WHY CINDY SHEEHAN MATTERS – TO THE MEDIA: MSNBC’s Tim Russert Says Mother Sheehan’s Glumness Justifies Media’s Negative Coverage of War

by Richard Poe
Tuesday, August 30, 2005

4:41 pm Eastern Time

Ever since Cindy Sheehan arrived in Crawford, Texas on August 6, most Americans have been scratching their heads wondering how this woman manages to get so much face time on major news networks.  Tim Russert supplied a partial answer to that question on the Sunday, August 28 broadcast of MSNBC’s Meet the Press. Russert implied that Sheehan gives journalists a good excuse to do what they do anyway – denounce US intervention in Iraq. He listed Mother Sheehan’s despondency as the first in a list of four circumstances which, in his opinion, justify mass media opposition to the war. Russert said:

“There was widespread discussion about the role of the media in Vietnam, the media lost the war and so forth, but we’re in a situation now where Cindy Sheehan, who lost a son, has encamped herself down in Crawford, Texas, is coming to Washington. There are anti-war demonstrations throughout the country. The reconstruction of the country has not occurred on pace. Money that was supposed to be used for reconstruction is being used to help secure the country. General Meigs, General McCaffrey, everybody, we in the media are covering the reality. Are we not obligated to do that even though it may not, in fact, `encourage,’ quote, unquote, the American people to support the war effort?”

If I understand Mr. Russert rightly, he is saying that Cindy Sheehan represents the “reality” of the war, and therefore demands round-the-clock coverage, seven days a week, from now to eternity, while the vast majority of Gold Star families who support the war, love their country and regard their fallen sons and daughters as heroes do not represent “reality” and therefore don’t deserve the time of day.

This is what they call “sound news judgment” in the major media.

by Richard Poe
August 30, 2005 04:41 PM ET

Cross-posted by 08.30.05


21 Responses to “WHY CINDY SHEEHAN MATTERS – TO THE MEDIA: MSNBC’s Tim Russert Says Mother Sheehan’s Glumness Justifies Media’s Negative Coverage of War”


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  1. Madzionist says:

    Russert was an activist in the Democratic Party when he lived in my original hometown of Buffalo, before he became a bigshot television
    “journalist”. No big surprise that this guy is a Sheehanite. He’d be there singing “if I had a hammer” if he didn’t have the TV reporter gig stopping him.


  2. InRussetShadows says:

    This is a transparent attempt to use a recent event as cover for past actions. These guys were reporting troop movements, slanting coverage in favor of beheaders, and buttkissing Saddam long before they even knew about Mother Sheehan. Only a journalist is likely to believe Tim’s rationalization!

  3. Mark says:

    There will be plenty of room for Russert and people like him, in the end.

    I wonder if there are marshmallow and hot dog vendors there?

    There will be plenty of fire.

  4. Richard Poe says:

    InRussetShadows writes: “This is a transparent attempt to use a recent event as cover for past actions.”

    Actually, it’s worse than that. It’s a transparent attempt to take a non-event (Mother Sheehan’s effort to seek a second meeting with President Bush), puff up that non-event into a pseudo-event through saturation media coverage, then cite the pseudo-event as a reason to give even more media coverage to people who oppose the war.

  5. bethtopaz says:

    Well said, Richard Poe. Too bad that 70% of Americans polled recently say Cindy Sheehan has not affected their outlook on the war.

  6. bethtopaz says:

    Correction: make that 79%.

  7. Richard Poe says:

    bethtopaz writes: “…70% of Americans polled recently say Cindy Sheehan has not affected their outlook on the war. … Correction: make that 79%.”

    Only seventy-nine percent? I wonder how Mother Sheehan’s antics affected the other 21 percent. Perhaps she has driven them into the pro-war camp as well.

    Thanks to Mother Sheehan, we may be approaching 100 percent support for the war! Of course, we’ll never know for sure, since all the major pollsters lean left, and fudge their surveys to benefit the Dems.

  8. bethtopaz says:

    In answer to that, Richard, about half of the 21% feel more strongly for the war and half against it. But overall, her antics haven’t made much of a dent, except to be entertaining in a sick kind of way. In the end it will backfire and those who were on the fence will fall into the “support the troops AND their mission” camp, especially after hearing about the antics of her supporters Code Pink at Walter Reed and at the recent funeral of a slain soldier.

  9. peedoffamerican says:

    If Ms. Sheehan claims that her son Casey was so against the war by channeling his spirit in heaven, I challenge her to produce one handwritten letter from him that condemns the war and President Bush. This letter must be verifiably his, by comparison to his handwriting on legal documents and other family members.


  10. bethtopaz says:

    I just looked up some quotes by a 20th century leader. Here are the results:

    “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.�?

    “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.�?

    Who said these quotes? Was it Ronald Reagan? George W. Bush? Some other Republican leader or president? No, it was John F. Kennedy. President John F. Kennedy. One of our country’s most beloved presidents and one of the Democrat’s most honored presidents. I was 10 years old when he was assassinated. My parents were life-long Republicans, but when he was elected, they honored him as their president. When he was killed, we mourned. If JFK could come back today, I believe he would be very sad to see what has become of his party. It would behoove the Democrats to heed his words today. Here are some more of his timely quotes:

    “I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: ‘I served in the United States Navy.’�?

    A young man who does not have what it takes to perform military service is not likely to have what it takes to make a living. Today’s military rejects include tomorrow’s hard-core unemployed.�?

    “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.�?

    “I hear it said that West Berlin is militarily untenable – and so was Bastogne, and so, in fact, was Stalingrad. Any danger spot is tenable if men – brave men – will make it so.�?

    “Israel was not created in order to disappear – Israel will endure and flourish. It is the child of hope and the home of the brave. It can neither be broken by adversity nor demoralized by success. It carries the shield of democracy and it honors the sword of freedom.�?

    “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.�?

    “The path we have chosen for the present is full of hazards, as all paths are. The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.�?

    “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.�?

  11. dontdrinkallthecoke says:

    Tim Russert, along with 99% of the MSM and other far-left media, believes in the Walter Cronkite doctrine that anti-war protesting is always news and patriotic displays are never news. They even admit it with their bare faces hanging out!

    Whatever happened to Sunday supplements, or their equivalent, where we could see some good deeds in Iraq being done, etc. Or a feature story that highlights the President’s views. These journalists from the bizarro world actually think there is some rule against that.

    Here’s a theory about polls and approval ratings, not that I think the polls are necessarily important, just a theory about them. Did the President’s approval ratings go down during the Terri Schiavo coverage AND during the Cindy Sheehan coverage because of what I call the Special Annoyance Factor?

    My idea is that even bad news from Iraq is acceptable; people know that massive long-term efforts are going to run afoul of problems, period. What is really fingernails on a chalkboard, though, is having to sit through “bad” news that is, in a sense, completely unnecessary.

    Whatever you think of the Terri Schiavo case, (people think) why did everyone outside the family have to participate? (People think) why does that have to be in my face? Similarly with Sheehan. I know people are fascinated by train wrecks, but with all the liberal media so concerned, and the moonbats so militant, it is extermely tiresome, annoying TO THE HILT. I think people perceive in both cases that the President could have and should have made these painful stories just go away.

  12. bethtopaz says:

    Rightminded, why is it that the journalist, Hollywood, college professors, etc. are all liberal and hate America? I don’t get it.

  13. ralphbprice says:

    I have observed that these last bastions of the left believed that the only way they could influence the future was to follow the tried and true Nazi doctrine of repeating their tired mantra ad infinitum. The problem with that as many have seen is that Americans are a lot smarter than the Germans of the 1930’s. Due to the courage of some conservatives, and the invention of the internet and the blog, it is much easier to make an informed decision and most importantly, find the truth. Anyone that thinks for themselves sees beyond the politics and the rhetoric and sees the media, academics and the egomaniacs of Hollywood for what they are, pendantic synchophants that can’t speak unless someone tells them what to say. The majority of them are so worried about what everyone thinks of them. Their self-image hinges on the approval of their peers. Have you noticed that there are few “maverick” Democrats? There are many “marverick” Republicans though, because they at least make the effort to set themselves apart from the pack. The reason that they hate America is because they can afford to, they have a rewarding career and are set for life…at least the majority of them. Because they are so weak-minded, and need a script, they only parrot what their handlers tell them to say. They are extremely easy to influence by the far left interest groups who stroke their mega egos as long as they tow the party line.

  14. Rightminded says:

    bethtopaz asks:

    Rightminded, why is it that the journalist, Hollywood, college professors, etc. are all liberal and hate America? I don’t get it.

    Why the left dominates these professions, I believe would make for a fascinating consideration unto themselves. Please let me for now, just address why I believe, liberals-leftists (I like to keep my enemies lumped together, so as not to confuse the issue and make myself vulnerable to them) hate America.

    The left in my humble opinion hates America simply because it’s roots are simply not firmly planted in the American Revolution, but are shallowly planted in the egalitarian nightmare that began in the French Revolution.

    The American Revolution provided for a government that was to insure, with the rule of law, life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. The French Revolution provided for a government that was to insure, with the rule of law, life liberty and a guaranteed economical outcome.

    These absolute polar opposite, ideological philosophies, set in motion a natural battle of human dominance and competition for resources. The battle rages and continues today, in the form of “human hate”, as a mechanism for protecting a group’s or an individual’s self interests and resource acquisition.

    The left hates America, because she only makes up less then 3% of the population of the world, yet has 50% of it’s wealth. The Right (true right) hates the left, because it is trying, with the use of all sorts of Byzantine methods (class envy, race baiting, destruction of the faithful) to break into the American vault and re-distribute her wealth to the world.

    Naturally, we both know that there are complicating factors involved with my theory above. WHAT’S YOUR TAKE ON WHAT I WROTE? OR YOUR TAKE IN GENERAL?

    P.S. I enjoy very much reading your comments, and it is my hope that you stick around!

  15. bethtopaz says:

    Rightminded – I have been thinking about what you wrote for the last two days – and I think you are, well, right (minded). I also think there’s a guilt factor involved. They have more money than they know they deserve and their misplaced compassion somehow makes them feel less guilty, methinks. Although – this also keeps them from parting with too much of the hard cold cash.

    P.S. Like Rush said, you won’t find Hollywood in New Orleans or Mississippi helping out. You won’t find the Ultra-Left Liberals down there either. But you will find ordinary Americans, like you and me. People whose faces you’ll never see, whose names you’ll never know. True and good-hearted Americans, lending a helping hand to their neighbors in a time of need.

  16. kev says:

    I don’t know why, but the leftists never cease to amaze me. If sheehan’s actions,words, whatever, justify what the media is doing regarding the war on terror, what about her son’s words and actions (sheehan’s channeling, notwhithstanding)? He believed in this cause enough so that he put himself in harms’ way, again and again, voluntarily. Is that not more evidence than mother sheehan has offered to the contrary? All you have to do is change the name of the war and the name of the president, and it’s the anti-Vietnam people all over again. How about the msm giving equal time to Casey, the real Casey, not his mother’s sad invention.

  17. bethtopaz says:

    Speaking of sheehan — where is she now? If she’s so caring about the sons and daughters of America, why isn’t she putting her ridiculous little campaign on hold, and marshalling her supporters to direct their money (and believe me, there’s lots of big money behind her circus) to the victims of Katrina? Put your money where your mouth is, muthasheehan. And boy, does she have a big one. Excuse my unkind words for this woman, but her arrogance and hypocrisy disgust me. Meanwhile, Texas, a big red state, is opening their arms to tens of thousands of New Orleans refugees. Just heard on the news: 9-1-5 @ 10:30 a.m. – Texas opens their arms to 20,000 more refugees.

  18. 53driver says:

    Rightminded; Interesting take on history. I can see some elements that I would agree with immediately. Others I need to ruminate on for a bit but on the whole a well thought out response.

    I have to agree with bethtopaz though that guilt plays (I think) a HUGE factor in their hatred of our great country.

  19. Rightminded says:

    Thanks 53driver!

    Ruminate away, and get back with us, your input will be greatly appreciated.

    I agree with you, and bethtopaz, guilt does factor into the equation tremendously, as does envy and the fear of being envied.

  20. » Blog Archive » WHY CINDY SHEEHAN MATTERS - TO THE MEDIA: Sheehan’s Glumness Justifies Media’s Negative Coverage of War says:

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