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Was Mancow really waterboarded?
Gawker devoted a series of posts last week to shockjock Erich Muller, aka Mancow. First they praised him for having undergone waterboarding so he could decide for himself whether or not it was torture. But then they obtained a series of emails from Mancow's publicist suggesting the entire thing was a hoax, that Mancow faked being waterboarded.

Mancow insists the waterboarding wasn't faked, despite what his publicist's email may suggest. Apparently there's no video of the event, which is the only thing that would conclusively end the debate.

Frankly, I find it hard to care one way or the other. Whether Mancow had water poured on his face for six seconds or not, the whole thing was a publicity stunt. He's a loudmouth trying to get attention, and contributing nothing intelligent to public debate. It's unfortunate he does get attention.

Thanks to Bob and Joe!

Update: My mistake... there is video of what happened. So I guess the debate is about whether he faked his reaction, not whether the waterboarding itself was fake. (Though some might argue that since his hands weren't bound, it wasn't really waterboarding.)
Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by The Curator on Mon Jun 01, 2009


This waterboarding stunt--I agree that it was just that--was missing a very important piece IMHO: a real member of the U.S. Military doing the exercise to Mancow. What to *they* add to the exercise?
Posted by Charles  in  Michigan  on  Mon Jun 01, 2009  at  12:18 PM
Um, there is video of the waterboarding. I saw it first as a Youtube clip. Put in Mancow and waterboarding in google and the first result is a link to the video.
Posted by Hitchcock  on  Mon Jun 01, 2009  at  02:48 PM
The video has been on MSNBC, specifically COUNTDOWN, several times, and other cable news networks. In fact, there have been interviews with 'Mancow' about it at least twice.
Posted by John Paradox  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Mon Jun 01, 2009  at  05:24 PM
Hi! Long time reader, first time commentator.
I thinki that either you or your source is getting hoaked on this one. To address multiple points:
(1) If this is a hoax perpitrated by Mancow, it is the oddest and most counterproductive hoax ever, since his stance has always been that waterboarding is no big deal, and now, after the event, he is saying that waterboarding is definatly torture. seems like an ornate prnk to pull just to contradict yourself, and get in trouble with your core right-wing audience.
(2) the procedure was performed by a trained US Marine Sgt.
(3) the video is all over MSNBC and the internet, as others have pointed out.
(4)on a personal note, how can you say that this contributes nothing to discussion? A man has "put his money where his mouth is" and actually took part in a process that is, to the majority of us, a theoretical debate at best. His testimony as to the experience is invaluable material for the discussion.
Posted by TallGhost  on  Mon Jun 01, 2009  at  07:41 PM
"If this is a hoax perpitrated by Mancow, it is the oddest and most counterproductive hoax ever, since his stance has always been that waterboarding is no big deal, and now, after the event, he is saying that waterboarding is definatly torture. seems like an ornate prnk to pull just to contradict yourself, and get in trouble with your core right-wing audience."

I've learned over the years that automatically assuming sincerity on the part of a media personality is a mistake.

Mancow's career has been on the downward slope for the past few years. It may simply be that he's decided that the X-treme Christian Rightwinger act has run its course and it's time to switch teams.

His show, which originates from Chicago, isn't even heard in his own home town. Mancow's audience just isn't that big right now so worrying about "alienating" them may not be his Number One Concern.

On a personal note, let's just say that I have come familiarity with Mancow's guest booking. I wouldn't say he's all that concerned with making sure that some of the guests are who and what they claim to be. Like I said, don't automatically assume sincerity. He's a shock jock, not a journalist.

"the procedure was performed by a trained US Marine Sgt."

Actually, the former Marine in question told Gawker that he was completely unqualified to conduct a waterboarding.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Jun 02, 2009  at  05:14 AM
Here's the clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUkj9pjx3H0
Posted by AqueousBoy  on  Tue Jun 02, 2009  at  10:08 AM
For the most part, I agree that this was nothing but a lame stunt by a professional loudmouth.
But I'm not sure it contributes *nothing* to the debate. After an extremely mild and not very realistic simulation of waterboarding, he changed his mind to say that it is, indeed torture.

Why do I say it's not very realistic? He wasn't tied to a board and unable to move, he didn't have his whole nose and mouth covered, he had medical personnel standing by to administer aid if necessary, he took the treatment for less than five seconds rather than a minute or two, and, most important, he didn't have it done by enemy interrogators with no way of knowing whether they intended to continue the waterboarding until he was dead.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Lagarto Creek, Texas  on  Wed Jun 03, 2009  at  09:52 AM
That doesn't look like waterboarding to me. In waterboarding, they pour very small amounts of water directly into the airway. This just looked like dumping a pitcher of water on the guy's face in a posture where some of it might splash into his airway.
Posted by JoeTheJuggler  on  Sun Jun 07, 2009  at  11:58 PM
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