ABC Uses Shooting Accident to Take Gratuitous Shot at Cheney Over Scalia

In the midst of ABC's lead story Sunday night about how Vice President Dick Cheney had, on Saturday afternoon, accidentally hit hunting companion Harry Whittington with shotgun pellets while he was aiming at some quail, reporter John Yang resurrected a two-year-old media-created scandal which amounted to little at the time: How Cheney invited Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia along on a hunting trip while the court was facing a decision on a lawsuit involving the Vice President's official duties. Yang brought up Cheney's affiliation with the NRA and then asserted: “His hunting made headlines in 2004. He took Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on a duck hunting trip to Louisiana on board Air Force Two, at a time when the court was considering a case filed against Mr. Cheney by environmental groups." The Supreme Court sided with the VP's office, which sent the case back to a federal appeals court which rejected, 8-0 in 2005, the Sierra Club's request to learn what advice industry experts gave Cheney's energy task force. (2005 AP story.) (Brief transcript follows.)

On Sunday's NBC Nightly News, Andrea Mitchell managed to deliver a longer story on the shooting, at a ranch in southeastern Texas, without making any mention of the discredited lawsuit. (Golf bumped the CBS Evening News in the Eastern and Central time zones.)

On the February 12 World News Tonight, over a picture of Cheney holding a rifle on stage at an NRA convention, followed by still pictures of Cheney hunting, of Antonin Scalia and of people standing next to Air Force Two, Yang asserted from the White House:
"Vice President Cheney is an avid hunter and strong supporter of gun owners' rights and the National Rifle Association. His hunting made headlines in 2004. He took Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on a duck hunting trip to Louisiana on board Air Force Two, at a time when the court was considering a case filed against Mr. Cheney by environmental groups."

For the AP's dispatch on the shooting accident, as posted on Yahoo News.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center