Anatomy of a Smear

This piece appears today at the Unpaid Punditry Corps.

With President Bush dead in the middle of a full blown PR push to try and regain support for his Iraq adventure I thought I would take a quick look at what the right-wing blogosphere is doing to help facilitate this effort. As you are all aware, the main reason for this PR push stems from the ground swell of support one Cindy Sheehan has received in her efforts to gain an audience with the President. I have generally remained neutral on this subject, only touching on it in one post that pointed out the sheer inhumanity of a comment made by “entertainer” Rush Limbaugh and one post about the hypocrisy of the newly minted pro-war rally hitting Crawford this Saturday. The main reason for my neutrality is that I am not a military man and have not lost a loved one in this war so I can not possibly comprehend the pain and suffering this woman has had to endure.

I am fairly certain that the majority of bloggers out there are in the same situation as myself; keyboard quarterbacks with little to no real world experience other than pouring over articles and anecdotal information about it’s effects. Sadly, this does not seem be an issue to those on the right intent on playing their part in this pathetic American tragedy. A quick scan of my right wing blogmarks proves beyond a doubt that their main objective is to ensure that Cindy Sheehan’s character is smeared beyond recognition.

In a piece entitled Cindy Sheehan II, Mark Noonan of Blogs for Bush first attacks Sheehan as anti-American then draws the conclusion that the left will pay dearly for supporting Sheehan in her efforts.

“What have we learned about Cindy Sheehan since she exploded on to the national scene?

Well, we’ve learned that she doesn’t believe America is worth dying for…in short, what we’ve learned is that if it weren’t for Casey Sheehan, who died bravely for America, then Cindy Sheehan would just be another in a long line of resolutely ignored crackpots. It is a strange world in which a man who dies a hero in the service of America becomes the mechanism whereby anti-Americans can spread their slanders to a larger audience.

What is actually happening is that more and more people are getting a good look at the so-called “anti-war” movement – and finding out that they are far less anti-war than they are anti-American.

Our friends over at Little Green Footballs have taken a different approach in their latest smear, posting a photo of a smiling Sheehan being escorted by a U.S. Marine with the caption,

Does that guy with the USMC T-shirt look embarrassed or what? “Come on, Cindy. They’re taking your picture. How many of those little bottles of Smirnoff did you have on the plane, anyway?”

Powerline takes a more traditional approach to destroying the credibility of Sheehan, it is that damned liberal media’s fault.

No one has contributed more to the enshrinement of Cindy Sheehan as an antiwar icon than AP reporter Angela Brown. Tonight, however, Brown stepped over the line with an outright misrepresentation of Sheehan’s history. Brown’s article, which likely will appear in hundreds of newspapers, describes Sheehan’s return to Crawford, Texas.

Not to be outdone the good folks over at Wizbang bring us more liberal media bias.

The premise of this article is pretty much an outright lie on the part of AFP. This is yellow journalism at its worst.

The queue of righty pundits willing to throw in their two cents in an effort to discredit Sheehan seems never ending. Unfortunately there are very few voices, right or left, willing to look at this thing for what it really is, a personal tragedy that is being taken advantage of for political gain. Interestingly enough, the sanest comment about this situation that I have come across also comes from the right winger who just so happens to be one of our former UPC members:

A patriotic camp with a “God Bless Our President!” banner sprung up downtown Saturday, countering the anti-war demonstration started by a fallen soldier’s mother two weeks ago near President Bush’s ranch.

The camp is named “Fort Qualls,” in memory of Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, who died in Iraq last fall.

Now isn’t this special? The war of the dead children. That is just great, isn’t it?? Is this what Cindy Sheehan wants? Parents of fallen soldiers fighting with each other?? One infuriating the other? Adding to an uspeakable grief?

Put down your signs, your candles, and your banners and go home. This isn’t Vietnam. The people who support our troops are going to be out there too. It will always be one opinion against another. No one is going to win this.
No one.

I could not agree more on at least one point, no one can benefit from this circus.

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