All this said, let us reserve the award for the greatest chutzpah of Birdshot Week to Bill and Hillary Clinton and their ravenous pack of hypocritical wolves, such as James Carville and Paul Begala, all of whom pounded Cheney for his secrecy. While Carville and Begala wailed like vampires for blood-alcohol tests for Cheney and his victim, Hillary Clinton sneered that "The refusal of this administration to level with the American people, on matters large and small, is very disturbing." Bill Clinton agreed with the wife that the Bush people have an "enormous penchant for secrecy -- for not telling anybody anything about anything."
If we learned anything in the Clinton years, it's that they are world-class stonewallers and the phrase "enormous penchant for secrecy," when applied to them, is an understatement. Don't expect the press to agree with this, however. They spent eight years enabling their secrecy.
Texas lawyer Harry Whittington getting peppered by Cheney was a cover story in both magazines. White House lawyer Vince Foster shooting himself dead in 1993 was not. Whittington's shooting was a fiesta for reporters claiming it was their job to ask the hardball questions. Foster's shooting was an occasion for sadness and sympathy among friends, not for yelling at the White House spokesman.
Time and Newsweek both featured teen gun violence on their covers of August 2, 1993. Foster died on a Tuesday afternoon, giving the magazines plenty of time for reporting. Newsweek promoted the story in a corner of its cover, and had four pages inside headlined "The Mystery of a White House Suicide." It told a soft story that concluded with the picture of Foster's childhood friends Clinton and chief of staff Mack McLarty as "once innocent boys playing mumbletypeg." The only darkness in the piece came from jabs leveled at the editorials of the "acerbically conservative" Wall Street Journal.
Time didn't even use a corner of its cover for Foster, picking instead the whopping story "Are Whales Fair Game?" Time had one page -- just one -- by Clinton-boosting reporter Margaret Carlson, titled "Where Hope Ends," with a childhood picture of Foster and Clinton. Again, the only negative mention was the Wall Street Journal editorials.
Over the next year, we learned that in private the White House had feverishly spent the hours after Foster's death scouring for stonewalled Whitewater documents in his office, hiding them from investigators -- an "enormous penchant for secrecy." But that was another time, when that administration kept all manner of things from the public, and Time and Newsweek found no darkness, only light.