Conservatives, others in the media launch smear campaign against Cindy Sheehan

Since Cindy Sheehan -- whose son, Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in Iraq -- began her protest outside President Bush's Crawford, Texas, ranch on August 7, she has been the target of smears by conservatives and others in the media. Media Matters for America has compiled several examples of these attacks:

  • Charles Krauthammer, syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor: On the August 16 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume, Krauthammer claimed that Sheehan's protest is “hurting our troops and endangering our troops.” Krauthammer went on to state that Sheehan's statements “have to be attacked because they are libeling America, endangering America, and they are untrue from beginning to end.” When Fox News contributor Juan Williams questioned whether Sheehan's statements actually endangered American troops, Krauthammer retorted, “You don't think it's encouraging, you don't think it's going to encourage Iraqis who are attacking us, particularly this kind of stuff about American imperialism?”
  • Frank J. Gaffney Jr., Washington Times columnist: On the August 16 broadcast of PBS' The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Gaffney asserted that Sheehan's statements “emboldened” America's enemies:
    GAFFNEY: It will clearly be the case that enemies of this country, in a global war, of which Iraq is one front, will be emboldened and hardened, even as I think they are by these sorts of indications that we're losing our nerve, that we're being bloodied and that we're going to try to -- or at least some of us -- are going to try to compel the president to give up, that will only bring the threat we currently face, principally overseas, to our shores and, I think, do so in a way that will make the losses we've sustained in Iraq pale by comparison.

    Additionally, in an August 16 column, Gaffney called Sheehan “the poster child for surrender” and argued that media coverage of Sheehan's protest “has further encouraged the conviction of our Islamofascist enemies that, as they expected, an indolent and self-indulgent United States cannot stand up to determined, ruthless foes.” Gaffney added: “That perception can have but one effect: It puts an even bigger premium on the lives of every one of [Casey Sheehan's] comrades in Iraq and elsewhere, and to foreclose the outcomes for which he and the other fallen gave their lives.”

  • Bill O'Reilly, Fox News host: On the August 9 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly claimed that Sheehan “has thrown in with the most radical elements in this country” and “other American families who have lost sons and daughters in Iraq ... feel that this kind of behavior borders on treasonous.”
  • Kathleen Parker, nationally syndicated columnist: In an August 13 column, Parker wrote that Bush “can't [meet with Sheehan] because he's the president of the United States, because we're at war, and because every move he makes causes ripples around the world. Ripples that, depending on other circumstances, can get other sons and daughters killed.” Parker added that, if Bush allows himself to become involved in a public confrontation with Sheehan, “the world is in greater danger. Democrats might be delighted to freeze that image in political time, but so would insurgents planning their next Baghdad ambush.”
  • Jimmy W. Hall, freelance writer: In an August 11 op-ed in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hall wrote: “Cindy Sheehan evidently thinks little of her deceased son, his sacrifice or of those left to do the noble work in his absence,” adding, “The lady is on the wrong team. She's disgraceful.” Hall asked, rhetorically, “Is the proper answer to her bitterness really to belittle and undermine public support for the efforts of those still serving? ... Would [Casey Sheehan] be proud of her near-treasonous actions?” Hall also offered Sheehan this advice:
    My suggestion to her ... is that she think about the lives of those still in Iraq. Undermining public support for our efforts in Iraq helps the enemy, her son's murderers. They love people like her, but hate those like her heroic son.
  • Chattanooga Times Free Press: From an August 16 editorial:
    [I]t is unfortunate that Mrs. Sheehan's sadness now has caused her to be used as a “front” and a personal “symbol” by a variety of political anti-Bush and anti-war activists who are seeking to undermine the American military effort to establish freedom and defeat terrorism in Iraq and throughout the world.

    The Times Free Press added, “It is saddening that Mrs. Sheehan has lost a son. It is saddening that Mrs. Sheehan's demonstration has sought to undermine the purpose of his service in a way that surely encourages his murderers.”

  • David Horowitz, right-wing pundit: Horowitz wrote the following in an August 12 entry on his weblog:
    Cindy Sheehan is the most prominent symbol and chief mouthpiece of a psychological warfare campaign against her own country in time of war that can only benefit its enemies on the field of battle. It is one thing to criticize a war policy. It is quite another to accuse your own country of creating the monster it went to war to remove and fabricating intelligence information to send American youth into battle to die for a lie -- which is what she has done. She has made herself a willing tool of anti-American forces in this country that want America to lose the war in Iraq and the war on terror generally. She is promoting a cause -- immediate withdrawal from Iraq -- that would lead to a bloodbath in the region and in the United States. She has joined forces with an Unholy Alliance on the other side in the epic battle for freedom in the Middle East and has shown that she will do and say anything to discredit the United States and its commander-chief -- acts which serve the enemy and endanger American lives. She is a disgrace to her brave son who gave his life for the freedom of ordinary Iraqis and the security of his countrymen. She has betrayed his sacrifice and embraced his enemies.