Since Sunday, Vice President Cheney has been accused of trying to cover up his hunting accident, since the media establishment wasn’t notified right away about the mishap; he has been fodder for late night comedians, and today on the Early Show on CBS, he had his manhood questioned by super liberal Katrina vanden Heuvel: "...I’m not sure real men hunt..."
Vanden Heuvel was on the program with Bay Buchanan. For viewers, this would be a balanced perspective on Mr. Cheney’s hunting incident, right? Wrong. Hostess Hannah Storm asked pointed questions of Ms. Buchanan, even following up on a few, but tossed slow pitch softballs at Ms. vanden Heuvel, allowing her to take political shots at the Bush administration and spout talking points one would expect to find at Moveon.org with impunity, as Storm allowed the comments to go unchallenged. For instance, take the following exchange between Hannah Storm and Bay Buchanan:
Hannah Storm:"...but there's a growing chorus on Capitol Hill and elsewhere for him (Vice President Cheney) to hold a press conference and address this incident directly. Do you think he should do so?"
Bay Buchanan: "Well, you know, I think he should only do so if the White House asks him to do so, and I expect that's what the President's going to do just to calm down the storm. But he has no obligation to do that. He had no obligation to report this to national press as they expected him to do."
Hannah Storm: "Why not?"
Bay Buchanan: "Well, because first of all, he did everything correct. They feel that they have a right to all information about his life, and they simply do not. There is no rule that says that the White House, that the national press has to be notified whenever anything unusual happens with the Vice President, even when he's on private time. This was a hunting accident. He reported it to authorities immediately and an investigation followed. It happened about, by about 7:00 east coast time and 10:00 the next morning, the press was being notified. It took them a couple of hours to get the story out, but it wasn't the national press and that's what this story is all about. The national press jilted."
As compared to the very next exchange between Hannah Storm and Katrina vanden Heuvel:
Hannah Storm: "Some people do say this is a tempest in a teapot."
Katrina vanden Heuvel: "I couldn't disagree more, but the larger issue here, Hannah, is that this is emblematic of a Vice President, an administration which has managed, manipulated, suppressed news and intelligence whether it's pre-war intelligence or hunting news and intelligence. This administration has a cavalier, reckless disregard for oversight or accountability and I'm not sure real men hunt, but real men certainly an administration which preaches responsibility, certainly get out there and stop hiding behind Press Secretary Scott McClellan, hold a press conference and answer all questions, but that would be completely counter to a Vice President who has lived in a bubble."
Hannah Storm: "I mean, Bay, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and you've seen what Katrina said, other people are saying that this is part of a secretive nature of this administration. By Cheney maintaining his silence here, doesn't it just add fuel to the critics?"
Storm accepts without question Ms. vanden Heuvel’s heated rhetoric and spouts a question to Ms. Buchanan that could easily read well if Senator Reid and Ms. vanden Heuvel say the Vice President should hold a press conference, shouldn’t he just do it?
In addition to Hannah Storm’s segment, there were 2 other stories in the 7:00 half hour Early dealing with Vice President Cheney and the hunting incident. There was a news summary from Lee Cowan in Corpus Christi, and Harry Smith interviewed Dr. Richard Stein, a cardiologist with the American Heart Association. Cowan’s piece was rather mundane, just more time devoted to this topic.
But in Harry Smith's segment, Smith attempted to take a humor based shot at Vice President Cheney based on comments from his co-hosts who were previewing another segment:
Rene Syler: "I'm Rene Syler. Coming up, how does stress affect your heart? We're gonna have some answers as we continue our special heart score series."
Julie Chen: "That's in our next half hour, but first, here's Harry."
Harry Smith: "Well, a pellet from bird shot would put some stress on your heart, and speaking of that, after Vice President Dick Cheney shot hunting partner Harry Whittington over the weekend, doctors said his injuries were minor.
Considering that Mr. Whittington is still in a hospital recovering from his injuries and his minor heart attack, jokes about his condition seem to me to be in poor taste.
The Early Show is trying to hype this incident having devoted a large portion of the 7:00 half hour to the story. In reality, other than it being a tragic hunting accident, there is no story to hype. As Bay Buchanan said:
Bay Buchanan: There's been no cover-up. Turned it over to the law authorities. They investigated it. We all know it was a hunting accident. That's evident. That's everything there is to know, it's a hunting accident."
So once again, the Early Show took aim at Vice President Cheney, but it seems all they can fire are blanks.