The press has spent so much time this week obsessing over Dick Cheney's hunting accident that some reporters have been rendered completely oblivious to other important news developments.
After delivering yet another breathless report on Cheneygate Thursday morning, usually reliable ABC Radio News reporter Ann Compton was caught clueless about the takeover of six major U.S. ports by a Dubai company based in the United Arab Emirates - a country said to have ties to terrorism.
Compton's exchange with WABC Radio's John Gambling went like this:
GAMBLNG: What else [besides Cheneygate] is being talked about in the White House?
COMPTON: Absolutely nothing. This has sucked the oxygen out of President Bush's trip yesterday. He went all the way to the Wendy's hamburger headquarters in Ohio to talk about health care. . . . . Is that on the front page of any paper today? I did not do a single spot on it yesterday . . . .
COMPTON: [Cheneygate] really has dominated everything else . . . It is a fascinating story and one that ABC has reported very, very vigorously at the ground level and I think very responsibly.
GAMBLING: Ann, let me ask you a question. Is anybody talking about this story . . . about the Dubai Ports World Corporation running our major ports in the United States? You know anything about that?
COMPTON: Whooops. [Nervous laughter]
GAMBLING: The reason I ask you is exactly what you just finished talking about - sucking the oxygen out of the White House and Washington press corps . . . . This is like letting Saudi Arabia do security in our airports. And I think that Washington reporters need to jump on this thing.
COMPTON: Well, send me a quick email, John. It sounds like something I need to see.