"All the news that's fit to print or whatever."

Here’s that front page rumor-mongering piece from the New York Times.

Choice bit? Here ya go:

In the annals of Washington conspiracy theories, the latest one, about Vice President Dick Cheney’s future on the Republican ticket, is as ingenious as it is far-fetched. But that has not stopped it from racing through Republican and Democratic circles like the latest low-carb diet.

The newest theory – advanced privately by prominent Democrats, including members of Congress – holds that Mr. Cheney recently dismissed his personal doctor so that he could see a new one, who will conveniently tell him in August that his heart problems make him unfit to run with Mr. Bush.

Right off the bat, gossip writer Elisabeth Bumiller admits the “story” (I can use scare quotes, too, Ms. Big Journalism) is “far-fetched.” Then in the second graf we read the admission that the story doesn’t come from Dick Cheney, and it doesn’t come from his doctor. It doesn’t come from the White House, or from some unnamed “senior Administration official,” or even from “some guy who knew this person who once saw Dick Cheney shake his sister’s hand.”

Nope. The “story,” as admitted in the second graf, is being “advanced privately by prominent Democrats.”

In other words, it’s not even hearsay. It’s not even a theory, as Bumiller claims. It’s just some crap some people are spouting off, like guys on the streetcorner.

And it’s on the front frickin’ page America’s newspaper of record, the Gray Lady, The New York TIMES.

Shoot, I’d like nothing better than to see Cheney drop out, for whatever reason, and be replaced by Condi Rice at the bottom of the ticket. OK, maybe there’s a few things I’d like better, but they all involve a myself, a Hi-Def camcorder, and several leggy movie starlets of the redhead and brunette variety — but that’s nothing I can really talk about on a family blog.

What we’re talking about here is America’s leading newspaper, leading their Thursday edition with the idle chatter of a few (fifty? six? one?) Democratic politicians with axes to grind.