Tonight, CBS Evening News with Bob Scheiffer proved that it has learned its lesson, and that it will never again do anything to upset the Friends of Bush/Cheney.
Our story begins on Saturday, Feb. 11th when the Vice President of the United States shot a man in the face and neck, allegedly at thirty yards. (Other reports had it at 30 feet.)
It’s been over two hundred years since a vice-president shot somebody, and so, you might imagine that the story would have legs. On the other hand, no one got killed and, as they say, accidents happen.
What was no accident is the fact that the story didn’t make it off the hunting ranch where the shooting occurred for 21 hours. This would have been plenty of time for Cheney to sober up.
In fairness, we don’t have any evidence that he was drinking. For that matter, we don’t have any evidence that he was not. The only information we have on that subject is that he has a history of DWI’s and apparently he has never received treatment. Unlike the other un-treated alcoholic in the administration, Cheney does not claim to be abstemious.
There is some suggestion that the Vice-president's office was not going to release the story at all, and that an employee of the ranch went to the local paper on her own initiative. This is from today's White House Press Briefing:
Q: Katherine Armstrong talked to CNN Sunday evening. She said that she thought this was going to become a story, so she was going to go to the local press. She also told CNN that she did not believe the Vice President's Office was aware that she was going to go to the local press. How do you square that with your account that they were coordinating their --
MR. McCLELLAN: The Vice President spoke with her directly and they agreed that she would make it public.
They agreed as in: Armstrong: I am going to the local paper with this. Cheney: Okay.
Anyway, by today, Monday, the story of the shooting was out, but not the story of why the cover-up. In today's White House Press Briefing, we heard the following exchange:
Q: Scott, there's a report coming out of a Sheriff's deputy there who said that he was prevented from interviewing the Vice President by the Secret Service. Do you know anything about that? And is that appropriate?Okay, Scotty, I have a follow-up question: Why do you think they call it the SECRET service?
MR. McCLELLAN: No, I don't know anything about that. You ought to direct that to the Secret Service. My understanding was that Secret Service took the appropriate steps to inform law enforcement. But, again, check with Secret Service.
On Monday night, that bastion of liberal, Bush-hating media, CBS Evening News carried the story of the shooting. Here’s my unofficial transcript of a snippet of the broadcast. The reporter is Lee Cowan reporting from Kenedy County, Texas:
Here, this is an investigation so routine, the local sheriff says that he didn't even send a deputy to interview the vice-president until the following morning.As demonstrated here, Cheney has probably committed a felony. It strikes me that at a minimum, when you shoot a shotgun and don’t know that there is a man in your fire zone, you are criminally negligent, though reckless is more like it.
[video of Sheriff Ramon Salinas, Kenedy County, Texas Sheriff's Dept] "I mean, everybody knew it was an accident, and it's nothing criminal. So that's why he went the next morning."
[Cowan] Of course, there's nothing criminal, but it sure is embarrassing.
But what about the assertion that this is so routine that it doesn’t even merit an investigation by the Sheriff? Here are the facts:
A new report shows Texas hunting accidents in 2004 decreased to the lowest amount since statistical records began in 1966. The number of people injured in hunting accidents in Texas decreased from 44 in 2003 to 29 in 2004, although fatalities increased from two to four during the same period.Source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”