Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Aaron Burr, Dick Cheney and Media Arrogance

On the morning of July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met on the dueling grounds at Weehawken, New Jersey. Each fired a shot from a .56 caliber dueling pistol. Burr was unscathed; Hamilton fell to the ground mortally wounded. He died the next day.
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"By a gentleman from Philadelphia we learn, that last week a duel took place at New York, between Colonel Aaron Burr, Vice President of the U. States, and General Alexander Hamilton, in which the latter was mortally wounded, and expired in a short time after he was taken from the field. The cause of the duel, or who was the challenger, we did not learn."
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This story ran on page 3 of the July 18, 1804 [Seven days later] edition of the Gettysburg Centinel. Of course communication was slower, there was no blogoshere, newswire, fax machines, email, Blackberry's. However, when men were men and the main stream media was still a bunch of arrogant slobs who wanted the story, forget the facts as though knowledge is their right.
Several days have passed since Vice President Cheney accidentally shot his friend Harry Whittington on a private South Texas ranch. Mr. Cheney has taken full responsibility in a televised interview and decided his friend's health was more important then the ego of NBC's David Gregory who had the following exchange with White House Press Secretary, Scott McClellan.
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"Why was the White House relying on a Texas rancher to get the word of Cheney's hunting accident out over the weekend," asked Gregory, accusing McClellan of "ducking and weaving.'' "David, hold on the cameras aren't on right now,'' McClellan replied. "You can do this later.'' "Don't accuse me of trying to pose to the cameras,'' the newsman said, his voice rising somewhat. "Don't be a jerk to me personally when I'm asking you a serious question.''
"You don't have to yell,'' McClellan said. "I will yell,'' said Gregory, pointing a finger at McCellan at his dais. "If you want to use that podium to try to take shots at me personally, which I don't appreciate, then I will raise my voice, because that's wrong." "Calm down, Dave, calm down,'' said McClellan, remaining calm throughout the exchange. "I'll calm down when I feel like calming down,'' Gregory said. "You answer the question." "I have answered the question,'' said McClellan, who had maintained that the vice president's office was in charge of getting the information out and worked with the ranch owner to do that. "I'm sorry you're getting all riled up about.'' "I am riled up,'' Gregory said, "because you're not answering the question.''
xxx McClellan insisted he understood that reporters deserve an answer. "I think you have legitimate questions to ask,'' the press secretary said. "The vice president's office was the one that took the lead to get this information out. I don't know what else to tell you... That's my answer.''
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At the end of this exchange dueling pistols may have been in order. With McClellan's calm demeanor Gregory would surely have the same outcome as Mr. Hamilton.
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Mort Kondracke of Roll Call, in his mumbling speech, managed to blame the Vice President for not admitting this accident was "his fault." Mr. Cheney stated, "Ultimately I'm the guy who pulled the trigger that fired the round that hit Harry. I'm the guy who pulled the trigger and shot my friend, and that's something I'll never forget."
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This was not good enough for the incoherent Kondracke, he wanted to hear the words, "MY FAULT." Taking full responsibility is not good enough for Kondracke who has trouble speaking while waving his hands uncontrollable. Kondracke went on to claim Cheney failed to follow hunting protocol. Kondracke, no hunter by his own admission, relied on several "Democrat hunters" for his comment. That should clear things up on proper protocol for hunters. No bias there!
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Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute said Cheney still hadn't adequately explained why it took so long for news of the shooting to reach the public. "The fact that he didn't have press people traveling with him is a pretty lame excuse," McBride said. As for Cheney's explanation that he was more immediately coWhittington'sWhittington's well being and notifying his family: "Dick Cheney wasn't tending to him personally. He wasn't down there tending to this guy, dressing his wounds." So having the press corps on a hunting trip would provide more safety? Showing great concern for someone you accidentally shot is trumped by the press corps need to know? "He's a leader who doesn't like reporters," [imagine that?] Burns said, adding, "I don't know that there's anything about this that reflects badly on his leadership abilities, but I think there's something about this that reflects badly on decision-making, and decision-making is part of leadership."
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In the Aug. 26, 2002, Judge Damon J. 6thth of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, "Democracies die behind closed doors. The only safeguard on this extraordinary government power isdeputizingc, deputizing the press as the guardians of their liberty. An informed public is the most potent of all restraints on government ... the First Amendment, through a free press, protects the people's right to know that their government acts fairly, lawfully, and accurately."
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However, the public had an entirely different view from the court and main stream media. In the First Amendment Center's State of the First Amendment 2002 survey conducted with the University of Connecticut's Center for Survey Research & Analysis, "The least popular First Amendment right is freedom of the press -- 42% of respondents said the press in America has too much freedom to do what it wants." Moreover, "Roughly half of those surveyed said the American press has been too aggressive in asking government officials for information about the war on terrorism."
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We're sure timely reporting of the Vice Presidents hunting mishap would receive a larger response against the arrogant press corp. The hunting story about warped ego's not the publics right to know.
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The New York Times doesn't see a problem printing classified information under the guise that it's the public right to know. Most sane people would rather stay safe then hand secret information to our enemy. The press doesn't see it that way. The story is important, to hell with safeguarding our homeland. Classified information is just that and anyone divulging said information should face charges of treason.
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Americans do not feel that they have deputized the press as guardians of their liberty. The press has an agenda, it dislikes the Bush administration and jeopardizing their goal of destroying a Presidency is not an option. Using the Cheney hunting incident to attack the "Secret Whitehouse" is their only purpose.
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Hard to believe, but settling differences with a duel had been the custom before the Revolution. In 1804, however, dueling was no longer legal in the state of New York, where both men were political leaders. Burr was indicted for murder, but the charges were later dropped.
Politicians today use debates and the press to settle their differences. Dueling and other violence have never been an intelligent way to solve a problem. In a duel, the loser lost more than just an argument; he lost his life.
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Unfortunately using the television camera and the liberal news media has been the method of choice for delivering viewpoints and unsubstantiated claims with over the top statements. Although dueling is illegal, slandering political opponents is considered suitable. In 1804 calling the President a "liar" or his spokesperson a "jerk" may have presented you more than dueling banjos.

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