A May 22 CNSNews.com article by Randy Hall asserting that the season finale of NBC hospital drama "ER" contained "story elements critical of the war in Iraq, including the suggestion that government officials misuse terror threat levels and that U.S. forces torture prisoners during interrogation." Not only is the article incredibly one-sided -- Hall quotes three people critical of the show and Hollywood in general and only one person (a worker for an "anti-war group" and "a regular 'ER' viewer" who is quoted defending the show mostly on the basis of entertainment value, not the factual basis of the plot) in support, adding that messages to NBC "were not returned by press time" -- he makes no mention of evidence that, in fact, the Bush administration misused terror threat levels and Iraqi prisoners were tortured.
Hall's lead witness was Move America Forward chief strategist Sal Russo:
"Dismissing terrorist threat levels as election-year posturing does a disservice to the dedicated public servants who are trying to keep America safe against the threat of international Islamic terrorism," said Russo.
"Using the al Qaeda tactic of grossly exaggerating claims against American troops is insulting to our military and every American," he said.
But Hall never mentions that both claims do have a basis in fact -- ripped from the headlines, one might say. In 2005, former Homeland Security secretary Tom Ridge revealed that the Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level:
"More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it," Ridge told reporters. "Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don't necessarily put the country on (alert). ... There were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said, 'For that?' "
As far as torture goes, doesn't Abu Ghraib ring a bell? Might not that have rated a mention by Hall, if only to explain why Russo thinks the claim is "grossly exaggerated"?