WaPo Dredges Up 2006 Dick Cheney Shooting Accident, Says Cheney Never Apologized

In a case of curious timing, as the Democrats collapse in the polls, the big, splashy front-page story in Thursday's Style section of The Washington Post is "Since Dick Cheney shot him, a lawyer's aim has been to move on." Reporter Paul Farhi is quite positive about lawyer Harry Whittington, who still carries birdshot in his face and body from the quail-hunting accident in February 2006, but the story shows that Bush-hating lefties still find this as fascinating as conservatives looking into Chappaquiddick. Farhi stoops to suggest that maybe it wasn't an accident: "Eyewitnesses, including Cheney, said the shooting was accidental. Whittington doesn't dispute that, but his memory of the event is limited only to his most immediate sensations." And why would Cheney shoot this man on purpose? The Post doesn't try to answer. 

The Cheney-shoots-man story takes up all of page C-9 with text and pictures, and concludes with the punch that Cheney is a world-class jerk who has never apologized:

The shooting didn't bring Cheney and Whittington any closer. Although Whittington says they've exchanged birthday greetings, they haven't seen each other for two years. The last time they met was when they attended the funeral of Anne Armstrong, the ranch owner whose invitation drew the two men together.

Despite his scars, Whittington bears no ill will toward Cheney. He calls him "a very capable and honorable man" and adds, "He's said some very kind things to me."

But did Cheney ever say in private what he didn't say in public? Did he ever apologize?

Whittington, who has been talking about his life and career for hours, suddenly draws silent.

"I'm not going to go into that," he says sharply after a short pause.

Harry Whittington is too gracious to say it out loud, but he doesn't dispute the notion, either.

Nearly five years on, he's still waiting for Dick Cheney to say he's sorry.  

Cheney obviously took responsibility and expressed regret and called it one of the worst days of his life in his first interview with Brit Hume a few days later. Whittington still calls him an "honorable man" who said "some very kind things to me," so there's not bitter hatred there. If Cheney never actually said "I'm sorry," that's just ridiculous -- both as a human being and as a politician. But if the politician in question were a Democrat, the Post would accept the "very kind words" as not only good enough, but as testimony that the Democrat was indeed a very kind person. The timing on revisiting this old, embarrassing story is clearly political.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis