Then came the televised briefing on Monday afternoon. It's been a while since the cable networks aired one live, but it's not every day that the vice president caps his friend, so they made an exception. In retrospect, I bet they wish they hadn't.
These reporters looked like a "Saturday Night Live" skit with the goofy questions they asked. They started with huffing and puffing about their own territorial prerogatives, that the survival of America is hanging by a thread, and that thread is the press, which must be updated minute by minute.
Terence Hunt of the Associated Press insisted, "Isn't there a public disclosure requirement that should have kicked in immediately?" (Quick answer: There is no "requirement," period.) Gregory protested, "The vice president of the United States accidentally shoots a man and he feels that it's appropriate for a ranch owner who witnessed this to tell the local Corpus Christi newspaper, and not the White House press corps at large, or notify the public in a national way?" Several questioners fussed over how it was not "appropriate" for a "private citizen" to alert the media.
The outrage was palpable. How dare the Corpus Christi Caller-Times get the scoop before we did! We are the national news media, and we must not be overlooked on a major breaking story on quail hunting. The divas were denied, and they were cranky.
From there, it just got sillier and sillier, with questions like: "Is it proper for the vice president to offer his resignation, or has he offered his resignation?" And: "Scott, under Texas law, is this kind of accidental shooting a possible criminal offense?" By this time, you just wanted to buy McClellan a beer.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, former vice president Al Gore went to Saudi Arabia and denounced the U.S. government for committing "terrible abuses" against Arabs after 9/11, that Arabs had been "indiscriminately rounded up" and held in "unforgivable" conditions. Gore made no mention of the "terrible abuses" the Saudi tyrants commit, perhaps because it would be unseemly to insult his host on his home turf. So instead he used his host's home turf to insult his own country. No one asked about that at the White House. Most media outlets had no time or space for it. They were too busy covering the far more important Dick Cheney Quail Shooting Scandal.