AP's Obsession with Cheney's Hunting Accident
Just when you thought the media had closed the book on the Cheney hunting accident, the Associated Press fired one last salvo at the Vice President today. In their article, VP Accident Tale Filled with Discrepancies, Calvin Woodward and Nancy Benac rehash the same litany of talking points that flooded the media this week. Woodward and Benac revisit the shifting blame, belated acknowledgment of beer consumption, discrepancies in the shooting, the aftermath and how it was reported.
Scott McClellan was cited for promoting the "blame the victim" defense when he repeated Katherine Armstrong's comments on the accident. Cheney's first public comment on the accident amounted to an "about face" according to the AP.
The issue of alcohol consumption was broached - again. I cannot recall such an outcry in the media about a beer with lunch. The AP justified its query about alcohol use during the hunt while admitting that there was no evidence alcohol was a mitigating factor:
"Although there is no evidence that beer impaired Cheney's judgment, initial denials that he had consumed alcohol were wrong."
The AP also cited discrepancies in Whittington's condition as reported by Ms. Armstrong, the Vice President and the physicians. Was he conscious or unconscious? Did he talk and crack jokes or lay on the gurney in a dazed state?
Woodward and Benac stated that Cheny's lack of an upland game bird stamp meant "Cheney did not have all his hunting papers in order." While the $7 game bird stamp was missing, the Parks and Wildlife Dept issued a warning only as all the other legal requirements were met. The AP failed to mention that Whittington was also warned for not having the upland game bird stamp.
The whole incident could have been handled better through the White House - that is quite obvious. But the media's bloodthirsty search for anything to discredit the Bush Administration was brought straight to middle America's living room this week. Despite Americans wanting to move on from the story, the AP could not resist a few more whacks on the dead horse of a story.