Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Update On The Shot Not Heard Around The World Until 21 Hours Later

Some new facts on the Cheney, "shot not heard around the world until 21 hours later" incident have come out yesterday and today. It appears that alcohol was not an issue in the accidental shooting, but Cheney did fail to have a 'bird hunting" stamp on his hunting license and was issued a warning citation and expected to send a $7 payment for this violation of Texas games hunting regulations to get the proper stamp added to his hunting license.

It also appears sources in the White House were disappointed that Cheney brought questions upon himself by his failure to allow for the timely press release of the accident incident information to the press. It also appears that the police were informed of the incident two hours after it happened, unlike a previous ABC affiliate report on KATU had claimed. But it was police who waited until the next morning for any follow-up as hunting accidents are very common in this area this time of year.

A young hispanic female reporter who worked for a local newspaper that usually covers small stories is one of the biggest winners in her breaking this story to the world press. Whether this becomes "15 minutes of fame" or a major break into a career with a larger and better press source or newspaper is yet to be seen. But her stock as a reporter is more likely on the rise with this currently hot story.

Late night comics also have strongly benefitted from this strange story. This story was like an early Christmas present.

And the shooting victim, Harry Whittington now finds himself a curious footnote in American history. Whittington is only the second man in American history shot by a sitting vice president during peacetime. Vice President Aaron Burr shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel, which helped to criminalize duels, and became so hated because of this shooting, that when he died years later, only his wife and a minister attended his funeral, close relatives and former friends stayed far away.

Why does a kooky story like take on a life of it's own? Well it's February sweeps and a goofy story like this is understandable to a print and electronic media who tailor their stories to be understandable to an audience capable of a 5th grade reading or comprehension level. Unlike more meaningful stories dealing with difficult to grasp concepts of economics, foreign policy, technology, politics or other more meaningful matters, this story is a combination of funny to some, but easy to grasp by most.

Yesterday some more important White House press releases on economics and other matters were drowned out by the Cheney incident. The sale of ports in major cities to a MidEast corporation was drowned out. The fact that hundreds of thousands of Katrina survivors saw some benefits such as paid hotel rooms run out also got lost in the Cheney shooting incident haze.

There should be a major lesson to Cheney in all this. If you're going to do something goofy, then don't do it during November, February or May sweeps month. The most silly events will become a major newstory as media outlets compete for ratings with one another.

Cheney's dark "Darth Vaderlike" ice cold personality, along with his personal style of tight controlled information has helped to generate a foolish accident into an event that has blown other serious stories off the screen for a few days. Funny how the least things can become the biggest things.