Ben McConville in the Scotland on Sunday newspaper speculates — apparently baselessly — that George Bush will dump Dick Cheney in favour of Rudy Giuliani as his running mate.

It seems that this is analysis mascarading as real news reporting. The only attributed source is “leading commentator Al Neuharth”, and the lede is carefully worded so that it does not to suggest that any actual factual information is being reported.

That basic dishonesty aside, this is a solid analysis that makes a good — and scary — point. A Bush-Guiliani ticket would be seriously bad news for John Kerry and AN Other.

Worryingly, Reuters is making similar noises, although they helpfully note that “far more Democrats than Republicans … buy into the rumors that Cheney might end up off of the Bush re-election ticket”.

Reuters also quotes a “Republican official” saying that “There is a better likelihood that I will be abducted by aliens than that Cheney will get dumped from the ticket”.