In a decent world, Dick Cheney's hunting incident would be seen by all as:

1) a horrible day for the injured hunter and his family,

2) a horrible day for Dick Cheney

3) an incident of no national significance and not worthy of national coverage beyond a footnote in the news.

But we don't live in a very decent world. Instead, the media has chosen to beat up Cheney over the incident. What was most offensive to them, it seems, was his failure to report immediately to the media what happened, as if it were any of their business.

The White House propaganda machine, meanwhile, spun into action on a matter upon which one might have hoped they could have maintained silence. First they blamed the hunter. Then they blamed his dog. Then they said that the reason the incident wasn't reported right away was because everybody was busy making sure the hunter had adequate care--as if they all were so busy performing CPR that they couldn't talk to the press for 18 hours.

Such evasion and lies made the press mad, and now we have a full kerfluffle over something not worth kerfluffling about.

The media has plenty to hang on Dick Cheney if they so desire, none of it having to do with bad aim. If they were to do their job, they would be pushing the matter of the original justifications for the Iraq war, the misuse and abuse of intelligence data and those who gathered it, the illegal wiretapping of American citizens, the torture and abuse of sometimes innocent detainees in Iraq and who knows where else--there's plenty of real problems for which Cheney should be held accountable.

Incidentally, some new pictures of the abuse of Iraqi detainees came out today. They are sickening. The administration sued to keep them secret on the grounds that they would inflame our enemies. That's about the weakest argument for secrecy I have ever heard. It sounds almost Soviet. Of course, the pictures will inflame our enemies. They should also inflame our citizens to make sure those to blame are held accountable.

Just like the cartoons of Mohammad, the pictures of detainee abuse should be shown broadly. I want to know if my tax dollars are being used to torture, kill and maim people rendered helpless by their being in captivity.

Long live a free and vigorous press. I just wish they had their priorities in order.