behind the news

Bloggers dissect Sheehan

Things get ugly
May 29, 2007

On Memorial Day, Cindy Sheehan tendered her resignation letter to the anti-war movement, saying that she felt rejection and rebuke on both sides of the political aisle. She writes:

“When I started to hold the Democratic Party to the same standards that I held the Republican Party, support for my cause started to erode and the ‘left’ started labeling me with the same slurs that the right used. I guess no one paid attention to me when I said that the issue of peace and people dying for no reason is not a matter of ‘right or left,’ but ‘right and wrong’… Casey [my son] died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives.”

Noel Sheppard on News Busters criticizes the press for not picking up on this resignation fast enough. Apparently, “a full 48 hours since antiwar icon Cindy Sheehan publicly announced that she was leaving the Democratic Party due to Thursday’s bipartisan agreement on an Iraq war funding bill,” not a single “major media outlet has covered her announcement.” Sheppard follows this fact with a question: “Does this suggest that the media’s antiwar proclivities are only important when they shed a negative light on the Administration and Republicans, but not when events such as this speak poorly about Democrats?”

Sheppard’s support is contrasted by the views expressed by a variety of other blogs, which eat Sheehan alive. Take the Populist for instance, whose editor, Chuck Adkins, joins the feast: “Your Son, Casey volunteered to go to Iraq. He was not forced, He was not arrested, tied up, bound and MADE to go to Iraq, He went on his own free will. Because he wanted to go, and serve his country. So, quite frankly, I don’t pity you one bit. I feel that you’re an opportunist. Who sought to cash on your sons death to further the agenda of the far left. And now, the same one’s you helped are now stabbing you in the back.”

Right Wing Nut House contrasts Sheehan with “other boat rockers in American history,” calling forth “Martin Luther King, Susan B. Anthony, Margaret Sanger, Al Lowenstein, and Frederick Douglas to name a few – [who] make Sheehan’s ‘ordeal’ look like a walk in the park. They never quit. It makes Sheehan’s pathetic blatherings and whiny, self-absorbed musings seem wretchedly shallow and insincere by comparison.”

Many other bloggers have taken her side. Indicating that Cindy Sheehan has “fought the good fight,” the Democratic Daily writes. “Good luck to Cindy Sheehan and Thank You for all you have done. You did indeed put a face on the anti-war movement and yes, if people want change bad enough more will get involved. If not we will stagnate and continue to be under the thumb of government out of control.”

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Eric Hirsch is a Columbia Journalism Review intern.