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Olympic Sneering: Brit Hume interviews Dick Cheney

Reported by Chrish - February 15, 2006

As promoted all day long, Brit Hume conducted an exclusive interview with VP Cheney today 2/15/06 on Special Report. As anticpated, the interview was carefully controlled and edited, and painted Cheney in a sympathetic and caring light. The event was scripted right down to the ties the men wore; Cheney in a pale pink and Hume in light blue. We still got the red-white-blue color scheme but toned down for the solemnity of the situation.

Here are some highlights of the interview, with VP for Cheney and BH for Hume:

BH "It was his (Cheney's) call to wait to release details of the accident to the press and he would do it again the same way. Hospital officials meanwhile say the man the vice-president shot is doing well after his minor heart attack, and he wonders what all the hoopla is all about. " (emphasis added in disbelief.)

VP said Whittington was "a great man, in great shape, a good friend" but then said , although he has known Whittington about thirty years, that he was an acquaintance rather than a close friend. It was the first time they had gone hunting together.

Invited by Hume to describe what happened, Cheney replied (virtually verbatim) We were hunting quail, late in the day, in south Texas, wide open spaces, lotta brush cover, fairly shallow, but it's some of the best quail hunting, wild quail, I've been going to the Armstrong ranch for years, the Armstrongs have been friends for over 30 years,. A group of us had hunted all day Saturday, about ten people, we weren't all together but about ten guests at the ranch. There were three of us who had gotten out of the vehicle, walked up on a covey of quail that had been pointed by the dogs. The covey flushed, we shot, and each of us got a bird. Harry couldn't find his, it had gone down in some deep cover, so he went off to look for it his. The other hunter and I then turned and walked about a hundred yards in another direction, away from him, where another covey had been spotted by an outrider. I was on the far right, just two of us at that point, the guide or outrider between us, of course this entourage behind us, cars and so forth that follow me around when I'm out there, partly. But a bird flushed and went to my right, off to the west, and I turned and shot at the bird and at that second saw Harry standing there, didn't know he was there. (BH - you pulled the trigger and then you saw him?) I saw him fall, basically. It happened so fast. He was dressed in orange, he was dressed properly, but he was also, there was a little bit of a gully there, so he was down a little ways below land level. All I could see was the upper part of his body - I didn't see it until after the time I shot, after I fired, and the sun was directly behind him and that affected the vision too I'm sure.
The image of him falling is something I'll never be able to get out of my mind. I fired, and there's Harry falling. I'd have to say it's one of the worst days of my life.

We went over to him, obviously, right away - I'm guessing about thirty yards, which was a good thing; if he had been closer the damage from the shot would have been greater. (BH - Now is it clear, he caught part of the shot?) VP - He caught part of the shot. He was struck in the right side of his face, in his neck and upper torso on the right side of his body (gestures up and down right side of his own body).

From Foxnews.com, 'the most trusted name in news':
whittington_wounds.jpg

BH - I take it you missed the bird.

VP - I have no idea. You focus on the bird, but as soon as I fired and saw Harry there everything else went out of my mind. I don't know if the bird went down or didn't. I ran over to him and he was lying there on his back, obviously, bleeding, you could see where the shot had struck him (motions again to his own right side) . One of the fortunate things is that I've always got a medical team covering me wherever I go. I had a physician's assistant with me that day and within a minute or two he was on the scene administering first aid. He (Whittington) was conscious and I said Harry, I had no idea you were there. He didn't respond. He was conscious, breathing, but I'm sure stunned, obviously, trying to figure out what had happened to him. The doc was fantastic. I had no idea how serious the injury was going to be.

Oh joy...the transcript is finally up at FOXNews.com. You can finish reading it there and come on back here to discuss.

Later in the program, after hashing it all out with the panel, Hume told this anecdote:
When asked by a network employee outside the White House "How did you get this interview? You and Fox News are associated with conservative causes, is that why you got the interview?" Brit says he replied "...he probably wanted to go with the net..., news channel with the largest audience.' I have a feeling that that soundbite may never see the light of day." Well, here you go, Brit.

Comment: These network news ratings show that the lowest of the three major networks still beat Special Report by a 14:1 ratio so that proves his premise wrong. If Cheney wanted to reach the largest audience he would have to face someone who might not be so, well, friendly.

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