Vol: 53 Issue: 20 Monday, February 20, 2006
This week’s top news, amazingly enough, was still Dick Cheney’s accidental shooting of lawyer Harry Whittington.
Whittington was so embarrassed by the lambasting Cheney was taking in the press that he actually issued a public apology to Cheney for putting his face in Cheney’s line of fire!
One would think that there wouldn’t be much left to talk about, given Cheney’s pretty frank acknowledgement that there was nobody else to blame. “I’m the one who shot my friend in the face,” Cheney told Britt Hume in an interview discussing the shooting last week.
But the media frenzy went into high gear, with Cheney gracing the covers of both TIME and Newsweek. Newsweek, in particular, managed to devote half its coverage to Cheney, under its cover story, “The Shot Heard Round the World.”
In Cheney’s unwillingness to notify the mainstream press corps until after Whittington was treated and his family notified, Newsweek found evidence of Cheney’s ‘dark, secretive mindset.’
Another Newsweek story examined what it calls the ‘Cheney Effect’ arguing that hunters should be mad at Cheney for exposing them to increased criticism from gun control advocates.
That particular headline was a quote from a hunter (who wasn’t at the hunt) who opined that in the heat of the hunt, “He Lost Control of His Emotions”. (Not that Newsweek has an agenda)
Newsweek made much of the fact that Cheney had a beer at lunch, although it admitted the hunt took place hours later, no impairment was alleged, and the only one to mention the beer was Cheney himself.
Newsweek also noted that “some hunters also complained that Cheney got off with a warning for hunting without a required $7 quail stamp.” Good grief!
TIME’s cover used as lame a metaphor in its title as did Newsweek, with a picture of Cheney and Bush above the headline, “Sticking to His Guns.”
TIME painted a picture of a sissified, gentry hunting party, noting the ranch where the hunt took place was also a place where a “South Texas rancher named Tobin Armstrong testified before Congress that he sometimes found illegal immigrants dead of dehydration in the unforgiving brush of his 49,300-acre ranch.”
TIME went on to observe that “gentility and blood sport are old friends,” taking time to note that Katherine Armstrong’s intitial report of the accident didn’t mention that Cheney had a beer with lunch and that Cheney’s .28 gauge shotgun was both Italian-made and ‘elegant’.
Let’s tally the score so far, shall we?
Dick Cheney drank beer, (drunk) gave hunting a bad name, (drunk and careless) used his influence as Veep to get a warning for not buying a $7 quail stamp (corrupt cheapskate) a bit of a sissy, doesn’t buy American, but bloodthirsty enough in a rich, white, elegant way.
TIME managed to find ‘plenty of unanswered questions’ in what has to be the most investigated and thoroughly witnessed hunting accident in history:
Why hasn’t the Secret Service issued its report? Why hasn’t the sheriff issued his? TIME suggested, darkly, “there is also a small and geeky but persistent debate over whether Cheney might have been closer to Whittington than 30 yds.,” — hinting the sheriff might be part of a coverup.
The rest of the mainstream media was content to repeat off-the-wall quotes from idiots like Alec Baldwin (“Dick Cheney is a terrorist”) and Richard Dreyfuss, who called for Cheney’s impeachment for the accident.
But it didn’t much matter who said what or how nuts it sounded. As long as it made Dick Cheney look bad.
While the mainstream media was discovering a “darker, more secretive” Dick Cheney and exploring the “forces that made him that way” it evidently missed what’s been up with Cheney’s predecessor.
Al Gore went to Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of radical Islam and the principle source for the September 11 attacks, to remind radical Islam why they are fighting.
He told his mostly-Islamist audience that the U.S. had committed “terrible abuses” against Arabs after 9/11.
Addressing the Jeddah Economic Forum, Gore said last week that after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Arabs in America had been “indiscriminately rounded up, often on minor charges of overstaying a visa or not having a green card in proper order, and held in conditions that were just unforgivable.”
Demonstrating his awareness that his comments would inflame anti-American sentiment, instead of just anti-Bush sentiment, Gore was quick to add; “I do want you to know that it does not represent the desires or wishes or feelings of the majority of the citizens of my country.”
“The thoughtless way in which visas are now handled, that is a mistake,” Gore told his Saudi hosts. “The worst thing we can possibly do is to cut off the channels of friendship and mutual understanding between Saudi Arabia and the United States.”
In other words, “hate Bush. But most Americans are with you, my Islamist brothers.”
Note the setting carefully. In addition to the fact Saudi Arabia both inspired and supported the 9/11 attacks, Gore’s attack against US policy was made in a place where democracy is unheard of, religious freedom is non-existent, and where even female speakers at the forum were segregated from men.
It is also worth noting that Gore’s presence at the Jeddah Forum was paid for by the Saudi Binladen Group — the Jeddah-based construction firm owned by Osama bin Laden’s family.
The Binladen Group was listed among the key sponsors of the Jeddah Forum, as it was in the 2004 and 2002 meetings.
Irish President Mary McAleese and Cherie Blair, wife of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, both also addressed the forum, speaking in a venue in which men and women were physically separated from each other.
Newsweek didn’t find Al Gore’s treasonous comments at the birthplace of radical Islam sponsored by Osama bin-Laden’s family to be newsworthy enough for it to mention. Couldn’t find any mention of that in TIME, either.
Indeed, a search of Google using the keywords “al gore jeddah” turned up only 33 –a relative handful of stories, when compared to the 7,610 hits culled with the keywords, “Dick Cheney accident”.
When I refined the search on the Al Gore story to omit the repeated stories, I ended up with 17. No such option was available for the Cheney story.
So the final score was ‘Al Gore Jeddah’ – 17 ‘Dick Cheney Accident’ – 7,610. Am I being partisan to observe a bit of inequity in the coverage here?
A former Vice President of the United States outlined ‘terrible abuses’ committed by the United States against Arabs, inflaming anti-American sentiment and disseminating anti-American propaganda from the heart of enemy territory. At a conference sponsored by the family of the world’s most vicious Islamic terrorist! Nary a media peep.
A sitting Vice President had a minor hunting accident from which the victim is almost fully recovered. Prepare for Week Two of wall-to-wall coverage.
It is hard to say which is the greatest risk now facing America.
Al Jazeera, al-Qaeda or Al Gore.