Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Low Road/ Shooting Editorial Says A Lot About the Moist-Towelette

The Pittsburgh Moist-Towelette weighs in on the Dick Cheney shooting incident in this morning's editorial "Top gun/ Shooting incident says a lot about Cheney":

When the concealing smoke of controversy finally clears from the famous hunting accident in Texas Saturday, the details are likely to say less about Dick Cheney the hunter and more about Dick Cheney the man. What emerges is not a pretty picture.
This newspaper has never concealed its animosity for the Vice-President, the President, or anyone else involved with the administration. No one should be surprised to see them turn the hunting accident into a scandal of Watergate proportions. But how?

If accounts are to be believed, and the lack of initial forthrightness unfortunately brings everything into question, this was a simple accident. All hunters are responsible to some degree for identifying their targets but Vice President Cheney's culpability seems minimal.
Right. Because neither Cheney nor anyone who was with him on the hunting trip ran out in front of reporters and cameramen while shouting "THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES JUST SHOT SOME GUY IN THE FACE!", then there is some kind of cover-up at the highest levels. Okay, tell us more.

According to a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department report, the man hit by birdshot, Harry Whittington, a 78-year-old lawyer, had stepped out of the firing line he shared with Mr. Cheney to retrieve a bird when the vice president unwittingly swung and fired his shotgun. Mr. Cheney had a nonresident hunting license but did not have a $7 stamp -- a minor infraction for which he will receive a warning.
So this Vice-President is not above the law and all that. Fine. We know he accepts the punishment, be it just a warning or whatever. But that's not what you're mad about, is it?

What is troubling is what happened afterwards. Accidents happen but outcomes are arranged -- and Mr. Cheney and his staff, with the apparent help of the White House, behaved as if they wanted to make this embarrassing shooting as invisible and inconsequential as possible.
Are they serious? This suggests that the administration, in this high tech information age, might actually try to cover up the accident -- and remember, it was an accident -- in the hopes that no one would find out about it. Do you know what's troubling? This editorial gets more troubling as one reads further.

The White House heard the news Saturday night but its spokesman, Scott McClellan, said he found out about Mr. Cheney's role in the shooting early Sunday morning. The news didn't break until 20 hours after the incident and only then because Katherine Armstrong, Mr. Cheney's host at the Armstrong Ranch and a lobbyist, had tipped off The Corpus Christi Caller-Times.
According to her, she did so at Dick Cheney's request. He wanted the media to be informed. He probably also wanted to make sure that Whittington was okay before releasing information on his condition. I would think that making sure your hunting companion is at least in stable condition before you have anything to say is wiser than going out and saying "something bad happened but we're not sure what". Find out what the situation is, and then report it.

The Secret Service did call the local sheriff's office earlier and Mr. Cheney was interviewed, although Texas does not require nonfatal hunting accidents to be reported, according to The New York Times. In the official view, Mr. Cheney has broken no law -- and assurances that no drinking occurred have been readily accepted.
So the incident was reported to the authorities and Dick Cheney gave them some kind of statement -- even though no such action was required to be taken. Cheney not only did the right thing in the aftermath, but he went above and beyond what he needed to do. Take note of the last sentence in this last excerpt. "In the official view" means "not in the view of PG editors" and "have been readily accepted" means "by other people, but not us". Clever bastards, using the passive voice like that.

And who said anything about drinking? Why not just mention that "no marijuana was found in Mr. Cheney's possession"? Or opium, or whatever substance you want to throw a wink and a nudge at.

All this may be true, but average Americans are left to wonder if they would receive such solicitous treatment if they shot someone. Whatever else, Mr. Cheney's behavior once again confirms the imperious view he has of his job. He is a man, after all, famous for having made paranoia and secrecy a high art. Of course he wasn't going to be forthcoming about this. The press and public be damned; what's a little shooting among friends?
Good God Almighty! He reported it to the civil authorities! They are the public's representatives! Someone tell me what the purpose of this freaking editorial is. We know what the PG is saying, but why bother expressing it in words? The paper could just have the editorial cartoonist (you know, the one they didn't fire) draw a picture of Cheney with horns and the word "EEEEVIL" underneath and plaster it in the space where the written editorials normally appear. We get the point. No need to be verbose about it.

There is one thing that I agree with here: "The press...be damned" precisely reflects how I feel about this newspaper and its like minded counterparts around the globe. And furthermore, I would prefer to live under an Emperor Cheney than under a system where a paper like the PG represents the people.

Although Mr. Whittington suffered a setback yesterday when a pellet in his heart caused a mild heart attack, he is likely to survive. Mr. Cheney will survive too, confident in the knowledge that he remains symbol and architect of an administration that does whatever it wants to do with little chance of consequences.
What was it that Dick Cheney said a few years ago to that commie SOB on the floor of the Senate? I think that applies here. Take a copy of the Moist-Towelette, roll it up nice and tight, and shove it up the editorial writers' a-- no, no, I have a better idea. But first I have one small question:

Just how easy is it to flush a "Great American Newspaper" down the commode?

1 comment:

jipzeecab said...

The official news media is still smarting from being the last to know. There was a report this evening that Whittington while in the line of fire was actually standing in a "gully" visible above ground only from the waist up.
I've noticed that those on the left have taken to saying that "Cheney shot a man in the face" and that's the first time that's been done by a VP since Aaron Burr shot Hamilton in the face. (Actually Hamilton by his own pre plan fired his pistol into the air and then had to stand there while Burr took steady aim and hit him in the abdomen, damaging his liver and spleen causing him to die the next day).