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.