You can't say it wasn't a hell of a scoop

A while ago I read the transcript of today’s White House press briefing in which our favorite flak Scotty McClellan got his ass handed to him by the White House press corps. Quite a lot of righteous indignation was in that room today, I’d say. But then that is what the White House press corps is best at — righteous indignation.

The proverbial WH press corps’ nose was out of joint over it taking almost 24 hours before anyone in the media knew Vice President Dick Cheney had shot someone. Even though the man Cheney shot while hunting birds in South Texas is okay, it’s still news. We’ve not had a U.S. vice president shoot anyone since 1804 when Vice President Aaron Burr gunned down Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Funny, we don’t see Burr’s likeness on any of our paper money and we’re likely not to see Cheney’s. Nevertheless, the press could see no good reason to delay the news of the Cheney faux pas by almost a day. And, I’m inclined to agree.

Perhaps a lot of the press indignation was over the principle of the matter. It is yet one more in a long list of attempts to control the flow of information by a control-freak White House. But I have to think too that maybe there is just a wee bit of jealousy as well from the RIWHPC (Righteously-indignant White House press corps). After all, it was reporter Jaime Powell of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times who got the call from Anne Armstrong that Cheney had shot Harry Whittington with birdshot. It was on Armstrong’s ranch where the shooting took place and she was also a witness to the shooting. Powell had built up a good reporter-source relationship with the Armstrong family, longtime, rich South Texas ranchers, and those connections paid off in one hell of a scoop for a medium-sized daily like the Caller-Times.

As someone who has worked as a reporter for papers of that size and smaller, and who had to occasionally brush elbows with the RIWHPC in Crawford, I can only say: “Way to go Jaime.”

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