How do members of the media really feel about Dick Cheney? Mark Shields, a syndicated columnist appeared on the roundtable discussion show Inside Washington, which airs on Friday nights on local PBS powerhouse WETA. He blasted Cheney, linking the accident to his Vietnam deferments, saying:
"I’m just grateful that he had his five deferments, because, my God, if he’d had gotten a platoon, he would have wiped out half his own men."
Shields, who has previously connected Tom DeLay to the West Virginia coal mine tragedy, also accused the Vice President of not caring about the troops and possibly being drunk when he shot Harry Whittington. Shields, in one sentence, brought up the old canard that Cheney is running the country and also suggested that the Vice President doesn’t care as much about American soldiers as he does Harry Whittington:
"Watching that interview with Brit Hume, just once, uh, to see the Vice President display such emotion and sympathy, I just once wish he’d demonstrated similar concern for the Americans who have fallen in Iraq, as a result of his decision." (Emphasis added)
He later indicated that he saw conspiracy in the Vice President’s comments about alcohol use.
"Brit Hume did ask him about drinking. He said, oh no, you never go hunting with anybody who's drinking. I never would do that. I had a beer at lunch. Wait a minute. Is a beer drinking? I think it is. So there was that certain disconnect in some of his answers."
Charles Krauthammer, a fellow panelist, pointed out that this was at lunch and that the shooting happened at almost 6PM in the evening. Shields could only repeat his mantra, "He was drinking. He was drinking. That’s my point." Host Gordon Peterson points that there was no blood alcohol test. Shields retorted, "We don’t have a blood alcohol. You wait 18 hours, you avoid that." Perhaps Krauthammer best summed up the liberal arguments Shields and others have made when he responded, "Ahh, we’re in the grassy knoll again."