Skip to main content

Cindy or Bring in the Clowns

When media folk want to validate their prejudices, they commission a poll to verify them, a junk in, junk out phenomena.

It is a foolhardy fallacy to think that people believe everything they read. The opposite may be true: We are dealing with a readership that has “come of age” and tends to be hypercritical. But you cannot form a sound opinion around an empty space: People cannot mentally grope data that has never registered in their minds. The media’s sins of commission pale in respect of their sins of omission. And, of course, if it’s not there, a poll cannot measure it.

Here is a harmless example: In September, a political commentator wrote a column asserting that Cindy Sheehan’s protest against the war in Iraq was rendered ineffective because people were too easily distracted. The column was titled, “Weather Distracts Nation From Iraq War.”

“As a nation,” the commentator wrote, “we seem to be unable to pay attention to more than one thing at a time. Iraq, Iraq - whoa! Look at those gas prices! Gas, gas - whoa! Look at that hurricane!”

No doubt the writer had her own reasons for wishing to keep the nation’s eyes fixed on Sheehan. But there is abundant evidence, much of it printed in the newspaper for which she writes, that nothing short of Armageddon would distract the media from focusing on the Iraq war -- particularly those aspects of it that are nettlesome to President George Bush.

It is true that Ms. Sheehan’s Washington protest was shoved off the front pages by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. But then, “All Cindy All the Time” would have been – indeed, is – an insufferable bore.

And here we arrive at the nub of the problem. It could plausibly be argued that by the end of September 2005, the nation had a surfeit of Sheehan reportage. We were up to our necks with Cindy, and most of the incidents reported were, in any case, plucked from an anti-Viet Nam war script more weathered than New Orleans.

See Cindy say “this country is not worth dying for.” See Cindy say her son Casey “was killed in the Global War of Terrorism waged on the world and its own citizens by the biggest terrorist outfit in the world: George and his destructive neo-con cabal.” See Cindy refer to foreign terrorists in Iraq as “Freedom Fighters.” See Cindy refer to President Bush as "a lying bastard… that jerk… that filth spewer and war monger... that evil maniac,” and wonder plaintively, while the cameras are yet rolling, why the president should refuse to meet with her a second time.

During Cindy’s first audience with Bush, she was a bit more passive, perhaps because her new friends – particularly International Answer, one of the sponsoring groups of the Washington peace rally and a front group for jihadism -- had not yet stuck their pitchforks in her.

See Cindy arrested by Washington DC police for obstructing a public pathway. See her booked and returned to the street for photo ops.

How retro 70’s can you get?

War protests are necessary, even advisable. But this protest was bound to alienate the affections of those who had come of age in our brave new world.

Even former New York City Mayor Ed Koch – no rightist; Koch thinks the president should bring the troops home , the sooner the better, and deposit the whole mid-East tar baby into the hands of the United Nations – was prepared to write off Sheehan after her Washington DC performance.

“Many Americans, myself included,” Koch wrote in one of his columns, “now see her as a person who has come to enjoy the celebratory status accorded to her by the radicals on the extreme left who see America as the outlaw of the world. These radicals are not content to be constructive critics. They are bent on destroying this country.”

Right on!

It wasn’t Katrina or Rita that elbowed Sheehan off the front pages: It was Cindy’s runaway mouth, her too ardent friends, and a host of incurious reporters who omitted in their stories many of her quotes presented here.

You just can’t do that and expect to be convincing in an age as robust and foolproof as ours.


Unknown said…
Compare car insurance quotes and save 10% online insurance online

Popular posts from this blog

The Blumenthal Burisma Connection

Steve Hilton, a Fox News commentator who over the weekend had connected some Burisma corruption dots, had this to say about Connecticut U.S. Senator Dick Blumenthal’s association with the tangled knot of corruption in Ukraine: “We cross-referenced the Senate co-sponsors of Ed Markey's Ukraine gas bill with the list of Democrats whom Burisma lobbyist, David Leiter, routinely gave money to and found another one -- one of the most sanctimonious of them all, actually -- Sen. Richard Blumenthal."

Dave Walker, Turning Around The Misery Index

Dave Walker, who is running for Lieutenant Governor on the Republican Party ticket, is recognized by most credible political observers as perhaps the most over qualified candidate for Lieutenant Governor in state history.
He is a member of the Accounting Hall of Fame and for ten years was the Comptroller General of the United States. When Mr. Walker talks about budgets, financing and pension viability, people listen.
Mr. Walker is also attuned to fine nuances in political campaigning. He is not running for governor, he says, because he had moved to Connecticut only four years ago and wishes to respect the political pecking order. Very few people in the state think that, were he governor, Mr. Walker would know less about the finance side of government than his budget chief.

Murphy Stumbles

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy has been roughly cuffed by some news outlets, but not by Vox, which published on April 16 a worshipful article on Connecticut’s Junior Senator, “The Senator of State: How Connecticut’s Chris Murphy, a rising Democratic star, would run the world.”
On April 15, The Federalist mentioned Murphy in an article entitled “Sen. Chris Murphy: China And The World Health Organization Did Nothing Wrong. The lede was a blow to Murphy’s solar plexus: “Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy exonerated China of any wrongdoing over the global pandemic stemming from the novel Wuhan coronavirus on Tuesday.
“’The reason that we’re in the crisis that we are today is not because of anything that China did, is not because of anything the WHO [World Health Organization] did,’ said Murphy during a prime-time interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.”