All Cindy, all the time
Rightwing criticism of a bereaved mother who is camped outside President George Bush's Texas ranch in protest at the conflict in Iraq intensified yesterday as her campaign struck a nerve with growing anti-war opinion in the country.Forget for the moment Younge’s confusion between “growing anti-war opinion” and “bored reporters stuck in the West Texas heat”. Despite the “intensified” criticism from the right, Younge manages to cite by name the criticism of only a single person, Christopher Hitchens. Granted, Hitchens’ intense support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has deprived him of his previously exalted position on the left, resulting in his (self-) banishment from the pages of The Nation, and being a Brit probably makes him of a bit more interest to a UK audience than your average American pundit. But a man who continues to accuse Henry Kissinger of being a war criminal hardly stands out as your typical American right-winger.
Which is not to say that Younge is wrong. There has been plenty of criticism of the “bereaved mother”, and, indeed, most of it from the political right. But, far from simply making his audience aware of the criticisms, Younge’s article is plainly intended to discredit any such criticism as little more than partisan, “personal attacks”. He quotes an anonymous “pro-war commentator” as characterizing Sheehan as a “nut”, and cites Hitchens’ dismissal that Sheehan is “spouting piffle” and engaging in “dreary, sentimental nonsense.” Of the large quantity of substantive criticism (James Taranto, Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, or Linda Chavez, to cite a few), including Hitchens’ own well-reasoned objections to the Sheehan media frenzy, Younge has no time whatsoever. Clearly he is only interested in criticisms which make the critics, not Sheehan, look bad.
Or, for that matter, marginalized, which explains the presence of the “rightwing” characterization, despite Hitchens’ questionable bona fides as a full-fledged man of the right. Funny, that, how supporters of Sheehan are, well, just supporters, but her detractors are “rightwing”. (In fact, if The Guardian is any indication, there is virtually no such thing as an American leftwing. A search of their website articles for “rightwing US” turns up 51 articles. A search for “leftwing US” turns up exactly one…oddly, an article about mothers.)
The Guardian even manages a dig at Sheehan’s poor husband, who, as was noted yesterday, has filed for a divorce. After warning of increased “personal attacks on Sheehan as a result of this news, Younge tells us:
Patrick Sheehan, who was her high school boyfriend, is seeking a share of insurance money and benefits awarded by the US government after their soldier son's death in Iraq.Sure, he’s seeking a share of all of their California-defined community assets, as pretty much all divorce participants do, but filling us in on the petty details of the divorce is hardly Younge’s point, is it? Better you be left with the impression that her husband seeks to profit from his son’s death than you think that even he is tired of her shenanigans.
Yes, The Guardian is just that low.