Don’t Quote Me: Mary Cheney’s Baby

The bizarre and sordid history of cooperation between Mary and Dick Cheney and Christian conservatives is very well documented, as are the effects that their love triangle has had on American politics and, more to the point, Americans. Now Mary wants us to believe that she's never sought endorsement from Dobson?

Excuse me while I fight off the killer tomatoes that have just marched into my backyard.

Mary might not have asked for Dobson's permission to get pregnant, but she certainly counted on his endorsement in the past, as did her father. The Cheneys have been playing politics with Christians at the expense of gays and lesbians for years, treating us as if we are, collectively, a commodity — and it's long past time for us to tell them that the game is over.

It's also past time that journalists, especially those of Wolf Blitzer's caliber, ignore Dick and Mary's newest motto — “What happens at the Cheneys' stays at the Cheneys'” — and stop worrying about their privacy. Dick Cheney is the vice president of the United States, for crying out loud, not a contestant on I've Got a Secret. And Mary Cheney gave up her right to privacy when she entered the political arena and ran her father's 2004 re-election campaign.

I have great admiration for Blitzer, but I think he was out to lunch when it came to balancing Cheney's power and position with his own power, experience and most importantly, his obligations as a journalist. Blitzer put Cheney's comfort level ahead of the public's right to know how Cheney feels about being wedged by one of his own party's wedge issues.

Instead of congratulating Cheney on having another grandchild after the vice president refused to respond to the criticism of Mary by a conservative Christian group, Blitzer should have said this: “I know you think the world of your daughter, sir, but you've made it clear to lesbians all over America that you don't think much of them. You owe the entire gay community an explanation as to why you believe your daughter would be a fit mother, but support the belief that other lesbians and gay men are unfit to raise children.”

But he didn't, and he blew it.

The question now is: Will anyone in the media besides Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have the guts to remind Dick and Mary of all the children and families their party has used as props in debates without any objection from them?

Good God, let's hope so. And speaking of God, if He, in his infinite and divine wisdom and sense of irony, can deliver a baby unto Mary, the least we can do is offer up incense with the mirth.

And truth.

Although it's not all that obvious these days, the main obligation of the media is to truth, not to people in high places who consider themselves above scrutiny and criticism. The media's duty to the public and its role when it comes to deciding whether or not to intrude on the personal life of a public figure is clear. It's even spelled out in the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists:

Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues …

[Journalists should] recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone's privacy …

[Journalists should] be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.

You don't have to be gay or lesbian to admit that in this case, “an overriding public need” justifies intrusion into the Cheneys' privacy. You simply have to acknowledge that the Cheneys are, indeed, people “ who seek power, influence or attention” and that the entire country has been affected by their efforts — even if one or both eventually regrets those efforts or, as in Mary's case, acts in contradiction of them.

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