The headline of a Cindy Sheehan piece in today's Washington Post by staff writer Sam Coates grabbed my attention. "Standoff Continues in Crawford: As Bush, Sheehan Return, Both Sides Plan Rallies," read the headline. The lede picked up the "standoff" terminology:
WACO, Tex., Aug. 25---The standoff between President Bush and antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan escalated Thursday with emotional appeals from both sides, each invoking sacrifices made by Americans after Sept. 11, 2001, to bolster their case.
Standoff certainly is a politically loaded term, even for the Post, so I did a search on Nexis of Washington Post articles from August 1-26 for "Cindy Sheehan" and the terms "vigil," "protest," and "standoff." After tossing out editorial and op-ed hits, I found there were 13 pieces describing Sheehan's actions as a vigil, 15 as a protest, and only one, today's story by Coates, labeling it a standoff.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the MSM water, up pops Cindy Sheehan.
The Today show’s pretext for bringing back Cindy was her return to Crawford.
It seems that Sheehan’s media consultants have been hard at work, grooming a more media-savvy, less over-the-top image for Sheehan.She managed to avoid charging W, as she has in the past, with being the world’s biggest terrorist, or engaging in thinly-veiled anti-Semitism as when she previously spoke of neo-con Paul Wolfowitz making her “skin crawl.”
Yet one sensed that not far beneath the buttoned-down exterior, the demons lurked.
Jack Kelly has a great story at Jewish World Review about how good news in the real world becomes bad news in the New York Times. The basics of the story go something like this:
The Army has greatly improved the body armor soldiers are wearing over the past 15 years. It's lighter and tougher.
There are some types of ammunition that can penetrate it, but no evidence that the "insurgents" are using that ammunition.
"...though the specifications weren't set until early in January, new plates were being manufactured — and delivery begun to U.S. troops — in March. Those familiar with the Pentagon's procurement process recognize this as lightning speed. "
By now, Americans with even the most modest of attention spans know of the United Kingdom's liberal version of CNN, the BBC. An article written by the BBC's Washington reporter Matthew Davis stunningly highlights this.
Davis'sarticle fairly drips with smug and self-righteous twaddle; and offers up his opinions in regard to what the American zeitgeist is regarding the war in Iraq. In his opening paragraph, Davis states unequivocally that "The protest of one mother, Cindy Sheehan, at the gates of President Bush's ranch has galvanised the anti-war movement."
"As the 1960s protest song said, 'there's something happening here,'” NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams reminisced Thursday evening as he introduced an “In Depth” segment trumpeting the influence of Cindy Sheehan -- a story, when replayed on MSNBC's Countdown, fill-in host Amy Robach framed around how “there are those who wonder if attitudes toward the war could be reaching a tipping point and whether the Gold Star mom could be the driving force.” Reporter Carl Quintanilla allowed a couple of critics to denounce Sheehan, but his story was centered around touting her impact: “Sheehan, say some historians, may be evolving as an icon in the war's turning point, if this is one. For three weeks, she's dominated headlines, mobilized protesters” and made “it safe, her supporters say, to voice doubts about the war, just as Walter Cronkite did on the Evening News in 1968.” Viewers were then treated to 1968 video of Cronkite taking on the Vietnam war: “To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion.”
In between soundbites from liberal historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, Quintanilla fretted about “a peace movement without a way home.” Goodwin rued: “That's the difficulty. We don't know what to do with the peace movement, what does it actually mean?” Quintanilla concluded by admiring Sheehan's influence, a pedestal the media provided: “Historians say we won't know Cindy Sheehan's place in the war until the war itself is history. And whether you agree with her or not, she sits waiting for one conversation, and has unleashed another.” (Video: Windows Media Player or Real Media)
Full transcript, and Williams' plug on his blog for this story, follows.
ABC made time Wednesday night for Martha Raddatz to read from a letter the Gold Star Moms for Peace sent to President Bush in which they charged that "you put our troops in harm's way based on a lie. We are military families who demand an end to the lies, and call for you to bring our troops home now." But, after weeks of hyping Cindy Sheehan, neither Raddatz nor anyone else on World News Tonight mentioned how Bush spent nearly three hours meeting with family members of those killed in Iraq. Neither did the CBS Evening News which held its coverage of Bush's speech in Idaho to the National Guard to a soundbite of Bush quoting a mother with four sons in Iraq. NBC anchor Brian Williams touted how Sheehan's group "said today its members will follow President Bush around the country protesting the war," but at least Kelly O'Donnell noted that Bush "met privately with 68 family members who grieve for sons and husbands lost in war."
New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller today tried her best to write an article without mentioning anti-war heroine Cindy Sheehan, as well as without impugning the president. Unfortunately, she failed.
In an article about the president’s speech to thousands of National Guard members and their families in Nampa, Idaho, it only took two paragraphs before the story turned from Mr. Bush’s vision of Iraq and his appreciation for the sacrifice these families and their relatives are making into another in a long litany of Cindyfests:
Defending his administration's military stance for the third day in a row, he presented another tough, if implicit, rebuttal to war critics like Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq who has generated a monthlong protest outside his Texas ranch. Mr. Bush said, "As long as I'm the president, we will stay, we will fight and we will win the war on terror."
The president said withdrawing troops now - as Ms. Sheehan advocates - would "only embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America and free nations."
As Ms. Sheehan advocates? Has Ms. Sheehan now been promoted to the title of "advocate"?
WorldNetDaily is reporting that Cindy Sheehan called the terrorists in Iraq "freedom fighters." Newsmax did so earlier Wednesday. Evidently, no one in the MSM has bothered to pick up on it.
Iraq was not involved in 9-11, Iraq was not a terrorist state. But now that we have decimated the country, the borders are open, freedom fighters from other countries are going in, and they [American troops] have created more terrorism by going to an Islamic country, devastating the country and killing innocent people in that country. The terrorism is growing and people who never thought of being car bombers or suicide bombers are now doing it because they want the United States of America out of their country."
You'd think someone would bother to talk about it. If Sheehan viewed her son as an oppressor of the weak and innocent, it'd be ironic that we're allowing her to use his name in validating her beliefs.
Given all the negative coverage of the president, the highlighting of his imprudent comments, and the constant reiteration of the fact that he's down in the latest opinion polls, a request for the media to report on what his opposition actually believes in should be reasonable enough. Perhaps it's time for an opinion poll that asks if anyone agrees with Sheehan's definition of freedom.
In a Monday posting, Greg Mitchell, the Editor of the leading newspaper industry magazine, Editor & Publisher, urged newspapers to editorialize about getting the U.S. out of Iraq. The up top summary below the "Tipping Point on Iraq" headline over his August 22 piece: "At this critical moment, it's time for newspapers -- many of which helped get us into this war -- to use their editorial pages as platforms to help get us out of it. So far, few have done much more than wring their hands. Now, it's literally do-or-die time." FNC's Brit Hume, in his "Grapevine" segment on Tuesday, picked up on Mitchell's advocacy which Romenesko had highlighted.
I wrote a week and a half ago that the AP was acting as a PR firm for Cindy Sheehan. It doesn't appear that anything's changed. At all. If anything, it has gotten worse. They're still refusing to run with any of the controversial statements that she's made. They've not reported her comments on Hardball that "we should have gone after al Qaeda and maybe not after the country of Afghanistan." She told Chris Matthews that the purpose of her visit to Crawford "is actually to hold [the President] accountable for things he has already said," but no one in the "tough, skeptical" mainstream press has done anything to hold her accountable for the things that she's said.
Harlingen, Texas August 24, 2005: The saga of Cindy Sheehan continues with online postings and traditional outlets of both print and electronic media chanting an unending anti-war mantra.
The web page publication Yahoo News, on August 21, 2005, ran a banner headline reading “Cindy Sheehan Stirs Up Long Overdue Anti-War Movement”. The text of the article reads “She is no glamour girl, and yet she has a throng of admirers who have been nursing inside themselves, for the last two years and more, the secrets she implicitly reveals.”
The article identifies her as “The Gold Star Mother of the Iraq War” and later in the text charges …”Cindy Sheehan’s lightning effect on the country is that she has been saying – with her actions, gestures and intonations, if not exactly in words – what has been left deliberately unsaid in America until now…That the war in Iraq is useless.”
They begin: “Unlike earlier wars, nearly all Arlington National Cemetery gravestones for troops killed in Iraq or Afghanistan are inscribed with the slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts.”
These “slogan-like” names are simply the operational titles given to “Enduring Freedom,” for Afghanistan and “Iraqi Freedom” for those killed there. Apparently, the folks at AP are miffed at what they even admit is a voluntary choice of inscription:
NBC on Tuesday night devoted a story to comparing Iraq to Vietnam. Reporter Jim Miklaszewski concluded that “while there are marked differences between the wars in Iraq and Vietnam, the rhetoric, at least, is beginning to sound much the same.” Miklaszewski used as an excuse for raising the subject how "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld himself bringing up the Vietnam issue at his Pentagon briefing today” and rejected the equivalence. Miklaszewski went on to highlight how Senator Chuck Hagel, “the prominent Republican and decorated Vietnam veteran, said this week the U.S. is now bogged down in Iraq, similar to Vietnam.” Miklaszewski reported that “there's increasing concern in the Pentagon that a growing anti-war drumbeat here at home” -- a drumbeat being pounded by NBC -- “could eventually take a toll on troop morale in Iraq, not at all unlike Vietnam.” He also chided Rumsfeld for how he “ignored the latest polls which indicate a majority of Americans now think it was a mistake to go to war in Iraq."
WHO DIED AND left Cindy Sheehan in charge? We put her in charge the press, the politicians, the people. We put her in charge not just of her own message and her mission, which is all she had asked for, but we cranked up her voice to equal volume with the man she's calling out: POTUS himself, George W. Bush.
Let me get this straight... We, the people, "cranked up her voice" equal to the President of the United States? Huh. What edition of the LA Times do I run? Because I've got some immigration and UN corruption stories I'd like to run.
You know the MSM figure a story has legs when they create a logo for it, and sure enough Today opened its segment with a natty little logo of an American solider, an Iraqi flag, and the emblazoned question: "Iraq – the new Vietnam?”
In to answer the question was that paragon of objectivity Chris Matthews – former aide to Dem House Speaker Tip O’Neill.
There’s nothing Dems like better than a renegade Republican, and Chuck Hagel has been filling that role nicely. Lauer opened with this quote from Hagel: “The reason I don’t think more troops are the answer right now is that we’re past that stage right now. We’re locked into a bogged-down problem not dissimilar to Vietnam.”
In her Monday column, Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times gave another update on the Sheehan vs. Bush saga saying, "There is no sign that Mr. Bush will meet with Ms. Sheehan (he met with her once in a group in June 2004, two months after her son's death, when she said that he was disrespectful for calling her "Mom"), but he did say shortly after she began her vigil on Aug. 6 that he sympathized with her."
Note Bumiller keeps in step with the rest of the MSM in not mentioning Sheehan's original positive statements of her meeting with the President in 2004, as reported in her Vacaville hometown newspaper, The Reporter. She only reports what Sheehan is currently saying about that meeting.
Even more telling, we're still hard-pressed to find any mention of Cindy Sheehan's anti-American statements by any of the alphabet or major print news agencies, such as this one, "America has been killing people on this continent since it was started. This country is not worth dying for..." See more Sheehan statements. It's one thing to be anti-war. Even our soldiers say they will fight for Americans' freedom to protest the very war they are fighting in, including Sheehan's statements like, "And you tell me, what the noble cause is that my son died for... And if he (Bush) even starts to say 'freedom and democracy' I'm gonna say, bullsh*t."But, anti-American statements? That's a different story and one the MSM does not want to bring out because it would open too many eyes...to the whole truth. Which, by the way for those who care, would cause Sheehan's poll numbers to fall.
Sharon Hughes is a radio talk show host on KDIA in San Francisco and on RIGHTALK.com. Her weekly column appears in many recognized news sites. Sharon's blog: Veritas!
ABC's Good Morning America and NBC's Today this morning ignored the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy Tour" which is steaming its way towards Crawford, Texas to demonstrate in support of President Bush and the war in Iraq. CBS's The Early Show briefly mentioned it in the 8:30 a.m. news briefing by co-host Julie Chen:
And war protester Cindy Sheehan could face more opposition when she returns to Texas. A group supporting the U.S. mission in Iraq is headed to Crawford, they're calling it the quote, 'You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy Tour.'
The demonstrators are scheduled to arrive in Crawford in the afternoon of the 27th of August. When they arrive, I'll wait, perhaps in vain, for CBS correspondent Mark Knoller to give Deborah Johns coverage equal to that which he gave Sheehan.
In an article filed a few hours ago, David Pace of the Associated Press takes issue with the "slogan-like operation names the Pentagon selected to promote public support for the conflicts." Pace includes the objections of Robert and Nadia McCaffrey, who lost their son Patrick in combat in Iraq. Pace doesn't acknowledge, however, that Nadia McCaffreys has previously been in the news calling for the Bush administration to overturn a longstanding Pentagon policy forbidding the press from being present at casket arrivals at Dover Air Force Base.
A Washington Times editorial today wonders if the media will "lavish Cindy Sheehan-type coverage on Deborah Johns?"
Never heard of Deborah Johns? No surprise.
She is the leader of Marine Moms of Northern California and has a son serving in Iraq. According to the article, "She is leading a group of war supporters, the 'You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy' tour, on a week-long trek to Crawford, Texas."
But according to Washington Post reporter Dana Milbank, speaking on CNN's Reliable Sources, "You're not seeing a lot of pro-war Gold Star mothers come out there. Cindy Sheehan remains sort of untouchable."
According to The Political Teen, a Fox reporter encountered an interesting activist at an anti-Bush rally.
Fox News Anchor Brian Wilson talked about the clip:
WILSON: Finally, I had to shake my head in disbelief at this bit of tape from our FOX affiliate in Phoenix. The cameraman was sent out to talk to anti-war protesters gathered to show solidarity with Cindy Sheehan. And he ran into one fellow who had issues about talking to anyone from Fox News.
LEFT WING LOON: “I’m not talking to anybody from FOX. (WHY?) If you don’t know by now, then there’s nothing I can say that will help you. And I work for the news agency, as a matter of fact.”
WILSON: He works at a news agency and he’s participating in an anti-war protester. And he thinks that is fair and balanced.
Janice Shaw Crouse from Concerned Women for America thinks Cindy Sheehan is a victim of "24-hour 'news' coverage."
"The woman is clearly unhinged, and while we need to respect her grief at losing her son, it is now abundantly evident that her campaign has moved beyond her personal loss to her political ideology.
"It is embarrassing and inhumane for the media to expose this poor women’s unbalanced behavior.
Crouse conludes that while it's sad that her grieving has turned into "name-calling and unseemly behavior," it is "equally sad that the media continue to egg her on."
With "CAN ANTI-WAR MOMS STOP BUSH?" on screen throughout the interview session, ABC on Monday morning didn’t let Cindy Sheehan’s departure from Crawford deter them from promoting her cause as they brought aboard Celeste Zappala of Sheehan’s group, Gold Star Families for Peace. Co-host Charles Gibson gave her a lot of credit, asking about President’s Bush upcoming speech in Salt Lake City, from where Zappala appeared: “Do you think, Ms. Zappala, that he would be making these speeches were it not for your group's protest?" In the midst of giving her publicity, Gibson fretted: “You are but a small group there that is perched on the approach to the President's ranch. One hundred, two hundred people. Do you really think you've got people talking about the war?" Gibson also did something unusual, raising how Sheehan called the U.S. “morally repugnant” and he pressed Zappala about whether she worries that her protests “might dishonor” her son who died in Iraq?
Full CyberAlert item follows. For all of today's MRC CyberAlert articles.
On this morning's Today show NBC's Matt Lauer pondered if anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan had caused a shift in President Bush's rhetoric and then threw the words of RINO Sen. Chuck Hagel in Dan Bartlett's face. Lauer also showed impatience when it came to setting a timetable for U.S. troop withdrawal but at the same time worried that the administration might be rushing things with their deadlines on the Iraqi people.
Lauer opened Today at 7:00am with this teaser:
Lauer: "Then we're gonna see a new side of President Bush. On Monday for the first time the President specifically mentioned the number of U.S. troops who have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is that a response to the protest at his Texas ranch? We'll talk to a top advisor to the President about that in a couple of minutes."
While all indications are that the negotiating parties are coming closer to agreement on a constitution that will create a democratic country, the Iraqis missed a self-imposed deadline at midnight last night. There are many different possible ways to approach this story. The AP's Anne Gearan has chosen to use the occasion for a news analysis piece (masquerading as straight news) criticizing the President. Her article (Bush Pushes for Elusive Progress in Iraq) focuses, not on the Iraqis, but on the Bush administration.
I only do that to satisfy what I assume is a "Cindy Sheehan name content quota" in place for any newspaper article written on any subject related to the War in Iraq, whether it's about her or not.
On the website for the Waco Tribune, you'll find an article about counter-protest to Cindy Sheehan's anti-war Crawford camporee (thanks to The Anchoress for the pointer) that's gearing up. Here's how the article describes the counter-protest:
Johnson alluded to a forthcoming caravan scheduled to arrive in Crawford next Saturday after snaking through the southwest from San Francisco. The event, called “You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy,” is being
led by a mother who has a Marine son.
At the end of "The Tall and Short of It" segment on Fox & Friends Weekend that just concluded, Jim Pinkerton and Ellen Ratner stood up to show just what a yawning height gap there is indeed between them. Pinkerton loomed what seemed to be at least a foot-and-a-half over the diminutive Ratner.
But beyond her small physical stature, it is Ratner's smallness of mind that renders her unbearable. Most of the talk centered on Cindy Sheehan, with Ratner predictably arguing that W should meet with her.
Again and again, Ratner returned to her theme du jour: that, contrary to his pledge, W is "a divider not a uniter."
Ratner wasn't content to let it go even after being given a comprehensive opportunity to make that point. While Pinkerton was trying to respond, Ratner screeched a cacaphonous burst of "he's a divider, he's a divider."
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann, on Friday night's Countdown, smeared the Media Research Center (MRC), the parent of NewsBusters, as “a scam” and claimed, in awarding MRC President Brent Bozell the “worser” slot in his nightly “worst person” gimmick, that “the only person distorting as usual is Bozell.” Olbermann was defending himself “against the charge of wacky guy” Bozell who “accused me of distortion for having said that Rush Limbaugh had said on air, quote, 'Cindy Sheehan is just Bill Burkett. Her story is nothing more than forged documents. There's nothing about it that's real.'” Olbermann proceeded to slam Limbaugh as the “Worst Person in the World” for supposedly denying the quote, alleging: "Like your career, Rush. You're finished, credibility spent."
While Olbermann zeroed in on Bozell, the MRC's critiques of him appeared in an August 18 NewsBusters posting (with video) that I wrote which was reprinted in the MRC's CyberAlert. I never suggested that Limbaugh did not utter the sentence sequence quoted by Olbermann, but that he distorted Limbaugh's point that the media see both Sheehan and Burkett as "an opportunity" to exploit and that "it doesn't matter what the specifics of Cindy Sheehan's case are." Olbermann had snidely claimed, "I guess she made up that dead-son-in-Iraq business" -- a ridiculous interpretation of some jumbled words. Video: Windows Media or RealPlayer. Full transcript follows:
On Thursday night's 11pm EDT The Situation with Tucker Carlson on MSNBC, Newsweek's Jonathan Alter recommended that President Bush meet with Cindy Sheehan, calling him "stubborn" for not doing so already, and contended that what the current "anti-war movement" wants from Bush is for him to be the "public mourner-in-chief" and to be "more publicly responsive to the suffering."
Alter believed that meeting with Sheehan again would help Bush politically, suggesting that if she still refused to go home after a second meeting, "the press will legitimately be able to ask her, 'Look, you got what you came here for. Isn't it time for you to go home?' And then she'll move offstage," as if the media were interested in fairly challenging her attacks on the President in the first place.
If one were to rely exclusively on the left-leaning media as a source
for information on the war, one would be led to believe that you folks
in our armed forces are getting your backsides kicked all over the
Middle East these days, and what's more, the humiliating defeats you're
suffering are coming at the hands of "insurgents", "militants", or
Thankfully, most U.S. citizens are no longer dependent upon
propagandists at the Abu Ghraib Daily (aka the New York Times), or
Al-Jazeera-West (aka CBS) for their news. Indeed, Americans like myself
understand that the vast majority of butts getting kicked in Iraq and
Afghanistan are attached to fascist parasites who think that Allah
hands out rewards for the cowardly slaughter of children.