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Fair and balanced coverage of Cindy Sheehan
Last night CNN's Anderson Cooper 360 did a show about Cindy Sheehan. Of
course it would be too much to ask that they do a show just about Cindy
Sheehan, who is, after all, an active news maker. So they managed to fit in
segments of White House spin about how "emotional" Bush is when he meets
with families and clips of Bush claiming that he "grieves for every death,"
scurrilous non-attributed claims about how "'some' [my quotes] call her a
savvy political radical and a pawn for the left," clips of Bill O'Reilly
claiming that Sheehan bears responsibility for deaths of American soldiers
in Iraq and that her behavior "borders on treasonous," interviews with
people, including military families, who support the war, and on and on. All
pretty much par for the course on American TV when dealing with someone who
is challenging the establishment. But this was the straw that broke the
camel's back for me - after Sheehan talks about withdrawing the troops,
here's what Cooper has to say:
"You know, Senator Joe Biden, who has been critical of President Bush for
quite some time, he doesn't say we should pull-out. He says, in fact, it
would be a mistake to pull-out. John Kerry says that it would be a mistake,
What a completely disingenuous, fundamentally dishonest thing to say. The
implication is that, look, other people who are against the war don't agree
with you about pulling out the troops. That is actually true, but it doesn't
apply to Joe Biden and John Kerry, both of whom are critics of George Bush
on the war from the right. The argument that both of them make is that Bush
isn't fighting the war hard enough, or smart enough. Neither of them has
ever opposed the war itself, they are war supporters. So the fact that they
are opposed to a pull-out is hardly surprising, and has nothing whatsoever
to do with Cindy Sheehan.
The other thing I "loved" about the interview, which is something which
Cooper is hardly the first to say, was this:
"You've associated yourself with groups, Moveon.org, other protesters. Ben
Cohen has funded some of the efforts here.
"Do you worry about tainting your message by linking yourself with far-left
groups or very liberal groups?"
News flash for Anderson Cooper - Moveon.org is not a "far-left" group. I'm
not even sure it qualifies as "very" liberal (whatever that means), although
it is certainly liberal. Likewise for Ben Cohen's True Majority, whose
principles hardly qualify as something that would "taint" someone who was
associated with them (attack world hunger, reduce our dependence on oil, get
money out of politics, etc.). Only on American TV could someone throw out
such an "accusation" and assume (probably correctly) that it would somehow
resonate with the audience. The clear implication, offered without either
supporting evidence or a "360 rebuttal," is that someone should be "tainted"
by association with such groups.
Left I on the News