Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, February 16, 2006

The Hume Fume

"Critics slam Cheney's interview choice!" shouts the SF Examiner, echoing a bit more robustly the LATimes headline on the same story, "Choice of messenger an issue in its own right." Here's the Hume Fume:
However, some Democrats and competing broadcasters charged that Cheney chose to speak only with Fox News because of a perception that the cable channel is sympathetic to the Republican administration. They called for the vice president to hold a news conference with the rest of the media.
How do you type bratty, whiney sounds? WAAAAAH! doesn't do it justice.

Cheney has no obligation whatsoever to hold a press conference and subject himself to the infantile one-upsmanship of the White House Press Corps. He got very good counsel from Mary Maitlin to avoid that nightmare.

If not a press conference, then what? Certainly not CNN. It has done a much better job of proving an anti-administration bias than Fox has done of earning a pro-administration one. And certainly not the loser also-rans, like MSNBC:

That leaves the Big Three and Fox.

Besides their obvious bias problems, none of the Big Three have a format suitable for the VEEP. Their editing for soundbites format minimizes news value and denies opportunity for full explanations. It is, fundamentally, worthless TV, which is exactly why Fox is so successful.

In turning to Brit Hume, Cheney got a format that worked and a reporter he trusted to be fair. Not biased, but fair. Howard Kurtz proves that with a couple wrap-up quotes to his column today:
Joe Lockhart, who worked for Walter Mondale's 1984 presidential campaign, said that Hume "was a real favorite of Mondale's. You can't spend a lot of time with Brit and not know he's a conservative guy, but it was our belief that never showed up in his journalism. Now he's got a more edgy and opinionated program."

Emily Rooney, a talk show host for Boston's WGBH-TV who worked with Hume at ABC News, praised Hume's intuitive grasp of politics.

Hume has "never hidden" his conservative leanings, she said, and Cheney "chose Brit Hume for a reason -- because he's always given a fair hearing to the Republican Party, which not every journalist did along the way."
So, it was a smart call -- and all the smarter because it left the anti-Bush MSM looking infantile and agenda-driven, which makes for a good day's work, all in all.

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