Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cheney Shoots a 78 Year Old Man in the Face

I know. That's not really new news anymore; it happened four days ago (though we didn't find out about it until 3 days ago). But still, it's pretty noteworthy. For the first time in two centuries the Vice President of the United States shot a man. It's not happened before in the lifetime of anybody alive and is unlikely to recur during our lifetimes. It's pretty newsworthy. Heck, even Cheney thinks so, saying "I've been in the business for a long time and never seen a situation quite like this. We've had experiences where the president has been shot. We've never had a situation where the vice president shot somebody." Seems odd, then, that an organization that calls itself "Fox News" would find un-newsworthy. It's just another accident, I guess. Heck, in this administration, accidents are quite common; president chokes on a pretzel, president falls off his bike, president falls off a Segway. Shooting a 78 year old man in the face might seem, to this administration and the Fox news fluffers, to be just business as usual.

Except...well, except for a few niggling details. It's nice that Deadeye Dick came out today, on Fox News, to admit that the whole thing was his fault, that he shouldn't have shot a 78 year old man in the face, but then he kept talking and ruined the whole thing. Somehow he thinks, as he wants us to believe he did over the weekend, that the best way to announce to the world that the Vice President of the United States shot a man is to have his host announce it to the local paper. Because, he said on "Fox News", "We really didn't know until Sunday morning that Harry was probably going to be OK, that it looked like there hadn't been any serious damage to any vital organ. And that's when we began the process of notifying the press." So, I guess he's saying there was no point telling anybody until they had the whole story. Wouldn't want to be leaking partial information to the press, confusing everybody. That wouldn't do. So they waited 'til Sunday, then had Katharine Armstrong, at whose blood-stained ranch Cheney shot a 78 year old man in the face, make an anouncment to a Corpus Christi newspaper. Why her, and why a local paper? Because she was an eyewitness, she grew up on the ranch, and she's "an expert in all this." Apparently a lot of 78 year old men get shot in the face on her ranch. In any case, Cheney felt that having the right person tell the story at the right time to the right news outlet would ensure that no garbled message got out. "I thought that made good sense because you can get as accurate a story as possible from somebody who knew and understood hunting and then it would immediately go up to the wires and be posted on the Web site, which is the way it went out and I thought that was the right call," Cheney said.

Except that, well, that didn't work out so well, did it? According to Cheney today, "You can't blame anybody else. I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend. You can talk about all of the other conditions that exist at the time, but that's the bottom line and — it was not Harry's fault." Which kind of contradicted what Ms. Armstrong told the press, when she said the 78 year old face shot victim "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself." This was picked up by Scott McClellan yesterday, who said, "Protocol was not followed by Mr Whittington when it came to notifying others that he was there." Maybe for the sake of getting accurate information out to the press, relying on the owner of the dark and bloody hunting ground wasn't such a good idea.

And how about that cooperation with local law enforcement. Why was Elmer Fudd not available to talk to the heat until Sunday? Could it be so that his blood alcohol level could return to acceptable levels? I know, it's not fair to speculate like that, but perhaps if Cheney hadn't been so secretive and tried to keep this out of the news and, oh yeah, talked to the police right after the "accident" as anybody else who had just shot a 78 year old man in the face would have had to, maybe then there wouldn't be so much room to speculate.
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