The Spectacle Blog

The Media, the Terrys, and Cindy Sheehan

By on 6.22.12 | 9:46AM

We keep saying this, but you simply cannot make it up.

Last night Sean Hannity sat down for an interview with Kent and Josephine Terry, the parents of U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry. Brian Terry, of course, was killed by a gun deliberately "walked" into Mexico in the harebrained scheme called "Fast and Furious."

Fast and Furious has now become a bridge too far for the Obama administration. Attorney General Eric Holder has been cited for contempt of Congress by a House committee (a full House vote set for next week) and President Obama just ignited an uproar by throwing a blanket of executive privilege over the Justice Department.

But something else occurred as we watched the riveting Hannity interview with the Terrys last night.

The Terrys lost their son because of a government policy.

So too did another parent lose a son because of a government policy.

That parent was the mother of a U.S. Soldier killed in the war in Iraq, a constitutionally authorized policy openly arrived at when President Bush asked for and got a congressional resolution allowing him to send troops to Iraq.

That soldier was named Casey Sheehan. And his mother's name was Cindy. Cindy Sheehan.

Cindy Sheehan, like the Terrys, was understandably devastated by the loss of her son. But there were two not-so-small differences in the Sheehan case and the Terry case.

First, unlike Fast and Furious and the secrecy surrounding Brian Terry's death, there was nothing remotely secret about the military action that took Casey Sheehan's life. The Iraq War was endlessly litigated -- quite publicly -- in the Congress and the court of public opinion. It was a major issue in George Bush's 2004 re-election campaign, in which Bush defeated John Kerry. And it was a major issue in 2008, when then-Senator Barack Obama made it a major issue against John McCain -- and won.

Fast and Furious, on the contrary, was conceived in secret, executed in secret, and is now at the center of a Congressional effort to reveal just who knew what and when.

But there is a second difference between Cindy Sheehan and the Terrys.

When Cindy Sheehan spoke out about the death of her son Casey she was inundated -- and I do mean inundated -- with coverage from the mainstream media.

Let's take NBC News as an example.

Here's a link to a Newsbusters report in the day -- August of 2005 -- about the coverage of Cindy Sheehan by NBC News. And here's what Newsbusters reported of NBC News and its anchor Brian Williams: 

# NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams worked Sheehan into his opening tease: "Defending the war: President Bush concedes the Iraq mission is tough. He says pulling out would embolden the terrorists, and he talks about the protesting mother demanding to meet him."

Williams also put her into his opening: "Good evening. This has been a tough and bloody summer where news from the Iraq battlefield is concerned. There has been no measurable change in U.S. forces, however -- they're motivated and in the fight, despite the loss of many of their own. The change has taken place at the White House -- specifically, these days, the western White House in Texas, where the vacationing President and his aides have now chosen a course of increased candor, apparently, mostly in the face of mounting numbers. So far, 1,846 Americans have died in Iraq, nearly 14,000 have been wounded. And it doesn't help that a woman who lost a son in Iraq vows to wait outside the President's ranch until the Commander-in-Chief agrees to speak with her. We have two reports tonight, beginning with NBC News chief White House correspondent David Gregory." 

Gregory began his piece: "Since August 2, when the President left for a vacation on his Texas ranch, 38 American troops have died in Iraq. It is that grim reality of war that appeared to weigh on Mr. Bush today. Flanked by his national security team, he took pains to address the public's growing opposition to the conflict."

After Gregory's review of Bush's comments and critics of his Iraq policy, Brian Williams set up the second story, as corrected against the closed-captioning by the MRC's Brad Wilmouth: "Now to that woman outside the President's ranch in Texas. Cindy Sheehan lost a son in Iraq. She has met with the President before, but wants so badly to meet him and talk with him again, she's vowed to live outdoors, outside his Texas ranch, until she gets to see the President. Her story tonight from NBC's Kelly O'Donnell."

Next follows a sympathetic interview with Sheehan by O'Donnell.

And so it went with ABC and CBS, as you will see by following the link above.

For months untold ever after, Cindy Sheehan was made into a liberal media superstar because she was speaking about the loss of her son in the Iraq War. Over on MSNBC she was hailed as a brave champion of dissent. She couldn't move without a network camera reporting on her latest utterance. Liberal print publications from the New York Times (the paper headlined "Of the Many Deaths in Iraq, One Mother's Loss Becomes a Problem for the President") to Vanity Fair ( which profiled her alongside celebrities like Bono and movie star Naomi Watts) heralding her willingness to speak out for her lost son.

But the Terrys? Without Sean Hannity and Fox News and a lone radio show in Philadelphia, the news of Brian Terry's parents and the death of their son -- not to mention the Obama administration scandal that caused it -- would have long ago vanished into the usual black hole of liberal disinformation and no information.

If you want yet another glaring example of why NBC News is in so much trouble, not to mention the broadcast networks in general and various liberal print outlets as well, you can look no further than the their treatment of the Iraq War and Cindy Sheehan versus Kent and Josephine Terry and Fast and Furious.

I'd say shame on them. But how does one shame the shameless?

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