Mourning mother or publicity hound?
Demonstrating a keenness for tautology, the BBC writes:
The mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq, who is holding a roadside protest outside President Bush's Texas ranch, is gaining support from well-wishers.Doesn’t everyone gain support from well-wishers?
Anyway, loyal TAE readers will already be familiar with Sheehan, whose association with the anti-war group Gold Star Families for Peace (she was a co-founder) was noted by TAE back on June 17. Recall that GSFP had been ludicrously described by the BBC as a “non-partisan” group, a claim which Sheehan’s own writing on the GSFP website proved to be laughable. Now the BBC presents Sheehan as a simple, distraught mother demonstrating for a meeting with the president.
In fact Sheehan is a full-time protestor and anti-war activist, as well as a media regular when it comes to coverage of the anti-war movement (or, perhaps that should read simply anti-war coverage). Even prior to this most recent spate of coverage over her actions in Crawford, she had been quoted or written about in at least 4 New York Times articles dating back to October 2004, including her own letter to the editor. She was featured in a Washington Post article in February, giving her (negative, of course) reactions to the President’s State of the Union address. She was on CNN’s Larry King Show in June (after already being scheduled but then bumped from the show in January). She’s also been featured in other, lower profile media outlets, such as her interview in the Portland Phoenix in January.
Sheehan and her group GSFP have been involved in various anti-war protests and publicity stunts, including the faux-congressional hearings on the infamous Downing Street Memo , in which Sheehan gave “testimony”, and, in what will now seem a familiar stunt, an attempt to enter the Pentagon, seeking a sit-down with Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.
I have no doubt that Sheehan is indeed a distraught mother. But she is also a media savvy, publicity seeking, long experienced anti-war activist. Her roadside sit-in is hardly the sincere effort of a mourning mother to have a word with President Bush. It is simply one in a long and on-going series of anti-Bush publicity stunts. Once again, the BBC has hidden the real story from its audience.