I bid you a fond Dubai
NB: WaPo's Dana Milbank is a boy, as opposed to WaPo's Dana Priest, who is a girl, and also a Polk award winner. Congratulations, Danas!
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.
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.
DAVID: Scott, I just have two questions.(In two swift strides he is beside SCOTT. He reaches out and grabs SCOTT's forearm in mid-pack, locking it in midair. SCOTT pauses, then looks up at DAVID very slowly. His face remains impassive, other than a telltale tightening of his jaw.)
SCOTT: (stoically) Well, I think that I've expressed my views, and we went through this yesterday.
DAVID: But that's a non-answer!
SCOTT: I don't want to make this about anything other than what it is. It is what it is, David. I was very respectful and responsive to your questions yesterday.(DAVID glares at SCOTT and folds his arms across his chest. He raises his chin defiantly, challengingly.)
DAVID: All right, but --
SCOTT: (shaking off his grip) ...I provided you the information I knew based on the facts that were available, and we've been through this pretty thoroughly.
DAVID (smugly): You don't have an answer to this question. All right, one final question.(He slams the suitcase shut in frustration. He is breathing heavily, nostrils flaring. They glare at each other. David's lip quivers slightly, but he glares back, resolute.)
SCOTT (snapping): Wait, wait, I'm just not going to go back through it again. I'd appreciate it if you'd let me respond fully before you jump in!
DAVID: I understand that, but I'm not getting answers here, Scott. Everybody knows what is an answer and what is not an answer!(DAVID swipes at the air with the bottle, clumsily. Alcohol sloshes over into the air, onto his hand. It shocks him from the moment. They stare at each other.
SCOTT (pointing a finger warningly): David, now you want to make this about you, and it's not about you, it's about what happened. And that's what I'm trying to --
DAVID: I'm sorry that you feel that way, but that's not what I'm trying to do!
SCOTT: You don't have to yell!
DAVID (yelling): I will yell! If you -- take shots at me personally -- which I don't appreciate -- I will raise my voice! Because that's wrong!
SCOTT: Calm down, Dave, calm down!
DAVID (screaming): I'LL CALM DOWN WHEN I FEEL LIKE CALMING DOWN!
SCOTT (softly): I'm sorry you're getting all riled up.(SCOTT looks at DAVID for a moment, vulnerable before him. At that moment, he seems as though he'd burst if he could only give DAVID the answers he's looking for. But, the moment passes. He shakes his head, and walks back over to the bed, by the suitcase. Gently, but decisively, he lifts the lid.)
DAVID (pleadingly): Answer the question.
SCOTT: I have answered the question.(DAVID stands, mute. The gulf between them is suddenly huge. He walks over to SCOTT, stops, looks at him. SCOTT looks back. With a swift and sudden motion, DAVID grabs the bottle back. He strides to the doorway, turning around for dramatic effect, chin high and proud. He points at SCOTT.)
DAVID: I'll calm down when I feel like calming down.(With a flourish, he turns and leaves the room. Offstage we hear a sound: the bottle smashing. SCOTT has stood motionless throughout this final exchange. He turns slowly to the suitcase, reaches inside, and picks up the book. He looks at it for a moment, and then puts it back in the suitcase. He picks up a sweater and folds it. He continues to pack as the lights go down.)
HUME: Well, did it occur to you that sooner was -- I mean, the one thing that we've all kind of learned over the last several decades is that if something like this happens, as a rule sooner is better.This is a COMPLICATED story? That most reporters, simpletons that they are, would fail to grasp? Please. I believe it was Cheney's "expert" point person Katharine Armstrong who merrily spinned it as Whittington being "peppered pretty good." Indeed. The press covers items with a hell of a lot more nuance than this. And they usually don't need 18 hours to get up to speed.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, if it's accurate. If it's accurate. And this is a complicated story.
HUME: But there were some things you knew. I mean, you knew the man had been shot, you knew he was injured, you knew he was in the hospital, and you knew you'd shot him.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Correct.
HUME: And you knew certainly by sometime that evening that the relevant members of his family had been called. I realize you didn't know the outcome, and you could argue that you don't know the outcome today, really, finally.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: As we saw, if we'd put out a report Saturday night on what we heard then -- one report came in that said, superficial injuries. If we'd gone with a statement at that point, we'd have been wrong. And it was also important, I thought, to get the story out as accurately as possible, and this is a complicated story that, frankly, most reporters would never have dealt with before... I still think that the accuracy was enormously important.