Can you imagine the networks ruining the Clinton vacation on Martha's Vineyard by making a big story out of a conservative protester there? I can't, because they didn't. In 1998, a few weeks after Clinton admitted sex with Monica Lewinsky, he went to his first partisan pep rally in Worcester, Mass. ABC and CBS did full stories, and the streets outside the hall were filled with protesters demanding Clinton resign, but ABC and CBS failed to interview them. Only Fox News brought up how a local Democratic city council member, Konstantina Lukes, refused to attend.
Cut back to the present. Cindy Sheehan wasn't the only "peace" protester glorified by "Today." Late in the Monday program, they aired another seven minutes of pure propaganda on the "Raging Grannies" of Tucson, Ariz., who muster a whopping 15 to 20 protesters outside a military recruitment center every Wednesday.
What is it with these left-wing grannies, anyway? It was almost exactly like five years ago, when the publicity frenzy was for Doris "Granny D" Haddock, agitating for the liberal cause of "campaign finance reform." ABC's Charles Gibson congratulated her for her "very worthy work." NBC's Matt Lauer ("I love Granny D!") and Katie Couric ("She's great!") took turns cheerleading.
For the Tucson grannies, anchor Natalie Morales could only find cuteness and "commitment," not mudslinging and hard-core ideology: "Beware, there is a group of grannies serving up much more than milk and cookies. NBC's Peter Alexander caught up with them, proving commitment has no age limit."
After a syrupy story in which Alexander hailed them as "compassionate," but never described them as harsh or ultraliberal, even as they screeched against the "illegal, immoral war" and yelled, "No blood for oil," Morales interviewed four of the Tucson activists, dressed in stereotypical "granny" garb and praised them for their "witty lyrics" and their status as role models.
NBC never explained the "Raging Grannies" are a project of the local chapter of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, a 90-year-old "peace" group that despises any military spending and opposed even the Cold War. The grannies are loonies who pass out flyers stating that "The Iraq war has everything to do with U.S. controlling access to Middle Eastern Oil," and the war has nothing to do with terrorism, but "everything to do with U.S. world domination." Even so, NBC's Alexander supinely claimed, "they say they're fighting for the men and women fighting for them."
"News" stories like these show that the media have chosen sides between the liberation backers and the "peace" protesters. They are to news what these protesters are to reasonable discourse.