MSNBC’s Scarborough Misled Viewers on Torture

I missed this yesterday, but holy hell. Here's Joe Scarborough:

"[Zero Dark Thirty] presents a narrative that is going to make a lot of people in the mainstream media, in the Democratic party and in the administration uncomfortable, and that is the truth that Barack Obama learned, the first briefing that he got after after he won the election, and that is that the CIA program, whether you find it repugnant or not, actually was effective with KSM and other people getting actionable intelligence that led to couriers, that led, eventually, years later, to the killing of Osama bin Laden."

No. That's completely wrong by most authoritative accounts. John McCain:

In fact, the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on Khalid Sheik Mohammed produced false and misleading information. He specifically told his interrogators that Abu Ahmed had moved to Peshawar, got married and ceased his role as an al-Qaeda facilitator — none of which was true. According to the staff of the Senate intelligence committee, the best intelligence gained from a CIA detainee — information describing Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti’s real role in al-Qaeda and his true relationship to bin Laden — was obtained through standard, noncoercive means.


I'm not sure how any self-respecting human being can become so ridiculously frightened they would seriously defend torture. These right-wingers who claim to be so tough and manly -- they're the first ones to wet their big boy pants and scream for security by any means. Sad.

  • Scopedog

    Ah, forgive me for playing Devil’s Advocate here….but did Scarborough–or did _anyone_–from Morning Joe even see ZDT?

    Christ, can we actually just judge the movie after we see it? Just asking…

  • Rollo Tamasi

    The is the second time this week I’ve heard a media professional push this false assertion that “enhanced interrogation techniques” led to the capture of OBL. The critic at EW actually said that movie proved that EIT work.

    EW’s Owen Gleiberman:

    Kathryn Bigelow’s electrifying docudrama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden is bold enough to acknowledge that ”enhanced interrogation techniques” really work, all while paying gripping tribute to an eagle-eyed CIA analyst (Jessica Chastain) who spent years going in for the kill.,,20326356_20653347_21249710,00.html#21249709

    Torture is now mainstream in America?

  • Ellen Kuhlmann

    I’d be more outraged by Morning Joe if the Bigelow movie hadn’t reinforced their view. Contrast her “artistic license” with the accuracy the makers of Lincoln went for, knowing that when you depict history, you have a responsibility to at least get the major facts straight. Perception is 9/10 of reality, and she should have known that. Think she did, and just didn’t care.

  • roxsteady

    Scarborough and the rest of the wingnuts are nothing but a bunch of cowards. This is also why they love their guns. It’s fear. Like every NRA douchebag who says that victims of gun violence would be alive if they were armed. It’s movie fantasy bullshit. I hope that Lawrence O'”Donnell can get an inter view with Kathryn Bigelow and set the record straight on the “creative license” she took with this movie. I think it’s a disgrace and I hope it will cost her the Oscar. According to Nate Silver, the movie that wins the Golden Globe for Best Picture and the Director’s Guild award usually wins the Oscar. I’ll be watching closely to see who wins these. Personally, I hope it’s Ben Affleck’s Argo.

    • Rollo Tamasi

      I really thought Lincoln was a great film. It’s the best I’ve seen this year. Argo was good, but I thought Lincoln was better. I think ZD30 will be good, but I hate that the director did this. I kinda hate that I know this info. going in. I’ll try to keep an open mind.

      The thing is, I’ve heard this film described as journalistic and meticulous. So, how is it that she got that very crucial (and easily fact-checkable) thing about torture wrong? That’s too big of an issue to get wrong and blame it on “creative license”. I call BS.

      Also, Nate was horribly wrong on his Oscar picks a couple of years ago.

      My GF and I had a little contest and I just went with all of Nate’s picks as my own. I got crushed. Serves me right.

  • Lazarus Durden

    This is the problem with right wing verse. They don’t understand “make believe”.

    Torture as seen in movies is just that: it works in the movies. It’s meant for dramatic effect and to advance the plot. Doesn’t mean it works in real life. It’s the same thing as shooting a gas tank and watching it explode, or seeing the Duke boys jump a river, land on the other side and drive away with no harm to the car. No bent frame, messed up engine, or broken axle. Nope because they’re the Duke boys. They’re supposed to escape! They have arrows with dynamite on them!

    Now reasonable people know it’s all just make-believe. It’s a movie. We give the writer a bit of leeway if they’re trying, or it feels authentic. However this same impulse should never be done in real life. Jack Bauer would be a horrible secret agent and a liability to any intelligence organization. Torture does not work. The results are always flimsy, and hardly reliable when you need good solid intelligence. That’s not even factoring in the moral component.

    However this is the problem with right wing verse as a whole. They don’t care about reality. If they read it in a novel, Atlas Shrugged, then it’s a great economic system! They saw it on 24 so torture works! Countless movies and TV shows portray The world isn’t complex. There is no nuance. It’s just black and white, and something that’s used for pacing works just the same in real life.

    Because real life is an artificial construction that adheres to the three act story structure. Right?

    • bphoon

      They get it backwards. They desire a pre-conceived result so therefore attempt to arrange the “facts” to fit that scenario rather than seeking out real facts and allowing them to lead to whatever conclusion results. Failing that, they just make shit up to fit their world view.

    • D_C_Wilson

      You’re talking about people who think Atlas Shrugged is an economics textbook and 1984 was a how-to manual.