Tuesday, February 14, 2006

NYT and their ever changing "Once on a hunting trip . . ." tale (Anne E. Kornblut and Ralph Blumenthal)

At the White House, Mr. Cheney made no statement on Monday and remained out of public view. At the beginning of a meeting with Secretary General Kofi Annan of the United Nations, Mr. Bush laughingly told Mr. Cheney that reporters would later enter the room; the vice president left before the journalists arrived.
Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, was battered at his daily news briefing by journalists demanding answers to why Mr. Cheney had not been faster to make public what happened and why he had chosen a local newspaper in Texas as his vehicle for doing so.
The pressure came in part from questions about whether Mr. Cheney -- who is already known for his inclination to keep his business, professional and political dealings behind closed doors -- might have been trying to play down the incident, a suggestion rejected by those who were with Mr. Cheney over the weekend.

The above is from Anne E. Kornblut and Ralph Blumenthal's "No End to Questions in Cheney Hunting Accident" in this morning's New York Times. Before diving into what passes for "reporting" today, let's note that things are so bad, Bully Boy openly laughs at Cheney.

Okay, let's deal with some of the problems. (Not all, we don't have hours to devote to this.)

Take this paragraph:

"He got peppered pretty good," Ms. Armstrong said. "He fell with his head toward me." She said she ran over to Mr. Whittington, who had fallen, but stayed out of the way while Secret Service agents tended to him.

We've gone from yesterday's (see this entry) "medical attendents" to the Secrect Service. How far will the paper of record's reporters go to avoid noting the known and the obvious? For the third time (three times in three days) let's note Dan Glaister's "Cheney shoots lawyer in hunt accident" (The Guardian of London):

Fortunately for Mr Whittington, a millionaire lawyer from Austin, the vice-president's medical team, on permanent call due to his sometimes fragile physical condition, were nearby.
"Fortunately, the vice-president has got a lot of medical people round him and they were right there," Mrs Armstrong said."He has an ambulance permanently on call and it came immediately."

Our press truly has come become the Pravda to the administration when it can't report basic facts out of concern over how the American people might respond to Cheney's (known) health problems.

From today's article:

Texas officials said on Monday night that Mr. Cheney would be issued a warning citation for hunting without a proper game stamp on his license. The local sheriff said an investigation had concluded that the episode was "no more than an accident."

Now why is it that when Anne E. Kornblut soloed on yesterday's article ("Cheney Shoots Fellow Hunter in Mishap on a Texas Ranch") that wasn't in it? "They did what they had to according to the law" vouces the sheriff (Ramon Salinas III) in yesterday's paper. Not quite. Well Salinas is no idiot, note this from yesterday's article:

The sheriff said Sunday that they had yet to speak to "the victim." "But you could say it's closed," Mr. Salinas said of the case.

The lobbying work of Armstrong is raising eyebrows. Note what makes it into today's paper:

Asked if she was concerned that Mr. Cheney's visit could create the appearance of impropriety during the lobbying investigation involving Jack Abramoff, which has brought to light the often close personal and professional ties between lobbyists and public officials, Ms. Armstrong said: "Oh my God, he's a friend. I don't believe I've ever lobbied the vice president, nor would I be comfortable doing so."

Now on the face of it, Katharine Armstrong's two talking points are hard to reconcile. Either would work on its own. As someone who tells the press that she does "more public relations and consulting work than lobbying," Armstrong certainly grasps the need to sell a talking point; however, while it might be believable that someone didn't remember if they'd ever lobbied the Cheney or that lobbying Cheney might make them uncomfortable, the two talking points combined, on the face of it, make the "I don't remember" defense questionable. If doing so would you make uncomfortable, you'd remember if you had done it.

We could go on. We could go back to 2004, as the article does, and ref an old article that was note for note almost exactly the same as an article that appeared in the Washington Post. Or note that both reporters filing the reports were supposedly covering John Kerry but somehow were able to report what Cheney said from another location.

We'll leave it at this: Bully Boy's mocking Cheney, the story continues to shift, the lobby taint is something they're trying hard to spin against and the paper of record doesn't think Americans are mature enough to handle the fact that Cheney's health problems require him traveling with a medical team.

For intended laughs, check out Wally's "THIS JUST IN! DICK CHENEY HAS A FISHING MISHAP!" from yesterday.

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