Did Vice President Dick Cheney intentionally give Tom DeFrank the cold shoulder at yesterday’s award ceremony for the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency? Roll Call’s Mary Ann Akers reports today that, although the award presenter (Cheney) historically gives the award to the recipient (DeFrank) personally, no such thing occurred yesterday (President Ford’s son Jack presented DeFrank with the award). “Maybe Cheney couldn’t bear the thought of handing the award to a journalist whose coverage touched on his waning influence at the White House after the indictment of his former chief of staff, Scooter Libby. One of DeFrank’s five stories submitted in the award-winning package began, ‘The CIA leak scandal has peeled back the veil on the most closely held White House secret of all: the subtle but unmistakable erosion in the bond between President Bush and Vice President Cheney.'”
ABCNews’ Karen Travers also writes up the event here.
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>UPDATE: A knowledgeable reader writes in to provide a different perspective on Cheney/DeFrank:
“Tom has an especially good relationship with Gerald Ford, since they were close during Ford’s presidency. Tom is actually often the only reporter invited to join in the annual Ford staff reunions in California with the former president. It’s possible that Ford’s son presented the award because it means more to the former president to have Tom receive it and wanted it to be a personal vindication of Defrank’s career.
“Also, as cutting as Defrank’s reporting has been with regards to Cheney’s influence, Tom and the vice president had a long friendship dating back to when Cheney was Ford’s chief of staff. In the anecdote in last month’s Vanity Fair piece by Todd Purdum where Cheney pranks former Timesman James Naughton, it was Defrank who collaborated with Cheney on the prank.”