Barone: WW II Press Would've "Mercifully Given No Publicity" to Sheehan

<img vspace="0" hspace="0" border="0" align="right" src="http://www.newsbusters.org/media/2005-08-17-FNCSRBHBarone.jpg" /> Michael Barone of <i>U.S. News</i> told FNC's Chris Wallace tonight that “if a World War II era Cindy Sheehan had gone to Hyde Park and Warm Springs and camped out and demanded a meeting with President Roosevelt,” she “would just been thought to have been a person who was the victim of a personal tragedy and who had gone over the bend as a result of it, and they would have mercifully given her no publicity.” Barone, co-editor of the bi-annual <i>Almanac of American Politics</i>, credited the change in media attitude to how in “World War II, the press almost unanimously wanted us to win the war,” but “today we have many in the press -- not most I think, but some at least -- who do not want us to win this war and think that we don't deserve to win this war.”<br /><br />Transcript of Barone's comments on <i>Special Report with Brit Hume</i> follows.<br /><br />
<!--break--> Wallace, filling in for the vacationing Hume on the 6pm EDT program, asked Barone if Sheehan is “reflecting...growing concerns about the war?”<br /><br />Barone, sitting in FNC's DC bureau with the Capitol dome behind him, answered: “I think she's reflecting some growing concerns in the war, at least speaking to people who have those concerns. I don't think President Bush has made a vigorous case for what's going on in recent times. If you watch him in past years he tends to not make a lot of public statements in August and then come out with big ones in September, as he did in 2002, for example, when he talked to the United Nations on September 12, and so forth. So, yeah, I think there's some risk that Bush is getting behind there, and I think part of this is the question of the press corps. I mean, I asked the question if a World War II era Cindy Sheehan had gone to Hyde Park and Warm Springs and camped out and demanded a meeting with President Roosevelt, would she have received coverage from the press in the World War II era? And I've studied this era, and I think the answer is clearly no. She would just been thought to have been a person who was the victim of a personal tragedy and who had gone over the bend as a result of it, and they would have mercifully given her no publicity. We've got a different kind of press. In World War II, the press almost unanimously wanted us to win the war. Today we have many in the press -- not most I think, but some at least -- who do not want us to win this war and think that we don't deserve to win this war. It's a more critical press.”<br /><br />Wallace wondered: “Do you think the press is wrong to report on what she is doing?”<br /><br />Barone replied: “I think they are over-reporting it. I think serious consideration ought to be given to that World War II standard. Is somebody who is obviously affected by grief and at the, echoing statements at the fringes of American politics, is that person entitled to get the kind of lavish publicity that some of the news outlets have given Cindy Sheehan? I think that's, I think that's a fair question.”<br /><br />Michael Barone's <a href="http://www.usnews.com/usnews/opinion/baroneblog/home.htm">blog</a>.

Brent Baker
Brent Baker
Brent Baker is the Steven P.J. Wood Senior Fellow and VP for Research and Publications at the Media Research Center