August 30, 2005

Wingnut Watch: Cindy the Political Football



I posted an analysis two weeks ago at The Agonist anticipating how the right-wing would attack Cindy Sheehan as a media phenomenon.  I’m not sure why they took so long, but the offensive is finally in full swing. 

Little Green Footballs (via juxtaposed two images on Sunday showing Cindy Sheehan and Al Sharpton — one a tight shot, and the other from a wider angle.  The point was to demonstrate the relatively small group of protesters in relation to the amount of press. 

As if the pictures themselves represent some sort of indictment, LGF posted them with little elaboration — except to say that the event was “manufactured.”  In the comment thread, the readers hype the allegation that the media is making events in Crawford seem more substantive than they really are.  In ascribing motive, many point to left-wing media bias.

Although the images seem to make a point, it’s really much ado about nothing.  Back in March (when I was more naive as to these types of happenings), The BAG was complaining about much the same thing in regard to the Terri Schiavo circus.  Just like at Camp Casey, the media was giving plenty of play to the emphatic demonstrations of a relatively small group of people at “Camp Terri” in Pinellas Park, Florida.


Here, for example, was actually a very “Cindy-esque” shot of two women (count ’em) at the infamous fence just beyond the hospice.  (For some inexplicable reason, the photo was published by that radical left-wing mouth piece known as the NY Times.)

For the purpose of comparison, however, here is the two-shot series I offered at the time:


In this tighter shot, it would seem that teeming hoards of pro-life demonstrators have converged on the Governor’s mansion to rally around the Schiavo parents and demand action.


In this wider shot from the reverse angle, however, it’s clear that the ratio of protesters-to-media is likely no different than the one in the Pigskin’s supposed “smoking gun” photo above.

LGF and the like are not really upset about these pictures, though.  They understand that small human dramas regularly come to symbolize larger political issues, and stir up strong feelings at both ends of the political spectrum.

Rather, they’re upset because Cindy Sheehan has punctured the government’s denial and emotional cover-up of the human cost the country has been paying for Bush’s phony war.  And, what is getting them the most worked up is the difficulty Bush is having in staunching his own political loss of blood. 

(image 1 & 2: AP Photo/LM Otero. Crawford, Texas, August 28, 2005. Yahoo News via Little Green Footballs. image 3: James Estrin for The New York Times; image 4: Carlos Barri/Reuters in YahooNews; image 5: Steve Cannon/AP in YahooNews)

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Michael Shaw
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