A Watched Pot Never Boils, or, Assorted Reactions to Dick Cheney’s Hospitalization

dick-cheney2 .jpgFormer Vice President Dick Cheney’s hospitalization last night caused minor ripples across the New York media world, as it once again highlighted the fragility of Cheney’s ticker. Although most of the major outlets simply retyped the Associated Press dispatch, a couple of the more politically slanted organizations supplemented the story with some colorful background.

After the jump: MSNBC’s morbid prognosis, Fox News’ human-interest angle, and the AP echo chamber.


MSNBC, whose on-air personalities have said that Cheney is partly responsible for 9/11 and that Cheney is a war criminal, finishes its online item on the matter with somewhat morbid speculation on what is most likely to kill Cheney:

The main risk from atrial fibrillation is not that Cheney will have another heart attack, but that he could eventually have a stroke if the rhythm problem is not treated.

Atrial fibrillation, also called A-fib, causes the upper chambers of the heart to quiver, instead of pump. As a result, some blood can pool in the heart. When blood settles, it tends to clot. And if those clots are then pumped out to the body, they can lodge in tiny blood vessels in the brain, causing a stroke.

Meanwhile, Fox News supplemented its AP story with a human-interest angle, using Cheney’s hospitalization as a teachable moment in its story, “Heart Disease: Are You at Risk?“:

Dr. Manny Alvarez, managing health editor of FoxNews.com, said that Cheney’s heart health vigilance may be what saves his life.

“Many people don’t recognize the symptoms of heart health and that’s when they get into trouble,” Alvarez said. “But the good thing is that the Vice President recognizes chest pains as serious and went to get checked out.”

Other news outlets showed far less interest in chasing the story. The New York Post played the affair pretty straight with a wire dispatch from the Associated Press. The New York Times went the same route, as did the Daily News.

The actual AP item focuses on Cheney’s history of heart attacks (he had his first at 37), then focuses on doctors’ next step — an angiogram — and the bout of procedures Cheney has undergone since 1988. It wraps up with a summary of Cheney’s most recent political activities.