Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheney: The Only News Around

Only Five Days Until The Return of the Deuce Weekly

Okay, so lets get the obvious out of the way. Vice President Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face. He was hunting this past weekend, and accidentally put "birdshot" in the face of friend Harry Whittington, 78.

To clarify what birdshot is, if you shoot a bird with a shotgun, you are pretty much not going to have a bird. Birdshot is really just little pellets that kill the animal while keeping it intact. So Whittington got a face full of birdshot. This happened on Saturday, 630pm, in Texas.

Cheney's medical staff immediately rushed to Harry, began to take care of him, and by 7:30, Harry is in a hospital. The White House was contacted, and a press conference was set up the next morning to reveal the details of the accident. Cheney let the owners of the ranch, , contact the media, which for them was the local newspapers.

The news media has GONE NUTS. Dear GOD--WHY DIDN'T YOU DROP EVERYTHING YOU WERE DOING AND CALL US IMMEDIATELY???!!!?? That's pretty much the impression I'm getting. Cheney revealed that he and Harry had a beer over lunch, but no drinking by the time they were hunting. I've been reading some of the reader blogs (to James from CA, on the off chance you read this... What the crap do you think is going on, you moron? You're an idiot. Never reproduce, ever.) and paying attention to the media on this... you would absolutely believe that nothing else in the whole wide world is going on. The media is going crazy over this.

Tony Blankley of the Washington Times I think has one of the best takes on this. "In the absence of any pressing news these days -- other than Iran's nuclear weapons development crisis, the election of Hamas terrorists in Palestine, on-going worldwide Muslim riots and killing in reaction to a cartoon, Al Gore's near sedition while speaking in Saudi Arabia, the turning over of our East Coast ports to be managed by a United Arab Emirates firm, the criminal leaking of vital NSA secrets to the New York Times, Mexican military incursions across our southern border, the Iraqi crisis, Congress's refusal to deal with the developing financial collapse of Social Security and Medicare -- the White House press corps has exploded in righteous fury over the question of the vice president's little shooting party last weekend."

The press actually didn't find out until Sunday morning around the afternoon, 18 hours after the incident. I heard some of the press conference that Scott McClellen, the White House Press Sec., hosted on Sunday, and the reporters were livid. "Why didn't you tell us?" "Why didn't you call us?" "Why wait a full 18 hours before we knew? What are you covering up?" It was so bad at one point, McClellen actually called David Gregory from NBC News a jerk--because he was being one.

Blankley goes on to say: "As I understand the profound concern of the ever alert White House reporters, they smell a constitutional crisis because the shooting party failed to alert the media of the accidental shooting down in Corpus Christi, Texas. Well, actually they did alert the Corpus Christi media -- but that didn't count. Unless the exalted ones have been formally informed by an official government press secretary, no public communication has technically occurred. I checked the bylaws of the White House press corps, and they are right. It seems that the bylaws refer to Article XXIII of the U.S. Constitution which expressly designates that White House reporters with a minimum annual income of $375,000 (plus minimum stock options...) are the exclusive recipients of all government information. If information isn't hand-delivered in gold-edged paper to them while they are reclined on their chaise lounge, it hasn't been released to the public. And if they don't report a fact, it hasn't happened. This provision is vital to a vigorous and independent free press. (I should note, my copy of the Constitution must be outdated, because it doesn't have an Article XXIII.)

Of course, this provision technically makes the White House press corps not reporters, but receivers -- sort of glorified shipping clerks, but with the prerogative to rewrite and repackage the material before they deliver it to the public. When an out-of-town newspaper got the scoop, the dignity of the White House press corps had been impeached, so they threw a public temper tantrum."

When I say this, you'll think I'm exaggerating, but I think the media actually WANTS Harry Whittington to die. Yes, its true that a pellet, about a tenth of an inch in diameter, was lodged close to his heart, which possibly led to a mild heart attack, but the guy is 78 years old, and got shot. Even though the doctors are expecting a full recovery, here's what I pulled from Rush Limbaugh's site... soundbites (or scripts, anyway) from different journalists giving the impression that this guy is going to croak any minute:

RITA COSBY: If he had passed or something, under law, what could happen to the vice president? One of the options is negligent homicide.

KEITH OLBERMANN: Under the worst-case scenario, could negligent homicide actually come into play? (Keith... you used to be so cool when you did ESPN with Dan Patrick. How did you become such a schmoe so quickly?)

DAN ABRAMS: In the context of hunting accidents in the state of Texas, where someone does die, most of the time, is someone charged?

JOHN HARWOOD: Would there be charges against such a person? Would that be an involuntary manslaughter kind of thing?

JEFFREY TOOBIN: Was it so outrageous that it could be some kind of manslaughter if in fact, as we hope it doesn't happen, Mr. Whittington were to die?

And of course, its always fun when Hillary Clinton is yelling, "Hey, pay attention to me again!"

And as I just turned on the tv, I flipped to CNN for a minute (don't ask me why) and the first thing I heard from host Lou Dobbs was, "Spin control! How the White House is spinning Dick Cheney's weekend!" What's there to spin? He shot a guy. Cheney admitted it today on Fox News. The guy is okay.

Kiddies, this story is not about Cheney. You are hearing endless reports about this accident--and they do all concede it is an accident--because 1) Its another way to take a shot at Bush, and oh how they hate George W. Bush (more on that later) and 2) They are so mad that they had to hear the story from Corpus Christi, and that Dick Cheney had the nerve to hold his friend in his arms while he bled, waiting for the medical team to arrive, instead of instantly dropping everything and getting on his cell phone. Unless Cheney goes over to David Gregory's house, saying "Here's the exclusive story, Dave," its not going to matter that Dick said anything about anything.


  1. I've heard this story from a few sources, watched the news, some extreme right wing propaganda at work in defense, and some extremely opposite as well.

    I have to say here that while of course it wouldn't be expected for the vice president to pull out his cell immediately to release the information, and I find it hard to believe any such question was posed in that form, there are plenty political servants that could have released the information. Were there journalists seriously accusing Cheney for not immediately releasing information himself? I don't claim to know anything about the inner-workings of the Bush administration on this situation, but I do know that the administration has plenty guys running around with the ability to release announcements/updates to the media. I believe that there's an incredibly minute chance that this could be anything more than a horribly unfortunate accident (come on, the vice president? way too messy.) I know that there are a few people out there that have an odd extreme opinion, but it's incredibly improbable their assumptions could be anywhere near the truth or regarded as truth by anyone of sound mind.

    The vice president involved in a shooting accident is going to hit the press hard. Of course it is. And I believe (again, no authority on the matter) that the administration must have had a little panic - carefully tweaking and reworking how to release statements. So the response was delayed. A sorry excuse, but probable.

    Regarding the media “hoping Whittington croaks”, let’s be honest. It’s the media here. Forgive me for assuming, but is it not the character of the media to question the possibilities of consequences (should the worst ensue)? I am, in fact, wondering the same thing without anything but hope that this man lives. And yes, maybe some of these questions are being posed by Democrats, but you’ve got Republicans wondering the same thing. You’ve even got White House reps sweating bullets about this question, I’m sure. This is the vice president, this is the media, and these are the American people. The current administration will be anxious, the media will be its overbearing self (these guys do get paid for doing their jobs), and the American people consist of millions of spoiled brats consumed with having access to immediate information. This will be an issue. And with politics involved, there will be opposing sides on the matter. And people will be hungry for more media-dished information.

    So I think we’re seeing things differently here, and that’s okay. If you’re serving as an informant, I have to disagree with your completely biased Republican-glorifying information. If you’re just offering an opinion, I’m only here to say that I don’t share it.

    And I still think you’re great - incase I crossed the disagreement line somewhere in there. Just some reassurance.

  2. First for this, and all other future political commentaries--which is what I consider this, a commentary mired in truth--you have to know that I never claim to be necessarily a Republican. I'm a conservative first, a Republican second.

    Now, to explain, this wasn't to glorify the Republicans because Heaven knows that I don't agree with many of their actions (another topic for another day)... but I never said that this wasn't a major event, and that the media didnt have a right to know, but the way that McClellan and the White House have been fired upon in the last few days for not getting the news out earlier has been almost ridiculous.

    Perhaps he should have called some people. Perhaps he should have faxed over some info quicker. Who knows. The treatment of Cheney and the admin is the question in my opinion.

    Second, to even ignore the fact that the current American media isn't somewhat biased against this administration is to only believe what that same media has been saying all along. I'm not suggesting that everything the media says is wrong, but you need look no further than what Dan Rather did in 2004, or the media's inaccurate portrayal of Katrina's aftermath and the consequences leading from that to know that something is not right.

    I actually think given time and more indepth conversation, we'd probably see things on the same page (I'd get a better chance to explain myself, you'd get a better chance to tell me where I'm missing something), which I'm sure we'll cover that and more soon enough over lunch. What about Saturday? Email me.


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