As you're probably aware, the Old Media are in a state of collective apoplexy over the recent hunting accident involving Vice-President Dick Cheney. Samples of its fury can be found nicely stippled with slanderous innuendo. The masks are off; the media are enraged on their own behalf; the Bush Administration is being hauled to the dock for the unspeakable crime of putting trivial concerns such as the rights and well being of a private citizen above its sacred duty to assist the press's quest...for dirt with which to defame the Bush Administration.
The victim of Cheney's strayed shotgun round, Harry Whittington, is a lawyer in private practice. He's not a public official and never has been. By what reasoning does the press have any right to know anything about him? One might reply that the meat of the story is about the shooter, not the victim; the point would be well taken. But by what reasoning does the press suggest that the incident was being covered up?
Why, simply that Mr. Whittington's well being was placed ahead of the obligation -- obligation! -- to inform the press of the accident.
Inasmuch as no public official was harmed in any way, nor was any process of government affected, this seems a bit of a stretch.
In general, it is well that high officials remain in full view at most times. It is particularly well that they should have great difficulty concealing their uses of their official powers. But Dick Cheney was on a private hunting trip, a vacation break from the responsibilities of his office; in loosing an errant round that peppered Harry Whittington in the face and chest, he employed none of the powers nor perquisites of his office:
* He didn't dismiss his Secret Service retinue so that he could receive oral sex from an intern while discussing foreign policy;
* He didn't haul a favor-seeker into an unused side office so that he could grope her and importune her for sexual access;
* He didn't direct the Internal Revenue Service to initiate investigations of his political adversaries;
* He didn't demand access to "raw" FBI files on highly placed Republican organizers and fundraisers;
* He didn't refuse to testify before a Senate convened to try him for abuse of his powers.
* He didnt impede the investigation of a “suicide” by removing evidence of a possible motive from the victim’s white house office.
Of course, the subject of the peccadilloes above wasn't deemed by the press to be an enemy. But if it's enemies they need, how about this one: Several women who worked for Senator Robert Packwood refrained for years from accusing him publicly of sexual misconduct toward them, specifically because he was pro-abortion.
Where was the press's outrage then? Where was "the public's right to know?"
It sharpens the point to learn that the gentlemen of the press are more interested in accidents involving their enemies than in crimes committed by their friends.
The American news-consumer can no longer afford to have his information flow throttled by persons who place more importance on swaying him than on informing him. And "throttling" is just what many of our Old Media barons have in mind for us, as witness the near-absolute unwillingness among American newspapers and television broadcasters to show the twelve Jyllands-Posten cartoons over which millions of Muslims are beside themselves with shari'a-induced rage.
How about a trade? If the editors of the major American newspapers and television news bureaus will all agree to display the Jyllands-Posten cartoons prominently and at once, with a complete explanation of their context, the distortions spread about them, and the riots over them, then Vice-President Cheney will agree to make informing them his very first priority, the next time he shoots someone.