Lettuce & Pickles

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

2/15/2006

Herding the Sheeple

Faithful readers:

I know I am not the first person to think this, and not even the first to suggest it in print [well, phoshor and pixels, at least -- the actual print media in this country will go financially bankrupt (which is not to be confused with their moral bankruptcy) before they suggest such a thing]. But, it seems blatantly obvious to me that the vice president's inept marksmanship could not have come at a more opportune time...

It's the distraction extraordinaire, turning unwanted attention away from that annoying business of Cheney's implication in the outing of Valarie Plame. Isn't it? Certainly the White House has played it perfectly:

1) First there's no report for 24 hours, which piques both media interest and the outrage of Democrats, and gets all of us chit-chatting about possible reasons for the delay rather than Cheney's implication in the Plame outing. Cheney himself remains silent.

2) Then, the report is released... bare-bones, with a few interesting tidbits. Cause for more speculation -- what is the relationship of the two women to the VP (what, didn't you hear that there was a second woman hunting?)? Why did Cheney even bother to send in his $7? Why wasn't he cited for that? What was the bag limit? How many birds had they bagged? How could he have shot someone? Was it on purpose? Was he drinking? Cheney himself remains silent.

3) Then, blame Whittington: He snuck up on the VP. He didn't observe "good hunting practices". Cheney did nothing wrong. If you hunt long enough, you're bound to get shot -- it's the nature of the sport. Cheney himself remains silent.

4) Then disclose Whittington's condition: ICU overnight. Well, he's actually fine. Well, it looks like he has chicken pox. Well, they removed "many" of the pellets. How many remain? Um... Cheney himself remains silent.

5) Between 6 and 100. That's a topic all by itself. Cheney himself remains silent.

6) Then Whittington has a "silent" heart attack because one of the "harmless" pellets has migrated too close to the heart. That pellet must have been on an expressway, to have done that in 24 hours. Yet, somehow, none of the remaining pellets are considered dangerous, despite the small matter of a "silent" heart attack. Heck, even the attack-causing pellet isn't considered dangerous. Really. Cheney himself, still incommunicado. Whittington, meanwhile, getting ready to do some lawyer work from his hospital room.

7) But wait... chit-chat wearing thin? Goodness, let's give them something to talk about! Let's release a statement that says that Cheney will break his silence later in the day. Whew, okay, that buys us a few hours. Good, and we can stretch it out if we don't televise it. Good thinking. Can we give the exclusive rights to Fox News? You know, not that we think that Fox News is partisan in its coverage, or anything, but we'd hate to have any real questions or any attempt to spin this back toward the truth...

And besides, Fox News won't show anything for yet another half a day, so that's one more day we've managed to direct the watercooler conversations without even half trying.

Sheeple are easy. Tomorrow, they'll be talking about Cheney's statement, and Apolo and Olympic speed skating, and Friday, all they talk about is what they are going to do this weekend -- any good movies opening? wasn't it awfully cold? -- and by Monday... well, all is forgotten. Sheeple are easy.

They've really got this down to an art form. You can't make this stuff up, and neither can I.

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