It had started out looking like a bad weekend for the GOP noise machine and it's usual ability to manipulate the news cycle.
Friday saw a whole slew of bad news stories being released and, although the rightwing Sunday talk shows and op-ed writers tried hard, there wasn't much around in the way of counterspin. They were reduced to whining about what a minister said at Loretta King's funeral, scaremongering with a false tale of shoe bombs, banging the jungle drums for their cartoon "war of civilisations" or stretching Democrat links to Jack Abramoff in a vain attempt to suggest he wasn't a GOP insider.
Then came a gift from their god, Mammon. Dick Cheney shot someone.
It probably took about three hours tops to make sure that no-one was badly injured and that Dick wasn't going to be sued or arrested. Probably less, given the number of good old boys in the party who were probably heavily connected to the legal and law enforcement communities of Texas as well as GOP insiders - including the victim himself.
That was Saturday. But someone, probably Uncle Karl, worked out very quickly that once this story broke it would dominate the news media in the US, quickly pushing eveything else off the front pages. So they held it another bunch of hours until it's release on Sunday.
Hey presto, everyone's forgotten the bad news for now...and for now is all that matters as long as you can keep doing it.
Yet the very fact that Editor and Publisher and the mainstream media can be asking why the story was held for 18 hours then carefully released as a scoop to the local newspaper by the landowner, another GOP insider, tells me that they have no blessed clue about how well they are being used as mouthpieces.