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Lynne Cheney Lays Into CNN

Lynne Cheney, wife of Vice President Dick Cheney, strongly criticized CNN Friday for its "Broken Government" series of specials in the run-up to the November mid-term elections and for its airing of tapes of snipers shooting American soldiers in Iraq.

In an interview with Situation Room anchor Wolf Blitzer, Cheney said the network's Vote 2006 specials contained "terrible distortions of the president's and vice president's positions on many issues."

She suggested CNN was working from Democratic talking points, and took issue with the negative tone of the title "Broken Government," suggesting it betrayed CNN's bias and countering that the administration had inherited a recession, been through some tough times like 9/11 and Katrina, but that the economy was healthy. "That's not broken, " she said, "this government has acted very well... I shouldn't let media bias surprise me, but I worked for CNN once [with Crossfire, according to Blitzer], and I was troubled.

Blitzer said the series was "probably" meant to be provocative, "to get people to think, to get people to discuss these issues."

Cheney turned the tables on Blitzer, becoming the questioner: "what is CNN doing running tapes of terrorists shooting Americans," she asked more than once, repeating a question CNN had been asked: "Do you want us to win?"

"The answer is, of course, we want the United States to win," said Blitzer. "We are Americans." Blitzer said airing the footage was not terrorist propaganda but "reporting the news. This is what we do... We make no apologies for showing it."

Later in the newscast, Lou Dobbs defended the "Broken Borders" series, saying that with all due respect, the government was broken in many respects and that he had been critical of Republicans and Democrats. He called Cheney's criticisms "power bridling at truth."

Cheney also complained that she wanted to talk about her children's book, Our 50 States, but had spent about 10 of the 15 alloted minutes for the interview responding to questions about her husband's comments about tactics used to question detainees and the citing of some passages of a book she wrote by Democratic Virginia Senate candidate Jim Webb in defending some racy passages in his books. She said Webb was "full of baloney." Making lemons out of lemonade, CNN heavily teased the interview and Cheney's anger with the network for the first hour and a half of Situation Room.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.