Tonight I happened to be watching Fox News for an hour before switching over to watch CBS News. During its broadcast, CBS offered up a content-free profile of Cindy Sheehan, the woman who is currently protesting outside President Bush’s Crawford ranch demanding a meeting with him.
Now Fox had also mentioned Sheehan, in order to slam her ridiculous claim in an April 27, 2005 speech in which she said, among other things,
We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!
The proper term for a person who believe this is “nutcase.”
Now Fox is a right wing news media outlet, so it has highlighted all of the idiotic things Sheehan has been saying the past few months. A lot of left wing blogs have highlighted all the non-idiotic things she’s said. Presumably, a mainstream media outlet would provide a balanced look at what Sheehan believes and let viewers decide for themselves.
CBS, of course, offered none of the above. Instead, they covered Sheehan as they covered the 2004 election, as if there is some sort of horse race between Sheehan and mothers of soldiers killed in Iraq who support the war. So we had Sheehan and her pain and some other woman and her pain, and absolutely no mention of what Sheehan actually believes and is on record as advocating (i.e., no mention that she’s said she wants Bush impeached for example).
This absurd. Imagine if the grieving mother who still supports the war had been giving speeches at far right events where she called for the nuclear bombing of Mecca, and major media outlets simply decided to omit that detail as irrelevant.
So the viewer is left with no information on which to make a judgement and instead presumably is left to choose between which grieving mother he or she preferred.
Ultimately, the entire Sheehan episode is an example of why broadcast media is in such decline. Its more programmed and scripted than many of the sitcoms and dramas that run in prime time.