Patterico's Pontifications


Cindy Sheehan Protests Obama’s War

Filed under: Sheehan,War — DRJ @ 7:43 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Cindy Sheehan has moved to Washington and is protesting Barack Obama’s war:

“Cindy Sheehan says she is moving to Washington. The anti-war activist was outside the White House for the second day in a row, with a bullhorn and a handful of protestors, shouting against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantanamo and calling for “health care not warfare.”
Park Police arrested Sheehan and 60 other protestors yesterday, after Sheehan chained herself to the fence on the North Lawn. Sheehan says she refuses to pay the fine and that she and other anti-war activists plan to “step up” their protests until the administration shows a willingness to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

“We’re going to create a movement that’s going to demand a change of policy,” she said, explaining that her plan is to create large, coordinated acts of civil resistance, “It’s going to be massive.”

Sheehan has a right to protest in a lawful manner but I wish she wouldn’t do this now, just as I wish she hadn’t done it during President Bush’s term. I support letting people speak out for what they believe in, but my choice is that civil disobedience is the exception rather than the rule.



Sheehan Respectfully Gets Herself Arrested Again (UPDATED: Police Apologize for Arrest)

Filed under: Morons,Sheehan — Patterico @ 7:16 pm

On his radio show tonight, Hugh Hewitt was talking about the fact that a Democrat Congresswoman from Northern California had given a pass to Cindy Sheehan to hear the State of the Union speech. He said that, despite her promises to be respectful, the White House needed to be prepared in case she decided to try to disrupt the speech.

They needn’t have worried. She got herself arrested for unfurling a banner in the gallery. [But see UPDATES below!]

UPDATE: Nope, it was for wearing a T-shirt with an anti-war slogan:

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday in the House gallery after refusing to cover up a T-shirt bearing an anti-war slogan before President Bush’s State of the Union address.

“She was asked to cover it up. She did not,” said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman, adding that Sheehan was arrested for unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail, Schneider said.

Schneider said shortly after the State of the Union speech that Sheehan was still being held but should be “out sometime tonight.”

An early report from a senior House official indicated that Sheehan was arrested for unfurling an anti-war banner, but that was later found not to be the case. Schneider said she didn’t know what Sheehan’s T-shirt said.

I am looking forward to hearing more about this. Is the law under which she was arrested content-neutral? Are there First Amendment implications here? If the T-shirt said: “Bush rocks!” would she have been arrested?

UPDATE x2: This woman was ejected for wearing a T-shirt that supported the troops. Apparently the enforcement of the law is not content-based. That’s reassuring. (Link via Drudge via commenter Shoes.)

UPDATE x3 2-1-06: Police have dropped the charges against Sheehan and apologized.


What the Sixteenth Minute Looks Like

Filed under: General,Media Bias,Sheehan,War — Patterico @ 5:18 pm

Amusing (if pathetic) pictures of Cindy Sheehan’s book signing, here. (Via Mary Katharine Ham at Hewitt.)

My favorite bit: the photo that Reuters ran with. Viewed in context, it screams: “We are trying to hide the truth!”


It Depends On What the Meaning of “Never” Is

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Sheehan — Patterico @ 6:57 am

Regular readers will remember that I recently noted that the L.A. Times edited wire copy in a way that distorted the truth about Cindy Sheehan. The Times version of an AP story asserted that Bush “never” met with Sheehan:

Sheehan had vowed to stay in Crawford until Bush’s monthlong vacation ended or until she could question him about the war that claimed the life of her son Casey and nearly 1,900 other U.S. soldiers. She missed a week of the protest because her mother suffered a stroke.

Although two top administration officials talked to Sheehan the first day, the president never did — though he said that he sympathizes with her. He ended his vacation Wednesday to monitor federal aid to hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast.

It was inaccurate to say that Bush “never” met with Sheehan, because the president met with her in June 2004. As I noted in my previous post, the original version of the AP story had included a clarifying phrase (“during her Crawford stay”) that Times editors removed:

While two top Bush administration officials talked to Sheehan the first day, the president never did during her Crawford stay — although he said that he sympathizes with her.

That four-word phrase removed by Times editors appeared in every other version of the story I could find, in newspapers across the country.

I wrote Readers’ Representative Jamie Gold about this. After all, saying the president “never” met with Sheehan, when he actually did, sounded an awful lot like a factual misstatement to me. In my e-mail to Ms. Gold, I said: “I think a correction is warranted — unless you have a different definition of ‘never’ than I do.”

Gold never responded to my e-mail.

But make sure to click on “more” to read the rest of the story!



CBS Reporter Was “Not Interested” in Cindy Sheehan’s Use of Term “Freedom Fighters” to Describe Terrorists

Filed under: Media Bias,Sheehan — Patterico @ 6:46 am

I mentioned here some time back that, in an interview with Mark Knoller of CBS News, Cindy Sheehan had used the term “freedom fighters” to describe the terrorists in Iraq. Her use of that phrase never made it into the CBS piece, and now John Leo explains why: the reporter wasn’t interested.

John Leo’s latest column states:

On August 6, as her 15 minutes of fame was just beginning, Cindy Sheehan used an odd term in a TV interview with Mark Knoller of CBS. She referred to the foreign insurgents and terrorists in Iraq as “freedom fighters.” Knoller cut those words out of his report, he told me, because he “really wasn’t interested.” He should have left them in. In fact, alarm bells should have rung in his brain. First of all, it’s startling that an antiwar mother would talk that way about people who blow up children and who may have killed her own son. Second, “freedom fighters” in this context is the telltale lingo of the hard, anti-American left. When the grieving mother starts talking that way, it’s news.

Knoller recalls that ther reporters on the scene were watching his interview that day in Texas, but apparently they weren’t any more interested in Sheehan’s little linguistic adventure than he was. Apparently none bothered to report it. The “freedom fighter” remark reached the public only because an antiwar group, Veterans for Peace, filmed the CBS interview. It was picked up by an anti-Cindy Sheehan website,, where bloggers and conservative commentators noticed and circulated it.

I believe Knoller’s explanation that he simply wasn’t interested. This is how media bias works. When your beliefs on core issues are left-wing, phrases like Sheehan’s description of terrorists as “freedom fighters” just don’t jump out at you. After all, that’s what everyone calls them at the water cooler back at the office. What’s “interesting” about that?


The Los Angeles Times Once Again Edits the Truth Out of a Wire Story

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Sheehan,War — Patterico @ 6:49 am

Once again, the Los Angeles Times has edited a wire story in a way that distorts the truth. As edited by the L.A. Times, an AP story yesterday on Cindy Sheehan’s Crawford protest states:

Although two top administration officials talked to Sheehan the first day, the president never did — though he said that he sympathizes with her. He ended his vacation Wednesday to monitor federal aid to hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast.

(My emphasis.)

Saying that Bush “never” met with Cindy Sheehan makes her cause seem more righteous, and Bush’s behavior more callous. But, of course, the president did meet with Cindy Sheehan in June 2004 — and Sheehan praised him shortly thereafter as sincere and sympathetic.

The story should not say that Bush “never did” meet with Sheehan. Rather, it should say that “the president never did during her Crawford stay.” And guess what? That’s what the original AP story said — before L.A. Times editors got their hands on it.

The phrase “during her Crawford stay” appears in versions of the story running in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Contra Costa Times, just to name a few:

While two top Bush administration officials talked to Sheehan the first day, the president never did during her Crawford stay — although he said that he sympathizes with her. His vacation ended Wednesday, two days early, so he could monitor federal efforts to help hurricane victims on the Gulf Coast.

Why, the phrase even appeared in the version originally published on the L.A. Times web site on August 31.

Why were these four words omitted from the version that ran in the print edition of the L.A. Times? Did the editors not have enough space for four words that tell you the whole truth?

UPDATE: Welcome to Instapundit readers, and thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link. I hope new readers will blogroll the site and/or bookmark the main page, and return often.

UPDATE x2: I have added a link to my L.A. Times op-ed above, so that nobody can pretend that I’m claiming Cindy Sheehan supported the war when she met with Bush previously. She didn’t — and I make clear in the linked op-ed that she didn’t. And, contrary to the bleating of some carpers (like this guy), I have never once claimed she did.


Is Anybody Reading “Outside the Tent” at the L.A. Times?

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Sheehan,War — Patterico @ 6:52 pm

You can see the L.A. Times is really taking the message of my recent “Outside the Tent” op-ed to heart, in its Peter Wallsten article about Cindy Sheehan today titled Back in Crawford, Sheehan Vows Not to Quit.


Let’s look at one curious and horribly written sentence from the article, to see why I say “not” (in bold type, no less!):

The president met with Sheehan in 2004, but she has since said she was offended by his approach — when he repeatedly referred to her as “mom,” and learned later that the weapons of mass destruction initially used to justify the March 2003 invasion were never found.

Who learned what now?

I don’t think Peter Wallsten meant to say that Bush later learned that the WMD were never found. I guess Wallsten means that Sheehan learned after her 2004 meeting with Bush that the WMD were never found. And, I suppose, that is mentioned to explain why Sheehan is all hot under the collar now — as opposed to then, when she praised the president (a fact the paper has still, even now, never mentioned on its news pages).

Except that Sheehan has experienced no change in attitude about the war — she was against it before the meeting, during the meeting, and immediately after the meeting. So what’s the point of mentioning WMD in that sentence?

And what is the meaning of saying that WMD were “initially used to justify the March 2003 invasion”? I think the (false) implication here, if you flesh it out, is that Bush never mentioned democracy as a justification before the war — otherwise, Wallsten should say WMD were “initially used as a justification for the March 2003 invasion.”

The idea that the president didn’t mention democracy initially, or whispered it only in passing, is a myth that this paper has been pushing for some time. I’ll grant you that WMD were the main reason to go to war in most people’s minds, including mine. But if Wallsten is suggesting that democracy wasn’t a justification for war before the fact, that ain’t true.

By the way, Sheehan says that it wouldn’t make any difference if Bush decided to meet with her: “If George Bush came out and spoke with me today and we went home, this wouldn’t end.”

Maybe at least we can now all stop wondering why Bush isn’t meeting with her.

Cindy Sheehan: Terrorists Are “Freedom Fighters”

Filed under: Dog Trainer,Sheehan,War — Patterico @ 7:02 am

Well, Cindy Sheehan is back in Crawford. So, whether you’re bored of her story or not, you’re going to get more of it. But the media probably won’t tell you that she has used the term “freedom fighters” to refer to the terrorists fighting American forces in Iraq.

The video is available at this link. It is Sheehan responding to a question from CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller’s question: “You know that the President says Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism; don’t you believe that?” Here is Sheehan’s response:

Um, no, because it’s not true. You know, Iraq was no threat to the United States of America until we invaded. I mean, they’re not even a threat to the United States of America. Iraq was not involved in 9/11. Iraq was not a terrorist state.

But now that we have decimated the country, the borders are open. Uh, freedom fighters from other, um, countries are going in. And they have created more terrorism by going to an Islamic country, devastating the country and killing innocent people in that country.

The terrorism is growing. And people who never thought of being car bombers or suicide bombers are now doing it because they want the United States of America out of their, out of their country.

It takes your breath away, doesn’t it? These are the very people who killed her son, and she is calling them “freedom fighters.”

News? You be the judge. The blog post with the video was published two days ago. But Sheehan’s “freedom fighters” reference is apparently not important to the L.A. Times, which has not reported that or similar statements since the Sheehan controversy began. (The closest the paper has come was to publish my op-ed.)

Instead, the paper is running stories like today’s, titled Bush Invokes Military Mother to Defend War. Rather than searching out military mothers who support the war, the paper just sits back and waits for Bush to tell their stories, and then portrays him as exploiting them. The story mentions Cindy Sheehan in the context of drawing a parallel between Iraq and Vietnam, describing her as “[t]he most prominent of the antiwar activists.”

Oh, well. In that case, we’d better not tell readers that she is calling terrorists “freedom fighters.”


My Second “Outside the Tent” Piece in the L.A. Times

Filed under: Blogging Matters,Dog Trainer,Sheehan,War — Patterico @ 12:08 am

As I told you yesterday, I have an “Outside the Tent” piece in today’s L.A. Times, about the paper’s coverage of Cindy Sheehan. It’s titled Peacenik paper fawns over antiwar mom. I don’t write the headlines, folks.

As I also said yesterday, this is intended as media criticism, not as a personal attack on Sheehan. I hope that readers of the piece understand that.

Thanks to Sunday Opinion Current editor Bob Sipchen for the invitation and the excellent editing. I respect Bob greatly because he always works hard to make the “Outside the Tent” pieces effective — even when they harshly criticize the paper he works for. That shows admirable integrity.

Thanks also to Dafydd ab Hugh, Xrlq, and Armed Liberal for reviewing earlier drafts. Thanks as well to another blogger who gave me valuable advice, but who asked not to be thanked by name. You know who you are.

Let me know what you think. And if you’re new here, I hope you’ll bookmark the site and come back often. Bloglines subscribers can subscribe by clicking on this button:

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Cindy Sheehan Blames Bush More Than the Iraqi Who Killed Her Son?

Filed under: Sheehan,War — Patterico @ 12:01 am

I don’t know whether this is authentic or not — but if it is, it’s quite remarkable. It purports to be a reprint of an e-mail from Cindy Sheehan to an Iraqi blogger. It was apparently posted by the blogger on January 26, 2005:

Dear Faiza

Susan put me in touch with you.
My son was killed in Sadr City on 04/04/04. His name was Casey Austin Sheehan. He was killed in the Shi’ite uprising on that day. He was almost 25.

I want to let you know that I am so sorry what our leaders have done to your country. Casey was a peaceful, gentle guy, who joined the Army to protect America and to help people. He didn’t join to be misused by an arrogant administration who are murderers. I don’t blame the Iraqi who killed Casey…I blame Bush and his other followers.

Please keep in touch with me…I think we do need to do peace together. Us Moms in the US need to be in contact and solidarity with you moms in Iraq.

Love and hugs from America
Cindy Sheehan

(Emphasis mine.)

If this this truly authentic — and it is not terribly dissimilar to other rhetoric we have heard from Ms. Sheehan — it is very revealing of where she is coming from. (Via Rob Douth.)

UPDATE: A commenter notes a Friday entry from the National Review’s Media Blog in which Sheehan told reporters in a conference call transcribed here:

The person who killed my son, I have no animosity for that person at all.

The National Review notes that this quote does not appear to have made it into any of the reporters’ stories, saying: “Perhaps that’s because, reading the transcript, it becomes evident that the reporters are on Sheehan’s side.” Quite amazing, yet at the same time, quite predictable.

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