The Religious Right and Cindy Sheehan
In discussing anti-war mom, Cindy Sheehan, Jerry Falwell says, "I cringe to think of the emotional anguish that she must continue to go through as a result of her boy's death. I cannot imagine how heartrending it must be to lose a son to war. In that regard, my heart truly goes out to her."
In his unceasing desire to take every thought captive to Christ, Falwell then retreats to guilt by association three paragraphs later and chides Sheehan for garnering "support" from David Duke and Michael Moore. Not wanting to stop the smearbund, Falwell continues, "Ms. Sheehan has even gained the admiration of the Socialist Worker online (a pro-Marxist site) which noted that her efforts are precursor for a vast antiwar protest in Washington, D.C., on September 24."
Falwell then proceeds to (rightly) castigate protestors gathered outside the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and decrys the "mainstream media's" lack of coverage vis a vis the anti-war movement. The poor folks in the press have a difficult task satisfying someone like Falwell. If they cover the anti-war contingent (now roughly 60% of the country), they are accused of giving too much credence to a group of malcontents. On the other hand, if they fail to acknowledge protestors, Jerry calls them "despicable" and accuses them of a "head-in-the-sand approach."
Not to be outdone is Falwell's former henchmen at the Moral Majority, Cal Thomas. In criticizing Sheehan's comparison of Iraq and Vietnam, Thomas wrote, "This isn't Vietnam, as Sheehan claims. While Vietnam is communist, Vietnamese did not attack America on Sept. 11, nor are they infiltrating our country in an attempt to destroy us." Thomas went on to say, "The case for creating peace and stability in Iraq is a good one." Um, does Cal read the paper? Is he still unaware that none of the 9/11 hijackers came from Iraq, that Hussein was not aligned with Bin-Laden, etc.? Does he really believe that pre-war Iraq was a threat to the US, or anyone else? Wasn't there already peace and stability in Iraq, and has our intervention there been a catalyst for creating stability or chaos? Is he naive, ignorant, or malevolent?
Right-wing media critic Hugh Hewitt also criticized the Post's coverage of Sheehan and the anti-war activism of military families. Hewitt writes:
My observations of military families would estimate that for every Cindy Sheehan, there are at least 100 proud and genuinely supportive family members who are do not "support" the troops by condeming the war. The Post refuses in this article to provide any estimates, even though this isn't an impossible or even difficult task, just one certain to undermine the reporter's agenda of implying that significant numbers of military family members are opposed to the war.
Real jorunalism would ask what is a "significant" percentage first, and then probe to discover whether or not there was a real story here, or just the inevitable surfacing of dissent which while absolutely genuine, does not reach a level that approaches "newsworthiness." Because the reporter is interested in presenting an anti-war story line, though, the "three busloads" tells us absolutely zero in terms of numbers and proportions, and is used as a bride to legitimacy for the premise that Cindy Sheehan represents more than a handful of protesters.
Fine, Hugh, but were you upset by the failure of the "liberalmainstreammedia" to report on the misgivings of military professionals leading up to the Iraq war? While chickenhawks like Wolfie, Feith, and Wurmser were plotting world domination over a game of Risk, many in uniform, past and present, were sounding the alarms. Anthony Zinni, Eric Shinseki, William Odom, Brent Scowcroft, David Hackworth, Norman Schwarzkopf, James Webb, and a host of current military leaders warned of the inevitable consequences of an Iraq invasion. But such arguments carry little weight with uberblogging keyboard bombardiers like Hewitt and Instapundit when there's Cindy Sheehan to kick around.