But when you read the excerpts from The Washington Post and apply a little common sense to the events reported there, you’ll see that there’s not much real news there.
In summary, Mr. Cheney, Harry Whittington and another man were hunting quail. Mr. Whittington shot a bird and went to retrieve it. Mr. Cheney and the other hunter moved from that spot, heard a second group of birds behind him, turned and took aim and fired. What had flushed the birds was Mr. Whittington approaching the other two hunters from behind without warning them he was there, and when Mr. Cheney fired Mr. Whittington (who one report said was some 30 yards away) was hit by some of the birdshot.
Did Mr. Cheney shoot Mr. Whittington? Not exactly. To say the he shot the other man creates the impression that he drew down on him and fired, or that there was a more-or-less direct hit. It also implies negligence or carelessness. However, Mr. Whittington, who should have let Mr. Cheney know where he was, was accidentally hit by the periphery of the shot spray, not by a direct shot. An eyewitness said that Mr. Cheney could not see Mr. Whittington; brush or leaves or something might have obscured him.
Now it probably was not high on Mr. Cheney’s list to notify the national media of this incident, given that he had more important and pressing issues at hand, namely an injured friend that needed medical attention. And gosh darn it, when the property owner decided to notify the media, she called the local paper instead of The Washington Post or CBS News.
Here are excerpts from account of the hunting accident Vice President Dick Cheney was involved in:
Vice President Cheney accidentally sprayed a companion with birdshot while hunting quail on a private Texas ranch, injuring the man in the face, neck and chest, the vice president's office confirmed yesterday after a Texas newspaper reported the incident.
The shooting occurred late Saturday afternoon while Cheney was hunting with Harry Whittington, 78, a prominent Austin lawyer, on the Armstrong Ranch in south Texas. Hearing a covey of birds, Cheney shot at one, not realizing that Whittington had startled the quail and that he was in the line of fire.
According to [the property owner Katherine] Armstrong’s account, she was watching from a car while Cheney, Whittington and another hunter got out of the vehicle to shoot at a covey of quail. Whittington shot a bird and as he went to retrieve it, Cheney and the third hunter discovered a second covey.
Whittington "came up from behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn't signal them or indicate to them or announce himself," Armstrong said, according to the Associated Press.
It was Armstrong's decision to alert the news media. Cheney's office made no public announcement, deciding to defer to Armstrong because the incident had taken place on her property. Armstrong called the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, and when a reporter from the paper called the White House, the vice president's office confirmed the account.
Cheney's office referred other reporters to Armstrong for a witness account, but after speaking to some members of the media yesterday afternoon, Armstrong stopped returning phone calls.