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.
Cindy Sheehan may no longer be in Crawford, Texas, but Katie Couric thinks any number of MoveOn.org protesters will do just as well. In an interview on today's edition of the Today show with MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, she asked the former Republican congressman why President Bush can't just meet with the protesters camped outside his ranch: "Do you think that the President should have met with Cindy Sheehan, and what about the other protesters who are still there? Should he now meet with them?"
One of the big problems with the American "mainstream" media apparatus is the completely uncritical way in which they accept everything that fits their template, printing anything they agree with, and suppressing or ignoring or criticizing things that they don't. We've got another fine example today in an AP story about some congressmen "call[ing] on President Bush to announce by year's end a plan for withdrawal from Iraq." The story is focused on NC Republican Walter Jones, a pre-war supporter of going in to Iraq, which does make it a legitimate news story. But, because he's now disagreeing with the President, what he's got to say is accepted as gospel truth. I think it's safe to say that the AP didn't do a lot of respectful quoting of Walter Jones when he was supporting the President in the run-up to the war.
Candlelight vigils showing support for antiwar protester Cindy Sheehan were held on Wednesday evening. On his Thursday night Countdown program, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann reported: "Americans in all corners of the country gathering by candlelight, a massive show of support for the Gold Star mothers‘ cause, Orange County, California, South Carolina, Las Vegas, and more, not exactly hotbeds of political activism, many of them, the suburbs and exurbs, deemed crucial to President Bush‘s reelection, 1,600 candlelight vigils estimated by the Associated Press. . ."
Before and after Cindy Sheehan’s announcement Thursday that she was leaving Crawford to attend to her ill mother, the networks celebrated her supposed achievements and hoped they’d re-invigorate the anti-war movement. “Did just one grieving mother spark the beginnings of an anti-war movement? We'll give you the 'Inside Story,'" CBS anchor John Roberts promised before Wyatt Andrews trumpeted: "Her movement seemed to catch fire Wednesday night as tens of thousands of people in more than a thousand places attended vigils in support.” He insisted that it’s “very clear Cindy Sheehan has tapped the public's frustration." ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas saw “a campaign born of sadness and resolution.” Thursday morning, ABC’s Charlie Gibson championed: "All across the country protests against the war in Iraq, inspired by the mother standing her ground at President Bush's ranch.” On screen, GMA put "MOM ON A MISSION: IS ANTIWAR MOVEMENT GROWING?" George Stephanopoulos claimed “a lot of Republicans would say” that “this is the President's swift boat moment.”
The AP’s Ron Fournier got into the act too, opening a Thursday night dispatch: “What began as one mother's vigil on a country road in Texas two weeks ago has grown into a nationwide protest, putting a grieving human face to the miseries of war and the misgivings about President Bush's strategies in Iraq.”
Full CyberAlert article follows. For Friday's MRC CyberAlert.
The majority of Americans charge the Bush Administration is not prosecuting the war effectively. The mainstream media, however, use this polling information to advance anti-Bush, anti-war positions.
An example of this can be seen in an August 14 Knight Ridder article. Under a headline reading “Majority of public opposes Iraq war” is a lengthy article generally summarized in one paragraph which reads, “New polls report that for the first time a majority of Americans reject President Bush’s contention that the war over there is making us safer over here. Indeed, baring major immediate progress in Iraq, 2005 may well be remembered as the year when public opinion went south and never came back…”
Though thinking people realize polls only reflect how people feel about specific questions at that brief moment in time, they are rarely reported as such. This is but one of the several ways our media present opinion as fact. When generalized polls are reported as hard news, when bombs and body counts are the lead stories on radio and television news shows, when a small band of war protesters are presented as “growing” sentiment against the conflict in Iraq, the poisoning of American resolve must be the intended outcome.