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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Whittington: It's All Just One Big Joke, Isn't It?

As we all sit around waiting futilely for Dick Cheney to express any remorse or regret or concern for his victim, helpful members of the press have done everything they can to pave the way and make light of the consequences of his actions.

White House Finds Humor in Hunting Mishap
By NEDRA PICKLER , 02.14.2006, 10:56 AM

The White House has decided that the best way to deal with Vice President Dick Cheney's shooting accident is to joke about it.

President Bush's spokesman quipped Tuesday that the burnt orange school colors of the University of Texas championship football team that was visiting the White House shouldn't be confused for hunter's safety wear.

"The orange that they're wearing is not because they're concerned that the vice president may be there," joked White House press secretary Scott McClellan, following the lead of late-night television comedians. "That's why I'm wearing it."

The president's brother, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, took a similar jab after slapping an orange sticker on his chest from the Florida Farm Bureau that read, "No Farmers, No Food."

"I'm a little concerned that Dick Cheney is going to walk in," the governor cracked during an appearance in Tampa Monday.
CNN is reporting that at the time McClellan was making his jokes he knew about Whittington's heart attack.

Those not mining for comedy gold in the fact that an old man was shot in the face by the Vice President of the United States are trying to blame the old man. Former Wyoming Republican Senator Alan Simpson in the NYT:
Groans at Home Re: (Cheney Joke Here)

Mr. Simpson, for one, said he was outraged by the media frenzy, and blamed Mr. Whittington for not announcing that he was coming up behind Mr. Cheney in the field, which is protocol.

"When it's all through after a few days, people are going to laugh at the media for their overreaction," Mr. Simpson said in an interview from his home in Wyoming. "This is a hunting accident, created by the victim. Dick Cheney didn't do anything. He's a master hunter. And they're portraying him as some sort of assassin. I mean the headline I saw today was 'Cheney Bags Lawyer.'"
There really doesn't seem to be a limit to what these people will do or say. As Glenn Greenwald notes, they are not conservatives. "They are authoritarian cultists. Their allegiance is not to any principles of government but to strong authority through a single leader."

This attempt at "spin" has exceeded all boundaries of appropriate behavior regarding a man who is fighting for his life and both Pickler and Bumiller should be ashamed to publish it. Okay what am I saying, I know better. But they should.

The NYT Public Editor's blog is here.