The Spectacle Blog

Shot Heard Round the World

By on 2.13.06 | 12:30AM

"Some Cheney critics pointed out that this is not the first Cheney hunting controversy," the Washington Post notes in taking pot shots of its own at Dick Cheney in its report today on the accidental shooting of Harry Whittington this past weekend. So going duck hunting with Antonin Scalia is the equivalent of a near-tragic accident? Better yet, the Post ends it story by giving the last word to two anti-hunting activists. (Incidentally, just who were those "Cheney critics" the story refers to but makes no effort to identify in any shape or form?)

More interesting was ESPN.com, which on its home pages linked to an AP report via this headline: "Vice president accidentally shoots fellow hunter." In its view it was, in short, a sporting mishap.

If political hay is to me made, it might come thanks to such details as this one in the Post's report, based on an interview with the owner of the Texas property on which the shooting occurred: "According to Armstrong's account, she was watching from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter got out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail..."

Years ago I read a memoir by a translator once employed by the head of Poland's Communist Party. In it he described hunting outings his boss would take to a special state-run hunting preserve in the company of such Soviet-era big wig visitors as Leonid Brezhnev and Walter Ulbricht. To the translator's horror, all the hunting took place from the comfort of an official car, which saw the unsporting commie strong-men blasting away at specially provided game through an open backseat window.

At least in Texas they got out of the car. But is it hunting if you drive right up to your target? Or just a plutocratic exercise?

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