Amnesty International USA Executive Director William Schulz appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace this week. Schulz’s appearance should be required viewing for every Democratic politician in the country. Wallace attempted to trap Schulz into providing statements that would discredit Amnesty International’s recent American Gulag report. But Schulz gave a masterful display of how those who speak truth to power can turn leading questions back onto the questioner while simulataneously reinforcing the original message. Follow me below the fold for clear examples of how to handle Foxx News and media scumbags of their ilk.
Hat tip to Mike Malloy’s radio show for bringing this to my attention. I haven’t been able to find video or audio of the appearance with the exception of Malloy’s cuts on last night’s radio show (you can listen to an MP3 here, click on the June 6, 2005 show). If you’ve got the time, listening to Schulz’s responses is a worthy use of it. A transcript of the interview can be found here on Foxx’s sleazy website. Dembloggers has a video of the interview here.
Now on to the show!
SCHULZ: Well, Chris, clearly this is not an exact or a literal analogy. And the secretary general has acknowledged that.
There’s no question. But what in size and in duration, there are not similarities between U.S. detention facilities and the gulag. People are not being starved in those facilities. They’re not being subjected to forced labor.
But there are some similarities. The United States is maintaining an archipelago of prisons around the world, many of them secret prisons into which people are being literally disappeared — held in indefinite incommunicado detention without access to lawyers or a judicial system or to their families. And in some cases, at least, we know that they are being mistreated, abused, tortured and even killed.
And those are similar at least in character if not in size to what happened in the gulag and in many other prison systems in world history.
BAM! Wallace tries to get Schulz to back down from Amnesty’s gulag comparison by eliminating points where the comparison doesn’t stand up. But Schulz returns with reasons why the comparison stands up! Commie hating freeper Foxx news viewers were probably starting to squirm in their Lay-Z-Boys just about now. More…
Now, Pinochet was a Chilean dictator who presided over the death or disappearance of 3,000 of his own people. Do you stand by the comparison of Donald Rumsfeld and Alberto Gonzales to a brutal dictator?
SCHULZ: No, that wasn’t the comparison. My point was very simple…
WALLACE: You’re the one who brought them up in the same sentence, sir.
SCHULZ: Any nation that is party to the Geneva Conventions or the Convention Against Torture is obligated under international law to investigate those who are alleged to be involved with the formulation of a policy of torture or with its carrying out. That is simply international law and that is well more than 125 countries.
All we are saying is that the United States should be the one that should investigate those who are alleged at least to be architects of torture, not just the foot soldiers who may have inflicted the torture directly, but those who authorized it or or encouraged it or provided rationales for it or in the case of Rumsfeld, provided the exact rules, 27 of them in fact, for interrogations, some of which do constitute torture or cruel, inhumane treatment.
WALLACE: Mr. Schulz, let’s get if we can…
SCHULZ: What we’re saying is that the United States…
WALLACE: Let’s get if we can, sir, to the question about exactly what Rumsfeld did or didn’t do. Let’s listen first of all to how one of your so-called architects of torture, Secretary Rumsfeld, responded to your remarks this week. Let’s listen.
SMASH! Wallace tries to diffuse the focus on civilian higher ups by creating a false comparison between Pinochet and Rumsfeld. Schulz discards that comparison and clearly states that a treaty that our government is a party to has the duty to investigate the architects of torture. Foxx News viewers have now picked up the remote and are considering which NASCAR race they should switch to now. They don’t like to think that Rummy or George (and by extension themselves) could be involved in this. Diffusion not accomplished. Did you see how Wallace wanted to get away from that question quickly?
SCHULZ: These are two entirely different questions. You know, someone can do a good thing one day and a bad thing the other and it doesn’t vitiate the bad thing that they have done good things as well. That is not the point.
Amnesty tries to hold one plumb-line universal standard to every government: to Chile, to Cuba, to North Korea, to China — every government.
And the United States applauds Amnesty when we criticize Cuba and North Korea and China. Indeed, that’s Secretary Rumsfeld, who just called us reprehensible. That is the same person who quoted Amnesty regularly in the run-up to the Iraq war when we reported for 20 years on Saddam Hussein’s violations — years during which Rumsfeld himself was courting Hussein for the U.S. government.
WHACK! Wallace does his damnedest to absolve the US of any sin with the white wash of “liberation” of the Iraqi people. Schulz denies the absolution, two wrongs don’t make a right and all that. Then Schulz seizes the opportunity to point out that Rumsfeld himself used Amnesty International’s reports as a basis for US criticism of other nations, most pointedly Iraq. Foxx viewers have now become immobilized by cognitive dissonance.
Now, Wallace tries to deliver his coup de grace….
SCHULZ: I did indeed, yes.
WALLACE: Isn’t it a fact that you have already contributed $1,000 to Ted Kennedy’s next campaign?
SCHULZ: I have contributed, yes. And my personal political views have nothing to do with Amnesty’s position. And I’ll tell you why, Chris. Because Amnesty’s research and policies are not set by those of us here in the United States.
They are set by our researchers in London at our international office. The vast majority of those are not Americans. They can’t contribute to American political campaigns. They have nothing to do with American politics, with John Kerry, Ted Kennedy or any one else.
My job in the United States is solely to implement Amnesty’s policy that is set at the international level by global Amnesty researchers. And that’s why I pointed out that the comment about the gulag came out of Amnesty in London. And whether the Americans like it or not, it does reflect how the more than 2 million Amnesty members in a hundred countries around the world and indeed the vast majority of those countries feel about the United States detention policy.
HA! Wallace goes to the mat, invoking liberal icons hated by Foxx viewers to discredit Amnesty’s report and Schulz strikes back, completely negating Wallace’s supposition. Beautiful! Foxx viewers are drooling from the corners of their mouths, stupefied, unable to employ their “news filters.”
And I’d like to finish, if I might, by quoting The Washington Post, which has hardly been a supporter of President Bush’s and the Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners. This is what they had to say in a recent editorial. And let’s put it up on the screen, if we may. “Turning a report on prisoner detention into another excuse for Bush-bashing or America-bashing undermines Amnesty’s legitimate criticisms of U.S. policies.”
Is it possible, sir, that by excessive rhetoric or by your political links, that you have hurt, not helped, your cause?
SCHULZ: Chris, I don’t think I’d be on this station, on this program today with you if Amnesty hadn’t said what it said and President Bush and his colleagues haven’t responded as they did. If I had come to you two weeks ago and said, “Chris, I’d like to go on Fox with you just to talk about U.S. detention policies at Guantanamo and elsewhere,” I suspect you wouldn’t have given me an invitation.
WALLACE: So you’re saying if you make irresponsible charges, that’s good for the cause?
SCHULZ: I don’t believe that they’re irresponsible. I’ve told you the ways in which I think that there are analogies between the Soviet prison system and the United States.
But the important point is — the important point is — and I should say first that we said alleged architects of torture. That’s very important.
The important point is that Amnesty is not American bashing any more than we’re China bashing or Cuba bashing or any other country bashing when we try hold one universal standard up for countries to be judged on.
That’s all we’re interested in and I don’t do it. It is Amnesty’s researchers who come from all over the world who do it. It has nothing to do with John Kerry.
WHANG! Wallace attempts to trap Schulz once again, but Schulz deftly evades Wallace’s snare. Schulz smashes Wallace’s allegation of irresponsibility or anti American bias and explains that Amnesty applies the same standard of behavior to every country. Foxx viewer’s heads have now exploded into pieces, littering their living rooms with shards of the lies they have told themselves to justify their support of torture.
Beautiful work on Schulz’s part. He dismantled each and every one of Wallace’s attacks. He took every opportunity to flesh out Amnesty’s allegations, something Foxx viewers had probably filtered out already (Amnesty bad! Foxx good!). Schulz controlled the discussion, he disseminated his points, and he left Chris Wallace in the dust.
About damn time.