Olbermann Raises Possible “Negligent Homicide" Charge, That Cheney Was Drunk

Keith Olbermann’s first question to his first guest on Tuesday’s Countdown: “Do the changes in his [Harry Whittington’s] health alter how the event is viewed legally and, under the worse case scenario, could negligent homicide actually come into play?" The guest, Texas Monthly magazine Executive Editor Paul Burka, rejected the supposition: “I would doubt it, because a hunting accidents are seldom treated as homicides.” Olbermann proceeded to suggest Vice President Cheney may have been drunk at the time of the accidental shooting. Olbermann pointed out how the local sheriff's office “issued a statement last night” and it “said no alcohol had been involved.” The MSNBC host ruminated: “But how would they know that? The sheriff's office did not interview the Vice President until 14 hours after all this happened. And the lower ranking sheriff's officers who did not know about the scheduling of that interview for Sunday morning, had been turned away when they tried to talk to Mr. Cheney on Saturday night." (Transcript follows)

Olbermann set up his lead February 14 segment interview with Burka from Austin: "One man we turn to from time to time to explain Texas and its ways, Paul Burka, the Executive Editor of Texas Monthly magazine who’s also a member of the Texas state bar.”

After an exchange of greetings, Olbermann posed his first question:
“Calling on your skills as an attorney first. Yesterday, Mr. Whittington appeared to have minor injuries, moved out of the I.C.U, this was all ruled an accident. Now he’s had this heart attack. They think he’ll recover. Of course, everybody hopes he will. But do the changes in his health alter how the event is viewed legally and, under the worse case scenario, could negligent homicide actually come into play?"

Paul Burka: "Well, I would doubt it, because a hunting accidents are seldom treated as homicides. They are regarded as accidents. You take guns out into the countryside and there are going to be accidents. I believe 89 fatal accidents in Texas last year I read this afternoon. So this happens. There are thousands of hunters, but I would not think that the Vice President would incur any legal liability. He was not cited for negligence. He was simply given a warning by the game warden."

Olbermann: "The sheriff's office, though, issued a statement last night, in the conclusion that this was an accident, and also said no alcohol had been involved in it. But how would they know that? The sheriff's office did not interview the Vice President until 14 hours after all this happened. And the lower ranking sheriff’s officers who did not know about the scheduling of that interview for Sunday morning, had been turned away when they tried to talk to Mr. Cheney on Saturday night."

Burka: "Well, obviously, that question, that’s one of many questions that we don't know the answer to, but, you know, guns and alcohol don't mix. But they’ve been known to on hunting trips. Usually the alcohol is after the hunting trip, not before."

The interview continued a bit longer, but those were Olbermann’s most obnoxious questions. And, frankly, the closed-captioning for this show was awful and I don’t have the patience to correct any more of it.

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