Is Cheney Still In The Hunt?

By: Robert E. Meyer

The mainstream media, which is anything but mainstream, has again shown its propensity to make a mountain out of an ant hill. Over the past week, media pundits have done everything in their collective power to wring yet another Bush Administration scandal, from out of the periphery of the fantastic. This time the catalyst is Vice-President Dick Cheney’s accidental shooting of a hunting companion while Quail hunting in Texas.

Reporters expressed their anger about not being immediately notified of the Cheney incident. They quickly transmuted their outrage into suspicion and speculations about the informational lag time. Cheney’s admission to local authorities that he had an alcoholic beverage during his lunch, hours before the incident, became “proof” that Cheney blasted his hunting buddy with birdshot in a drunken stupor.

The composition of the hunting party apparently contained the wife of a foreign ambassador, thus the incident was somehow a diversion obscuring the obvious affair was that going on between the two.

Then of course we have Cheney taking a pop at the expendable Harry Whittington in order to send Scooter Libby a message about fragility of life for tattlers. As a spoof, a popular talk-show host suggested that Wittington was actually brain dead, but housed at a secret storage facility. The delay in reporting the event to the press was a ploy to buy time while the Secret Service found an adequate body-double for Wittington. The point was that some ultra-liberal website would probably report a fiction that would outdo the most patently obvious absurdity.

Of course, missing any real fodder to work with, we know that the discussion will change to the minutiae of the case. Cheney didn’t have his special bird stamp to go with the state hunting license. By God let’s throw the book at him for that one! Heck, we would be in jail pending charges for reckless use of a firearm if this were to happen to any of us, right?

Whittington’s rapid improvement and release from the hospital has proved to be crimp in the opportunity for this unfortunate happening to “grow legs” as a major news event. Like the “impeachable offense du jour,” the circuitous “administration scandals” are greeted with a yawn by the general public. The news media is having trouble accepting that the general population is not as stupid as they need them to be for these tactics to work.

Look at the sound bites from the various alphabet news outlets. They were just fuming that Cheney went to have an interview with Fox News. They will only lob him softballs over there. The silly message they are trying to convey with comments like this, is that they are objective in their reporting, whereas those guys at Fox are slanted conservative in their journalism. There is no such animal on the Ark as liberal advocacy in news casting.

If I was to suggest that this whole incident was an overanalyzed hunting accident, how many times would I be labeled as either grossly naive, or just blatantly shilling for the administration like any faithful prostitute?

I could almost hear the orchestra of violins playing in the minds of critics when Cheney said this episode was the worst day of his life. And I could almost hear the streams of verbal vulgarities, when a local law enforcement official publicly announced there would be no charges filed. Wittington’s own admission of responsibility probably put them over the top. Bribes and threats can cover a multitude of sins.

Now given that there is already a laundry list of issues that are used to vilify Cheney, some folks might ask if this is the dirty shirt that breaks the washing machine. In other words, a justification for Cheney to exit stage right, and for the top 2008 Republican presidential hopeful to take his or her rightful and strategic position as the newly appointed/anointed Vice-President? Considering Cheney’s health, why would there need to be any such pretense in order for Cheney to throw in the towel? He’s given some of the best years of his dwindling life expectancy to a thankless endeavor.

I think Cheney’s staying power is a testimony both to Bush’s loyalty and to his vital role in this administration. Like Teddy Roosevelt, I have a natural cynicism for the habitual critic.

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