Dear Lord…please tell us that this sort of thing…
isn’t starting to spread…?
Dear Lord…please tell us that this sort of thing…
isn’t starting to spread…?
You can tell that Scott McClellan has had about as much of this vice president shooting questioning as he can take. Today was another heated briefing, with a reporting snapping, “It’s our briefing, we get to ask the questions” as McClellan continued to try to lead the subject to “more important topics.”
In today’s briefing, McClellan reached quickly for the Goyal Foil to end the line of attack, and then even cut Goyal off to get to the question quicker:
Q: And could you provide cost estimates when the President [sic] takes these hunting trips — like what it costs the taxpayers
MR. McCLELLAN: Check with his office, Jim.
Q: — to bring both his staff and medical staff?
MR. McCLELLAN: Check with his office. I travel with the President. Go ahead, Goyal.
Raghubir Goyal: Two questions. One, lately the former two President George Bush and President Clinton both getting along well and they have been traveling together and also have done a lot of humanitarian work –
MR. McCLELLAN: Let’s go to the question.
Q: The question is, recently President Bush said that, I have a third brother, President Bill Clinton. What he meant by that? Is he getting some advice from him?
As the White House’s PR response to Saturday’s shooting continues to draw fire, David Gregory and Scott McClellan mixed it up again today, with McClellan charging (on camera this time) that Gregory was trying to make this all about him instead of about the incident.
The meat of the exchange:
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t want to make this about anything other than what it is. It is what it is, David. I was very respectful and responsive to your questions yesterday. I provided you the information I knew based on the facts that were available, and we’ve been through this pretty thoroughly.
Q: You don’t have an answer to this question. All right, one final question.
MR. McCLELLAN: Wait, wait, I’m just not going to go back through it again. I’d appreciate it if you’d let me respond fully before you jump in.
Q: All right, but — well, hold on one second. I’ve got one final question.
MR. McCLELLAN: Other people in this room have questions, and we’ve got an event coming up.
Q: I understand that, but I’m not getting answers here, Scott, and I’m trying to be forthright with you, but don’t tell me that you’re giving us complete answers when you’re not actually answering the question, because everybody knows what is an answer and what is not an answer.
MR. McCLELLAN: David, now you want to make this about you, and it’s not about you, it’s about what happened. And that’s what I’m trying to –
Q: I’m sorry that you feel that way, but that’s not what I’m trying to do.
More after the jump.
Dana Milbank. In hunting gear. On TV.
Who says the Washington press corps isn’t fun?
As the Cheney shooting incident furor enters its second full day, the story is becoming a punchline to every joke about the Bush administration. “I could say the White House shot itself in the foot, but that would be in terrible taste, wouldn’t it?” Howard Kurtz cracks today. “The Scott McClellan briefing was truly something to behold. The guy is still picking buckshot out of his backside.”
He continues: “This is going to ricochet for days (forgive me), all because the administration essentially thumbed its nose at the national press.”
The Wall Street Journal pulled together the late-night jokes, and even the New York Times ran a Elisabeth Bumiller sidebar on the event’s punch lines, which included David Gregory‘s outburst yesterday, first reported by the Tribune’s blog. And over at the Huffington Post, writers can’t get enough.
Of course the right is talking about it just as much. Even Jeb Bush is getting in on the action, saying, “I’m a little concerned that Dick Cheney is going to walk in” as he placed a “bright orange sticker” on his chest.
Over at the National Review, John Podhoretz writes, “It’s disturbing as well that there was a news blackout that lasted nearly a day about this serious incident. It seems beyond question that the vice president is going to have to go before the cameras, explain what happened, and show genuine remorse for his actions, however inadvertent. It’s a difficult challenge for someone as reticent as Dick Cheney. But unless he does so, and makes a good showing of it, he will be damaged goods for the remainder of the Bush presidency.”
One journalist source last night suggested that the biggest political problem Dick Cheney faces is that the weekend incident has removed him from the realm of the serious and powerful in Washington. By staying in the shadows, Cheney has cultivated a dark mystique that has left many wary of him–he’s come to be the administration’s enforcer–but the hunting accident plays into every caricature of him and leaves him a self-written punch line to everything the administration does going forward.
It’s certainly not every day that a CNN Breaking News alert like this shows up in the ole email queue: “Vice President Dick Cheney accidentally shot and injured a man during a hunting trip in Texas, The Associated Press reports.”
The Chicago Tribune’s Frank James has a question, though: “How is it that Vice President Cheney can shoot a man, albeit accidentally, on Saturday during a hunting trip and the American public not be informed of it until today?”
“But that doesn’t explain why the White House decided to wait before telling the public of the shooting. There may be a perfectly reasonable explanation for why the White House waited. And, believe me, we reporters will be asking for it. When a vice president of the U.S. shoots a man under any circumstance, that is extremely relevant information. What might be the excuse to justify not immediately making the incident public?”
Editor & Publisher is pulling together some of the questions about the shooting and the failure of the White House or the vice president’s office to make any sort of announcement. Word only came when the ranch owner called the local paper to tell a friendly reporter there.
Time Magazine is already predicting how the White House will split hairs over the story: “White House aides can be expected to say that the Vice President did not shoot Whittington, which suggests a bullet, but rather sprayed him with birdshot, a type of ammunition made up of tiny pieces of lead or steel.”
We’ll see how the White House reporters dog this story today.
Of course not everyone thinks this is big story. One commenter at the Tribune Swamp wrote, “Give me a freaking break! I don’t even see how this is news. Why is it such a big deal, he accidentally shot someone while hunting. He didn’t shoot someone in his house, in his yard, or at the White House. Just because there is little news to report, don’t try to make non-news into news.”
If you’re going to copy from someone, copy from the best, right? Lynn Sweet, one of the hardest working journalists on the Hill, found an article very similar to hers in Friday’s Washington Times. “Call the journalism police. It’s a quote heist,” she blogged.
Eric Pfeffier, who wrote the National Review’s Beltway Buzz and recently started at the Washington Times (with a brief stop at Wonkette), managed to quote the Daily Kos founder as well as Senator Trent Lott, and describe Obama’s office in great detail without ever figuring out any of that himself.
Pfeiffer’s stuff came from Sweet’s January 22nd piece on the Illinois wunderkind. He says “he believes he ‘intended’ to credit the Sun-Times ‘and I didn’t. I guess it’s a fairly weak excuse, but it’s an honest one.’”
Times Managing Editor Francis Coombs tells Kurtz today that Pfeiffer “acknowledged a stupid mistake. Needless to say, that’s correct.” Kurtz reports, “The paper ran a correction Saturday, and Coombs said the editors will review Pfeiffer’s other stories before deciding what action to take.”
Now one of the several questions here: It certainly would be acceptable to use others’ reporting if you couldn’t track down the information yourself, but to not even contact Obama’s office in the first place seems to be highly dubious.
Someone obviously didn’t tell Bob Novak that Fight Night had already happened this month. From The Reliable Source:
“According to our unofficial mascot on the flight, Novak was boarding an American flight to Chicago when he cut in front of another passenger while entering first class. The guy protested and laid a hand on Novak — who responded by socking him and threatening to knock his teeth out.”
Gosh Bob Novak and anyone is a fight we’d like to see. Although we always thought that in a fight he’d resort to his superpowers as the Prince of Darkness and freeze people with his icy glare–or maybe just rip out and eat their soul.
It seems that the hottest non-news media scandal today is CBS’ John Roberts and his question to Scott McClellan this morning during the day’s gaggle: “Scott, you said that — or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?”
Drudge picked up the comment, evidently there’s something sexual about “sloppy seconds,” and Drudge isn’t happy about the lack of respect shown to the press secretary. Thus it becomes an official Teapot Tempest, and now CBS’ Public Eye has gotten an apology out of Not-The-Chief-Justice Roberts.
Poor phrasing, blah, blah, blah. A great nonapology to a noncontroversy.
If you’re not a regular TVNewser reader, MSNBC’s David Shuster has gotten into quite the little pissing match with Fox News’ horde of damage control experts.
It all started when Shuster explained to his hometown paper, The Herald-Times, why he left Fox, and, in the process, criticized the network. It wasn’t the first time he’d said such things, but this time Fox hit back–hard, as they are prone to do.
Fox execs decided to publicize details out of his confidential HR file.
Now Shuster has hit back again: “If I want to do a hit job on Fox News, everybody at that organization knows that I could tear them apart,” he tells TVNewser. “Everybody there also knows that it would be a severe mistake to try to start a battle with me. Roger Ailes, John Moody, and the rest of management knows that I would do far more damage to them than they could ever do to me.”