Ever since Cindy Sheehan started protesting in Crawford Texas, the mainstream media has been portraying her as the voice of grieving mothers. She has absolute moral authority, as Maureen Dowd of New York Times, puts it.
Newspaper articles and television shows claimed that a flock of people, including parents who lost children in Iraq, had gathered in Crawford, Texas to show their support for Sheehan. According to AP, “By Thursday, about 50 people had joined her cause, pitching tents in muddy, shallow ditches and hanging anti-war banners; two dozen others have sent flowers.” On CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, the announcer said “Within days, the numbers grew along this Texas roadside. Other parents who had lost sons and daughters to the war, seasoned antiwar protesters, … all made Cindy’s cause their own.”
Surprisingly though, neither of these two sources showed any grieving mother (or father) who supported Sheehan.
Don’t get me wrong. She has plenty of supporters in Camp Casey, as they call it. One man, Trucker Craig Delaney, altered his route from California to Texas, just to be with her; he just isn’t a grieving parent. In fact, the only grieving person CNN could find at all was a young woman who lost her soldier pen-pal in Iraq.
Even on Military Families Speak Out, a website dedicated to military families who oppose the war, I could not find a single article naming any parent who lost a child in Iraq and who supports Sheehan, despite many stories about her on the site.
The only exception to the rule so far is today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune, which featured two grieving mothers who supported Sheehan… along with ten who do not, even if they are not necessarily pro-war. “I was not in favor of the war…but my son was a gung-ho soldier, so I back him and all of our troops in Iraq and everywhere,” said Norma Benson, who lost her son Sgt. First Class Michael A. Benson only a few days ago. Out of twelve mothers featured here, only two emphatically support Sheehan, one of whom is Minnesota state senator Becky Lourey of the Democratic Farmer Labor Party, a well known Bush critic whose son, Army Chief Warrant Officer Matt Lourey, died last May.
By contrast, I have heard and read many comments from parents of fallen heroes who support the president and our war effort from, e.g., Cherenkoff and the Wall Street Journal.
Clearly, Cindy Sheehan does not represent most greiving mothers, let alone have “absolute” “moral authority” in this matter. The recent survey taken by Rasmussen confirms this point: “Among those with family members who have served in the military, Sheehan is viewed favorably by 31% and unfavorably by 48%.” the study said.
It seems I am not the only one who is having a hard time locating grieving mothers who support Cindy Sheehan’s anti-war protest. Dana Millbank, hardly a right-winger, reports that MoveOn.org was quite open about their deception:
“We’re also asking that you bring pictures of children,” MoveOn.org requested, and it didn’t matter “whether or not you have a child serving in the military.”
There must be many grieving families who oppose the war, but they evidently choose to grieve differently than does Sheehan. At least they have not made their presence known in Crawford, Texas.
(Posted by Sachi, Dafydd’s wife.)