Thomas Sowell

The first revolt of the American colonists against their British rulers was immortalized by Ralph Waldo Emerson as "the shot heard round the world." Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident has now become the shot heard round the Beltway.

 The accidental shooting of Harry Whittington, while he was on a hunting trip with Dick Cheney, has nothing to do with government policy or the Vice President's official duties but the mainstream media have gone ballistic over it nevertheless.

 They are also angry that the news was not given to them more quickly, which prevented it from becoming the feeding frenzy of the Sunday television talk shows. Whether this delay was deliberate or otherwise, it is being called a "cover-up" in the media, as if there were some crime to cover up.

 NBC White House correspondent David Gregory was shouting at White House press secretary Scott McClellan, as if Mr. Gregory's Constitutional rights were being violated. It was a classic example of a special interest demanding special privileges -- as if they were rights.

 There is nothing in the Constitution or the laws that says that the media have a right to be in the White House at all, much less to have press conferences.

 This has become a customary courtesy over the years, but courtesy is a two-way street, except for those in the media who act like spoiled brats, as if they have some inherent right to whatever serves their institutional, career, or ideological purposes.

 The media love to wrap themselves in the mantle of "the public's right to know" but there is no such dedication to that right when it goes against the journalists' own prejudices.

 The public's right to know what a "partial birth abortion" is has been consistently disregarded for years by whole networks, even when they have given wide coverage to abortion controversies. Whatever your position on abortions, you need to know what you are talking about but the media recognize no such "right to know."

 If you knew, you might not agree with them.

 The same journalists who used phony documents to attack President Bush's military service recognize no "right to know" why Senator John Kerry's honorable discharge is dated long after his service was over and during the Carter administration, when less than honorable discharges were allowed to be upgraded to honorable.

 The "public's right to know" apparently extends only to such things as will not cause the public to reach conclusions different from those of the liberal media.


Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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