Liz Cheney Doesn’t Understand the Definition of Libel

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


Elizabeth Cheney, who I guess gets to be on television because having actual experts on would be boring, clearly does not have a good grasp of the definition of libel. In this clip from MSNBC, she claims that referring to Dick Cheney and the people who waterboarded terrorist suspects as “torturers” is libelous: 

Here’s the relevant portion transcribed, courtesy of Marcy Wheeler and firedoglake:

I hear an awful lot of people out there throwing words around like ‘torture’ and ‘lines being crossed,’ and i think it’s a really, you know, it’s… it’s irresponsible and frankly it’s libelous because you have got brave Americans, men and women, who were involved in this program at the C.I.A who were involved in making sure that the program didn’t cross any lines at the Justice Department. Those people were responsible for saving American lives and keeping us safe. And I think it is offensive for all Americans for this White House to suggest that somehow those actions deserve prosecution or… or… ya-know some sort of ya-know ethical reprimand. [Emphasis mine.]

I would love to see the lawsuit where Dick Cheney and the guys who waterboarded people sue someone for libeling them by saying what he ordered and they performed was torture. Can you imagine the discovery process for that trial? I’m sure the ACLU would sign up to contest Cheney’s lawsuit just for a chance at saying “We’re going to need all these documents from the Bush administration in order to prove our case.” That would be amusing. Also, Cheney, for one, is almost impossible to libel: he’s a public figure. As for the people who carried out the torture orders? It can’t be libel if it’s true. Bring it on, Liz.

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate