Holmes Report Blog

The Holmes Report blog focuses on news and issues of interest to public relations professionals. Our main site can be found at www.holmesreport.com.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Gun Smoke: I try to not feel too bad for Scott McClellan, because no one is forcing him to work for the Bush White House, but it’s hard not to feel some sympathy for a guy whose job is to stand in front of the press corps and refuse to answer any of their questions. (As an exercise in futility, there’s nothing quite as surreal as the daily White House press briefing.)

The past couple of days have illustrated the McClellan dilemma perfectly, because the press secretary has been left, once again, to defend the indefensible: Vice President Cheney’s decision to try to keep a lid on the fact that he shot a hunting partner.

I don’t think for a moment that Cheney was trying to actively cover up the shooting. I agree with this piece by John Dickerson at Slate: it just never occurred to the VP that the public had a right to know what had happened. (The column also contains some excellent advice from the President, based on an earlier, less serious, hunting accident of his own: “People watch the way you handle things; they get a feeling they like and trust you, or they don’t.”

Now McClellan’s predecessor, the far less sympathetic Ari Fleischer, has weighed in. “It would have been better if the vice president and/or his staff had come out last Saturday night or first thing Sunday morning and announced it,” he told Editor & Publisher during a phone interview Tuesday. “It could have and should have been handled differently.”

For an administration that takes its loyalty oath seriously and views any dissent as an act of treason, that’s stinging criticism.

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