Thursday, February 16, 2006

Cheneygate Scandal Day Number 10,012

In 1979, when the Iranian hostage crisis first started a late night news report on the crisis gradually grew into the popular news program, NIGHTLINE. It reported the crisis as "day one", "day two", "day three" all the way until 444 days of this crisis had passed. Well the Cheney accidental shooting of his friend, Harry Whittington on Saturday has taken on a similar life. It is Thursday morning, and the story is still a top news item.

While important news on the huge $7 billion dollar tax break the oil companies are getting after a windfall profit year, more Abu Ghraib prison abuse photos, and even a Westminister Dog Show top dog, a Whippet named Vivvy who can run 25 miles an hour is missing, get buried, Cheney's poor handling of the accidental shooting continues to be top news draw.

Cheney finally made a statement on Wednesday, with a single interview with hard right FOX newscaster, Brit Hume. At the urging of Karl Rove, Cheney made this visit to the most Bush Administration friendly newscaster on the airwaves. And Cheney did disclose he had a beer five and 1/2 hours before the accident. And the normally icepick cold Cheney did show some rare humaness and emotion at he sadness of accidently shooting his millionaire political contributor to Republican Party efforts friend, and watching him fall to the ground.

The funny thing about this whole incident is that Cheney's inept handling of the event press news release helped to create the whole thing into a media speculation circus, a grand gift to late night comics, and a new cause for critics of the Bush Administration to question both the honesty and openess of the administration.

February is also a media "sweeps month", and most of the print and electronic media is designed for comprehension by a fifth grade reading level audience. While some major issues dealing with serious technology, trade, economic or other issues are difficult for many in the public to grasp, this Cheney incident is simple enough that it becomes a typical junk February sweeps news item and gets heavy "drive" on the nation's airwaves. The big lesson in this is for major politicians not to do anything goofy during the media sweeps months of November, February or May. A silly news item will get heavy "drive" during these sweeps months.

There are a few partisans on both sides of the political aisle hoping to make some political gain from this Cheney event or to circle the wagons to protect him. Michelle Malkin even conjured up "Barnum & Bailey" circus references in her lastest defense of the indefensible delay in reporting this to the world press when Cheney created his own problems with the incident reporting.

If this event did indeed cause the circus to come to town, then it was because of the personal style of Cheney. His cold and secretative style has created yet another "situation" for the White House. In 1995, Governor Bush accidenty shot a rare bird while hunting. He made a real point to point out his mistake to the press and the voters of Texas quickly offered him forgiveness because he sincerely was sorry and was so open about the event. Cheney could learn volumes with this far better example. For whatever political faults that Mr. Bush has, he is at the top of the Administration because he is at least a far better man than Mr. Cheney.


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