspect. Sometimes they even appear together and their clothing seems oddly color coordinated. It's slightly creepy. If I had the opportunity to ask Ms. Liz one question, I would just ask “Liz, what is it you want?” Really. What does Liz Cheney want from all of this media exposure? I mean there are already enough talking heads and pundits critiquing and countering every word the President says. The anti-Obama machine is oiled and running, and Liz has not come forward with anything new or revelatory. Even with her impressive credentials and substantial background in matters of State, Mr. & Mrs. America know very little of her and are not likely to offer her their full attention. So…what is Liz Cheney's motive with all of this sudden, chatty media exposure?

Liz is clearly (painfully?) her father’s daughter, as evidenced by some of the positions she espouses on the issues. On waterboarding, Liz says it is not torture; that current administration officials should assess whether the techniques used were effective in gathering intelligence information. The problem with this argument, which she is parroting from umpteen conservative pundits and columnists, is that it negates any other methods of gathering information. Liz, et al, never consider a less neanderthal approach. Also like some of her counterparts, Liz interrupts a lot and has little tolerance for viewpoints other than hers…and dad’s. Watch:

What Liz Cheney was not counting on when she embarked on her current media blitz was the intense scrutiny under which she would operate. It has become a favorite pastime/obsession with some media types to monitor every point she makes. Jason Linkins, who you may have read about here the other day in “Are You The Future of Journalism,” poked so many holes in Liz’s recent verbal spar with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, that it seems the empress has no clothes. Watch the exchange, and then click here to read Linkins’ rebuttal:
If Liz Cheney wants to enter the national conversation, for whatever reasons or with whatever agenda she has, I say, 'Come on down,' Liz. But we citizens have a few ground rules and I’m more than a little surprised that you didn’t know about them. I just think I better lay them out for you:
1. When you commit to an interview during which you’re going to talk about what has or hasn’t been said publicly by officials, make sure you know what has or hasn’t been said by public officials. Otherwise, we citizens have a name for that: “Rewriting History.”
2. An interview is a con – ver – sa – tion. Both people get to speak, and in the best of times both people get to complete sentences before the other person speaks.
3. Experienced journalists like those with whom you have spoken lately, do their homework. We are in the information business. It is what we do. If we convey inaccurate information, it compromises our credibility. So, you may want to think twice before you condescend to the questioner. Chances are, we’re not saying something we haven’t checked, double-checked and re-checked before we say it. Can you say the same about yourself? Liz? Come on now….can you?
Liz Cheney appears to be a very self-assured woman. She expresses herself earnestly and assertively. She just seems to have forsaken the key element to undertaking a media tour that relies on knowledge of the issues – preparation. And she seems to have forgotten that the manner in which you earnestly assert yourself has a lot to do with how it is received by the masses. Say it with a sincere commitment to the truth and we’re probably listening, Liz. But say it with nothing more or less than disdain for those who don’t share your worldview, and we’re tuning out.

Cheney, Part II is getting on our collective nerves. And once that happens, we can’t really remember what the hell she said.

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