Stop hounding the VP on accident

If an average person had accidentally shot his hunting partner, the person’s companions would scold him, he would pay his partner’s medical bill, and the issue would probably be over.
But if Vice President Cheney accidentally shoots his hunting partner, the accident somehow embodies the alleged faults of the Bush administration.
Reporters piled questions on White House spokesman Scott McClellan, from inquiries on the speed of information release to whether the vice president would resign. The reporters turned the accident into a political debate. They could not have been more insensitive.

Yes, the information did not reach the national media until a day after the accident. But is one day automatically too long? If the vice president received news of a possible terrorist attack, he would have to do everything he could to get the news to the president as quickly as possible. But the speed at which the vice president’s personal events are conveyed to the president and the media does not reflect the government’s response time to critical situations.
The public will desire to know what happened, because Cheney is the vice president. But whether the news comes in 12 hours or 24 is not that important: the vice president’s personal matters are not matters of national security.
President Franklin Roosevelt hid his polio from the country, and the media helped him hide it. No one I know of complained about that. The vice president could argue that he was not obligated to report his accident to the news; to report it would cause the commotion that is going on right now.
The vice president’s accident is not a second Watergate; he did not commit a crime, nor has he hidden any information from the media. What more can be asked from him? The vice president, who is not an evil robot, probably felt extremely guilty and upset over the accident. How would you feel if you accidentally shot your friend?
The vice president made a horrible mistake, but his mistake does not warrant a political commentary. The issue is not the government’s or Vice President Cheney’s communication skills, but the condition of the hunting partner, Mr. Whittington (and I’m glad he is all right).
We can laugh about whom the vice president will take hunting next, but the vice president could only have been hurt when the accident was blown out of proportion.
Jake Mokris is a homeschooled student and member of the Teen Takeover staff.

About Scott Fisher

I'm opinion page editor and blogging coordinator for the York Daily Record/Sunday News and Phone: 717-771-2049. Email: Twitter: YDReditpage.
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5 Responses to Stop hounding the VP on accident

  1. Former Yorker says:

    Jake, I’ve read you’re past two articles as a I catch up on what’s happening back in York, and I have to comment that you’re presenting a pretty misguided point of view. Last week you presented a pretentious article on the flaws of public schooling, relying on uninformed, unresearched observations and judgements. This week you are offering a knee-jerk reaction to a national headline that deserves attention — this is not an inflated story, and the vice president’s choice to keep the story from the white house press is very important — if this relatively small issue can be hidden for a day, what other information might have been delayed over the past 6 years? Use this newspaper opportunity as a chance to grow and enlighten your perspective on the world rather than strengthen your opinionated demeanor from the window of your home school.

  2. Matt Dunphy says:

    Jake, if you’re looking to work with newspapers, you should probably familiarize yourself with Editor and Publisher Magazine.
    They have a nice article or two on this very topic, to give you some perspective on the relationship between the media, the American public, and the White House.

  3. Kathy says:

    Relevent questions:
    Did the vice-president try to keep this issue secret? I don’t think so. If he had, we probably wouldn’t know about it yet.
    Did the people receive this info in a timely manner? Maybe, maybe not. We live in a society that is used to instant news. We could have found out sooner, but the info could have been kept quiet for a week or more.
    Could/should the vice-president or his office have made a statement Saturday evening? Yes, looking back, they would have saved themselves a lot of criticism. However, knowing about this story would have made no difference to the life of the average American.
    Does the vice-president’s failure to make an immediate statement mean that he is hiding something that is relevent to the average American? NO.
    Having shot someone, was the vice-president’s first concern to tell the public? No. His first concern was the victim. His second concern/reaction was probably to be personally upset about what he’d done. He probably went over and is still going over the event in his mind.
    I saw Monday’s White House Press Briefing and think the reporters were looking for/trying to create a scandal. I did’t see them show any concern for Mr. Whittington or the vice-president.

  4. KenBob says:

    Having polio is a personal health issue –shooting someone in the face, neck and chest is not. If the average person had shot another man in a hunting incident, he would have been subject to a blood alcohol test to determine what extent drinking played in the shooting. Too bad Dick C–who admitted to drinking earlier in the day and who is the only VP to enter Office with two convictions on his rap sheet (both for drunk driving)– could not be tested to answer the question of negligence because of the delayed response. You’re right about one thing: this incident does not reflect the government’s response time to critical situations. That was painfully reflected by Hurricane Katrina.

  5. Stephen Douglas says:

    Mr. Mokris, I whole heartily agree with your assement’s, & not only was I outraged at the media I looked the V.P. up & E-mailed my support. The very 1st thing he should have done was to attend to his friend & get him to a hospital, then sit for what must have seemed hours & hours before getting the information & calling his family before they heard it on the Jay Leno show.His being honest in saying he had a beer for lunch was admirable,however he only gave the media more gasoline to throw on the fire, which is exactly what they did, to sell paper’s & make a joke of it all. I really can’t beleive that yesterday I received a letter from Mr. Cheney thanking me for my support. I do feel quite honored & I really do not understand why the media is so against this administration, since 9/11, when I think Mr. Bush has done everything right in my opinion, & 50% of the population is complaining. The Military are volunteer’s in fighting this war against Terrorists & Teirny, & no one has been back boming us since. God Bless Mr. Bush & Mr. Cheney & GOD BLESS AMERICA.P.S. It is almost amusing that only 50% of voters turn out to vote?

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