Monday, February 20, 2006

More deets on Cheney shooting, one week later

A week and a day after Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot hunting companion Harry Whittington on a private ranch in Texas -- and a week after that story was actually released -- new information is coming to light about what Cheney actually intended to tell the press. According to Newsweek's report, the initial report to the White House mentioned "an unspecified shooting accident in the vice president's hunting party." The next morning, a visit from a local deputy sheriff made it "clear the story could not be contained":
Cheney and Katharine Armstrong talked about how to get the story out. "What do you want me to do?" Armstrong asked. "What do you feel comfortable doing?" Cheney replied.
Yowsers. Those are loaded questions.

Yes, accidents happen. It's pretty clear that one happened here. But it's also pretty clear that there was a considered, deliberate attempt to first contain this story, and then to downplay it (per the peppery Armstrong) and spin it into a blame-the-victim scenario. Per David Gregory:
Mr. Cheney, in my view, acted as if he had something to hide. He also chose to allow a witness to this accident and the White House press secretary to spend three days portraying this as the fault of the shooting victim, Harry Whittington. Wednesday, Mr. Cheney changed course and took the blame. That invites press scrutiny.
I have to say, even in the course of said blame-taking, Cheney heavily implied fault on the part of Whittington:
Well, ultimately, I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry. And you can talk about all of the other conditions that existed at the time, but that's the bottom line. And there's no -- it was not Harry's fault. (emphasis added)
Of course, by this time, everyone had heard about how Harry had wandered into the line of fire and hadn't announced himself. This denial only served to reinforce that.

Cheney's right; this is a complicated story, but only because he and his office have deliberately made it one. Yes, accidents happen. But attempts to downplay, spin, contain and dismiss them? That's no accident.

Matalin: First Cheney Statement For Press Did Not Admit He Was Shooter [E&P]
The Shot Heard Round The World [Newsweek]

Also, see Jay Rosen:
Dick Cheney Did Not Make a Mistake By Not Telling the Press He Shot a Guy [PressThink]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home