Thanks But No Thanks For The Scoop, Mr. Vice President
Sure, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times got the first phone call about Dick Cheney shooting up Harry Whittington.
It's not every day that a small paper in South Texas is first with what's become the lead story for the last three days.
Still, the Caller-Times is calling Cheney and Co. on not coming clean sooner. See, they first got the call from the Armstrong Ranch 18 hours after Whittington was sprayed with buckshot.
On future visits to South Texas, Cheney can count on the same kind of cordial reception he's received before. But he might want to bear in mind that the Caller-Times takes phone calls on Saturday evenings as well as Sunday mornings.
Despite going hunting in Republican-friendly territory, Cheney was not warmly received by letter writers to the Caller-Times who are apparently not in the habit of mincing words. Said one Albert Pena III:
I staunchly oppose gun control but recognize that certain people should not be allowed to own, carry or use guns. Prohibition of this right is reasonable when it concerns felons, the mentally challenged, and Vice President Dick Cheney.
At the same time, though, Cheney does have his defenders. Or, at least, the media has its detractors. The paper asked in an online poll whether the White House should have disclosed the incident on Saturday night instead of waiting. Some 56 percent, as of this writing, voted yes. A majority, true, but hardly a mandate. And those who say nay are blaming someone else for the hubbub besides the shooter.
Among the anonymous comments from those who voted:
"Who cares? This has happened to practically everyone who has spent any time hunting quail in S. Texas," which is kind of scary when you think about it.
Wrote another: "Reminds me of when Gerald Ford hit a guy on the head with a golf ball. The press is politicizing this issue." Of course, news of that traveled in less time than 18 hours, but what are facts to a fulminating Republican?
And here's one that may have come from the White House Press Office:
"The national media is just upset that some little nothing reporter from a nothing paper broke the news."
Take that, David Gregory!