I had intended to make a post today lamenting the lingering, slow death of print journalism in this country. With the Seattle Post-Intelligencer publishing its final print edition today to go to a pure online format (a step taken late last year by the sorely under-rated Christian Science Monitor), and the Tucson Citizen closing up shop this weekend ... well, rumors of the death of newspapers may be exaggerated, but not by much. The patient is gout-ridden, racked by fever and cough, and clearly on the deathbed.
Instead, I find myself stunned at the reaction of various members of the Washington press corps to the exchange of words between Dick Cheney and White House press secretary Robin Gibbs.
For those who might possibly have missed it, Cheney was on the air last weekend busily deeming the Obama administration a failure, and ranting about how his decisions, particularly vis-a-vis Guantanamo, had weakened America's security. Considering he was in office when the greatest terrorist attack on American soil ocurred, one might recognize him as an expert on weak security ... but that's neither here nor there.
When asked about it during a press briefing yesterday, Gibbs responded "I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy, so they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal." He subsequently added shots about how Bush and Cheney had failed in their duty to bring swift justice to the 9/11 perpetrators, and the importance of not taking advice from Cheney on the economy.
The admittedly sarcastic tone Gibbs used was immediately sized upon by various reporters, who complained about the manner in which the former Vice President was being addressed. Those complaining included Chip Reid of CBS and Rick Klein of ABC.
Seriously??!! I mean, seriously?? For years these folks allowed Cheney to oversee the virtual destruction of our Bill of Rights as well as instigating a wide-spread regime of torture, just two name two of the hideous innovations he was instrumental in instroducing to our country, yet hardly a peep could be heard. If anyone deserves to be treated with a distinct lack of respect, Cheney is near the top of the list, yet apparently it's more important to defend his dignity than to defend our nation's integrity.
I'm embarassed for my former profession ... all-in-all, maybe it's for the best it's a dying field.
Update: Shortly after posting this, I saw via Tedski at R-cubed the Citizen has been granted at least a temporary stay of execution.