Sheehan's 'Vigil' Upgraded to 'Standoff' in WashPost's Pages

August 26th, 2005 2:11 PM

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.

But at least one paper which syndicated Coates's article, the Myrtle Beach Sun News, scrapped the Post's loaded headline and opted for "vigil" in its header. "Anti-war vigil persists as Bush supporters rally."