WashPost Awards Cover Story to 'Peace' Crank Who May Be Crazy

Leftists (like say, Chris Hayes) are uncomfortable with calling our fallen American soldiers “heroes” because they seem like pawns of a military-industrial complex. The Washington Post put the Left’s idea of a hero on the cover of Sunday’s Washington Post magazine: "The Protester," an old leftist crank who’s sat across from the White House for thirty years for “peace.”

Concepcion Picciotto does not win this prize because she is sane, exactly: the "little old woman with the wig glued to her helmet" tells Post writer Catilin Gibson that she wears a helmet because “the government, she says gravely, is aiming electromagnetic waves at her head.” Despite that, the Post wanted to devote 11 pages to her, with quotes comparing her to Mother Teresa and Gandhi.

The Post has a picture of the shabby protest shack she sits in. What ever viewer sees is an exhibit in radical-left fanaticism. In her off-hours, she sometimes "reads al-Jazeera online," and the hatred for Israel is part of the package. Gibson tries to make the site sound shabby-chic:

She turns abruptly and shuffles back to her encampment, an old patio umbrella draped in a white plastic sheet secured with binder clips. It is flanked by two large boards with messages in capital letters: BAN ALL NUCLEAR WEAPONS OR HAVE A NICE DOOMSDAY and LIVE BY THE BOMB, DIE BY THE BOMB.

Here is the article’s thesis – "Connie" may be crazy, she may be a saint, but extremism is admirable:

As a culture, we say we respect passion and admire dedication. But the line between activist and zealot sometimes blurs. When we think someone has crossed it, we get uncomfortable, suspicious. We distance ourselves from the person whose actions we can’t quite understand.

Yet doesn’t true activism demand some degree of eccentricity, even extremism? Can a person be a saint and crazy? Is Connie both? Neither? And, if it matters, whose judgment is the one that counts?

Connie’s desire for peace is rooted in a wish to protect the world’s children — a longing that grew from her attempt to protect one child. What she says she wants is clear. How she came to want it is complicated.

The Post wants to tell this woman’s story, but how can you trust someone’s life story after they’ve told you the government is shooting electromagnetic waves at her head? Gibson could confirm some rudimentary facts, but most of the story is foggy. Some journalists wouldn’t say there isn’t enough “there” for a story, certainly not for a huge cover story. But the Post pressed ahead.

It's not like the Post has ever received a wacko letter to the editor and decided it was just insane enough that they would locate the writer and glorify them. No, they like a "peace" vigil across from the White House, one that says every American president may be a war criminal. They drag in liberal U.S. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) to discuss how’s she worked on legislation with the shack-sitters:

“They want to keep the issue of nuclear proliferation and its potential terrible consequences before the public,” Norton says. “And they have chosen a prime spot to do it. That’s brilliant. … We won’t ever know what the success is, because it doesn’t have a specific end of the kind we are used to.”

To understand the value of what they do, Norton says, you must understand the history of American activism.

“Everybody who protests in this country understands how incremental change is, and if you’re not going to stick to it, it’s not going to happen,” she says. If a topic isn’t at the forefront of the public consciousness, “maybe you can’t keep a movement going, but you can keep an issue alive.”
...

“People always tell me, ‘We need more people like you,’ ” Connie says. “I tell them: ‘But it starts with you. You are responsible for what’s going on.’ If people were more concerned, I wouldn’t have to be there.”

Those words indicting apathetic people were pulled out in large, bold text. She's a better person than most, the Post is saying. There's more praise doled out by Connie's allies at the "Peace House" where she resides in D.C.:

“Like Gandhi or Mother Teresa,” Feriha says. “She is a legend in her own way. … What has she accomplished, people ask. If she’s spoken to just a few people who understand her message, she’s done more than most. She gives the message of peace. She talks about what war is creating.”

“Here is a woman who hurts nobody, who is a legend, who has the longest-running peace vigil,” Feriha says. “People can’t understand why she does this, so they have to qualify it: ‘She’s homeless, right? She’s crazy, right?’ ”

Mira exhales a puff of smoke. “She’s got more commitment than any president who has lived across the street from her,” she says. “They change every four years. She never changes. She says: ‘This is me; this is forever. This is until I pass.’ ”

“She’s little and a bulldog, and she’s probably no less difficult to live with than a number of Catholic saints probably were. I think she’s blessed by God. I think she’s taken care of. She’s not able to do so many of the things that you and I can do — but she can do what so many other people can’t do, just by sticking to it and by not giving up.”

A video accompanying the story sounds like a commercial for some leftist benefactor to buy the "Peace House" and keep the local Occupiers going. The Washington Post may house its newsroom in a large downtown building, but apparently its soul sits in the shabby peace shack, admiring a woman of "peace" who thinks the government's shooting waves at her noggin.

It's the second massive salvo of pacifist-promoting pap this week. This was the first.

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis