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WETA tauts last-minute ‘Torture’

PBS affiliate to air hard-hitting show tonight

The good news: On Thursday, PBS’ Washington, D.C., affiliate WETA finally set an airdate for the hard-hitting expose “Torturing Democracy.” The not-so-good news: It opted for Friday at 10 p.m., and such short notice may have caused many interested viewers to miss it.

It’s the latest wrinkle in the film’s highly charged journey to the tube. “Torturing” chronicles the internecine discussions and infighting among the Bush administration that led to the use of “coercive interrogation techniques” on military detainees.

A cut of the documentary, produced and written by “Frontline” contributor Sherry Jones, was completed as long ago as May, but, as recounted in Tina Brown’s Daily Beast website and the New York Times, PBS leadership told Jones there was no available national airdate until Jan. 21 … one day after the presidential inauguration. PBS senior programming veep John Wilson has termed the choice “absolutely … coincidental.”

Rejecting that offer, Jones instead went individually to PBS affiliates, resulting in a patchwork of airdates extending from mid-October to late November that still left roughly 15% of the markets in the dark. Based in the nation’s capital as it is, WETA was conspicuous in its absence.

Elsewhere, the film can also be seen at torturingdemocracy.org.