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Whenever we get a story ahead of other news outlets the naysayers crank up to full crescendo and accuse us a variety of transgressions – usually revolving around the claim that we "made the whole thing up."
A lot of that came over the electronic transom and dominated the partisan bulletin boards Wednesday with our report that secret service agents said Vice President Dick Cheney was drunk when he gunned down friend and lawyer Harry Whittington in a hunting "accident" last week.
It wasn’t a story we went looking for. A friend who works in the Bush administration tipped us on the report late last week and I started making phone calls. By late Tuesday, I had all I needed to go with the story: three sources that said a Secret Service Agent filed a report claiming Cheney had consumed several drinks and "appeared inebriated" while hunting on the Armstrong Ranch on February 11.
In light of other events that we and others had already documented on that day, the report made sense: A day-and-a-half delay in reporting the shooting to the press; the refusal by owners of the Armstrong ranch to allow the Kenedy County chief deputy on the property on the day the "accident" occurred and the strange decision by the county sheriff to not interview witnesses until the next day.
Running with the story brought the usual chorus of boo-birds, the armchair commandos who dominate the partisan bulletin boards, claiming that I sit up here in my mountaintop home and just make these things up.
In reality, I could be doing just that. But why should I? The bizarre antics of the Bush administration provide far more interesting fodder for stories than anything my imagination could possibly conjure up.
Despite what the naysayers claim, we get it first and get it right. We reported on Bush’s temper tantrums a full year before it appeared in Newsweek. We revealed Bush’s executive order allowing the National Security Agency to spy on Americans on June 7, 2004 — 18 months before the New York Times printed the story. Last week we revealed President Bush ordered Vice President Cheney to go public about his hunting "accident." Time got around to it a few days later. I have no doubt that more information about Cheney’s drinking will surface down the line and confirm what we reported Wednesday.
We’re human and we do make mistakes, but when we do we admit them, which is a lot more than most media outlets ever do.
So what possible motive could I have to subject myself, and this web site, to the barrage of abuse that comes from the prickly partisans whenever I raise the curtain of corruption on their favorite sons?
Some say it’s because I’m a liberal, which shows what little they know. How many liberals are card-carrying members of the National Rifle Association or worked for conservative members of Congress like Manuel Lujan Jr. or the 1984 Reagan-Bush re-election campaign?
Others claim the stories are drunken hallucinations, which might make sense if I weren’t a recovering alcoholic who hasn’t had a drink since June 6, 1994. Still others say it’s drugs. Yeah, Tylenol arthritis pain formula, Zestril hypertension medication and Johnson & Johnson baby aspirin are real mood-altering drugs.
And still others claim I’m a bitter, lonely old man living out his final days lashing out at others. I could let my wife answer that one, or the student photographers I mentor or the young people I work with on various projects. I’m too busy with a full, enjoyable life to come up with an answer myself.
Frankly, I don’t give a damn what the naysayers think. I’ve served my country more than once to preserve democracy and try and make this nation a better place to live. I’ve worked within the political system in Washington and tried to change it for the better from the inside. While others talked about change, I worked with real lovers of America to make it happen. While others talked about doing, we did.
Others talk about truth as if it were some divine providence of a political party or philosophical organization. Truth is non-partisan. It crosses party lines and follows no philosophical path.
We piss off partisans from both sides because we follow the truth wherever it leads. We don’t give a damn who gets mad or who gets exposed. We don’t apply different rules to different parties and all are held to the same standards.
We don’t play favorites. Never have, never will. And we don’t have to make this stuff up. The truth is far more interesting, even if the partisans don’t want to believe it.