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Why Are the Media Having Such a Hard Time Covering Cindy Sheehan?

By Arianna Huffington
Huffington Post

As Gary Hart points out there is indeed a rich history of protest in America. From our Founding Fathers to abolitionists to suffragettes to labor strikers to civil rights marchers, protesters have repeatedly challenged the status quo and changed our society for the better.

So why are the mainstream media having such a hard time covering Cindy Sheehan?

It's as if the simple, direct, and starkly emotional nature of her stance is too raw for them to handle in any of the standard ways. So they've taken to treating her with a strange mix of detachment, condescension, distortion, and aggression.

Paula Zahn referred to her as "this woman." Edmund Morris alluded to her in the New York Times as an "emotional predator." And Dana Milbank wanted to "determine, once and for all, whether Cindy Sheehan is Rosa Parks or Lyndon Larouche."

It's one thing for the O'Reillys and the Limbaughs to spew anti-Cindy venom. The problem arises when, under the pretense of offering both sides, MSM figures regurgitate the GOP attack machine's most contemptible hits ("she's a puppet," "she's anti-Israel," "her own family is against her") as if there are always two legitimate sides to every story. I wonder if the civil rights protests were happening today, who at the cable shows would feel compelled to give equal time to the John Birch Society?

And what to make of the attempt to paint the nascent anti-war movement as a "special interest group." Leaving aside the fact that Sheehan is clearly nobody's pawn and has been raising her voice in protest long before Fenton and MoveOn and Ben Cohen arrived on the scene to lend their support, the use of the term "special interest" is blatantly misleading. Thinking that the war is a lousy idea -- as a majority of Americans now do -- does not qualify one as a "special interest group."

So you can imagine what a pleasure it was watching Keith Olbermann this week, who, instead of offering a "balanced," "on the one hand, on the other hand" look at Sheehan, named Limbaugh "today's worst person in the world" for his despicable Sheehan attack, saying "I guess the painkillers wipe out your memory along with your ethics."

And it's about time we put an end to the absurd double standard wherein a private citizen, staging a courageous and selfless protest, has every word she's ever uttered dug up and scrutinized more closely than some residual DNA on CSI while public officials making life and death decisions are allowed to say the most ludicrous things without being held accountable.

So Cindy might have used the "f-word" when talking about the administration that sent her son to die in Iraq. Big fucking deal. Is it really worthy of a banner headline on Drudge or cackley chatter on right wing blogs?

Certainly not while Don Rumsfeld's ludicrous comparisons between Japanese kamikaze pilots and Iraqi insurgents go unchallenged.

It's truly amazing: the MSM want to hold Sheehan's feet to the fire on statements she's denied making about Israel while allowing Dick "last throes" Cheney, Condi "mushroom cloud" Rice, George "slam dunk" Tenet, Alberto "quaint" Gonzalez, and George "Mission Accomplished" Bush a free pass.

Now that Sheehan has had to interrupt her vigil due to her mother's stroke, the media should take the opportunity to look in the mirror and reassess their handling of her story. Because while Sheehan's Crawford protest has been interrupted, the public's outcry against the president's war in Iraq has only just begun.

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The media are having such a hard time covering Cindy Sheehan for the exact same reason they've always resisted covering real people wanting real answers and real change: Because the media, like the Democrats and Republicans are in the business of keeping the status quo, protecting their own interests and the interests of those who finance them--i.e. those on Wall Street; not in the business of working for real change.

Very true. And this is American.

How true. Take a look at something in the pipeline, which might help.

Independent World Television-on the air by 2007

Instead of investigating stories (that would be too much trouble), the main stream press has become mere mouth pieces for this regime. The press pass on the lies freely, unchallenged. And, they are warwhores; what offers up a continued flow of great news but a war! Finally, you have to look at who owns the media. They are owned by large corporations that make huge profits during a war. So, let's go have a war because it's a win, WIN situation for them.

So why are the mainstream media having such a hard time covering Cindy Sheehan?

Check this out.

Maybe the main stream media should start hiring reporters. I don't what we have now but they're not doing the job.

Cindy Sheehan is selfish... I simply do not like or support her views. Her actions are complete legal... but in my mind are not justified. She should really just go home.

I use to like Paula Zahn, but it is time for someone to duct tape her mouth. She and Wolf Blitzer and Chris Matthews. They are an extension of this Bush junta.

I used to just think the mainstream media were merely gutless sycophants too worried about their careers to stand up and challenge the near fascist Bush administration.

However their sinister role now appears too broad and too deep for that simple explanation. Not everyone can be a chickenshit...

The fact is the mainstream media is now nothing more than an elaborate propaganda machine.

Find out who owns / controls the mainstream media and their motives are thrown into sharper relief and their goals become easier to understand.

The US press (and more recently the UK press) have been corrupted.

After Bush and Co are in jail we will not forget the huge role they played in selling us all out.

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