Tuesday, February 14, 2006

More Cheney

Jeff Greenfield.

(CNN) -- What did you see when you saw the story about Vice-President Cheney's hunting accident?

If you were a comedy writer, you saw definitive proof of the existence of God.

If you hold the Bush Administration in minimum high regard, you saw enough metaphors to power a Ph.D. thesis: a reckless, inept use of force directed at the wrong target, compounded by a cover-up.

If you support the administration, you saw the press in full hysteria, "going nuts" (as a FOX News personality put it), by pounding White House spokesman Scott McClellan on the 20-plus hour delay in making the news public. . .

What's so striking, I think, is how a story like this becomes an instant Rorschach test, with political predispositions substituting for inkblots. We know the meaning of this incident because we know how we feel about the vice president, or the administration, or the war in Iraq, or the press -- and therefore, we know how to judge the event.

The exact same thing happened after Katrina. Among diehards on each side, conclusions come first and as the facts come out they are embraced or discarded based on whether or not they support those conclusions. What I find disheartening is that otherwise very smart people are not immune from this phenomenon.

(For cross-post at Centerfield and comments posted there, click here.)