So, the big story today is unquestionably Dick Cheney, Vice-President of the United States and brand-new non-member of the Executive Branch, who refused to turn over super-secret classified documents from his office to the National Archives because that request was made to employees of the executive branch, of which he is totally not a part. Fine, said Democratic Congressman Rahm Emanuel, you wanna play that way? If you're not part of the executive branch, then goddamned if we're going to fund you as such. Snap!
Drama! Showdown! Political experts everywhere shouting and waving their arms! Here you've got a patently ridiculous statement by Cheney, a transparent gambit to keep everything possible a secret, as per usual, with the extra twist of irony that comes with this habitual champion of executive privilege claiming to be in the legislative branch — and you've got a Democratic leader calling him on it, and acting on it to boot. Definitely news, maybe even front-page news if Paris Hilton didn't stop off to buy a Bible on the way home from jail or something.
But here's something odd: There was nothing about it in the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, or the New York Times. WaPo has covered it numerous times, perhaps in its effort to corner the market on all things pertaining to Cheney being evil, and it was covered in USAToday, ABCNews, CBS, and of course, the blogs (including, to be fair, the NYT political blog The Caucus). But still, 'tis mighty odd that three big papers of record haven't reported this story (and a Reuters story posted to the website today at 12:06 pm doesn't count). What's odder still is that this isn't a new story per se; it's had time to percolate — not only the Cheney part, obviously, but the Democratic response part — the obvious part, really, because a move like this demands some sort of official response. Emanuel sent his four-pronged chart illustrating the branches of government (Legislative, Judiciary, Executive and Dick Cheney) on June 21st.
Is it just not news, or is it a blind spot in the media coverage of this event, or is it an active decision not to bother reporting the Democratic response, maybe because it's not as much fun as devoting column inches to writing about John Edwards' hair, and then writing about writing about John Edwards' hair? Who can say, especially on this day when Paris Hilton's release from jail scored the top-of-the-homepage spot for both the NYT and LAT? If it's not news, you sure fooled us, and The Daily Show ("Unfortuantely, you can't shoot an entire agency in the face") and the Colbert Report ("Why is Emanuel on this Rahm-page?"). Even Fox knows its news, hosting Emanuel on the network this morning for a little Q&A with Gretchen Carlson (even though the chryon never actually reflected Emanuel's position, just Cheney's. Perhaps "unaccountable and above the law" wouldn't have fit).
No, it is news, and will be news when the Financial Services Appropriations bill for fiscal 2008 is voted on later this week. Presumably the NYT, WSJ and LAT will have caught up by then.