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MUNDANE DISTRACTIONS
Dick Dick, Bang Bang 
16th-Feb-2006 10:24 pm
As I'm sure you all know our esteemed V.P. Dick Cheney recently shot a friend by accident while hunting.

Now, while this situation will provide joke fodder for who knows how long for folks (and it already has). I will say that an interesting question has been posed about the specific accident and that is, "Is it that big of a deal?" I have to say that in a larger view, I don't think it is. Sure the VP of the US was involved in a bad situation while hunting, but the last time I checked quail hunters were a major special interest group giving donations, so I don't think they're worried about the bad publicity. Plus, we have heard about what happened. It's not like Cheney tried to hide the body or something.

What seems to be the actual news in this whole situation was how the news was released and how it has been dealt with since then. The new of the situation didn't break through any major White House reporting, it broke through the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Since then I've seen the press really get on White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan. Now, I personally think the guy leaves much to be desired (McClellan), but I have to say that how the Cheney chose to deal with this situation was just that, Cheney's choice, and McClellan shouldn't be getting grilled for the VP's choice. So the representatives of the nations "major" papers are ticked because they got "scooped" by some smaller paper. It's done with now, right? Wrong!

People want to know what happened, and they want to hear what Cheney himself has to say about the situation. That's easy enough, right? All he has to do is prepare a statement and read it in front of the standard White House press pool. Nice, good coverage through a variety of news mediums and the public who looks to any of those sources will have the information if they want it. Well, not so much.

In what is now becoming the bigger part of this whole hunting accident situation Cheney decided that he would only talk to one news source, specifically FOX News. So, on Wednesday, February 15th Cheyney sat down with Brit Hume and was interviewed exclusively on FOX News. Now while I my immediate default guess for why Cheney chose FOX was that he is a huge Rudi Bakhtiar fan and he went with them since she recently went to work for FOX. However, I guess it turns out that some people think that FOX News carries a more "conservative" and/or "Republican" slant to their news and that Cheney thought and interview with them would be "easier." Needless to say some folks haven't been happy about Cheney's choice.

Now, I do watch FOX News, along with CNN and CNN Headline News (I'm not so much into the NBC news channels) and I will say that there definitely seems to be some "sides" to the issue of the interview. The voices from FOX are saying that the mainstream press is heavily "liberal" and that they have a mad on for Bush and Cheney. I gotta say that I think they may be right. Of course many other news sources besides FOX are saying that Cheney went to them because he didn't want to deal with any kind of harsh questions or criticisms. I think they may be right too. I guess now we're stuck with the question of which came first, the Cheney or the egg?

The truth is that our current administration and the press don't seem to get along so well. Bush doesn't talk to the press, his "town hall" meetings are filled with hand picked individuals whose views are heavily biased in favor of his administration, and there are serious questions about how the Bush administration does use the media as a deceptive tool (wehttam777 wrote about it a bit the other day).

All in all I think how things are playing out right now show two things:
1. Cheney doesn't have the guts to take on the questions of the mainstream press (be they biased or not).
2. The mainstream press has done a good job of showing their disdain for the current administration to the point where Cheney's choice seems "sensible."

Just remember though that the current administration's policy of poor information flow doesn't help either of these points.

Bush has said that he wants to be remembered as a uniter and not a divider. Well, if that's what he really wants then he has to be willing to take it on the chin sometimes. If he won't why should anyone else in his administration?

Right now I'm waiting for someone to step up and be the "bigger man" in all this "us" versus "them" crap. At this rate those who identify themselves as "conservatives" are going to win over ALL others because they DON'T have a majority of sources to look to in the media for people who support their views. Check out this study about how news viewers are becoming "more politicized."

Oh and I don't think "liberals" winning would be better either. I believe issues need to be judged individually with a critical mind. When you start towing the party line without thought, well I think you can guess.

On a final note of TRUE critical thinking (in my mind anyway), stating that your news channel is "Fair and Balanced" makes as much sense as being a "registered independent." Each are labels for others to believe without question. The truth is in what is done.
Emmitt
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