This second strategy finds itself almost perfectly illustrated by the following editorial in today's paper:
Let's just suppose that Dick Cheney and his friend had been hunting in the Sand Hills instead of the south of Texas - and that, 18 hours after the unfortunate shooting accident, it was the Grand Island Independent, the Kearney Hub or the North Platte Telegraph that got the story first.
Would the New York Times, the Washington Post et al. be howling as loudly as they have about the Corpus Christi Caller-Times (circulation 56,267) getting the first shot, as it were, at the vice president?
Probably. Opined the Post: "How is it that the vice president of the United States can shoot and wound someone and the American public doesn't learn of it until 18 hours later - and then only because the owner of the location where the event occurred decided the next day to tell a local reporter?"
And the Times: "It took the White House nearly 24 hours to share that information with the rest of the nation because Dick Cheney thought it would be better for the ranch's owner to give the story to the local newspaper first."
One wishes this unnecessary kerfuffle would teach the Bush administration at last that prompt transparency, at least when lives aren't at stake, is less painful than trying to hide most everything.
But consider how the Caller-Times got the story. The owner of the ranch where Cheney put birdshot into Harry Whittington was a friendly source for its reporter on local stories. She called the reporter, not vice versa. She even got Cheney to talk briefly to the reporter - something the Nebraska-born, Wyoming-bred vice president didn't repeat for three days.
Why on Earth should our peers working in the hallowed halls of power always get the scoop about the most powerful in the land?
Look at that agenda in action. An unprecedented situation arises - the circumstances of which cast the behavior of the Bush Administration in the most questionable light imaginable, especially with their record of distortions and bending the facts to fit their purposes - and the World-Herald, in all-too-similar fashion, manages to make the issue one of small town newspapers proving their worth to the insecure Goliaths in the national press.
Talk about knowing your rural Nebraska audience. And, talk about deceiving them as well.
Conveniently "forgotten" - lost in the World-Herald's slight of hand - is one simple question: why attack your conterparts in the media? After all, they didn't shoot anyone. Yet, 6 of 7 paragraphs are dedicated solely to their reprimanding, with only one paragraph making a qualified acknowledgement of Bush and Cheney's paranoia and deceit.
Unnecessary kerfuffle, indeed!