In the absence of any pressing news these days -- other than Iran's nuclear weapons development crisis, the election of Hamas terrorists in Palestine, ongoing worldwide Muslim riots and killing in reaction to a cartoon, Al Gore's near sedition while speaking in Saudi Arabia, the turning over of our East Coast ports to be managed by a United Arab Emirates firm, the criminal leaking of vital NSA secrets to the New York Times, Mexican military incursions across our southern border, the Iraqi crisis, Congress's refusal to deal with the developing financial collapse of Social Security and Medicare, inter alia -- the White House press corp has exploded in righteous fury over the question of the vice president's little shooting party last weekend.
As I understand the profound concern of the ever-alert White House reporters, they smell a constitutional crisis because the shooting party failed to alert the media of the accidental shooting down in Corpus Christi, Texas. Well, actually, they did alert the Corpus Christi media -- but that didn't count. Unless the exalted ones have been formally informed by an official government press secretary, no public communication has technically occurred.
I checked the bylaws of the White House press corp, and they are right. It seems that the bylaws refer to Article XXIII of the U.S. Constitution, which expressly designates that White House reporters with a minimum annual income of $375,000 (plus minimum stock options equal to not less than two-thirds their yearly salary, plus use of driver and long sedan during business hours, of which hours must include post-deadline dinner engagements of a semi-social nature) are the exclusive recipients of all government information.
If information isn't hand-delivered in gilt-edged paper to them while they are reclined on their chaise lounges, it hasn't been released to the public. And if they don't report a fact, it hasn't happened. This provision is vital to a vigorous and independent free press. [I should note, my copy of the Constitution must be outdated, because it doesn't have an Article XXIII.]
Of course, this provision technically makes the White House press corp not reporters, but receivers -- sort of glorified shipping clerks, but with the prerogative to re-write and re-package the material before they deliver it to the public.
When an out-of-town newspaper got the scoop, the dignity of the White House press corp had been impeached, so they threw a public temper tantrum. As that has worked for many of them since their early childhood, they obviously expect it to work while on the job -- to use the term loosely.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.