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The Myth of the Hunt: How the media has misfired on the Cheney accident
Time ^ | Friday, Feb. 17, 2006 | WALTER KIRN

Posted on 02/18/2006 9:16:15 AM PST by indcons

It seems more like a dream a vice president might have than something that might actually befall one. It might also inspire a great fairy tale someday. I imagine it being recited to the children of a magical, peaceful world to come — a utopia of enduring gentleness that accounts for its origins with the following fable:

"And so, after decades at the heights of power helping to mount and administer great battles that caused many thousands of deaths and injuries, the aging leader set out one afternoon into the fields of his beloved homeland in pursuit of a bird that meant no harm to him and which showed him at last — unintentionally, in a twinkling, and in a way that forever changed his heart and, over time, the hearts of all our leaders — what it was actually like to shoot a man."

It's no wonder we're spellbound by Dick Cheney's hunting accident despite the fact that no one died and the responsible party apologized (though not, perhaps, as promptly as he might have). It may be a small story in an age of big ones — an odd minor scene in history's bloody pageant — but if you let it sink down inside your mind and resonate there for just a little while, you have to confess that it’s potent, mythic stuff.

But maybe you're too annoyed by the reporting. I know I've been. For a westerner who likes to hunt and knows about the pastime's risks (I almost shot a friend once while stalking mule deer), watching the Washington press corps cover a story that hinges on a chaotic Texas quail shoot is like watching Prince Charles attempt a native dance. Because they're so good at doing so many other things, the talking heads think they're good at this thing too, even though many of them don't know the difference between a twenty-eight gauge shotgun and an any-caliber rifle. The chief difference, of course (and the relevant one here) is that a shotgun of this modest size barely constitutes a serious weapon when loaded with birdshot of the type that Cheney used. Its hard enough for such pellets to pierce a quail's heart, let alone penetrate a man's, and the fact that one did so is a testament not to Cheney's gross negligence (that question still needs more exploring)but to his supreme unluckiness.

What's made this awkward reporting not merely annoying but socially and politically divisive is that it insults the intelligence of some people who already feel insulted in other ways by the very same class of urban journalists. Outside of DC, LA and NYC, the only time folks get to meet a correspondent from a major television network or a writer from a leading newspaper is when a storm has just destroyed their neighborhood. And when the big shots do vist the outland, they always dress wrong, covered in either condescending denim or some haughty blend of wool and silk. Then they call the tornado that struck the place a "cyclone," even though the place is Minnesota and Minnesotans don't use that word.

For me and for lots of westerners I've spoken to, the greatest failure of the accident coverage has been its inability to convey, let alone fathom in the first place, just what goes on when people are chasing birds out in the middle of nowhere, in the brush, with dogs and other hunters on every side and adrenaline pumping through everybody's veins. It's a jittery, fluid situation. The coveys erupt without warning and they don't fly straight, meaning hunters don't only have to be prepared to raise their barrels at any instant, they need an awareness of the potential arcs through which they can safely swing them before they fire. Or hold their fire, as the case may be.

In the field, there are hundreds of cases that may be — and a wide range of penalties for misjudging one, from the social embarrassment of missing a bird (quail hunting has an aristocratic tone that fosters a lot of ribbing about poor marksmanship) to the mortal anguish of hitting a human being. The sport is dangerous, which heightens its thrill, but it's a civilized level of danger that's usually manageable through good equipment, experienced companions, and traditional codes of conduct. The emotions behind these codes are old and fixed: pride and shame. Like a mountain climbing expedition, a hunting trip is an excuse-free zone. Once a person picks up his gun, he is that gun. And whatever that gun causes.

It's like war, I've suggested, but it's also unlike war, mostly because the quarry poses no threat. In a time of actual war — and when one of the hunters helps to run that war — the playfulness of the sport may seem distasteful. To shoot at feathered things while obliging other folks to shoot at much larger creatures that shoot back doesn't seem right somehow, or wise. At some poetic level it tempts the gods, and the gods are always armed. For Cheney, that's the painful, humbling part. For the public, it's the engrossing, mythic part. The press may be mauling the story and prolonging it, but the accident's strange allegorical allure is beyond its power to affect.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; US: District of Columbia; US: Texas; US: Wyoming
KEYWORDS: cheney; harrywhittington; quailhunting
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1 posted on 02/18/2006 9:16:18 AM PST by indcons
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To: indcons

Is this part BS shoveling contest?


2 posted on 02/18/2006 9:20:20 AM PST by claudiustg (Delenda est Iran!)
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To: indcons
watching the Washington press corps cover a story that hinges on a chaotic Texas quail shoot is like watching Prince Charles attempt a native dance.

Perfect!

3 posted on 02/18/2006 9:21:59 AM PST by ElkGroveDan (California bashers will be called out)
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To: claudiustg

This is manufactured crap designed to cover for the media's poor behavior. Only partisan Democrats have enjoyed the shots taken at Cheney. (No pun intended)


4 posted on 02/18/2006 9:22:49 AM PST by Luke21
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To: indcons
(quail hunting has an aristocratic tone that fosters a lot of ribbing about poor marksmanship) to the mortal anguish of hitting a human being. The sport is dangerous, which heightens its thrill, but it's a civilized level of danger that's usually manageable through good equipment, experienced companions, and traditional codes of conduct. The emotions behind these codes are old and fixed: pride and shame. Like a mountain climbing expedition, a hunting trip is an excuse-free zone. Once a person picks up his gun, he is that gun. And whatever that gun causes.

WTF? Has this guy ever actually BEEN quail hunting? My favorite quail hunting memory is of walking through a field in Kentucky on an unusually warm winter day with an old Model 48 Remington 12 guage, and two good old boys with beers following me watching just for fun. This guy makes it sound like quail hunters are sitting on the porch of the manor, shooting from silver inlaid rests.

5 posted on 02/18/2006 9:23:15 AM PST by Hardastarboard (HEY - Billy Joe! You ARE an American Idiot!)
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To: indcons

The VP story is really about a lazy press. The Washington Press core is upset because they story was not handed to them on a silver platter.

The truth is that our media is at its most lazy today.

Look at the facts.......

Shuttle Challenger Explosion. Warnings were given, but due to the 'routine' nature of launches, the media was not ready to cover the story.

Bush National Guard. Lazy fact checking led an entire news organization to go with an unsubstantiated story.

Howard Stern. You might be puzzled, but he plays crank calls made during newsworthy events where callers will fake a position within gov't and get on the air at CNN spewing falsehoods and then working Stern's name into the conversation. This is another example of poor fact-checking due to "air-it-now" mentality.

....and many more examples are available......


6 posted on 02/18/2006 9:23:17 AM PST by Erik Latranyi (Progressives do not want progress....they want power.)
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To: claudiustg
Actually, I think it's a reporter who has actually hunted who knows that the press is WAY overboard on this and is trying subtly to let them know. The problem is, the press doesn't take hints.

Hell, they don't get it when someone smacks them in the face with a frying pan.

7 posted on 02/18/2006 9:23:34 AM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of news)
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To: ElkGroveDan

Witchee-tai-to, to ya, Dan :)


8 posted on 02/18/2006 9:24:21 AM PST by LS (CNN is the Amtrak of news)
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To: indcons

The press is still at it http://www.yahoo.com/s/241355


9 posted on 02/18/2006 9:25:03 AM PST by satchmodog9 (Most people stand on the tracks and never even hear the train coming)
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To: indcons
Though not, as promptly as he might have

THAT's where I stopped. APOLOGIZE TO WHO?????? I would bet everything my family owns, that the first words The VP said to his friend was "I'M SORRY!" Who else did he need to apologize to???

10 posted on 02/18/2006 9:25:09 AM PST by digger48
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To: indcons

Shovel some lye on that stink... phew!


11 posted on 02/18/2006 9:26:13 AM PST by johnny7 (“Iuventus stultorum magister”)
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To: satchmodog9

aw geez....


12 posted on 02/18/2006 9:27:04 AM PST by digger48
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To: All

I was amused to read USA Today's editorial on the incident; the edtors were "shocked" that VP Cheney did not inform THEM sooner. Then there was the hack on Hardboiled (MSNBC) who claimed that it was the "role" of the Washington press corps to be the messenger between the WH and the public.


13 posted on 02/18/2006 9:28:43 AM PST by indcons
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To: indcons
the responsible party apologized (though not, perhaps, as promptly as he might have)

What a ridiculous statement.
I'll wager that Cheney apologized more than once to Mr. Whittington.

He owes no one else anything.

What an arrogant, presumptive, %&#%#%&!$÷¿??ç?µ˜??å߃©???! !!!!

14 posted on 02/18/2006 9:29:30 AM PST by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: indcons

You forgot the barf alert!

Cheney owed ONE PERSON, ONE PERSON ONLY an apology, the poor man he shot. Does anyone, ANYONE, for ONE MINUTE think he did not PROFUSELY apologize IMMEDIATELY?

In the immortal words of Al Goldstein, pornographer, and many others: Time Magazine, you s*ck!


15 posted on 02/18/2006 9:31:02 AM PST by jocon307 (The Silent Majority - silent no longer)
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To: indcons

I liked it, and it was well-written. Some folks here might not agree with the "myth" part, but it's a nice hook for the piece.


16 posted on 02/18/2006 9:32:09 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: indcons
-- the talking heads think they're good at this thing too, even though many of them don't know the difference between a twenty-eight gauge shotgun and an any-caliber rifle.--

--I like that sentence but not the following one in the article--

17 posted on 02/18/2006 9:34:08 AM PST by rellimpank (Don't believe anything about firearms or explosives stated by the mass media---NRABenefactor)
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To: indcons
Watching a Bass Fishing show today, they actually showed a similar 28 gauge gun, what the shells look like inside and out and then fired the gun at a paper target 30 yards away. No bull just the facts. It was the best report on the whole incident.
18 posted on 02/18/2006 9:36:16 AM PST by BallyBill (Serial Hit-N-Run poster)
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To: Erik Latranyi
Bush National Guard. Lazy fact checking led an entire news organization to go with an unsubstantiated story.

It was intentionally poor fact checking, driven by partisan hatred of George Bush, which made them want to believe the story was true. So they deliberately looked the other way when the huge gaping holes in their story appeared, arrogantly assuming they could paper them over and get away with it.

That's very different that mere "lazy fact checking."

19 posted on 02/18/2006 9:37:57 AM PST by CFC__VRWC ("Anytime a liberal squeals in outrage, an angel gets its wings!" - gidget7)
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To: indcons

????? The pic shows hits on the right side of his face and his heart is on his left side. How is it possible to get hit on both sides?


20 posted on 02/18/2006 9:38:23 AM PST by ex-snook (God of the Universe, God of Creation, God of Love, thank you for life.)
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To: jocon307

To put things in perspective, this is the one of the few articles in the MSM that take the media to task.

Harry Whittington said it best in his gracious news conference esterday. In the words of Shakespeare, much ado about nothing.


21 posted on 02/18/2006 9:38:48 AM PST by indcons
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To: indcons
QUESTION: If we used this article to line our birdcage, would my parrot get sick?
22 posted on 02/18/2006 9:40:56 AM PST by bybybill (If the Rats win, we are doomed)
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To: ex-snook

His heart wasn't directly hit in the shooting. One of the pellets got into a blood vessel and was carried to his heart that way.


23 posted on 02/18/2006 9:41:13 AM PST by CFC__VRWC ("Anytime a liberal squeals in outrage, an angel gets its wings!" - gidget7)
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To: Erik Latranyi
It's all about a frightening accident.

Thankfully no lives were lost.

It's not a political event to be exploited.

Real Americans know that!

24 posted on 02/18/2006 9:41:30 AM PST by OldFriend (The Dems enABLEd DANGER and 3,000 Americans died.)
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To: claudiustg
Is this part BS shoveling contest?

The epitome of navel gazing...

25 posted on 02/18/2006 9:41:44 AM PST by Snardius (And you KNOW what I'm talking about...)
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To: CFC__VRWC

thanks


26 posted on 02/18/2006 9:43:20 AM PST by ex-snook (God of the Universe, God of Creation, God of Love, thank you for life.)
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To: Lazamataz
What do you think the over/under is on the number of folks who have read this piece in its entirety? Anyone? Please frame your answer in the form, x of y.
27 posted on 02/18/2006 9:45:21 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: indcons

Yeah - but did he get the bird ?


28 posted on 02/18/2006 9:48:23 AM PST by spanalot
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To: indcons
About the total disconnect between the media and ordinary people who do actually hunt I concur wholeheartedly. The talking heads are patronizing, arrogant, and astonishingly ignorant about the most elementary facts of ordinary life out here in the sticks. That's why we have local reporters, but God help any one of them who would presume to correct the Anchor Gods or the "experts" about the fact that a 28-gauge is a very little shotgun - they'll never work in the Big Town.

I'm afraid the author went a bit over the top in relating the cosmic irony of persons who send men and women into battle hunting unarmed birds - this is, after all, the sort of thing that he's just complained about with respect to the city boys. Quail hunting is not really comparable to warfare and anyone who's ever done both knows it.

There is, in addition, one thing that as a media figure himself he hasn't seemed to grasp yet:

It's no wonder we're spellbound by Dick Cheney's hunting accident...

We aren't.

29 posted on 02/18/2006 9:50:44 AM PST by Billthedrill
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To: 1rudeboy

Well, I just went back and read the entire piece, my opinion of it remains unchanged. He makes some good points about media condescension and completely undermines them by his own arrogance. Typical for Time Magazine. If it was ever good it was long before my time, I'm 48 and have had the misfortune to have been reading this rag since I was 10 years old.


30 posted on 02/18/2006 9:51:25 AM PST by jocon307 (The Silent Majority - silent no longer)
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To: Billthedrill

Excellent points......I concur.


31 posted on 02/18/2006 9:51:46 AM PST by indcons
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To: CFC__VRWC

Raymond

32 posted on 02/18/2006 9:52:18 AM PST by Captain Ray
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To: indcons
The good old days when a vice president shot a hated political enemy.
Vice President Burr firing at A. Hamilton.


33 posted on 02/18/2006 9:53:44 AM PST by Capt. Tom (Don't confuse the Bushies with the dumb Republicans - Capt. Tom)
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To: OldFriend
At first I thought that the White House was misplaying their media strategy. Particularly when I heard that Mary Matalin was involved. Now I think that they were ahead of it all every step of the way and that plinking David Gregory was worth every minute of coverage.

The old Fokkers don't even know that they are being prodded for our agenda, IMHO.

34 posted on 02/18/2006 9:54:28 AM PST by Thebaddog (Dog can like cats who are cool)
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To: jocon307

I didn't think your initial comment was off-base, but some of the others on this thread look a whole like knee-jerk reactions.


35 posted on 02/18/2006 9:55:23 AM PST by 1rudeboy
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To: ex-snook

Actually, your heart is in the center of your chest, leaning a bit to the left.


36 posted on 02/18/2006 9:56:00 AM PST by MineralMan (godless atheist)
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To: 1rudeboy

5 of 10 would be my guess.


37 posted on 02/18/2006 9:58:43 AM PST by indcons
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To: satchmodog9

This story is really sputtering if that's the best they can come up with at this point.
It's obvious they will just keep recycling Thursday's stories to make this a Sunday talk show. topic.


38 posted on 02/18/2006 10:03:23 AM PST by JerseyDvl ("Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"-Samuel Johnson to the Dems of today.)
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To: 1rudeboy

I can only speak with surety about myself: 0 of 1.


39 posted on 02/18/2006 10:04:12 AM PST by Lazamataz (Islam is a fatal disease that must be eradicated from the body Earth.)
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To: indcons
What's made this awkward reporting not merely annoying but socially and politically divisive is that it insults the intelligence of some people who already feel insulted in other ways by the very same class of urban journalists.

How ironic. It is pieces like this, that attempt to cleverly juxtapose a hunting accident and leading a war, that are both awkward and intelligence insulting.

40 posted on 02/18/2006 10:08:17 AM PST by Starboard (Liberal superiorists hate the system that allows average people to make more money than they do.)
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To: indcons
In a time of actual war — and when one of the hunters helps to run that war — the playfulness of the sport may seem distasteful.

This has got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Where's the barf alert? This article is a disgusting piece of cr*p from another scum sucking, whiney, loser leftie. But what did I expect from Time? My fault for reading it. End of rant, now.

41 posted on 02/18/2006 10:10:20 AM PST by hsalaw
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To: indcons
No, they didn't screw up. They covered for Al-Gora's sedition in SA and Sen Schumer's political rub-out of Paul Hackett very nicely.
42 posted on 02/18/2006 10:14:13 AM PST by .cnI redruM (Spreading liberal beliefs is as wrong as spreading AIDS.)
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To: indcons
despite the fact that no one died and the responsible party apologized (though not, perhaps, as promptly as he might have).

I didn't get past this crap. I'm sure Cheney apologized to his firend immediately, profusely and sincerely. It just wasn't in front of David Gregory and his ilk.

43 posted on 02/18/2006 10:20:28 AM PST by TX Bluebonnet
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To: indcons
More Junk for the Junk Journalists. The self righteous pompous arrogance of the never ever done anything in life but be a self important twit with a Journalism degree tone just LEAPS off the page at you.

What IS it about "Journalists", people who have NEVER done anything meaningful in their lives, that gives them this pompous arrogance to lecture everyone else about their lives? Say Time, when you have done 1/1000th of the good Dick Cheney has done with his life, then you MAYBE can presume to lecture him.

44 posted on 02/18/2006 10:21:42 AM PST by MNJohnnie ("Close the UN, Keep Gitmo!")
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To: indcons

"Once a person picks up his gun, he is that gun. And whatever that gun causes."

Is he implying that people kill people, not guns? The horror.


45 posted on 02/18/2006 10:24:46 AM PST by synbad600
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To: Erik Latranyi

Please add Flush the Koran Newsweak to your "lazy journalist" line up. People need to be continually reminded that NO one was every held accountable or that by our Junk Journalists. That bit of journalistic malpractice has, and will continue, to get Americans killed. Newsweak could NOT of come up with a more damaging propaganda lie to damage US National Interests if they had been working for Al Qeda intentionally. Yet the Junk Journalists have neither apologies nor made restitution for this will lie. Same Same Boston Globe and their front page story about GIs "raping" Iraqi women sourced from a PORN website!


46 posted on 02/18/2006 10:27:09 AM PST by MNJohnnie ("Close the UN, Keep Gitmo!")
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To: digger48
Your right, Cheney owed no apology to anyone but his friend.
47 posted on 02/18/2006 10:28:56 AM PST by pepperhead (Kennedy's float, Mary Jo's don't!)
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To: indcons
The Press Corp is a private business interest selling a product. That is ALL they are. They have ZERO legal or moral standing in our political system. Every time they scream the lie: "We are the people's watch dog" they need to be smacked hard.

Where was "the people's watch dog" on any of dozens of out right false reporting by the Junk Journalists from Flush the Koran to Rathergate?

48 posted on 02/18/2006 10:31:20 AM PST by MNJohnnie ("Close the UN, Keep Gitmo!")
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To: ex-snook

He could have turned his head.


49 posted on 02/18/2006 10:32:45 AM PST by pepperhead (Kennedy's float, Mary Jo's don't!)
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To: Billthedrill
a 28-gauge is a very little shotgun

I'm not a hunter but, in thinking about your comment, it stands to reason that you would not want to use a heavy guage shotgun (e.g., 12-guage) to hunt small birds like quail so as not to 'atomize' them.

50 posted on 02/18/2006 10:34:39 AM PST by Starboard (Liberal superiorists hate the system that allows average people to make more money than they do.)
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