Washington Post Shrugs Off Torture Because, You Know, It Polls Well

from the wait,-what?!? dept

We've written before about Jay Rosen's excellent explanation of "the church of the savvy," in which political reporters seem more focused on describing the "horse race" aspect of politics rather than the truth. It's the old story in which the press ignores, say, a really good concept because "politicians won't support it." A key giveaway for a "savvy" post is to focus on "what the polls say" rather than what reality says. That doesn't mean that polls are never useful or shouldn't be reported on -- but when they get in the way of the actual story, it can make for ridiculous results.

Take, as a quintessential example, the Washington Post's Aaron Blake giving us the latest on torture's polling numbers. Apparently, the polls tell us that Americans are okay with torture (even when they believe it's torture):
A Pew poll shows Americans say, by a two-to-one margin (56-28), say the CIA's interrogation methods after 9/11 "provided intelligence that helped prevent terrorist attacks."

Similarly, a CBS News poll shows that 57 percent of Americans think waterboarding and other interrogation techniques practiced by the CIA "provide reliable information that helps prevent terrorist attacks" either "often" or "sometimes." Just 8 percent say it "never" provides quality information, while 24 percent say it "rarely" does.

And finally, a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday morning shows people say 53-31 that the CIA's program did "produce important information that could not have been obtained any other way."
Now, an actual reporter might point out that (1) these Americans are wrong and (2) that it doesn't fucking matter whether or not torture works -- it's still reprehensible. But, instead, Blake concludes that, boy, this sure is a loss for the Democrats:
And as long as people believe torturing terrorism detainees leads to valuable information, the CIA's interrogation program — and torture in general — are unlikely to face a major public backlash.

This is the unhappy reality being confronted by Democrats who had hoped to make a splash with the CIA report.
So the only "reality" in the article is the fact that the public's depraved position is bad for one particular party. Apparently, it's not bad for "humanity" or common sense or human rights or America. It's just bad for one party? Rather than actually educating the public -- which reporters are supposed to be doing -- the focus is just on what these polling numbers mean for torture -- presented in the same way one might discuss the polling numbers for a regular election.

This isn't a political horse race we're talking about here. This is about a fundamental issue of human rights, and the press is acting like all that matters is torture's polling numbers?

Filed Under: aaron blake, church of the savvy, cia, journalism, polling, polls, torture, torture report, washington post
Companies: washington post


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  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 10:52am

    "Unhappy reality"

    Next up for "Church of the Savvy":

    WaPo presents poll results suggesting that print news organizations lose any shred of relevance by failing to provide context for ill-conceived polls.

    Only problem: Nobody reads the story

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:22pm

      Re: "Unhappy reality"

      Actually, I find those poll results extremely newsworthy: they indicate that US journalism as a whole has fallen down on the job.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:51pm

        Re: Re: "Unhappy reality"

        This is exactly why I rarely ever depend on the main stream media for my news. You get propaganda not news. Used to be news and sports were two heavy drawers to tv.

        Many people have started realizing that tv is no longer real entertainment nor that it is worth the price that many cable companies and producer/studios over value their products to be.

        The exodus started with magazines, then newspapers, and now broadcasting. Each lost touch with it's audiences needs and wants and viewership/readership left. Maybe one of the strongest condemnations of too few corporate owners owning too many major sources.

        Today there are no meaningful exposes of wrongdoing by government and politicians. Instead you get something like this article. People plainly see and know this isn't something they agree with, no matter what it says in the news. So they leave to other sources that might prove more accurate.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 3:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: "Unhappy reality"

          "You get propaganda not news."

          I find one of the few attractions the mainstream news has to offer now is as a case study in the delivery of propaganda (governmental and commercial). I enjoy going to google news just to analyze the headlines and speculate as to the probable drivers - those typically being; money, power, cover-up, prestige mongering, and/or related FUD - behind the latest terrorist/pedophile/drug-dealer/high-calorie-soft-drink/consumer threat and then track their evolution over time. To me, it's as interesting as it is hilarious.

          It always leaves me wondering if they realize just how ridiculous they are. Probably not. Hubris is a hellava drug.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:39am

    If this is truly what the majority of Americans have degraded to, then this country has, in fact, turned exactly into the same thing as all those "brutal regimes" we're so critical of.

    Pathetic - absolutely fucking pathetic.

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  • icon
    MO'B (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:50am

    Who are these idiots Polling?

    Who did they they poll, Staten Island grandjury members??? I guess where choking a guy to death makes sense, waterboarding "terroists" isn't to far off either!

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:51am

    >These Americans are wrong

    Tyranny of the majority.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 18 Dec 2014 @ 5:16am

      Re:

      That makes no sense. They're not imposing anything on anyone, they're just too damn scared, stupid, and lazy to think for themselves, so they go along with whatever they're told.

      "Tyranny of corporations" makes more sense — wasn't it a corporation that made out like bandits for providing psychological services for CIA torture?

      Aren't our reps all bought and paid for by the corporations, for the most part?

      Do you realize that the mainstream media is controlled by 6 corporations?

      Tyranny of the what? The majority aren't paying attention, they're too busy getting bogged down in partisan issues or watching reality TV.

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  • identicon
    Matt, 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:53am

    Kinda...

    Mike, I usually agree with you, but this time I'm not as enthused.

    To start out, I agree that torture is deplorable. Making the assumption the Pew poll is statistically relevant, the fact that citizens do think its ok IS A STORY. That is news, regardless of the author's personal feelings. Holding back evidence based on personal belief is bias.

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    • icon
      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:58am

      Re: Kinda...

      Meh. I think they ran with the story because it shows they are still relevant as propaganda mouthpieces. "People believe the shit we tell them. Film at eleven."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Kinda...

      Making the assumption the Pew poll is statistically relevant, the fact that citizens do think its ok IS A STORY. That is news, regardless of the author's personal feelings. Holding back evidence based on personal belief is bias.

      I'm not saying that it's not a story. It is. But turning it into a story that's so glibly about the numbers, rather than *what that means* is a problem. Claiming that it's a problem for Democrats that torture polls well, rather than a problem for *humanity* seems like a big part of the problem here.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:15pm

        Re: Re: Kinda...

        Agreed. The biggest travesty here is that torture is just one more partisan issue.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:42pm

        Re: Re: Kinda...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:47pm

        Re: Re: Kinda...

        Whether or not it's bad for humanity is less important to me than the fact that people whos business it is to oversee torture programs have said that they are indeed not reliable. That's enough to make crap polls not newsworthy.

        Also, your comments section is obnoxious for my mobile. The text field isn't given focus first, then it loses focus when I tap inside it, then loses focus when I tap in it again. I can't tell you when it started but it's not recent. Safari on iOS 8.1.2 on an iPhone 5c.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:02pm

      Re: Kinda...

      you forgot to mention where you disagree.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:55am

    I'd say this illustrates that:

    1) a lot of Americans are ill informed about the subject.
    2) the CIA's big lie has worked. They've claimed that torturing random people was totally necessary and helpful for so long, and so often, that people believe them now that we finally have the proof that it wasn't.

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    • identicon
      Michael, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:11pm

      Re:

      3) The quality of the reporting from the Washington Post is rather poor.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      YES.

      We are now reaping the rewards of two decades of people watching the #1 news station. The "new Rupert reality" has been created, and it matters little if it matches up with reality, people still believe it on faith.

      Even if, occasionally, these peeps are forced to see a deviation from their beliefs in reality, they discount those facts as "a glitch in the matrix". Cognitive dissonance be damned. Let's go find some better facts elsewhere. Yay confirmation bias!

      Hate to keep making it about that news station. But I truly believe that's where a large part of the problem is. I'm not going to Godwin this, but there have been other cases where long-term propaganda can shift perceptions, and cause great harm.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:03pm

      Re:

      Lemme correct point #1

      1) a lot of Americans are ill informed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    identicon
    despiser, 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:55am

    Moral Relativism is idiotic

    This idea ppl have that waterboarding and loud music is torture are IDIOTS...

    If person supposedly tortured walk away then it isn't fkn torture.

    An idiot just above complains that America is the same as some brutal dictatorship and yet voted for Big Govt Liberals his entire pathetic life..

    When Americas 2nd Civil War officially begins Progressive/Liberal/Democrats will encounter torture first hand...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      How presumptuous of you to assume this is a partisan issue. But then again, idiots like you enjoy thinking that this is something that crosses party lines. It takes away the sting of knowing that this all started under a REPUBLICAN president's watch.

      Should I assume you're a bible thumping "Christian" given your obvious leaning to the right? If so, how do you reconcile the whole "Christ" thing with torturing people?

      Right after you take your foot out of your mouth, feel free to answer...

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      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Dec 2014 @ 1:26pm

        Moral Relativism is irrelevant.

        I still don't understand the notion of moral relativism versus absolutism. In my understanding, the delineation has to do with whether the human species defines its own morality or whether it is defined for us by a higher order.

        And the answer to that is observable: in nature, the natural order, that is rule by might (or the best survival traits) is what serves. Notions of reciprocity exist between animals within the same pack, but there is no penalty for stealing a meal, for taking control of territory or for killing.

        Human morality is based on reciprocity. It's an agreement, usually unspoken of reasonable regard. I won't mess with you and yours so long as you don't mess with mine, and if I can trust you not to shoot at me, we might be able to trade now and again.

        That said, the consequentialist arguments against torture are plentiful. When the US had a reputation of treating POWs well, Warsaw Pact soldiers were more than willing to surrender to us. When we offered better care than their own supply, it went far to convince them that ours really was a superior ideology. They cooperated more. We got better intel.

        Also we tortured a lot fewer innocent bystanders who got accidentally entangled in international affairs. So we didn't have to regret collateral casualties.

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    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:08pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      Get back to us when that civil war starts.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:09pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      You do realize that the point of torture is to keep the person alive, but in a state of pain, distress, and/or fear? It's not always in the context of interrogation, but torture is exactly the sort of thing a person could "walk away from".

      Though that lucky person likely gets to keep the physical, and psychological damage the rest of their lives.

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    • identicon
      Michael, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:13pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic


      tor·ture
      ˈtôrCHər/Submit
      noun
      1.
      the action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or to force them to do or say something, or for the pleasure of the person inflicting the pain.


      I don't see anything about not walking away.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:13pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      If person supposedly tortured walk away then it isn't fkn torture.

      Tell John McCain that. As a matter of fact, tell any living veteran that endured torture that by virtue of the fact that they're still alive, they haven't been tortured.

      Let us know how that works out.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:23pm

        Re: Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

        Morever, if he really believes that, he should do it in person, then when he gets out of the hospital from a well deserved beating, then we can see if he's changed his mind on the subject.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:37pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      "If [a] person [who has] supposedly [been] [executed] [is able to] walk away then it isn't [a] fkn [execution]."

      There, I fixed that for you, including the words you were missing. Did Fox News not teach you how to write?

      But the guy that froze to death would qualify for even your absurdly strict definition of torture.

      Feel free to submit yourself for waterboarding and endless hours of loud music and then come back and tell is it's not torture.

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      • identicon
        Michael, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

        But the guy that froze to death would qualify for even your absurdly strict definition of torture.

        That was really his own fault for not generating enough body heat to stay alive.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

          And it was the fault of the innocent abductees who were mistaken for terrorists that they weren't actually terrorists so that their torture could have been justified by preferably future-war crimes convict Cheney's absurd squawking on the media's propaganda broadcasts.

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          • identicon
            Pragmatic, 18 Dec 2014 @ 5:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

            Well if you walk around in an Arab-style headdress, you're pretty much asking for it, amirite?

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    • icon
      sorrykb (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:39pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      An advocate for torture decries "moral relativism".

      ...

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:08pm

        Re: Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

        "It's not torture when we do it.

        It's patriotic enhanced Murican liberation from not-being-in-pain-and-distress techniques!"

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:23pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      I hope I get the chance to meet you someday...you'll find that the hatred that people of conscience in this country have built up for decades is real.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      drjimmy (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 3:13pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      Sorry chump, the idiot is who you see in the mirror. When America's next civil war begins, you morons will be the first to flee.

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    • identicon
      alan turing, 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:27pm

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      ...one that says "idiotic" or maybe "not even wrong." Just to offset the "insightful" one.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2014 @ 1:55am

      Re: Moral Relativism is idiotic

      So you're quite prepared to be waterboarded, have your fingernails pulled out (CIA in Syria), be forced to eat one of your own eyeballs (CIA in Lebanon) and have the upper muscles in your shoulders beaten so severely that the nerves in your arms are damaged and you're effectively paralyzed elbow down? (CIA in Nicaragua)..because you can walk away?

      Strange logic you have...its not torture if it doesn't involve the ability to walk...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:59am

    Yes, but can torture beat Ted Cruz in the primaries?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Dave Cortright (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:01pm

    When is Bezos going to step in on this?

    Since Jeff Bezos is now the owner, you'd think that at some point he might step up and start setting some direction for this daily dinosaur.

    As we all know, the framing of a poll can matter a hell of a lot to the result.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:02pm

    Human Rights?

    No country of significant size really honors Human Rights as a check to their own power, only as it as useful as a geopolitical tool against other ones. Human Rights are a nice idea in theory, but they're ultimately only a distraction from the increasing consolidation of power and immunity of the power elite.

    Nationalism, prejudice, and fear still reign.

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  • icon
    john Katos (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:04pm

    What could have been

    If the Dems had not said they would not prosecute the "architects" of the EITs, (don't you love it when torture becomes enhanced interrogation techniques, and then simply IETs) and instead had war crimes trials then we would have less of an argument of whether we should/could use torture. Because the public trial of these Americans would be compared to the Nuremberg Trials and the execution of Japanese military for torture and we would have understood how despicable this behavior truly was.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:23pm

      Re: What could have been

      ... the public trial of these Americans would be compared to the Nuremberg Trials and the execution of Japanese military for torture...

      It would be damned as “victor's justice”? An associate justice would condemn the proceedings as “substituting power for principle”? And the Chief Justice would call it “a high-grade lynching party”, and “too sanctimonious” for his old-fashioned notions?

      Could that be the criticism?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2014 @ 1:05am

        Re: Re: What could have been

        Really there is nothing wrong with the victor's justice. What is wrong is that the victors don't get it as well so they need to lose to hold anyone accountable.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Dec 2014 @ 1:33pm

      Enhanced Interrogation

      Before in was that, it was Extraordinary Rendition, which is to say we only spoke of the transition of a person-of-interest to a secondary, undisclosed location. We didn't yet speak of what we did when we got her there.

      Of course we may have had to specify Enhanced Interrogation because we got so comfortable with torture that we did it in the back room, and didn't have to export a person to a black site anymore. Room 101.

      It's like weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) when they are in the hands of the US or USSR were strategic weapons. Those things that delivered them (bombers and submarines) were strategic units.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:10pm

    I blame the press.

    If the press had done a decent job of reporting, then the populace would know both that 1) torture does not work and 2) that our government employs liars and condones lying.

    If the first amendment condones lying, then why is shouting fire in a crowded theater wrong? The notion goes that it endangers people. The lying by our government is endangering people, in a bunch of different ways.

    What will it take to get the common person to recognize this, and when are we going to do that?

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    • icon
      jupiterkansas (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:22pm

      Re: I blame the press.

      All the press I read supports what you're saying. It's not all press that's bad.

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Dec 2014 @ 1:47pm

      Blaming the press...

      ...is like blaming the voters or blaming the military industrial complex or blaming the job market. These are forces of nature, integral factors maybe, but as unpredictable as a hurricane. Censure the press all you want. Tell it to shape up, and it won't care.

      Regarding lying, we know that people lie to the House, to the Senate, to SCOTUS and to the President all the time with impunity, and no one cares to enforce perjury in those circumstances.

      That's not now it's supposed to be. That's just how it is. And no-one who has power to change it wants to do so.

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  • icon
    sorrykb (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:20pm

    Up until the final sentence, I had no problem with the article.

    Reading along, I would have assumed the author was providing some disturbing background that would lead into some analysis of moral issues (maybe a few words about human rights, or interviews with survivors of torture, or something) and legal implications (e.g. Convention Against Torture and the obligation to investigate and prosecute these crimes).

    But then:
    This is the unhappy reality being confronted by Democrats who had hoped to make a splash with the CIA report.

    Is this all some f***ing game to them? Just politics and business as usual and which side scores the most points and "hey look who's going to be our guest on 'Meet the Press' next week"?

    Officials of my country engaged in a deliberate and systematic program of brutality, a program that violated U.S. and international law as well as fundamental principles of human decency. With drone strikes (and other actions), they continue to engage in extrajudicial execution with impunity.

    This isn't a political issue. At least, gods help us, it shouldn't be. This is a fundamental moral issue -- a question of who we are as a people, and what sort of country we want to be.

    And, yes, elected leaders are trying to make this into a partisan issue, and they will continue to do so as long as we allow it. But we don't have to allow it. And journalists -- who are supposed to serve as as independent monitors of power -- should refuse to play along.

    That means calling out Dick Cheney when he defends the indefensible. That means challenging President Obama on the morality and legality of drone strikes (and the continued assertion of absolute authority based on an unending global "war on terror"). And, yes, it also means confronting the public with uncomfortable truths when we get it wrong. Because journalists also have an obligation to the truth, no matter how unpopular.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:08pm

      Re:

      Nice response. I was with you until you said 'we are as people..."

      Shouldn't that be "we are as our corporate overlords...

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:28pm

      Re:

      It will continue to be a 'partisan issue' as long as people are stupid enough, and gullible enough, to continue to buy that lie.

      As long as people buy into the idea that all the bad stuff is because of 'the other team', then both sides will use that to their advantage without hesitation, because, as disgusting as it may be for those of us able to think, it works

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:28pm

    Just 8 percent say it "never" provides quality information, while 24 percent say it "rarely" does.

    The rest all believe in the fantasy world contained in the television show "24". Jack gets results.

    I am Jack's complete lack of surprise at these numbers.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:28pm

    No surprise about WaPo's indifference to torture.

    Consider the wonderful examples of humanity such as Richard Cohen and Charles Krauthammer, who serve as pro-torture columnists at the newspaper. And the latter is also a cheerleader for profiling, mass surveillance and due process-free assassination by drone.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:38pm

    It doesn't matter what you or the polls think when the reality is that you are wrong.
    100% of people could believe the world is flat but it doesn't mean that they are correct.

    I bet the pro-torture people will change their tune immediately when one of their family members is on the rack.

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  • icon
    John Fenderson (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:54pm

    Thoroughly disgusted

    As disgusted as I am that the "reporter" turned this into a partisan thing, I am even more disgusted that so many American citizens are OK with torture. I'd been thinking that the source of the evil that the US engages in was the government and people's indifference to what the government is doing in their name. Now, I think that a majority of US citizens themselves are unequivocally evil.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:57pm

      Re: Thoroughly disgusted

      I don't think the issue is one of morals. I think the issue is one of an uninformed population. I'd be perfectly fine with bad guys getting tortured if due process were no longer an option and if it worked. The problem is that except in action movies there's probably always time, and except for in action movies it probably never works.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:26pm

        Re: Re: Thoroughly disgusted

        We've heard about the "'CSI' Effect", could this be the "'24' Effect"?

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:34pm

        Re: Re: Thoroughly disgusted

        "I'd be perfectly fine with bad guys getting tortured if due process were no longer an option and if it worked."

        Which is an issue of morals. I consider your stance to be not simply immoral, but outright evil.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2014 @ 12:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thoroughly disgusted

          The stance is immoral and evil. So is going to war at all, but I doubt you'll dethrone war heros over it the way you demonize politicians who show even an inkling of support for torture programs.

          The only moral, good way out of a conflict is passivism. Good luck building that world, because even if you succeed there's no afterlife for the human race to pay itself on the back in when the world falls apart.

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          • icon
            John Fenderson (profile), 18 Dec 2014 @ 8:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Thoroughly disgusted

            "So is going to war at all"

            Initiating was is, yes, but engaging in war may not be. I don't think it is immoral for a nation to defend itself against an invasion, for example.

            "I doubt you'll dethrone war heros over it the way you demonize politicians who show even an inkling of support for torture programs."

            I don't think that you know me remotely well enough to be able to predict that. In fact, it's hard for me to respond to your statement because you're assuming a lot of things that have to be answered individually -- starting with the very complicated question of whether "war heroes" actually exist or not.

            That said, between people who advocate and support torture and people who fight in wars, the people who advocate and support torture are committing the greater evil.

            "The only moral, good way out of a conflict is passivism"

            We will never agree on this point, but I acknowledge the purity of your stance.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:55pm

        Re: Re: Thoroughly disgusted

        NO!

        The mere thought that there could, possibly, hypothetically, exist a scenario in which torture would be ok is repulsive.

        That is a sure path to the dark side.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 6:49pm

        Re: Re: Thoroughly disgusted

        I'd be perfectly fine with bad guys getting tortured if...

        Then I'm fairly fine with you getting tortured. And I don't need an "if" or "your bad" to justify my position or appear moral to the masses. You justified my position on your own.

        Not that I'm a tat-for-tat kind of a guy. I'm also fine with simply shooting you. Your attitude is not worth defending. Which means, your life is of little relevance.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2014 @ 12:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: Thoroughly disgusted

          My life is of little relevance, and my opinion is not worth defending.

          Thank you for displaying how similar to those who defend torture programs you truly are.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2014 @ 2:01am

        Re: Re: Thoroughly disgusted

        Don't be disgusted with the public.
        Aaron Blake simply made these statistics up without doing a single microsecond of research.

        - the poll doesn't exist anywhere except Aaron Blake's fevered dreams of a nation where somehow HE gets to decide whats truth and whats not.

        THis is a guy that Jeff Bezos should be kicking out the door ASAP...

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        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 17 Dec 2014 @ 8:12am

          Re: Re: Re: Thoroughly disgusted

          Yes, now that I've looked more deeply into it, I've decided that these polls are almost completely meaningless.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 12:55pm

    I was in the Marine Corps. They trained us that we would be tortured if we were captured. They also told us that it was our duty to resist up to the point where you could not resist. They said pretty much everyone reaches that point.

    Torture doesn't work? Oh, it works. Why do you think that the vast majority of military folks (combat types) would never surrender? E&E, evade and escape. That is the goal.

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    • identicon
      JaDe, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:01pm

      Define "work"

      Torture might get people to talk, but that doesn't mean they're going to tell the truth.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:34pm

        Re: Define "work"

        If you torture someone, they'll tell you whatever they think you want to know. Whether it's true to not, now that's the question.

        Of course that's going down the wrong line of thought. Even if torture worked 100% of the time, and gave 100% accurate information every time, it would still not be acceptable.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:28pm

          Re: Re: Define "work"

          Also, according to the Senate report, many of the targets of torture were mistaken identity or otherwise had no usable intelligence to provide.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 9:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Define "work"

            "Strange how they never tell us anything except that they're innocent and that they don't know anything..."

            "Yeah, these terrorists are really resistant to enhanced interrogation...ha ha, I mean torture. Well, we'll just have to keep doing it until they break down and tell us about their terrorist buddies!"

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:42pm

        Re: Define "work"

        And it's pretty damn impossible to divulge any information that you do not have !!.

        The minute they start torturing you, you have to give them something, anything.
        Just repeating "I don't know anything" keeps getting translated into "I know something but I'm not telling you".

        Remember, it's torture. They won't stop untill they get something. And even then they might not stop.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      I was in the Marine Corps. They trained us that we would be tortured if we were captured.

      And now those facing the US military are telling themselves the exact same thing, for the exact same reason. Really makes you feel proud of what the country has become, doesn't it?

      So I'm curious, as a former military person, how's it feel to know that the US military is now little better than the other side, and that those fighting it are better off never surrendering, increasing fatalities on both sides, as both are better of dying in battle than being captured?

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    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:27pm

      Re:

      As I've been reading stories about this issue, I've found that torture does work, when you define what "work" means. In this case, torturing people wasn't about getting information: it was about revenge for 9/11 and getting back at "them" for attacking us. It didn't matter that 25% of the people tortured were innocent- they were "others" that needed to be punished.

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:36pm

        Re: Re:

        "It didn't matter that 25% of the people tortured were innocent"

        If you count all the people we tortured in conjunction with our invasion and occupation of Iraq (which was totally uninvolved with 9/11), then that figure is a lot higher than 25%.

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    • icon
      drjimmy (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 3:19pm

      Re:

      Uh, service members don't surrender because it's dishonorable to surrender when there is a means to resist.

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    • icon
      JP Jones (profile), 17 Dec 2014 @ 8:00pm

      Re:

      I am also in the Marine Corps, and you left out the part of the training where you learn the Law of War forbids torturing prisoners. And the training is to resist captivity, not just torture, as you are required to resist humane capture regardless of whether or not you are being tortured.

      Marines don't surrender because of our ethos and because you are more likely to win a battle if you don't consider surrender an option, not because we're afraid that the enemy will capture and torture us for information. The sad truth is that if you're in position to get captured you're probably on the front lines...which means you're probably not very high in rank and probably don't have all that much useful information to give anyway. It's not like a Marine base is well hidden, and the moment we know someone is captured we're going to change all our patrol routes, countersigns, and other sensitive information anyway. All the enemy is likely to learn is the small piece of the plan that you know.

      Don't claim the Marine Corps taught you that torture works, or that it believes in torture. That's completely the opposite of our training. You might want to brush up on your SERE handbook before claiming the military taught you torture worked.

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  • icon
    Stan (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:05pm

    Torture works!

    '...people say 53-31 that the CIA's program did "produce important information that could not have been obtained any other way."

    Of course they say that. TV (like 24) and films (going back to Guns of Navarone and before) has taught people that torture works.

    Just like Reagan's "Star Wars" shot down missiles like child's play. And spaceships (like the Enterprise) make a "swoosh" noise as they fly by you in outer space. And watching MacGyver has taught us that you can make a homemade explosive from cornstarch and baking soda.

    Too bad Pew didn't vet the interviewees to see if they knew the difference between TV truth and reality.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:07pm

    49 people followed "A Senate committee report about the CIA’s detainee interrogation program in the years
    after the September 11th terrorist attacks
    December 11-14, 2014" very closely or fairly closely and only 28 people think the torture did not provide intelligence that helped prevent terrorist attacks.

    So what they are saying is 21 people followed the news about the torture reports and still think that there was useful intelligence provided.

    Either our reporting is woefully inadequate, or they found 21 people that have reading comprehension issues.

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  • identicon
    David, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:18pm

    I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

    I mean, the question was whether or not the U.S. citizens believe that torture was effective at its primary goals. And most of them got it factually wrong.

    Too bad, but irrelevant. It's on about the same level of importance whether people believe that one can change the weather with human sacrifices.

    It's not important whether somebody gets the answer wrong. What is important is whether some sick deranged idiot considers a potential change in weather relevant enough to go on a killing spree.

    If people said "oh, we don't want to torture because it does not work", that makes them morally equivalent to the human trash Cheney who states that he sees nothing wrong with torture as long as it leads to results.

    With that logic there was nothing wrong with the holocaust because it indeed caused money to transfer from jews to the German state, and indeed it increased the ratio of people with Germanic origins over those with a Near Eastern background. So the holocaust was effective in achieving its goals and there was nothing wrong with it.

    Cheney logic. But the pertinent question is not "do you believe it could achieve its nominal purpose" but rather "should we do that?".

    And unless you are amoral scum, those questions are entirely different ones.

    And in this poll, there apparently was not even the option of "I am not going to dignify this abomination with even considering whether or not it is going anywhere because as an American I feel bound to stand up for humanity and defend it even if that means there may a price for me to pay".

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:06pm

      Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

      When someone kidnaps your wife or daughter in an alternate reality where no law enforcement or investigative processes exist, I highly doubt you'll have the same opinion about coercion. The issue is 100% about whether or not it is effective. It's not about whether not it's moral, it's about whether or not it is
      1.) necessary
      2.) effective, and
      3.) proportionate

      It is not necessary, because other intelligence-gathering processes exist. It isn't effective, unless by intelligence we mean "what the guy thinks telling us will make us stop," and it can only be considered proportionate if it solves more problems than it creates. That's only partially a moral outrage issue.

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      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:27pm

        Re: Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

        It is a moral outrage issue, because in the fantasy scenario you propose, the morality changes with the scenario. You can't change the circumstances and expect the morality to remain the same.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2014 @ 12:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

          Yes you can. Morality is universal, not relative. If it's wrong, it's wrong.

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          • icon
            jupiterkansas (profile), 17 Dec 2014 @ 3:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

            No, morality is a construct of civilization. A place where "no law enforcement or investigative process exists" is the opposite of civilization. Modern notions of morality don't apply, and it's a scenario exceedingly few people are likely to encounter, which makes it a pretty weak way to argue a point.

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      • identicon
        David, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:30pm

        Re: Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

        Sounds to me like the Holocaust definitely meets all of your criteria of acceptability. No other jew extermination processes existed at the time, it was effective, and it solved more problems than it created: other nations did not really mind all that much until Germany decided to declare an all-front war. Only then did the Holocaust become sort of an issue to be bothered about.

        Both Christianity and the U.S.A. derive much of their own self-image and self-justification from a history of "I will not accept the price of stooping to the level of my enemies and becoming indistinguishable from them".

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:33pm

        Re: Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

        That's only partially a moral outrage issue.

        Let's put our story out in the desert southwest, oh, say, in about the 1870s. The Apaches attack. The preacher's wife and daughter get taken into the Sierra Madre.

        The travelling preacher man reverently places the Bible in his saddlebags, fills up two canteens, and rides his horse out to rescue the wife and daughter...

        Is the desert going to change his view of the world? Look at the glorious scenery, the sunrises, the sunsets...

        Does he take a Peacemaker along for the ride? A Winchester?

        How does this movie end? Do the wife and daughter want to be rescued by this hard, righteous, God-fearing preacher man? To go back to the revival tent shows travelling from gold camp, to silver camp, to timber camp, and boom to bust?

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      • icon
        John Fenderson (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:40pm

        Re: Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

        "When someone kidnaps your wife or daughter in an alternate reality where no law enforcement or investigative processes exist, I highly doubt you'll have the same opinion about coercion."

        I think it's very likely that my opinion wouldn't change, but if it did, that just means that I've doubly lost, as I have become my enemy.

        "The issue is 100% about whether or not it is effective. It's not about whether not it's moral"

        No, sorry. The issue is 0% about whether or not it is effective. It's completely about whether or not it's moral. If torture were 100% effective, it would make it no less objectionable.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 3:54pm

          Re: Re: Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

          It's completely about whether or not it's moral.
          Is stealing a horse moral? How about eating a horse? Is it moral to eat a horse? To eat a stolen horse?

          To simply drink the blood of a stolen horse?

          What does the Bible have to say about all that?—when you're in the desert chasing after the Apaches who've spirited away the wife and daughter.

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          • icon
            sorrykb (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 4:15pm

            Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

            1. Whatever it is you're smoking, stop it. It's damaging your mind.
            2. We don't live in your alternate reality. We live in this one.
            3. You don't have to rely on the Bible in order to understand the immorality of cruelty.

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          • icon
            tracyanne (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 7:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

            I don't give a rats arse what the bible has to say about anything.

            The bible makes as good a case for Genocide being a moral option, as it does for turning the other cheek. It is an utterly worthless document upon which to base one's moral compass.

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            • identicon
              David, 16 Dec 2014 @ 10:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I don't get the "U.S. citizens condones torture" bottom line

              Oh, the genocide of the Amalekites was not considered optional by the LORD, and Saul was punished for not going through with it.

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  • identicon
    syl, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:19pm

    Re: horse race coverage

    One of the things that bothers me after major speeches (state of the union, etc.) is that much of the news analysis afterwards is about poll results and how the speech might or might not affect or sway certain demographics, etc. Instead of evaluating the actual CONTEXT of said speeches.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:18pm

      Re: Re: horse race coverage

      That's what's so absurd about polling. If the polling questions were absolutely clear to participants and the appropriate questions to ask, and if the participants were honest in their answers, and if the limited polling numbers actually corresponded proportionately to the greater population, and if the results were actually depicted by the media in an honest way, polls would just be presented as stating "x number of people responded this way when asked this question."

      Beyond polls being intentionally crafted and presented for the agenda of whoever is conducting them, the idea that Americans should necessarily be swayed by the purported opinions of those around them without actually reasoning being presented is inherently flawed.

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  • icon
    Ramon Creager (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:22pm

    It does matter wether torture works

    It is a well established consensus amongst experts on the subject (interrogation etc.) that torture does not work well as an intelligence gathering tool.

    Because of this, one has to then ask why? Why do so many support torture (of Muslims, I suspect)? This leaves two possibilities: People mistakenly believes it does work; or, they just want to make our "enemies" suffer. Revenge fantasies and sadism, in other words. It shouldn't be hard to design a poll that ferrets out which one of these it is. I don't think the results would be flattering.

    9/11 has brought out the worst in us. We have become meaner, more selfish. Or, probably more accurately, it has allowed many of us to openly display these qualities with self-righteousness. The gloves were off, as Cheney put it. Racists and haters could now come out of the woodwork and vent their hate at The Enemy (and anyone else they didn't like) with impunity. We are seeing the results today within our police departments, and within our federal government.

    Can there be any wonder that the general population is following suit?

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    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Dec 2014 @ 12:15pm

      The razing of Sodom

      While there is some debate on what exact sins of Sodom and Gomorrah that brought about God's fiery wrath. We're pretty sure it wasn't gay or bestial orgies. Indeed, some mass (consensual) sex might have eased tensions a bit.

      Part of the problem is we don't know what cities they were, the names Sodom and Gomorrah meaning "burned" or "ruined heap" respectively, so we don't know where to send the archeologists to start digging.

      But the tale has its hints, that both were torn heavily by warfare, and they were paranoid of strangers, and unfamiliar faces were identified, detained, interrogated and humiliated, if not outright executed. Whether it was the hand of God, or a besieging army, what ever it was, was pissed.

      (And whether its true or not, the tale might have applicability.)

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  • identicon
    wise rabbit, 16 Dec 2014 @ 1:26pm

    "Respondents in the landline sample were selected by randomly asking for the youngest adult male or female who is now at home."

    "The analysis in this report is based on telephone interviews conducted December 11-14, 2014 among a national sample of 1,001 adults, 18 years of age or older, living in the continental United States (500 respondents were interviewed on a landline telephone, and 501 were interviewed on a cell phone, including 306 who had no landline telephone)."

    sooooooo....not % of all Americans....they were targeting.

    and they never publish their questions so honestly, despite their Question Wording methodology this poll is useless...

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  • identicon
    John, 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:33pm

    We are no better than authoritarian countries

    I wonder what the poll results would be if the same people were asked if they would support torture of US person(s) accused of terrorism by foreign government. I'm pretty sure the results would be almost 100% against torture.

    Every country can justify torture when you view it purely from the "ends justify the means" perspective. But it takes a civilised country & its population to say no to torture even if terrible crimes have been committed against the people of that country. Its sad to see the US citizens in this poll don't think civil rights applies to anyone else but US citizens.

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    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:42pm

      Re: We are no better than authoritarian countries

      About your subject line: We are an authoritarian country.

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      • icon
        drjimmy (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 3:21pm

        Re: Re: We are no better than authoritarian countries

        We are a country of cowards and idiots not longer deserving of the liberty that was left to us that we think we should have.

        Americans are basically ignorant and arrogant.

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  • icon
    ambrellite (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 2:44pm

    Understandable

    If I lived in a nation that openly spies on everyone's communications, treats dissent like an indication of terrorist sympathies, and then polled thousands of people in that nation, and they told me they have no problem with torture...

    I'd be pretty reluctant to publish any story pointing out that torture is wrong, too.

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  • identicon
    tomczerniawski, 16 Dec 2014 @ 3:10pm

    Is anyone else shocked how completely surrounded we are by utterly evil people in our midst? These are our countrymen, and they're no better than Nazis.

    Where did it all go to hell? How did we manage to get through WW2 without turning into such wretched creatures, yet some terrorists knock over a few buildings, and all our morality goes out the window?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 7:00pm

      Re:

      Where did it all go to hell? How did we manage to get through WW2 without turning into such wretched creatures, yet some terrorists knock over a few buildings, and all our morality goes out the window?

      The American mainland never got attacked during WWII. The bombs, the rationing, the pot-holes, the war, the DEATH, was all OVER THERE. But those buildings were on our soil. That happened to us. Not to others. US. That matters. Then the thin veil of civilisation is stripped and the pretense of morality, nobility and freedom is abandoned.

      What is it they say? Three days without food, water and power. That's all it takes to bring out the "worst" of humanity. That's all it takes to end a civilisation.

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      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 17 Dec 2014 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re:

        Three days after 9/11 we saw nothing but the best in humanity - all over the world.

        It's only when a small group politicians used vengeance as an opportunity to grab power that things went to pot.

        200,000 Iraqis have died as revenge for 9/11, none of whom had anything to do with 9/11, and yet those same politicians are still not avenged and are still saying it was all justified.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Dec 2014 @ 4:56pm

    "57 percent of Americans think waterboarding and other interrogation techniques practiced by the CIA "provide reliable information that helps prevent terrorist attacks" either "often" or "sometimes."

    Ignorance! I'd tell the person drilling into my eyeball with a power drill anything he wants to hear about, just to get him to stop. The majority of Americans must be soft as puffballs, because they can't even imagine what it'd be like to be tortured for real.

    I wonder if the polls would shift if some pictures and videos of classified torture sessions were broadcast on TV. Or if it's something people need to experience for themselves, first hand, before it sinks in.

    It makes American's look like animals. Torture is justifiable if we're doing it to "get back" at someone. That logic turns America into the very thing it hates. Terrorists.

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  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 6:43pm

    Polling, well...

    I bet Charles Manson would poll well, too, given the right poll. Washington Post should run a good poll for him, then hire him as one of their Lifestyle reporters.

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  • icon
    RJ (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:21pm

    Oh boy! Polling!

    So as is well known and proven, how you phrase a poll question has a huge impact on how the people responding choose to answer.

    I wonder if the results would have been the same, if these had been the questions...

    (1) Revised question: 'A Pew poll shows Americans say, by a two-to-one margin (56-28), say the CIA's interrogation methods after 9/11 (primarily actions explicitly identified in the Geneva Conventions -- which the United States is bound by after near unanimous passage by both houses of Congress, and legislation which Ronald Reagan gladly and enthusiastically signed) such as simulated drowning and other abusive conditions:

    Answer in WP's article: '"provided intelligence that helped prevent terrorist attacks.'

    (2) Revised question: A CBS News poll said that 57 percent of Americans think the that torture techniques such as waterboarding and other interrogation techniques -- which the existing anecdotal evidence suggests result in false information due to the torturee's instinctual reaction to save his life by saying whatever the torturer seems to want -- practiced by the CIA:

    '"provided reliable information that helped prevent terrorist attacks" either "often" or "sometimes." Just 8 percent say it "never" provides quality information, while 24 percent say it "rarely" does.'

    (3) A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday morning shows people say 53-31 that the CIA's program did:

    'On the asssumption that torture provides reliable information -- which anecdotal evidence strongly suggests is not the case, produce important information that could not have been obtained any other way.'


    I find it... less than convincing that the "average American" has either the familiarity with the small amount of information about the efficacy of torture methods, or the inclination to devote much in the way of thought on the mater.

    So -- hooray polls! Hope WP at least sold some ads or something...

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  • icon
    RJ (profile), 16 Dec 2014 @ 11:21pm

    Oh boy! Polling!

    So as is well known and proven, how you phrase a poll question has a huge impact on how the people responding choose to answer.

    I wonder if the results would have been the same, if these had been the questions...

    (1) Revised question: 'A Pew poll shows Americans say, by a two-to-one margin (56-28), say the CIA's interrogation methods after 9/11 (primarily actions explicitly identified in the Geneva Conventions -- which the United States is bound by after near unanimous passage by both houses of Congress, and legislation which Ronald Reagan gladly and enthusiastically signed) such as simulated drowning and other abusive conditions:

    Answer in WP's article: '"provided intelligence that helped prevent terrorist attacks.'

    (2) Revised question: A CBS News poll said that 57 percent of Americans think the that torture techniques such as waterboarding and other interrogation techniques -- which the existing anecdotal evidence suggests result in false information due to the torturee's instinctual reaction to save his life by saying whatever the torturer seems to want -- practiced by the CIA:

    '"provided reliable information that helped prevent terrorist attacks" either "often" or "sometimes." Just 8 percent say it "never" provides quality information, while 24 percent say it "rarely" does.'

    (3) A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Tuesday morning shows people say 53-31 that the CIA's program did:

    'On the asssumption that torture provides reliable information -- which anecdotal evidence strongly suggests is not the case, produce important information that could not have been obtained any other way.'


    I find it... less than convincing that the "average American" has either the familiarity with the small amount of information about the efficacy of torture methods, or the inclination to devote much in the way of thought on the mater.

    So -- hooray polls! Hope WP at least sold some ads or something...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2014 @ 12:10pm

    The ignorance in these comments is astounding. The level of white knighting here by people with nearly no morals is laughable. Have morals or don't, don't have nearly no opinions on issues of right and wrong and hold the few you do have as somehow gospel. Talking to you, liberals and progressives. Conservatives have their own problems, but at least theirs are well rounded.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 17 Dec 2014 @ 1:07pm

      White Knighting?

      On /b/ that refers to the practice of insincerely agreeing to an opinion for purposes of flirting or starfucking.

      So do, please elaborate. Whatever do you mean?

      Regards,

      Someone who believes in more liberty than you do, ergo, liberal

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Pragmatic, 18 Dec 2014 @ 5:40am

      Re:

      You may find it's the right-wing Conservatives who tend to be in favor of torture because %?$@ the Arabs.

      As a moderate conservative I tend to get bashed by them for saying that torture is wrong and that we shouldn't have invaded Iraq or Afghanistan.

      Which morals are we talking about?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 17 Dec 2014 @ 3:27pm

    Al Jazeera: Media Versus Reality

    I was watching “The Listening Post” on Al Jazeera earlier this week, and that covered the massive cognitive dissonance that US media is currently suffering over this torture report. Most of them simply do not want to accept the word “torture”, or admit that the CIA lied about using it, to their own leaders and to the media. There was a nice phrase used by a commenter on the TV networks giving Dick Cheney and other apologists plenty of opportunity to denigrate or handwave away the whole report: “equal time for torturers”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Dec 2014 @ 12:57am

    propaganda at its finest.

    make up numbers and pretend its reality

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 19 Dec 2014 @ 12:59pm

    The problem with polls

    Polls never reflect true opinions, only those of the people who were actually asked. For example, just a few thousand Americans could have contributed their opinions to these polls, but the vast majority of the billions who live in the United States could all believe that water boarding is wrong under any circumstances.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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