Friday, August 19, 2005

Sheehan Motivating the Media

Absolutely positively my last post on Cindy Sheehan.

A good chunk of the media and basically all of the "usual suspects" are calling the game from the same playbook. Cindy Sheehan is a grieving mother who's selfless dedication arises from a deeply held belief that the war in Iraq is wrong, the administration is totally inept and our boys are dying in an ill concieved endeavor.

They are sparing no effort in the attempt to characterize Ms. Sheehan as the personification of the American Mother who has lost a child to war, America's mom so to speak. They further attempt to promote the perception that Ms. Sheehan represents a sunstantial number if not a decided majority of the Soldier Moms in this country; "If only they had a voice they'd be saying the same thing as Cindy" and other such pajorative speculation. They are even referring to her now as "Mother" Sheehan in an effort to perpetuate this belief. The marketing campaign has been professional albeit not all that convincing, somehere between the launching of a new $125.00 an ounce Chanel fragrance and an infomercial for steak knives.

Any criticism of this fine women is labelled as a vicious right wing attack on the very institution of motherhood itself. ( Bill Johnson Rocky Mountain News "The influential and powerful in this country feel free to attack and belittle a woman who lost a son in the war and now refuses to remain silent in her grief, pretty much tells you everything you need to know of 2005 America".) They rationalize the cheerleading because it is after all for mother, country and apple pie.

It's pie alright, steaming cowpie and it's nothing about substance and everything about smoke and mirrors. Ms. Sheehans persona is a spectre created in the fertile minds of the far left pacifist peaceniks, MoveOn .Org and the media. In Cindy Sheehan they have created a caricature of their collective selves.

Ms. Sheehan is anything but a "typical" mother. She has been active in far left fringe organizations since well before the invasion of Iraq was a glint in George Bush's eye. She now aligns herself with such "mainstream" organizations as TrueMajority and Democracy for America, MoveOn.Org, Code Pink Women for Peace, United for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, Michael Moore, etc etc.

Some of her more notable statements:

1. This country is not worth dying for.

2. Yes, he (Casey Sheehan) was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel.

3. When asked if she would feel any different if Casey had died in Afghanistan, she replied: I don't think so, Chris, because I believe that Afghanistan is almost the same thing...... we should have gone after al-Qaida and maybe not after the country of Afghanistan.

4. After their meeting she commented "I now know he's [Bush] sincere about wanting freedom for the Iraqis," Cindy said after their meeting. "I know he's sorry and feels some pain for our loss. And I know he's a man of faith.". Subsequently, she has said that Bush treated her callously during the meeting and acted as if it was a party atmospere.

5. "The biggest terrorist is George W. Bush."

6. "I want to meet with the President to ask him why he killed my son"

7. Sheehan says she considers Lynne Stewart her Atticus Finch

8. "It’s OK for Israel to have nuclear weapons but we are waging nuclear war in Iraq, we have contaminated the entire country. It’s not OK for Syria to be in Lebanon. Hypocrites! But Israel can occupy Palestine? Stop the slaughter!“

There's plenty more, but I believe the point is made. Other than maybe 5% or so of the population that could use serious psychiatric help, nobody honestly believes that Ms. Sheehan is anything close to representative of a typical American mother, grieving or not. I do believe that certain people on the right went a bit far pontificating on her divorce and tax payment defaults etc. That smacks of smear and it's not needed. Ms. Sheehan has poked enough holes in her own boat.

Contrary to the prevailing media talking points, the fact that she has had a terrible loss and is grieving by no means immunizes her from scrutiny or constructive criticism nor should it. Ms. Sheehan chose to exploit her present situation to highlight her ideology and further her agenda.
If she insists on sparring in the public arena of politically weighty issues, she better expect to get nailed with a few jabs. God forbid we should use her own words against her.

The media somehow feels that Ms. Sheehan's opinion should carry more weight than the average American. Somehow, because of her loss she is eminently qualified to make social commentary on the legitimacy of the Iraq war. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's because of her loss that her judgment and rational are skewed by strong emotion making her opinions particularly suspect and unreliable.

Ms. Sheehan has proven through her statements and actions that she is an enigma, the miniscule exception rather than the rule. What her motivations are I don't know nor do I particularly care. She couldn't be any more wrong regardless of how noble or despicable her motivations may be.

The motivations of the Entrenched Media, however are known and predictable. They needed a poster child for the antiwar movement and found one in Cindy Sheehan. A useful idiot with the added bonus of being a true believer. You can almost hear them muttering, "Holy Crap, these stories just seem to write themselves". Expect them to hold onto her like grim death.

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