Thursday, July 15, 2004

Transparent: The New York Times is oddly willing to flirt with tabloid journalism on this Cheney story, although note that the headline, "Hear the Rumor on Cheney? Capital Buzzes, Denials Aside," makes the trojan horse explicit. It's the old "we're only reporting this because everyone is talking about it" dodge.
In the annals of Washington conspiracy theories, the latest one, about Vice President Dick Cheney's future on the Republican ticket, is as ingenious as it is far-fetched. But that has not stopped it from racing through Republican and Democratic circles like the latest low-carb diet.
So the core of this piece has been flat-out denied, and even the writer, Lizzie Bumiller, calls it far-fetched. So why did it go into the paper? Scratch that. Why did it go to Page F*cking One?
The newest theory - advanced privately by prominent Democrats, including members of Congress - holds that Mr. Cheney recently dismissed his personal doctor so that he could see a new one, who will conveniently tell him in August that his heart problems make him unfit to run with Mr. Bush.
Note the sourcing -- Democrats. Remember when GOP sources were speculating early last week that Hillary would be Kerry's running mate? Nobody but Drudge would touch it. Now some Democrats are bullshitting at the water cooler, and it's Page One of the Times? Help me out here.

This is the kind of story the New York POst runs. Don't get me wrong. I love the Post. But the Times claims the mantle of "paper of record," sets the news agenda for America every day. They wanted this to be front page news, even if it isn't, really. Again, why? Let's be grown up and stipulate the obvious -- that the Times and Bumiller are in the tank for Kerry. A couple of possibilities:

1. It make it look as though the Bush campaign is foundering, and Cheney is the first piece of deadweight jetsam.

2. Similarly, it makes it appear that Bush has already lost confidence in Cheney and is scrambling for excuses to dump him.

3. By way of timing, it leaves the impression that John Edwards is the reason for the scramble, that Kerry made such a strong pick as to worry the Bush campaign team.

Just some thoughts.

More: Wow. This came out shockingly similar to Stephen Green's post on the same topic. His is wittier, though:

Shoot, I'd like nothing better than to see Cheney drop out, for whatever reason, and be replaced by Condi Rice at the bottom of the ticket. OK, maybe there's a few things I'd like better, but they all involve a myself, a Hi-Def camcorder, and several leggy movie starlets of the redhead and brunette variety -- but that's nothing I can really talk about on a family blog.

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