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Katrina blows Sheehan, gay marriage off the screen

By Sharon Hughes
web posted September 5, 2005

Hurricane Katrina has wiped out news coverage of what became the top news story for weeks, the Cindy Sheehan campout-at-Crawford anti-war vigil. But that does not mean that her efforts are ending. Sheehan has left Crawford for the road on her 'Impeachment' bus to continue her anti-war cause, and has vowed to spend every August in Crawford until the war in Iraq is ended.

Other movements are continuing their efforts as well despite the catastrophic disaster in America's gulf states. For instance, though minimally reported by the media, the pro-gay marriage movement won a victory in California this week when state senators approved AB 849 which would make same-sex marriage legal in California. The bill removes the phrase "a man and a woman" from the state's marriage laws replacing it with "two persons." The bill now goes to California's state Assembly, and if passed, on to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who is on record as saying he would approve it if "that's what the people of California want".

I expect that as safety and order, housing and infrastructure begin to be restored to the gulf region, press attention in some measure will return to Cindy Sheehan, who has been dubbed by liberals as 'the best thing that has happened to the anti-war effort." In the meantime watch for media bias in regards to the war in Iraq, especially as we approach September 11th, such as the following New York Times article written while everyone was focused on the approaching storm.

Elisabeth Burmiller reported in the NY Times on Monday, August 29, 2005 that President George W. Bush said protesters like Cindy Sheehan were weakening the United States and emboldening terrorists. Here's Burmiller's direct quote:

"Mr. Bush has been careful not to go on a direct attack against a publicly grieving mother like Ms. Sheehan, and has pointed out that he met with her once already, in 2004, and that he has sympathy for her and her right to protest. Still, he said last week that protesters like her were weakening the United States and emboldening terrorists, and vowed that he would not immediately withdraw all American troops from Iraq, as she has demanded."

Speaking to members of the Idaho National Guard and their families, what the President actually said was: “An immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq, or the broader Middle East, as some have called for, would only embolden the terrorists and create a staging ground to launch more attacks against America and free nations."

Also, Burmiller opened her article entitled, "In the Struggle Over the Iraq War, Women Are on the Front Line," with the following:  "As President Bush traveled around the country last week, he got caught up in a battle of women," saying he tried to counter the protesting women by using another mother in his speech...Ms. Pruett, whose story appeared on CNN last week, has four sons in Iraq serving in the National Guard and a husband and a fifth son who have returned from Iraq, of whom Bush said, "America lives in freedom because of families like the Pruetts."

Interestingly, Burmiller failed to mention that Ms. Pruett was in the Idaho audience when the President referred to her, but rather chose to quote Sheehan devotees who pointed out that Ms. Pruett's sons were still alive and therefore shouldn't be compared to mothers who had lost theirs.

During times of crisis and vulnerability it's especially important to watch for media bias.

Sharon  Hughes is a radio talk show host on KDIA  in  San Francisco  and on RIGHTALK.com,  and her shows are archived online  at Oneplace.com. Her column appears in many recognized news sites and publications. For further information visit her Website www.changingworldviews.com,  blogsite http://changingworldviews.blogspot.com, or contact her at sharon@changingworldviews.com © Sharon Hughes 2005



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